Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

My friend genny wrote a post about her family creed and how it helped her teach her children right from wrong. She pointed out how at one point it was super important to repeat the words almost daily, and as her children got older, the words had an imprint on them and less repetition was needed.

This got me thinking about some of the rules of our house. We cover quite an age range, from 13 down to newborn…so our house rules tend to be dynamic…I rarely have to remind the teen to share, but I do have to remind him to use kind words. We’ve tried having family meetings to determine fair rules, and we have run the disciplinary gamut from natural consequences to monetary fines.
In the end though, I’ve found we have a few hard and fast rules for being Thompsons…and they may sound funny to some.
A first is, “We do hard things”. I read this saying back when we were home schooling. A rather prominent home school family had adopted this as their family motto, and we did the same. I don’t tend to let my children off easily. I think that they are capable of great things, and I believe in the value of a good challenge. So when there are complaints about a school assignment or chore being too difficult, any one of us will respond with “do hard things!”
A second Thompson house rule also comes from my home schooling days. The first Latin phrase we learned as a family is “ora et labora”, which translates to “pray and work”. this phrase sums up what our family does. Prayer is an integral part of our family life. Our faith is very important to us, and we work together…how else can we keep a family of eight running even somewhat smoothly? The boys also loved this family motto because being in Latin, it made them feel pretty smart!
And a third principle…not really a rule per se, is to limit our rules. When my children were all in the preschool stages, and I found myself saying no almost endlessly, I read a very insightful book. I cannot remember the name of the book, but I remember what I learned from it…even though I need to be reminded often. The author gave the sage advice to choose three rules that you are willing to go to battle over. These rules will vary by family. For some families table manners reign supreme, for others, clothes that match may be important and for others not fighting with siblings comes first. The advice was to choose these three important rules, and then the rest of the things are just small stuff…which we don’t sweat! Over time, our three rules have changed. One is always at the top of the list though; we worship together as a family. Really, the rest is just small stuff.
It is funny, the longer I’m a mom, I see that most of the things I used to worry about…is all small stuff!
What are the rules to live by in your family? I always love to hear how others keep things running smoothly!


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Written by Dakotapam
I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including young adult sons down to 8-year old twin daughters. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!