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Yesterday our family visited an incredible castle here in Germany. It was called ‘Lichtenstein’ which actually means ‘the stone of light’.
It’s literally built it on the edge of a beautiful cliff of limestone. It was a spectacular experience (I posted on a video about it).
I loved it, and I was so inspired by the beauty, inspired by this original castle that was built around 1380! There’s just so much history, so old and so amazing.
But the inspiring thing is that it’s built to an incredible standard of quality. There’s beautiful artifacts, furniture, artwork, over 500 hundred years old, an armory filled with canons and shields and helmets — all made to last.
My favorite part, of course, was the incredible library. I was almost drooling at their library and it had an amazing setting, with antique furniture and carvings — unbelievable carvings on the bookshelves– and maps and globes and large, stately tables.
Everything was immaculate — amazing sets of books and furniture and art. I was so impressed by the culture they had created and that was passed on through generations.
They had created a culture of protecting and preserving art and the beautiful things they had collected. It’s something that we admire, especially in today’s ‘throw away’ culture where everything is disposable and very few things are made or built to last for hundreds of years.
This is the mindset we want you to have when you think about setting up a culture in your family. We’ve talked about this before, how important family culture is and how it will always triumph.
What do we mean by that — culture will always triumph?
It means that your family culture is what you automatically do, it’s who you are. Your family culture is the way you live, the ‘default’, the things you habitually do all the time. And that will always win out, no matter what else you teach or say or believe.
It’s the way you interact with each other, it’s what you do with your time, it’s the ‘go to’ habits that you are always doing. If you have free time, what do you do with it? What’s your family’s ‘default’ habit?What do the kids do? What do you do? TV and entertainment? Or books and discussions?
For our family, we like turning to books. We’ve created a culture of listening to books while we drive. So as we are driving around Germany and exploring, or driving from Alaska all the way to Costa Rica, we listen to audio books.
We also like to have discussions — asking questions, discussing philosophies and principles, learning lessons from the things we see and read and watch. This is just part of our culture, it’s what we do on a regular basis.
I want you to think through the great things that you want to accomplish as a person or as a family and create a culture around it.
Take some time to think through this, create plans, put things in place that facilitate the culture that makes it easier to do.
Health & Wellness
If you want a culture of healthy eating, then you set up your family lifestyle that way. It may take some time to create, especially if you are making a shift. If you are going from eating unhealthy and being out of shape to creating a family or personal culture of eating healthy and exercising, that transition may take some time.
But it can be done. I did it. I grew up eating garbage and junk food and I was totally out of shape and I went ‘cold turkey’ at age 16. I cut out all sweets and junk food and soda because I wanted to be really healthy and fit.
At first it was a challenge constantly resisting the temptation to eat ice cream and drink soda and all the junk food. But once I created the culture, the habit, it was no longer a temptation, it was longer a challenge. And now it’s ‘just the way I am’. People know that Greg doesn’t eat that stuff. So they either don’t offer or they know I am not going to eat it, because I created the culture around that.
With your relationships, what kind of culture of interaction do you want to have with each other? Is it a culture of holding hands and, hugging, of expressing love?
That’s what I wanted. I grew up in a broken home was out on my own at an early age. The loneliness was so bitter and for a long time, not hearing the words ‘I love you’ or getting a hug, was really tough to deal with.
The loneliness was brutal and I knew I wanted touch and affection in our family. So we have created a very strong culture of hugging and wrestling and playing and walking arm in arm and constantly expressing love physically, as well as other ways.
Continually expressing love and affection is a part of our culture. What about you?
I met a wonderful family that I just love and admire they have a culture of hugging, they just hug you constantly. Every time you saw them they have to hug you — a hug when you get there, a hug when you left, even to new strangers. They say, “It’s nice to meet you,” and they give you a hug. I love that. In Latin America, they kiss you on the cheek when you meet, and in Europe sometimes they give you a kiss on each cheek!
Education, Socialization, Service?
What kind of education culture do you want? Do you want a culture of reading books, of curious learning, of meeting new people? Are you already confident, outgoing, or social? Or is that something you want to develop — a culture of being socially confident and meeting new people all the time?
That’s one of the cultures we are trying to foster our children with and it is working. It’s wonderful to watch my older kids walk up to a stranger and start talking to them. It’s excellent to build that confidence
Do you want a culture service? Do you want your family default to be thinking about how you can make a difference in somebody’s life? How can you lift and build and encourage?
Culture Always Triumphs
Culture is what you create as the ‘default’ habits, rituals, routines, and attitudes of your family. It is just ‘what you do’, but you can direct it and positively influence it.
You have to take the time, you have to set it up so it takes root and grows.
So I challenge you carefully think through every great thing you want to accomplish and create and become and you want your children to become, and then carefully and thoughtfully craft a culture around that so it becomes just what you do and who you are. And when people meet you, when they talk about you they say, “Oh yeah that’s who you are, that’s just what they do.”
Wow! It’s amazing, it’s incredible and when you live this way it is no longer a challenge or a struggle because it’s who you are becoming and how you are living.
Again, I am repeating this, I know you’re saying, “You said that already, you keep saying it”… Any great thing that you want to accomplish you must fit it into your family culture because culture will always triumph.