Want to have a thriving family? Here’s how you can use your influence as a homemaker to help your family flourish and live intentionally.
Intentional living should begin within us, and then it should keep on going.
We can make a million choices to live more intentionally, but if they’re all aimed solely at making our own lives more beautiful then we’re actually missing the beauty of intentional living, aren’t we? Live intentionally not just to flourish yourself, but to help others flourish, too.
Start with your own family.
As homemakers, we have tremendous power over both the atmosphere in our home and over the people who live in it. And while you’re not responsible for other people’s attitudes and choices, you can absolutely influence them! Here are some things you can do to influence your family for good.
How to Help Your Family Flourish
1. Begin by knowing them deeply
Knowledge of someone will guide your actions regarding them. You should learn these things about each of your family members:
- their personality
- their triggers
- their love language
- their current interests and passions
Know their personalities
I think most of us are interested in learning how we tick, but devote some time to studying what makes your family tick. You can’t assume your family members will process the world in the same way that you do! Studying the personalities of those closest to you is enlightening.
A helpful way to get to know your own family members better is to give them a personality test. There are several tests and quizzes you can take, but I like the thoroughness of the Myers-Briggs type indicators. You can have them take a version of the Myers-Briggs test here.
Know their triggers
Once you know some fundamentals of how your loved ones interact with their world, you can think about triggers that are specific to them. What sets them off and puts them at their worst? Do you have a kid who acts out when someone disrupts his carefully-ordered things? Does your husband feel on edge when you change plans on short notice?
The next time a family member is grumpy, frustrated, or stressed, try to identity the underlying reason–and make a mental note.
Obviously, don’t use this information to antagonize them(: The point is to do what’s reasonably in your power to help them cope with their triggers or avoid them altogether.
Know their love language
What makes your family members feel loved? Author Gary Chapman identifies 5 main ways that we give and receive love: physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and receiving gifts. Give your family love in all of these ways, but make sure you know the love language that’s most significant to them, too.
Know their current interests and passions
If you know what makes someone come alive, you can give them a huge gift by facilitating those interests! Help those interests and talents to flourish with this powerful combination: Their passion + their love language.
For instance, if your daughter loves to read and her love language is acts of service, drive her to the library often! If her love language is gifts, choose beautiful editions of authors you know she likes. If words of affirmation are her love language, then verbally praise her reading habits and tell her you’re proud of her for being well read. You get the idea(: If it’s a healthy interest, make sure they know you support it and take an interest in it for their sake!
2. Give them space
Your family needs actual, physical space to flourish. Reexamine your home and make sure they have that! When you’re designing your family’s environment, think less about what looks chic in a magazine and much more about what will create the ideal haven for your particular family.
Make your home a place where your family and guests want to spend time! Home should be a safe, comfortable place that helps each member to thrive individually and together. As I explained in this post, your home should be a haven.
One very concrete thing you can do to make your home a haven is to eliminate the clutter. A clutter-free home is more peaceful. And with less distractions (and less to clean!) your family can devote more time to talents, hobbies, imaginative play, and relationships. Here’s my room-by-room decluttering guide to help you bring breathing space to your home.
3. Give them time
I’m becoming increasingly convinced of this: families need downtime to flourish. We need breaks and whitespace in our lives so we can recoup and so we can pursue interests and skills that aren’t on the schedule.
Give your family frequent downtime on a micro basis and on a macro basis. For example, let’s say your family is gone all morning at a pool party. It’s hot and there’s lots of people to talk to, and by the time you get in the car to go home you can tell everyone is wiped. Instead of expecting your people to launch into chore mode when you get home, you suggest that everyone take 20 minutes to “do their own thing.” Put away their stuff, lie down, go to their room to play toys.
That’s downtime on a micro basis.
And on a macro basis? How about not planning any trips for a calendar season? Or cutting out one weekly family activity or commitment so that your week-to-week rhythm doesn’t feel choked?
Like many homemakers, I love to plan. I like to look ahead at the week, the month, or the year and know what’s coming up. With downtime in mind, I now look at the calendar not just to see what’s there but to see what’s not there. Is there enough white space? Do we have breaks and days or weeks of rest? Give your family the gift of margin.
For more on this topic, read my post on ways to create more margin in your life.
4. Set the example
When you live with people, you rub off on each other. Be intentional with your own choices, habits, loves, and attitude, and you’ll notice your family reexamining these things, too!
Think about all the things that you believe indicate an intentional life. Do you want your family to:
- Handle stress gracefully?
- Manage interruptions and frustrations?
- Order their days and keep good habits?
- Be cheerful and get excited about the right things?
- Appreciate beauty?
- Notice the changing seasons and the plants and animals that come with each?
Then keep doing these things yourself!
Intentional living may seem like a very personal, individualistic pursuit, but in actuality its effects ripple out to everyone you come in contact with. What you do makes a difference, and that makes intentional living even more worth pursuing.