4 Steps to Creating Your Own Family Code

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Not sure if your family is like mine, but we often seem to go in many different directions at once, and just getting the family around the table for dinner at the same time is deemed an achievement. As the season gets busier with graduations, weddings, and summer travel ahead, I’ve reached out to youth development experts Ann Saylor and Susan Ragsdale to share a good activity with our Homer moms and dads to keep your family strong and intentional. Susan and Ann are nationally recognized trainers and best-selling authors with a collective 45 years of experience in the field of youth development and leadership. Their mantra “play, live, lead with purpose” is evident in all they do.

4 Steps to Creating Your Own Family Code
by Ann Saylor & Susan Ragsdale

Have you ever written a family code that defines your family’s way of being together and making choices? Think about the benefits of writing down your family values. It will help you make decisions on the way you spend your time. It will help you choose family friends. It will help you navigate choices related to books, movies, hobbies, sports, and vacations. It will help you respond to sticky situations. Not to mention the bonding with your family as you spend time together creating the code!

When you create a family code, you identify the values that are important to you as a family, and you begin the process of talking about how those values look in practice. Involving your kids in the conversation helps both children and adults think about how all of you can be both individuals AND a family of character. You can create a family code in four easy steps

Step 1: Set the timer for ten minutes. Select a family scribe to record your ideas.

Step 2: Ask each family member to name one important family value or principle. Have the family scribe record it. If you need a few ideas to start, you might consider patience, helping others, and honesty. Continue taking turns until you have 8-10 values listed.

Step 3: Review the list, making sure everyone understands the words and what they mean. If you have similar words, such as kindness and compassion, you might choose to narrow down your list. You are finished when you have a good set of values that your entire family can agree to live by and be proud of.  

Step 4: Post your family code in a place where everyone will see it often.

Extending the Experience:  Work together to display your family code in a creative way. For example, you might write the code inside a shield and decorate it with your family members’ favorite colors or meaningful pictures. Or, you might write the words in fancy lettering to display on a chalkboard or in a picture frame. Or perhaps your family could make a painting using all the words. The possibilities are endless!

© 2017 by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor.  For permission to reprint, contact team@writecreationsgroup.com at Write Creations Group, LLC.

Ann Saylor is the passionate mother of four children ages 2-15. Susan Ragsdale is known as “Aunt Susan” by 15 nieces and nephews. Both are well acquainted with the joys, tears, and fears of nurturing children and teens. Together, they have created over 891 activities in 8 published works to help people craft fun, engaging experiences where children and teens learn and thrive. See more of their work online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn for Ann | LinkedIn for Susan | Books  

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