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Friday, January 17, 2014

Defining a 'Personal Family Conviction'

I first heard the phrase 'Personal Family Conviction' about twenty something years ago.  I didn't want to appear stupid at the time (I don't mind appearing stupid that much now, though, FYI), so I didn't feel comfortable asking what the heck it was. . .though I certainly wanted to know.  I quietly, but intently, listened to the conversation, hoping to discern its meaning from context, but never really figured out exactly what a PFC actually is.

Over the next several years, the elusive term popped in and out of social conversations, but it wasn't until I became a parent myself that I finally 'got' what it is.

A Personal Family Conviction is something that you've established, for your own family, as a standard of behavior or belief or priority you feel is of enormous importance.

It's not the non-negotiable things that are largely universal (like kids needing to do homework, no drinking martinis at 7 years old, no bonfires in the living room, etc.) we're talking about, though.  Instead, it's the stuff that you feel is important in creating the personal family character and atmosphere that uniquely defines your own values and sense of purpose.

For example, some friends of ours want very much to raise children who are unafraid to venture into the world.  They have a very 'global perspective' and their very specific Personal Family Convictions are related to it:  Learning foreign languages, making international travel a financial priority, teaching flexibility, and learning about other cultures, for example.

Everything from the way they built their home to their food choices to their circle of friends supports the priorities they value.  Routines are NOT a part of their daily lives. . .intentionally.  They switch up sleeping places and take impromptu mini-trips and make a game of trying new and unique foods and seasonings.  They spend time with as many cultural sub-groups as they can, and model and adventuresome spirit whenever they can, and encourage self-reliance whenever possible.  All of their older children, now adults, have spent significant time abroad.  One of their sons permanently lives in Thailand.  They've done a good job establishing their family priorities.

Another dear family we know are the very essence of organization.  Despite six home-schooled kids and a mini-ranch to run, their house is clean, organized, and hums along with almost military precision.  Their 'Personal Family Convictions' include self-discipline, organization, and always trying your best.  They have raised lovely, capable kids, full of respect and integrity.

Our 'Personal Family Convictions' are kind of a combination of these two. . .we certainly want our children to have the gumption and skill set needed to explore the world, but we also want them to be able to manage their lives and homes and families well.  We love the idea of raising free-spirits living a life without boundaries, but we also want them to know how to balance a checkbook and save for retirement.  So, our little set of 'PFC's' are a little eclectic, but reflecting those priorities.

I wonder if other families have even thought to define their own. . .and, if so, what they are.

I wonder. . .

(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here.)

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