On January 2, 2017, Abby and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. Having lived more than half a century, we decided it was time to reflect on the values that truly matter in life. So here, we will share with you the many values we still uphold in our own home in training our children to be leaders of the next generation. We have called these values the 3Fs: Family, Finance and Fitness. This list of values is not exhaustive and the values themselves are not mutually exclusive of one another. Together, these values foster a synergistic symbiotic relationship that can yield the best in a person’s character. They outline our personal philosophy of how to live optimally. I will divide this article into 3 parts. Let’s begin with Part 1, on Family.
- Family First. Many things can change in life but we can’t afford to change spouse or children ever so often. Family is always our first consideration in all our decision-making.
- Weekly Family Meal. Once a week, normally on Sunday, we make time to come together for a family meal that includes encouraging, sharing with and praying for one another; we are always ready to speak the truth in love and to forgive each other.
- Annual Family Holiday. Once a year, we set aside money for a family holiday overseas. It is a time when we build beautiful memories together as a family.
- No Use of the Phone During Meals. During our family mealtime, we remind each other to abide by our “no-phone-answering” policy so that we are not distracted from spending quality time with each other.
- Separate Household. We advised our children not to stay with us, their parents, after marriage. They must learn to lead their own household, and this means having to begin at the place of humility. The exception to this rule would be when someone in their family is sick and no one else is available to attend to him or her.
- Annual Family Portrait. We make it an annual affair to take photographs together as a family. So far, we have planned this event to coincide with the graduation of our children from their respective universities. In time to come, we will have other special occasions to take photographs together such as weddings, baby full moons, birthdays, etc.
- Daily Family Altar. When our children were young, every night without fail, we would share with them an inspirational story, with live action stunts included in the story telling where appropriate. We even had public speaking competitions among them with cash rewards. We wanted them to be as “iron that sharpens iron” as they help to bring out the best in one another.
- Reading and Writing Habits. We have a well-stocked home library, although we have given away a few thousand copies of our precious collection of books. From young, our kids have been taught that our BMW is our collection of books. We also taught them how to summarize their reading in writing using mind-mapping tools and got them to share what they learned with each other.
- Life-Long Partner. We remind our children to be wise in the selection of their respective spouses and to be aware that they are marrying into everything connected with their life-partner, including family, friends and relatives. We stress that before marriage, however, their immediate family members come first in decision-making.
- Model Parenthood and Marriage. We believe in modelling parenthood, and not delegating parenting to TV, smartphones, iPads, maids or childcare centers. Home must be the most important place for developing the next generation of leaders. The outer circles of a child’s education and training should serve to complement home training, and not the other way round. We have taught our children to build strong marriages by the way we love each other, not just by telling them what to do. We believe in having constant marriage renewal as well as learning parenting from the best of the best.
- Household of Faith. We don’t believe in passing our faith in God by default. We believe that each of our children must discover the one and true God of the universe for himself or herself and then practice their faith in God, which should not be the practice of weekly religious rituals. They should shine like stars in society in practicing their faith as a way of life. Faith in God must be modelled and internalized, not forced or coaxed upon children.
- Family Legacy. How do we want to be remembered by future generations? What sort of legacy do we want to create? If we are only remembered as people who had money, then we were truly poor. We want to be remembered as the best father or mother, a man or woman of impeccable character who upheld and passed on the highest level of honesty and integrity, who mentored and inspired millions to do likewise.
If you want to do something great, start by strengthening your family!
Author: Dr Peter Ting
Reposted from old website 1 Feb 2017