I don’t have it all figured out, but I do my best to lead my family. Part of that is protecting and providing, but part of that is being a ‘man of action’ and leading by example.
To guide us, my wife and I created the Stephens Family Commandments. There are currently ten.
We review our commandments quarterly. They’re fluid. When the kids get old enough to contribute, they’re allowed to have an opinion.
The ultimate decisions are ours, but we want them to weigh in.
Without further ado, here are our commandments:
1. Be kind
- Treat others the way they want to be treated
- Respect and protect
- Positively impact others
2. Family comes first.
Family *doesn’t* have to be blood. For us, it starts there, but our close friends… they’re family. We prioritize these people over others. That’s where we can have the most impact.
3. Think healthy. Be a “fit” family.
The stronger you are the harder you are to kill (literally). Since the birth of our first, we’ve both broken every personal best between 5K and half marathon (in our mid-30’s). Now, we’re focused on lifting & strength. We demand excellence from each other.
4. Less things. More time. More experiences.
We focus on what’s essential. That’s not THINGS. When you de-clutter your life, it opens room to think, to live. To have experiences that are far more valuable than depreciating assets.
5. Abundance Mentality.
- Concentrate on what we can have, not what we can’t.
- Focus on what we do have, not what we don’t.
- Focus on what we accomplished, not what we didn’t.
6. Re-frame the bad.
- Find the silver lining.
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- “This is Water.”
7. Opt outside. Nature soothes the soul.
Our favorite thing to do in the evening is walk around the neighborhood with our kids. We search for pine cones, we chase squirrels, we play ball, et al. We go inside when it gets dark.
8. Be antifragile. Embrace chaos. Learn. Grow. Strengthen.
To be clear, we’re *not* anti-fragile, but every day we focus on the process and attempt to get even with probability.
As individuals, we’re fragile, but as a family unit, we’re moving in the right direction.
9. Always do your best at what you choose to do.
We practice essentialism. Which is to say we try not to waste our time on nonsense. If we choose to do something that aligns with our ultimate goal(s), we do it to the best of our ability. As your parents always said, “If it’s worth doing… it’s worth doing right.”
10. Create Polaroid moments.
Our #10 used to be, “Everyday is a new opportunity to practice our commandments,” but I loved the Polaroid idea so much that we adopted it for now.
It’s a good reminder to live a big, bold life.
What do you think of our commandments? Is this a practice you and/or your family would ever adopt?
If so, what might you include in your list?
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Annie from Sauce says
I love your commandments and premise. Of course it may differ a bit from family to family but the principles and core remain the same.
I would love to see something about acceptance and apologies. Acceptance, I have found to be the piece that is most crucial and most often lacking in life.
My recent learning that I am working on practicing each day is that to “accept” does not mean to “condone.” Once I understood that they are not interchangeable, I felt true freedom from the all those little resentments we carry.
As for “Sorry” and why I think that’s so important, I’ll have to comment later! The day is slipping away! Take care and thanks for your relevant and excellent content.