Family Goals and Expectations

In another context, these might instead be rules or consitutional articles, but our Family is an imperfect union of imperfect people. By calling them Goals we have something to reach for and we implement a system that is resillient against the whims of unexpected circumstance. By calling them Expectations we remove the easy escape of declaring our goals unachievable. Both words give us room to forgive ourselves and try again when we fail.

Love

Above all else, our interactions with each other and the tales we tell, particularly around outsiders, will reflect that each member of our family loves, respects, and supports the other.

Respect

Every person is entitled to human respect, and it is within the family that this value is instilled. We will treat each other respectfully, regardless of position in the family pecking order, and we will encourage each other's growth and happiness.

Respect is manifested and demonstrated through other values including Humility, Courtesy, Reverence, Responsibility, Punctuality, Tolerance, and appropriate deference to Seniority and Authority. Disrespect is demonstrated by their opposites; e.g., arrogance, rudeness, and tardiness are disrespectful.

Respect extends to each other's personal property and space. We do not belong in each other's bedrooms without reason, and children are explicitly forbidden from adult bedrooms without specific instructions to the contrary. We will not borrow, take, or use other people's items or materials without their permission, and we will take extra care with other people's belongings to ensure they are returned in no worse condition than when they were borrowed.

Honesty

All relationships are based on trust, and trust depends on Honesty. We will always tell the truth to each other and communicate openly. We will not deceive each other directly nor through omission of information. Our interactions with each other and regarding household management will be transparent and open, within the limits of personal privacy and age-appropriateness of the subject matter.

Nonviolence

Under no circumstance will we tolerate physical violence of any sort. The expectations already exist that children may not hit children (as taught at home and in schools); adults may not hit adults (demonstrated at home and enforced by law); and children may not hit adults (a critical requirement in a healthy parent-child relationship). It is therefore only just that adults may not hit children.

Participation

All members of the family will participate in the maintenance, management, and finances of our home and our relationships, to the extent of each person's ability to do so. Minor children are not expected to contribute toward utility bills, for example, but an older child might be expected to participate in fund-raising programs for extracurricular activities in which they're involved.

We are each responsible for the mundane details of cleaning up behind ourselves, turning off lights when we leave the room, changing toilet paper and paper towel rolls, putting dirty laundry in a hamper and clean laundry away, hanging bath towels and bathmats after use, taking out the trash or recycling when it is full, etc.

We are each responsible for the proper treatment of our shared equipment and resources, so we will not waste food, rock dining room chairs, bend window blinds, put dirty fingers on walls or TV screens, or otherwise mistreat shared property.

We are each responsible for developing and maintaining healthy loving relationships with each other, so we will encourage and support, we will treat each other's property better than we do our own, we will not try to offend or injure, we will apologize when we are wrong, we will forgive each other for our mistakes, and we will mend interpersonal fences when they are in disrepair.

Routine

A Family's purpose is to love and support each other, to provide for the health and well-being of each of its members, and to instill healthy behaviors and attitudes in adults being raised from children. A stable home routine provides for and ensures children that they are cared for and loved. Accordingly, they will have regular morning actions (e.g., make bed, get dressed, brush teeth, etc.), three specific and recognizable daily meals, afternoon quiet time—naps for pre-K, homework for school-aged kids—bedtime procedures, etc. Routines may vary by season, day of the week, or because of unusual circumstances.

School and Development

A child's job is their education. The family environment will be specifically and actively conducive to maximizing the children's personal growth, success, and potential for self-sustaining, lifelong happiness. School itself is an introduction to developing a habit of lifelong learning, one of life's greatest joys, and our job as a family is to encourage in the children—and each other—Curiosity, Self-Education, Research Skills, Critical Thinking, Confidence, Courage, and a sense of Adventure.

Family Dinner

Dinner will be served at a specified time, every day, and everyone will be present and prepared to dine at that time. The meal's single menu of wholesome, healthful food will be shared together as a family, around a table, where we will use proper table etiquette, enjoy each other's fellowship, and engage in appropriate conversation.

The meal serves as the keystone of a healthful approach to food and eating, so everyone tries every item. Specific exceptions to trying everything include anything to which the eater is allergic, condiments, spicy foods, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and foods incompatible with a conscious dietary approach such as vegetarianism. Finishing everything on the plate will not be required, but a child who does not eat a good dinner will not get dessert nor snacks of any kind before bed.

Bedtimes

Children will have specific bedtimes, never later than 9:00pm for Elementary School children, and younger children will have earlier bedtimes than older ones. Weekend bedtimes may be routinely extended by half an hour to an hour depending on circumstances, the child's age, and their behavior. Bedtimes may be moved to earlier in the evening for misbehaving children.

The time before bed is for winding down and preparing for the following day. Homework will be finalized and packed away, and clothes will be chosen or laid out. The children, in ascending order by age, will be bathed and their teeth brushed. (Older children perform these tasks for themselves.) If time remains and behavior warrants, a child may read quietly until lights out.

Late evenings are adults' time for adult conversation, entertainment, and recreation, by which time children will be down for the night.

Pecking Order

The children's parents have final authority over decisions affecting them and primary responsibility for their care and maintenance; otherwise all the adults have authority over all the children.

Each adult is equal to the other; no one has rank or seniority over another. Among the children, there is no rank, but they each have responsibilities and perquisites appropriate to their age and abilities. Older children will have more responsibilities and freedoms than younger ones.

Family decisions specific to either married couple will be managed within and by that couple. Significant decisions for the combined Family will be made by consensus of all adults.