Hi there, it's Finley 👋🏼 and Happy Friday.

Today's story takes 4 minutes to read.

In 6 days, on Thursday, December 8th, I'm offering a 1-hour workshop for parents to help prepare them for their child's first phone.

If you or someone you know is buying a smartphone for your child for Christmas, then check out this workshop I'm teaching with my 14yr old daughter!

Family Identity


It's possible that you recognize a name or two on this shortlist, but it's likely these surnames mean nothing to you.

To me though, they are pillars. They represent families that I have looked up to and learned from.

More important than what I took from them is what they stand for. In every one of these families, I witnessed a unique kind of gravity.

Why? Certainly not because they had it all figured out, raised the best kids, or were the most well-known in their community.

No, they all possessed a family identity. Just by mentioning their family name, you could feel their presence in a way.

They had special rhythms.
They were confident and close.
They possessed weight by being together.
They lived by convictions that did not seem to waver.

Belonging to one of these families meant something deeper from my vantage point.

I'm sure the kids would roll their eyes at being singled out this way because to them it was a normal family

As a spectator near them though, I observed something different.

Belonging to one of these families meant something more.

They had a robust family identity.

Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is more desirable than great riches."

Truthfully, I have wanted this for my family from the day our first daughter was born.

If you don't give your kids something to belong to they will find it somewhere else.

Most parents don't realize the power of having a strong family identity.

It can be overlooked if parents don't pursue it, but there are so many benefits.

  • Family identity helps give kids orientation in a chaotic world.
  • Family identity enables easier decision-making.
  • Family identity gives siblings a common bond.
  • Family identity brings the physical and emotional home together.
  • Family identity is a built-in defense department.
  • Family identity puts meaning behind your last name.
  • Family identity finds hope in the long game of parenting.

So how do you attach an identity to your family name?

There isn't a simple 3 step process that will guarantee it, but here is how I would recommend you move forward.

Part 1: Tell your kids they belong to the ______ Family.

(obviously, insert your last name in the blank above)

Remind them they are a part of a bigger group. Help them see that their individual presence matters.

When they hop out of the car at school, affirm they belong to your family name.

When you drop them off at a friend's house to play, repeat that representing your family name is important.

When one person succeeds, parents or kids, celebrate the family win.

When one person experiences pain, show up as a family.

Family identity begins with belonging.

Part 2: Create shared experiences because you are the _____ Family.

Most families today excel at the shared experience.

Vacations together. Meals at your favorite restaurant. Adventures in the woods. Sharing funny memes.

The missing step is announcing it and attaching it directly. Give your thing a name. This is how you create identity.

The ____ Family eats out together Sundays after church.

The ____ Family shows up for each other's sporting events.

The ____ Family binges shows together instead of watching separately.

The ____ Family rides bikes around the block in the evenings during the Summer.

Part 3: Attach Do's & Don'ts to being the _____ Family.

This is where you leverage your role as mom or dad for your family identity.

There are certain privileges and actions that come from being in your family. On the flip side, there are restrictions that come from that belonging also.

  • We do our homework every night because the ____ Family works hard.
  • We don't talk badly about other families because the ____ Family respects others.
  • We sing songs at night before bed because the ____ Family loves music.
  • We choose not to leave our table dirty at a restaurant because we wouldn't do that at our house either.

The Do's & Don'ts become even more important as your kids grow into the preteen and teenage years. The family identity is hopefully well entrenched and will aid in their decision-making outside your home (though it will still be messy I promise!)

Big Idea: Give kids a place to belong by creating a strong family identity.

Next week we're going to wade into the delicate waters of family rituals, especially around the holidays!

A house full of sick kids

Some great friends of ours limped along this week. Everyone has one of those stretches this time of year.

They own an incredible stationery company that combines timeless design with effortless journaling.

Their mission is to connect generations by preserving the life experiences of each person through simple, guided prompts. You should check them out for a special Christmas gift!

Here some words for mom they shared when you've got a house full of sick kids...

"There were a lot of needs this weekend, and as a parent, my own were on the back burner. But those tiny hands and their questioning voices: 'Momma?'

Even in my own exhaustion, I knew that name meant more than just wondering where I was.

'Momma?' Also means: "Are you here? Will everything be ok? You won't leave me right?"

The answer is not always full of grace and there are a million times I wish I could go back and be gentler, more patient, more giving.

But the answer never changes, not even on the hardest days.

Yes. I am here.
Yes. I will make sure it is okay.
Yes. I will show up, always."

We're Better Together

Have other parent friends with 3-13 yr olds who'd enjoy this
Family Friday Newsletter?

When you share your unique link 3 times, I'll follow up with an opportunity for us to talk & process your individual family life right now!


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PS: You have referred [RH TOTREF GOES HERE] people so far 😉

Power-Decade Parenting

Helping propel moms & dads of 3 to 13 year-olds to invest in their power-decade of parenting. Father of 3 teenagers and pastor of 20 years turned digital writer.

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