If you have ever been to the doctor, you know the nurse first asks a series of questions about your health, habits, family history, etc. The diagnostic process depends heavily on these questions to narrow possibilities and identify anything wrong with your health.
A Diagnostic on the Family
Just like doctors learn about our health condition by asking and answering questions, we can get a good diagnosis of the status of our family health by asking some probing questions. The six questions below can give you a better sense of how strong your family is. They are based on a global research that identified six characteristics of strong families.
1. What position does your family occupy in your list of priorities?
This is just another way of measuring how important your family is to you, as well as other members of your family. Research has shown that in strong families, members put a strong value in their families.
2. How much [quality] time do you spend together?
In the busy world we live in, it is easy for family members to live separate lives, running from one appointment to another. Strong families make plans to spend time together and do meaningful and fun activities. Today, video calling has become popular and accessible. Nothing can replace being physically together, but when that is impossible, a Skype or FaceTime call is a reasonable substitute.
3. How well do you communicate with each other?
This is not just a quantitative question of how much you talk to each other, but a qualitative one – how deeply do you communicate? Strong families share intimately with one another. One result of this deeper communication is that family members know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, struggles, and victories.
4. How much praise and encouragement do you give each other?
This may have been one of my own family's weaker points. We tend to brag about our family members to others, but are less likely to praise each other directly. Strong families pay compliments, share praise, and give encouraging words to each other.
5. How well do you deal with problems, conflicts, and crises?
There is no such thing as a family without conflicts. Siblings fight, children can be rebellious, parents irritate their kids, and more. It is not the lack of conflict that makes a family strong, but their ability to find win-win solutions and maintain healthy relationships through and after conflicts.
6. Do you worship together?
The research which identified these characteristics of strong families was conducted with people other than just Christians. Results identified that all strong families share a spiritual life together – irrespective of their religion. For Christians, it means sharing a regular family worship at home and, of course, going to church together.
Let’s be straight. There is an all-out attack on the family in our generation. The world needs the model of a strong family. Asking the questions above will encourage us as we identify our strong points, but also challenge us as we uncover weaknesses in our own family. Ask them honestly and act on what God reveals to you. Your family will become stronger and you will be a better leader for it.