Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture

How do you build a family culture that is sustainable, yet also teaches the essential skills of parenting? This question has been on many parents minds and often leads to searching for answers in books or online. But what if an idea already exists, one with roots imbedded deep in ancient wisdom?
Author: Rachael Lamberto
Category: Parenting & Families
Introduction: In this book I will explore how children learn from each other and their families as they create communities based around natural behaviors like hunting, gathering, building homes together or playing games. We’ll talk about the importance of learning within relationships – balancing freedom with structure; choosing play over work (and vice versa) so our kids can thrive without us having to tell them exactly what we want them to be doing every minute. It’s all about creating intentionality instead of following rules!

The “importance of passing down culture” is the importance of creating a family culture. It will help your child grow into a better person.

Vintage African American black family walking out of grocery store shopping.

Have you ever encountered one of those families that appear to have everything under control? Perhaps you grew up knowing such a family and enjoyed spending time with them since their home had such a welcoming ambiance that you felt like you were returning home everytime you visited. The parents were delighted. The kids were all well-adjusted and did the right thing in general. Everyone in the family seemed to love, respect, and care for one another. They all had a great day doing activities together and loved one other’s company. Sure, they had troubles and hardships like any other family, but they stood by each other and worked together to overcome any obstacles they faced. You may have joked that they were weird because they were so good – maybe they were flawless aliens from another planet – but you envied them anyway.

You’re now the father, and you’re responsible for your own family. It’s possible that your house is in a state of disarray. Maybe your kids don’t get along, maybe your marriage is tense, or maybe you simply don’t feel like your home life is in the best condition it might be. You remember the wonderful, friendly family from your childhood and want you could have what they had, but you don’t know how. No one ever gave you a parenting course in your twenty-two years of schooling. Perhaps you expect it to happen naturally over time.

This is where I find myself as a young father. I want to raise children that are well-behaved and part of a close-knit, fun-loving family. So I asked the parents of the families I adore how they manage to maintain such a strong family tie. They’re all basically saying the same thing:

They’ve made it a priority to establish and maintain a good family culture. 

Families are seldom thought of as having a culture. Cultures exist in countries and communities, but not in families. Right?

Organizational experts have maintained in recent decades that cultures evolve not just in major societies such as nations and cities, but also in smaller communities such as firms and non-profits. Individual families, according to sociologists and family specialists, have their unique cultures.

Furthermore, research has shown that family culture has a greater impact on a child’s development than parenting approaches, and the sort of culture a family produces has a high correlation with happiness.

But that’s where we get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s define what we mean by “family culture.”

What Characterizes a Family’s Culture?

I believe it is interesting to look at how business management specialists describe corporate culture in order to grasp what family culture is. Professor Edgar Schein of MIT explains it this way:

“Culture is a manner of working together toward shared objectives that has been followed so often and so well that individuals don’t even consider attempting anything different.” People will autonomously do what they need to do to be successful if a culture has developed.”


In a nutshell, culture is the way a group of people thinks, feels, judges, and acts. You can probably detect the culture of the company or organization where you work. Is there a low level of morale, and does everyone simply wing it and accomplish the absolute minimum? Is there an underlying assumption that individuals will constantly go above and above the call of duty, and that they will take satisfaction in it? Is the employee invested in the organization and its mission, or does he or she perceive it as a one-time job? Do workers simply evaluate short-term profitability when making decisions, or do they also consider long-term success and other intangibles such as social and environmental impact? The culture of the company will influence what an employee performs intuitively – even when the supervisor isn’t watching.

Positive cultures have become well-known in several industries. Zappos, an online shoe shop, has a culture that emphasizes exceptional customer service. Every action taken by the firm is aimed at “wowing” the consumer. Zappos has a lengthy and thorough recruiting procedure in place to guarantee that only those who are willing to put the customer first get hired. If you are fortunate enough to get a job offer, they will pay you $3,000 to decline it. Zappos would rather lose $3,000 in the near run than recruit someone who doesn’t fit their unique corporate culture. Zappos’ efforts to create a customer-first culture paid off handsomely when it was purchased by Amazon for roughly $1.2 billion in 2009.

It’s impossible to have a company culture like Zappos’. It requires a significant amount of effort. Business culture is established either by purpose or by default, according to Forbes writer Mike Myatt. Because people have a natural propensity to pursue the route of least resistance, culture formed by default tends to deliver poor outcomes. If a company wants to have a culture of excellence, its leaders must work hard to build it and preserve it.

The same is true for families as it is for enterprises. Applying commercial ideas to what we conceive of as the ethereal, spontaneous relationships of blood relatives may seem a bit off-putting at first. Even though the goals and definitions of success for each institution vary, there are clear similarities between the two organizations that may be instructive.

Every family has a unique manner of solving issues, achieving objectives, and relating to one another. A family’s culture is formed similarly to that of a company, whether by accident or on purpose.

By default, family cultures are mediocre, just like their corporate counterparts. Parents haven’t considered what values they want to instill in their children and just assume that such values, as well as deep family relationships, would develop naturally over time. They then wonder why their children did not turn out the way they had hoped and envisaged but never defined or planned.


Understand this: Whether you’re deliberately developing a family culture or not, it occurs. It’s up to you and your wife to decide whether or not that culture is something you want. You must commit to years of regular planning and teaching if you want a strong family culture. A culture isn’t built overnight; it takes time and effort on a daily basis. However, the return is well worth the effort.

The Three Foundations of Family Culture

So, how do you establish a family culture? Three primary features have been identified by organizational experts:

Values. A family’s culture is built on its values. Values provide an overall purpose for a family and serve as a guide for how each family member lives and behaves in various circumstances. Kindness, mutual support, respect, sacrifice, hard work, enjoyment, and service are examples of positive family values. Each family’s set of values will be unique, influenced by factors such as education, religion, and family history. Family values may be both positive and bad. Petty competitiveness, bitterness, and entitlement are governing characteristics in some households. When family culture is developed in default mode, negative family values are more likely to emerge.

Positive values must be reinforced on a regular basis, both via norms (see below) and conversations with your children. Let’s imagine your child is aware that you are going out for ice cream later, but he insists on going now and begins to tantrum. You’d merely say something like, “Cut it out and go to your room!” if you were in default mode. “I know you want ice cream now, but we need to stop by and visit Grandma first,” you can say if you’re attempting to foster the virtue of delayed gratification in your family culture. We desire things right immediately sometimes in life, but we have to wait and do other things first.” You then send him to his room and have the same conversation with him after he’s cooled down. You do this even if he doesn’t seem to be paying attention, and you do it every time he throws a tantrum over the same thing.

Norms. The verbal and unwritten standards of how a family functions are known as norms, and they reflect your ideals in action. Family members’ interactions with one another and with the outside world are guided by norms. Family norms may include things like how members of the family settle disputes (yelling? passive-aggressiveness?). a calm, forceful conversation?) and how and if children assist around the home. Norms are instilled both by example and through deliberate indoctrination.

If you want to create a family culture that values work, for example, consciously arrange chances for your kids (even your tots) to work and assist around the home. Kate and I find methods for our two-year-old, Gus, to help with housework because we want to instill this value in our family. Gus “helping” often means it takes longer to complete a task, but that isn’t the point. What matters is that we attempt to raise a kid that values hard work and recognizes the importance of contributing to our family and community.


Families will default to default mode if no examples or standards are given, and norms will typically take the route of least resistance, devolving into things like incivility, sloth, and indifference.

Rituals/Traditions. A collection of behaviors and routines that provide a family a feeling of identity and purpose are known as rituals and customs. They provide the nuclear family a sense of belonging while also connecting them to their extended family. Family reunions and special events surrounding holidays are examples of rituals and customs, but they may simply be modest things like family meals or game evenings. This also applies to rites of passage for your children as they go through life.

Rituals and customs, like the other two pillars, may be formed intentionally or by accident. When left to their own devices, family traditions like evening TV viewing or vacations when everyone spends the whole time staring down at their smartphones become hollow and unpleasant, and don’t bring you any closer.

The Roadmap to Creating a Family Culture

Have you given these three foundations of family culture any thought? Have you considered what your family’s mission is and what family means to you? Do you have a clear idea of how you want your family to function and how each member should feel and respect one another?

Do you lead by example in your house, or do you allow your family drift along by chance and circumstance?

These are important considerations for a parent to make. I know I want my children to not only have a hazy sense of belonging to our family, but to really believe they are a part of something unique, and to understand why that is and what the McKays cherish. I want kids to do the right thing and treat people well not because we’re watching, but because that’s how McKays are.

Happy families may seem to be naturally happy, but like with successful individuals in any field, there is generally a lot of work and deliberate practice behind the scenes. It seems simple because they love it, and as a result, they may not perceive it as work. However, you can be certain that it still needs deliberate action. 

With that in mind, we’ll be looking at what we can do as dads to foster a strong and healthy family culture over the following three months. All of the ideas are backed up by research. Furthermore, whether you are religious or not, conservative or liberal, the tips will work for you. The idea is to simply give a framework for fathers to consciously establish the family culture they want, since an intentional family culture will always outperform one formed by default.

Here’s a list of the subjects we’ll be discussing in the next months:

  • How to Write a Mission Statement for Your Family
  • How to Plan a Family Night and the Benefits of Doing So
  • Creating Family Traditions and Rituals
  • Resolving Family Discord
  • What Does It Mean to Be a Transitional Father?

P.S. Just because you don’t have children yet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it. You and your spouse may sit down and talk about your beliefs and the sort of culture you’d want to have in the future, and then go to work on it right immediately. If you don’t practice good values in your marriage first, you won’t be able to impart them in your children.


Read the rest of the series here: 

How to Write a Family Mission Statement and Why The Value of Developing Family Traditions 60+ Family Traditions to Consider How to Hold a Weekly Family Meeting and Plan It Family Dinners: How to Make the Most of Them How to Become the Transitional Character in Your Family



What criteria will you use to evaluate your life? Clayton Christensen is the author of this article.

The Impact of Family Culture on the Foundations of Families



Watch This Video-

The “creating family values” is a process that involves creating a culture for your family. This includes being intentional about how you parent, and teaching your children the importance of being responsible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is family culture important?

How do you create a family culture?

A: Family culture is created by the members of a family. It can be passed on from one generation to another, and it allows for many different things in your life; some things may be cultural norms that are seen as normal for your family, while others may require you to make new decisions about what is acceptable within your household.

How does culture influence family life?

Related Tags

  • importance of family traditions and values
  • establishing a family
  • creating a family identity
  • family tradition ideas
  • family tradition benefits