Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creating a family philosophy, continued.

Post 375 - Continuing on with the family philosophy posted yesterday, we as a family also agreed on some guidelines for several areas that were increasingly contentious about that time. I personally found this quite helpful as I hadn't previously developed a rational argument for why I didn't agree with some of the practices and preferences that were beginning to show up in our lives. As a result, I tended to adopt the Princess Leia approach to setting limits - "... from now on you'll do as I say, okay?" which wasn't always terribly effective.

So we developed these agreements about how activities and behaviors in the following three areas should conform to the guidelines and limits listed below:

• Television.

Viewing should, in general, not exceed two hours at a time, otherwise undue mental fatigue can result. In addition, prolonged exposure to a passive media discourages personal interaction with others, and lessens individual initiative. The discontinuous and fragmented format of most network programming weakens the ability to concentrate without distraction for extended periods of time.

Programs that reflect an undue preoccupation with physical violence should be avoided as regular viewing material. Repeated exposure to violence desensitizes the viewer, making higher levels of violence more acceptable in the future. It also distorts perceptions about opportunities for resolving conflict in ways that treat people's differences with dignity and respect.

• Clothes and Appearance.

How we dress reflects not only our own sense of style and individuality, but also indicates how we see ourselves in relation to other individuals and groups in our society. Our choice of clothing, coiffure and adornment are very personal ways of expressing who we are and how we feel. However, extreme or exaggerated forms of personal appearance, which give offense to others, should be avoided. Clothing and appearance should always be clean, modest, and in good taste.

• Shared Activities.

Since each individual member of the family has their own friends and interests, they will frequently be engaged with others in events that do not directly involve other family members. These events should be scheduled, however, taking into account the need for members of the family to spend time together engaged in joint activities.

Sharing common interests and activities allows us to deepen our knowledge and respect for one another, thus helping us grow together in love and mutual understanding. By exposing our strengths and weaknesses in an atmosphere of trust and respect, we help each other define who we are. This self-knowledge leads to an inner confidence that is essential if we are to develop and sustain healthy lasting relationships with other people.

I'm not saying that we always lived up to these value and agreements, but we did try more diligently after we developed and discussed the ideas illustrated above. Perhaps Marcus Aurelius was right many years ago when he wrote, "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts … take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and a reasonable nature."

No comments: