At this point in my life, I can’t help but evaluate potential dates for potential wife and mother qualities. I also can’t help but imagine what kind of family life I’d have, and how I’d want to raise my kids. Most of my thoughts are inspired by my own family life, especially when I was a lot younger. Hypothetically, we’ll assume I have four kids; two boys and two girls. We’ll also assume that I picked my wife and mother of my children well, as ideally, not only am I am the man I hope my sons to be, but my wife should be the woman I hope my daughters to be.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order – some of my thoughts:
Bedtime. I know how crucial it is to get proper sleep and the harmful effect lack of sleep can have on a person. I remember seeing well rested cadets at the beginning of their four years change a lot at the end of one year. I saw even more change in my peers as they graduated. Lack of sleep kills, slowly.
So as my children go from diapers to being little children to teenagers, I’d set them a constant bed time and a constant wake up time. I’m not sure whether I’d set them up for 8 or 10 hours, but 8 hours would be the minimum. They’d be encouraged (my daughters especially) to not be night owls. Should they find themselves as teenagers with a boatload of work, I’d see myself as having been effective in my guidance, should they elect to go to bed earlier and to wake up earlier to get their work done, instead of the opposite. While my children will be expected to accept their bed time because I said so, I’ll explain at some point I find appropriate why 8 hours of sleep is important. And how it will allow my boys to grow stronger than Superman and allow my daughters to grow pretty enough to marry Prince Charming.
Then, when it’s Christmas Eve and they can’t sleep because they’re so excited – I might have a chance that they’ll actually sleep in, too tired to wake up after going to bed several hours later than normal.
Ideally, I’d want to have both regular family breakfast and dinner. Before I lived overseas, breakfast was slightly irregular, but we always had family dinner. When I moved overseas, we had family breakfast about as much as we had family dinner. I’ll focus on family dinner.
I believe it’s important to have consistency in the household and that means that dinner should be at the same time every night. Something around 1700hrs every night – maybe a little later (1800hrs) depending on my work. Dinner will be home cooked every time – no microwave crap. I’d make the effort to buy the most healthy food possible (organic, paleo) even if it costs a little extra. If I had the land, I’d even invest in growing our own crops and raising chickens (maybe a cow) that my children would have an understanding and appreciation of where their food comes from and what is in it.
Cast iron skillets. Grill (charcoal/propane). Full fat butter. Coconut oil.
Proper manners at the table will be taught and reinforced.
Family dinner will be a time to catch up on everyone’s day, to keep tabs on my children, and generally talk about things they find interesting or I think important to talk about.
When my family lived in England, we used to play scrabble once a week. I’d rarely win but I always had fun. Before my family had that practice, we’d watch many movies at home together. Often, my father would pause the movie right before a critical moment and ask me what I would do or what should be done. Other times, he’d pause the movie and ask me what happened and why. Almost every movie there was a lesson. Such lessons often made me enjoy the movie a lot more. Usually there was a movie that stuck with the family, that led to inside jokes for us.
“Stop rhyming! I mean it!”
“Anybody wanna peanut?”
“Oh Master Robin!…..You’ve lost your arms in battle! But you grew some nice boobs”
“Blinkin, I’m over here.”
So one day a week, presumably Sundays, we’ll have a family game night. We’ll play checkers, risk, monopoly, life, cards, and chess. Each of those games takes time to learn to play and to play well. Each of those games can teach you something (especially chess). I’ll let my kids win sometimes but not too often. Provided that they learn quickly, I expect they’ll be better at these games than I will be before they leave the house. We’ll watch movies. Probably old ones. We’ll make it a game to see what lesson will I come up with next. Little will my children know, each lesson I will know because my Father already taught me.
I’ll take trips where it will be just us boys. I expect my wife to do similar things with our daughters.
Chores will be centered around traditional roles and used to cement good habits and teach skills. At first they’ll be simple, but as my children grow older they’ll be taught more and have more expected of them.
My daughters will be expected to set the table and clear the table every day. Their mother will teach them how to sew (and help mend the clothes in the family). She’ll teach them how to cook and other homemaking skills, such as ironing, folding clothes, and doing laundry. She’ll teach my boys to cook also.
My boys will be taught how to cook steak by me, how to cut firewood, how to work on cars, and various other handyman type things around the house that I know. They’ll take out the trash every week
Once a month, once I’m satisfied that no one will burn the house down in the process, I’ll have each of my children cook family dinner. They’ll pick the food, the ingredients, and at first, may enlist help. But by the time they’re around 16, I expect that they’ll be able to do it all by themselves if need be.
My boys of course will know how to iron, fold clothes, do laundry as well – but it won’t be their main chores. The need to know how to maintain their nice clothes, naturally.
The Birds and The Bees:
I won’t wait for my children to discover porn or learn half-truths at best and outright lies at worst during sex ed (assuming I even let them into the schooling system). At some point, I’ll have this conversation with my boys. At some point, I expect my wife to have this conversation with my girls.
In a general sense, I’d try to teach my boys some lessons on how to deal with girls. More than focus on things they should do, I’d focus on telling them things not to do. I’d be open with examples from my life, but generally would focus on having them realize the importance of learning from their mistakes and enjoying the whole process along the way. I’d tell’em I’d kick their asses if they get any girls pregnant and let them know about different methods of birth control. I’d encourage them to get enough experience to figure out what they need to about girls, that they’ll be appropriately discriminating when picking their brides. I’ll tell them I expect lots of grandchildren.
In a general sense, I’d let my wife teach my girls lessons since she speaks their language, and probably knows what she is doing since she married me. I’d encourage my daughters to get married to a quality man, who can support them and their children, and to keep themselves chaste until then. I’d do what I can to help them maximize their looks and their personalities accordingly.I’d let their mother figure out how to explain the ‘violence’ she’d exact on any of them if they got pregnant without being married. I’d figuratively beat it into them yearly that if they wish to marry ‘prince charming’, they must themselves be a woman he’d marry. I’ll tell them I expect lots of grandchildren.
I hope that at some point, my family will have a family gathering at least once a year. My children will know what their family is made of. They will know their cousins. They will know my siblings, their aunts and uncles. And most importantly, they will know my parents. I didn’t just get to where I was without them, and I’ll make sure my children never forget that. I’ll do that because it honors my parents and because my grandparents, were responsible in a large part, for my happy childhood.
General Family Philosophy (brief, very beginning thoughts):
My family is one that I’m proud to be a part of. Most of the members of my family are really smart, strong, or have other talent. We’ve got good genes and good people. I intend for my children to know that and believe. I would not go so far as to give my children superiority complexes – I just want them to know where they came from and be unapologetically proud of it. That said – I’ll temper that with the idea that I think blood is important. I don’t intend to follow ancient royals who had rampant inbreeding. I do want my children to consider the health of future wives and husbands, and the quality of said future spouses’ families.
One of the tenets my father stressed is that we’re a team. So I’d be mad at one of my son’s if he didn’t back my other son up in a fight. Same with my daughters (making sure they’re included in groups and have social status). I expect each child to help one another grow, not to tear each other down. Competition between each other is good to an extent, but the ultimate goal is to all succeed together.
Family is different. Regardless of internal discipline, when it comes down to my children and the outside world, they will know I will love them and be on their side, always.