How to Create a Family Constitution
The Constitution of the United States of America documents the foundational laws for governing our
country. These are the basic, or essential, rules from which our government derives other laws. If a
constitution is important for a country, then why don’t more parents create a family constitution for
their families? I encourage you to gather your family and create your own family constitution.
How? Here are some ideas and an example of what your family constitution might look like. First, be
sure to let your children take an active part in the process. Next, brainstorm a list of your family’s
values and desires and then find words that describe what you want your family to stand for. Then,
when you complete your family constitution, post it on your refrigerator where everyone can be
reminded of it. Don’t be surprised if from time to time, a family member needs to be reminded of the
commitments your family has made to one another to live by the constitution.
Example: The Burns Family Constitution
We, the Burns family, believe that God loves us and has demonstrated His love to us in many ways,
including His provision of standards that should guide our own attitudes and behaviors. Therefore,
seeking to both please God and to benefit our family, we enter into and agree to pursue the
following ideals in our relationships with one another – as well as with those outside of our family.
– We believe in the importance of respecting, honoring, and affirming one another.
– We believe in the importance of expressing warmth and affection towards one another.
– We resolve to believe the best about one another. We will strive to maintain an atmosphere of
trust. When trust is broken, we will provide opportunity for trust to be regained.
– We believe in the importance of truth and integrity.
– We shall pursue maturity in our spiritual lives, evidenced by the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
– We resolve to provide support and encouragement to one another in both good times and in bad
– We value spending time together.
– We believe that everyone in our family must make contributions and at times, even personal
sacrifices to benefit the family, keeping us healthy and strong.
– We resolve to display a spirit of generosity towards one another.
– We resolve to maintain our family values and follow our moral code.
Five Ways Busy Parents Can Reprioritize
Of the 24 hours – the 1,440 minutes – available to us each day, parents actually spend very little time
with their children. Remember, all we have is right now. So, how about you? What does how you
spend your time say about your priorities? Do you need a little help getting your priorities straight?
Here are five ways you can reprioritize your life:
1. Ruthlessly Eliminate Stress. No one can get their priorities straight if they’re constantly living
“under the gun.” If there’s so much stress in your life that you’re finding it difficult to keep your
priorities in order, lighten your load first – and now!
2. Make Daily Solitude a Priority. Don’t let guilt make you feel like you’re “avoiding your family” for
taking time for yourself each day. It’s a must, even if it’s just 15 minutes in the morning for “quiet
time” with the Lord. No one will miss you if you “take 5” for yourself every now and then.
3. Develop a “Blank Slate” Approach. Begin and end each day with no agenda. Come before the
Lord with open arms, hands, and an open mind and heart each morning. Let Him set your day in
motion and then give everything back to Him at the end of each day – all your worries, cares,
successes, failures. Exchange them for a good night’s sleep. (See Psalm 91:1.)
4. Give Your Family Your Best, Not Just Your “Emotional Leftovers.” It may be noble to “give your
all” at work. But what does that leave for your spouse and kids? Not much? Not good! Your family
deserves the best you have to offer. They need you healthy, rested, happy, or perhaps more
importantly, content. Don’t just leave “table scraps” from your heart for them. Give them the main
course. Then, watch how your priorities change by themselves!
5. Don’t Wait. This is your life and these should be your priorities. If you’re waiting for someone else
to come alongside you and tell you how to live your life, you’re in for a long wait. The time to make
the changes is now—so get to it!
Reprioritizing your life doesn’t have to be difficult. But, if you’re like most of us, it does need to be
done every now and then. And, with God’s help, you can do it!
Building Trust with Kids Requires Your
In addressing the relationship between parents and their teenagers, often the emphasis focuses on
helping teens build more trust with their parents. But the truth is that many kids don’t trust their
parents! What is it that causes teens not to trust their parents? In my experience, most teenagers
identify the source of their lack of trust in parents as the result of seeing firsthand that their parents
are less than honest with them. Jesus commands His followers, “Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and
your ‘no’ be ‘no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37.) Let’s face facts: no
parent is perfect. Still, as parents we are called to live our lives with integrity. Because we serve as
our children’s role models for life and faith, we need to be very careful in how we live our lives before
our kids. Your kids don’t need your perfection, they need your honesty, and especially when you fail
to follow through on something you said you would do. How can you increase your “honesty”
quotient and, as a result, your trust level with your kids?
1. Think before you promise. Ask yourself, “If I make this promise, can I keep my word?”
2. If you can’t keep your word, don’t promise. It’s much better to say, “I’m going to try my hardest to
get to your game tomorrow, but I can’t promise you I’ll make it” and not make it, than to say, “I’ll be
there for sure!” and not show up.
3. Think before you act. When it occurs to you that you can’t keep your word, be sure to evaluate the
message it will send your son or daughter. Then, consider how you can minimize the resulting
damage if you truly can’t keep your verbal commitment.
4. Ask for your child’s forgiveness when you fail to keep your word. Don’t sweep your failures under
the carpet. Face them head on. Apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Honesty and integrity are two vital parts of trust in any relationship. Keeping your word with your kids
is always the best policy. When your track record as a parent is one of consistent honesty, trust
between you and your teen will grow.
Teaching Your Kids About the Real Value of Money
As parents, the sooner we begin teaching our kids about money, the better off they’ll be in the
future! The late Larry Burkett, the founder of Crown Financial Ministries, once gave some advice I’ve
found helpful on what kids need to know, that I’d like to pass along to you.
1. Kids need to know that money is not the most important thing in life. A person’s attitude toward
finances is an indicator of his or her heart. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart
will be also ” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus taught that what we do with our money and our possessions is a
direct reflection of what is in our hearts. Our kids’ hearts will be found wherever their treasures have
2. Kids need to know about income. As soon as a child is ready for school he or she should begin to
receive an income to manage. Whether that income is earned or given as an allowance is a decision
that must be made by the parents. But whatever the choice, parents need to begin to instill within
their children that boundaries must be placed on how money should be spent and that spending
must not exceed income.
3. Kids need to know about budgeting. As soon as children begin to receive income, they should be
taught how to divide that income into categories and to budget. The categories may be as simple as
saving, spending, and giving. Encourage kids to budget and not to spend their entire income on
personal desires just because they have it to spend.
4. Kids need to know about saving. Children should be encouraged to regularly save a portion of
their incomes and to not deplete their savings when they want to buy something that they feel they
5. Kids need to know about debt. Parents need to teach their children the cost of borrowing and how
difficult it is to get out of debt once they are in debt. They should be encouraged to stay out of debt
and to purchase with cash whenever possible.
6. Kids need to know about tithing. Parents must instill within their children the necessity of tithing to
the Lord and help them understand that the first part of any and all of their incomes should be tithed
to the Lord—before personal purchases, savings, or recreation.
7. Kids need to know about generosity. In addition to tithing, parents need to encourage their
children to set aside a certain amount of their incomes to help people in need, such as missions or
special humanitarian projects or to purchase or give items for the benefit of others.