Building family culture

Culture is not just important for businesses and institutions, but also for families. As a homeschooling dad, I often wonder what kind of culture I want to create. On my podcast, I talked to a retired major general about constructing a winning culture. He highlighted three essential elements:

  • psychological safety,
  • success, and
  • stories.

Imagine a team where everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts, disagreements, and suggestions. A place where they can try new things and know they’ll be supported. Psychological safety lets everyone explore and grow.

Success is key to any thriving culture. We have to define what winning means to us. Without success, the team will crumble, and interest will wane. Families are no different.

Last but not least, powerful stories reinforce the values we want to instill. We learn what’s acceptable and what’s not from stories.

As a family, we value good citizenship, respect for elders, and independence. I encourage my boys to be honest and bold. If they make a mistake, but tell the truth about it, I don’t punish them. They still lie sometimes, but more often than not, they’re honest.

Success, for homeschoolers, is different from that of traditional schools. We don’t chase grades or vanity metrics. Instead, my children set their own goals each quarter, writing them down and pursuing them with fervor. As their guide, I’m there to help them – whether it’s registering domains, organizing industry tours, or buying tools. Ultimately, they decide what they learn.

We review progress weekly, walking the path to success together. At each quarter’s end, my children celebrate their accomplishments. They have had their fair share of victories – from polishing their writing skills using AI tools to my son passing the Trinity guitar exam.

Stories are our lifeblood. Around the dinner table or on the porch, we chat about family history – my upbringing, my dad’s lessons, and my college days. These stories reveal to them what we value at home. I also encourage boys to talk about what they’ve learned, and what they want to be. Our dinner table is surely full of stories.

Although I hadn’t explicitly focused on these three factors – safety, success, and storytelling – I am going to consciously focus on these to build our home culture.