Living Arts Weekly: Creating Culture

February 23, 2020

Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.   — Paulo Coelho

The thing about culture — whether it is our family culture, our business culture, or our greater culture as a society…. we don’t usually think about it much.  If we were fish, culture would refer to the water we are swimming in. We don’t always pay much attention to it, but it’s always there and it provides a container for our lives.

Culture happens by design or by default.  Your family will develop a culture on its own, without you consciously thinking about it. This is culture by default. Culture created by default tends to produce mediocre results because we humans have a natural tendency to take the path of least resistance. Most families go through phases where we realize we have fallen into “default culture.” Habits and practices creep in that aren’t ones we would consciously choose.

One mom (from 1000 Hours Outside) posted on social media recently about the reality of “culture by default” on a large scale. Read on:

“Our 10 year old daughter had her rec basketball team picture this past Saturday morning. There was about 45 minutes of free time between the pictures and the actual game. And for the entire time her teammates were on their phones.

And I cried.

I cried for my daughter, my lanky little girl just fresh into double digits. She was so out of place as an innocent fourth grader, not because she is mean or difficult to get along with, but solely because her eyes were forward and not down. I cried because I saw that she was lost in a situation that I would’ve been lost in too.

I cried for this blatant discarding of childhood, of the giggles and the hands clap rhymes, and the connections that are now extinct.

I cried because I was so grieved in my spirit to witness firsthand the death of childhood, this exposure to something that is so gripping it couldn’t even be set aside in the presence of friends.

And I truly don’t understand. I just don’t. I get possibly needing the device for various logistical reasons (though there are many solid options besides a smart phone). But I don’t get the lack of boundaries. Kids are on screens for more time each DAY than they are outside in an entire month. Where are the limits? Why can’t they be put away in social settings?

Friends, we must talk about this and we must change it. Parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, say something! Set boundaries! Someday our kids are going to grow up and they are going to ask us why we didn’t limit their screen time. They are losing out on so much. And it’s affecting all the kids, the ones with the devices and the ones without.”

The simple fact is, we can’t rely on the broader culture to instill the values we deem important for our children. If you want a positive family culture that reflects your values, you must consciously create it.  And if enough of us work to create positive family culture, we can start to have a big impact on our communities and society at large.  The cultural revolution we are seeking begins with us. In our selves. In our homes. In our programs.


LifeWays North America has a couple of great online resources to help you create the family culture you are seeking.  Scroll down in this post to learn about them.


Won’t you join us in creating a cultural revolution? 

Mary O’Connell

Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor


Living Arts Through the Seasons – Spring Edition (Opens March 1st)

A three-month online magazine with in-depth content, beautiful downloads to help you organize your thoughts, and an online discussion forum where you can ponder your parenting struggles and ask your most challenging questions.  This season-long online resource has it all.

Themes for the months are as follows:
March – Clearing.  How do we clear a space for our own growth and our children’s growth?
April – Germination. As parents, we plant lots of seeds.  How do we help them sprout?
May – Growing.  We’ve cleared the space, planted our seeds, and now we grow!  How do we support our own growth and that of our children?


By connecting to the rhythms in nature that exist all around you, and creating time to connect with your own intentions, you can embody the qualities you wish to cultivate in your parenting. Our warm and respectful community of parents and teachers are here to inspire, listen and share.

That’s a big value for just $59.  Learn more about Living Arts Through the Seasons by clicking here.


Creating Your Family Culture – An Elemental Approach (Ongoing)

In this self-paced, self-guided course for parents, you will:

  • Discover and define your own family values
  • Develop ways to practice those values every day with your children, intentionally creating a unique culture that sustains your family and brings you joy!
  • Continue to hold true to those values as your family grows and your individual needs change

If you want to really examine your family culture and build a more positive, healthy culture from the ground up, this course is for you!

Just $40; this is a real deal.  Click here to learn more about Creating Your Family Culture.


2 thoughts on “Living Arts Weekly: Creating Culture”

  1. This is such an important message, I wish every family in the US were on this mailing list. ❤️

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