This post is geared towards a specific type of family structure, however, the principles can extend to other types of families. I want to focus today on the married couple with one or more kids. The family structure that I am trying to build is the more 'traditional' one of a Husband, Wife, and kid(s). The concepts I explain can be applied to same-sex couples as long as one person is willing to take on a leadership role in regards to the family/couple itself. Onward!
It is my profound belief that there needs to be a strong and engaged leader in every family. In my current family structure I feel that I (the working husband) need to fulfill this role. I am by no means a natural-born leader, in fact, I am more of a 'I'm-gonna-do-what-I-want-but-I'll-go-with-the-flow-for-now' type of guy. On the other hand, my wife is definitely a leader. She is a talented organizer and knows how to start a fire in people. In our current situation my wife works from home and cares for our son. I have a hefty commute to an office job. Because I rely heavily on my wife to take the best possible care of our little one and our home, I feel that it's up to me to take more of a leadership role.
I do not want to suggest that I should 'take control' of my family, but rather be a guiding force and strong decision maker. This comes very unnaturally to me and I am constantly having to work harder at being better. I feel that a marriage is meant to be like a team. We each have our different positions/roles to play without which would create a losing effort. However, every team has a Captain. It is the Captain's job to motivate the team and point them in a winning direction. My wife and I definitely work together on creating Financial Peace and reaching life goals for our family. It is becoming more clear to me that I need to be a brighter guiding light.
A good husband should be able to provide for his family (in my family scenario) as well as setting the family on a path to living comfortably. I do not mean that every man should strive for a big house and fancy cars. For most families this type of lifestyle leads to mountains of debt and an eventual financial crash and burn. A leader of an average family should strive to create a home that is suitable for the needs of the family while creating a sound foundation for the kids to grow up in. This home should also be a place that kids want to return to again and again after they have left the nest. No mother and father could ask for more. Here's my 5 quick tips on how to lead your family to a comfortable life.
1: Get completely out of debt as soon as possible. It may seem like a steep mountain to climb, but if you get the right gear, even Everest's summit can be reached. As a leader, you need to set your family up to be financially stable. This isn't to say that you need a lot of money, but rather that the you do have be put to the best possible use.
2: Make informed decisions that are best for your family. Approach your wife/husband whenever a life decision needs to be made and agree on that decision as a team. It is the leader's job to recognize a choice needs to be made and initiate the discussion.
3: Take advice lightly but with good conscience. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE will want to give you advice on what you and your family should do. Some of it may be good and some not. The key here is to take it with a grain of salt. Each family is different and one person's advice does not necessarily fit your situation no matter how good the intent. Use advice as research in your family's decision making process rather than following in someone else's footsteps. A leader forges his own path.
4: Create the best possible environment for your children. Only parents know how to raise their own children. Do everything in your power to create an environment for your kids to be successful. Your job as a father/mother is to train your kids to enter the jungle of this world. As a leader, you need to make sure they are ready to face the challenges ahead on their own and be their own family's leader someday.
5: Love unconditionally. A good leader is kind-hearted and merciful. Family comes first. This is a common saying but nothing could be more true. As the family leader you should be able to show compassionate love in everything that you do. Making decisions for your family out of love may not always be easy but you can rest assured you are on the right path.
What are some of your suggestions for being a good family leader? Feel free to comment or email me with any questions! I'm also always interested in books that can help me lead my family so feel free to offer up any suggestions.