Building Our Family Through Acceptance
“Kindness begins with me”
Help family members accept each other to create a more connected family unit.
FOR THE PARENT
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and/or post members we have been taught that the family is paramount in importance. You and your children probably find great peace and comfort in your family unit. Creating an environment where acceptance can flourish is critical for all family members to be able to feel connection, respect and love in your family when faced with a mixed faith family.
- Bring a family photo that includes every member of the family
- Bring a piece of paper for each family member
SUGGESTED HYMN AND SONG
“Kindness Begins With Me” (Children’s Songbook, #145b)
“I’ll Walk With You” (Children’s Songbook, #140)
Our Family Is Important
Our family is very important. It is very valuable. It is very precious.
As such, we need to take really good care of it and each member.
There is room for every member of this family.
Every member is worthy of being loved, respected and accepted in this family.
No one needs to change at all to be more worthy of love, respect and acceptance.
Our Family Is Unique
Explain that all families are different and that is okay.
Let family members tell about some of the different families they have seen and know about. Let them name some of the things that make other families different, such as size, background, age, religious beliefs, and living situations such as divorce.
Discuss that no matter the differences all families are wonderful and can be full of love.
Discuss how your family is different from other families.
Explain that our family may also be different because we have a mixed faith family. Explain what this means and what makes this family a mixed faith family.
Ask family members how they feel about being different.
Discuss that our family may be different from other families and that is okay and that each family member may be different from the other family members and that is okay too.
Discuss how the family members are the same and are different.
Discuss why it’s okay to have the family members be same or different from each other. Ideas can include – everyone has different ways of seeing things and that is an important part of what makes us individuals and special.
Our Family Practices Acceptance
Explain acceptance is a powerful way we can create more love and connection in our family.
Discuss how you feel when someone totally accepts you for you who are. Discuss how you feel when someone tries to get you to change and be someone different than you are.
Explain that in this family we are learning how to love and accept each other exactly as we are without trying to change anyone.
Explain this is called acceptance.
Acceptance does not mean you have to agree with them. It just means you allow them to be who they choose to be.
Acceptance does not mean we do not try to be better people, it just means we do not put conditions on our love and acceptance for each family member. Everyone is already worthy of love and acceptance.
Discuss what it means to accept every member of the family. (Ideas can include – we do not need them to change in order to love them). How can we as individuals develop acceptance for each other? How can we accept those members of our family who have different beliefs or ideas?
ADAPTING FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
Begin by introducing each member of the family by full name and stating “[NAME] has come all the way from [INSERT CITY OF BIRTH] to join us tonight.” Tell two or three special things about each family member.
If a family member is not present, be sure to show a family picture so that everyone is included.
Our family is not like any other family. Some have three boys. Some have three girls. Some live with their grandparents. Some live with just their mom. All families are wonderful and can be full of love.
Our family is special because we do not always all go to church together. This does not mean we are not a wonderful family and full of love.
Finish by showing the family picture and point to each members and say – “[NAME] is wonderful and lovable just exactly as they are.”
ADAPTING FOR TEENAGERS AND ADULTS
Begin by giving piece of paper to each family member, ask them to draw a line down the middle and label one half “Same” and one half “Different”. Have them list how they are the same and how they are different from other family members.
Ask them if the similarities always make the family better and if the differences always make the family worse. Discuss that the members do not need to be same to create a strong family. Explain that the differences are often very valuable parts of each family member and of the family unit as a whole.
Introduce the mixed faith family situation and explain that this is a difference that does not need to harm the family but can in fact strengthen the family.
Discuss how being a mixed faith family can be a benefit to this family.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE FAMILY HOME EVENINGS
Creating New Traditions- Brainstorm and choose new family traditions that honor all members of the family. Ideas can include a special meal, game, activity, hobby, or outing. Also discuss what traditions you want to keep and/or modify.
Creating a Value List – As a family unit brainstorm a list of values. Get creative and think outside the box (e.g., adventurous, creative, ecological, minimal, etc). What values do we want as a foundation for this family? Why? How do we make decisions based on our family values?
BONUS (only use if needed)
Maybe you read this lesson plan and thought:
-That is really nice but there is no way my spouse will agree with this point or that point or this idea or that idea.
-I’d love to have this lesson, but we my spouse doesn’t accept this mixed faith marriage.
-I could never teach this, it would alienate my spouse.
Suggestions for Talking to your spouse about the lesson plan:
If you want to present this lesson and first want to talk to your spouse about it but have some concerns try this:
I want you to consider 4 emotions that can help you bridge the gap from “I can’t do this,” to “I can do this.” They are:
In order to get to a place where you can talk to your spouse and then your family about your mixed faith marriage you may need to develop these 4 emotions one by one (they build on each other).
Commitment – This is the first step. Are you committed to this marriage and showing up to help it be strong and healthy? Are you committed even if they don’t “do the work” or they don’t seem to reciprocate your efforts?
Courage – Once you have developed commitment you will need courage. Courage is not comfortable. Courage means there is fear present. It takes courage to have challenging conversations. It takes courage to be bad at something (like communication) as you practice new skills and new approaches. Courage may look like initiating conversations and making requests.
Capability – After courage is practiced you begin to develop capability. This means you are starting to get the hang of something new. You are starting not always be bad or clumsy as you talk about church or parenting in your mixed faith marriage.
Confidence – Many people want to start their journey at confidence. Confidence comes after skills are developed and practiced. Confidence is the result of a lot of hard work. Confidence is what happens after the discomfort of commitment and courage.
- These are called the 4 C’s and originated from teachings by Dan Sullivan.
Copyright 2022 by Brooke Booth Coaching LLC