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Our House Rules = A Family Creed


A few weeks ago I blogged about creating a FUN family culture. The value for an expectation of joy in our family came from our family creed. A creed is defined as “a set of beliefs or aims that guides someone’s actions.” Dear friends and mentors, Matt and Julia Bradner (@MattBradner), introduced us to the idea of having a creed that would shape our family life. We often use it when training our kids how to interact with others, when disciplining them, and when we’re deciding how to spend a family day. It’s a statement that informs how we live by reminding us to whom we belong.

The concept of a creed is quite different than a list of house rules. Rules often state what we don’t do. We don’t hurt others; we don’t lie; we don’t talk back. Only listing the negative leaves a void surrounding the family aim. A creed, on the other hand, shapes a family by stating what we do. Though as a mom of preschoolers I hear myself saying “no” many times a day, we’re aiming at being a “yes family.”

Our kids are only four and two, but we can already see evidence of the Johnson family creed seeping out in their words and actions. When they want a drink out of my water bottle they will remind me that, “We share and take turns.” This is obviously a value we want our kids to have while playing with others, but it’s also a value that shapes our marriage when deciding whose preference trumps the other. When they sense that they’re headed toward discipline they’ll sometimes ask, “Are you listening for words AND looking for actions?” We’re aiming at integrity of heart AND life. They applaud each other for the smallest victories, such as a successful trip to the potty or buckling themselves into their car seats, because “we celebrate often.” When Ethan wants his little sister to clean up her own toys he’ll remind her, “Annie, we take responsibility.” This statement has led to some great gospel conversations. Not only did Jesus take perfect responsibility for His own life, He also took responsibility for us, even to the point death.

The concept of a family creed is so compelling to us because it mirrors the Christian life. Though I spent many years thinking that walking with God was primarily defined by a list of things from which I abstained, we want our kids to understand that the Christian life is chiefly about knowing to whom you belong. In our kids’ view, because they belong to the Johnson family they “work together” and “give generously.” It is just who we are…and therefore what we do.

It’s impossible to miss the flow of Paul’s epistles, such as Ephesians, which are so instructive about Christian living. He spends the first half of the epistle proclaiming the glories of the gospel and the benefits we receive “in Christ.” We are blessed with every spiritual blessing; we’re predestined for adoption as sons; we have redemption and forgiveness and a spiritual inheritance. After three chapters of expressing these wonders, Paul instructs us how to live. Identity informs instruction. May it be so with our kids and us!

To learn more about Ashlee or invite her to your next event visit HERE.

Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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