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No you can’t run your house the same way you run your company, but you can improve communication, set clear expectations and build systems that can boost performance.  I try to communicate to my kids in the same way that I’ve always tried to communicate to people in business: employees, partners, vendors and clients. Communication and clarity are a good way to keep things moving.  You don’t have like the House Rules, but as long as you live in The House, you need to know the rules and consequences for not following the rules.

In a busy, growing company good communication and clarity can make a big difference.  We take those characteristics and turn them into a system for how we do business. The more efficient the system, the easier it is to grow.  A busy, growing family can be the same thing, in my experience setting up this system is the best way to run both. I don’t know if my kids think my rules and my systems are brilliant or annoying, I do work at communicating why the rules are in place and I try to stay away from “Because I said so!”  when I can. Bottom line the systems are in place to help me and my wife run the place.

Recently, I took my large list of rules and categorized them under 3 primary areas:

Practice Faith

Get Good Grades

Be Responsible

Most of the rules fall under the “Be Responsible” area, but the other two areas are more important and each area is listed by priority.  My wife and I are both practicing Catholics and we’ve raised our kids in our faith. I phrased primary area one as “Practice Faith” on purpose.  I don’t want to say “go to church” or “believe in blank”, I want my kids to know that in our house we practice faith. That means that we don’t have all the answers, we are filled with questions and doubts as well as being with a community and experiencing joy in the tradition, and learning and in the practice of the faith.

I have a sister that got married a few years ago, and her husband, my brother in law is a Methodist, and when my sister asked me what I thought about whether they should be Catholic or Methodist, I told her they should both check out each others faith and decide together.  I also told her that I think it would be better to be a practicing Methodist versus a non practicing Catholic.

The order of the primary areas is also important.  In a conversation with my youngest son, I told him that all the areas are important, but faith will always come before grades.  I have faith, I practice my faith with the same willingness to learn, experience and grow as I do all things important to me. I don’t know exactly what comes next after this life, but it’s unlikely St. Peter is going to ask me about my GPA.  

Practice Faith:
Work on your beliefs, experience empathy face to face with others in need, faith can be a light in some of the darkest places you will ever go.

Get Good Grades:
Learn to Love Learning.

Be Responsible:
The list is long, start by doing the next right thing.

Maybe not the most extensive list, but a good start to a good life.

Be Good,

  • Chris