Set the culture in your home

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

By Nathan Rice

It was the third day before the difference struck me. I realized the kids in my care for the past few days had started to change. There was a noticeable difference in the way they spoke. The foul language that was a part of their normal vocabulary seemed to disappear, and there was a dramatic decline in the times they used God’s name improperly. Their demeanor had adjusted, and they spoke less of death, destruction and pain. They smiled more. It wasn’t a total transformation, but there was a noticeable change.

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I know children soak up their surroundings, and I know the culture around them tends to shape how they act, at least in part. The change I saw in just a few days, however, surprised me.

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They had been immersed for the previous few days in a culture that was immensely different than the one they have at home. Their home is one that is generally in a chaotic state. Foul language is normal speech, vulgar and crude entertainment is displayed continually, arguments are commonplace, training is lacking, and structure is unknown.

The campground at which we were staying had an entirely different culture. A majority of families and individuals on the grounds had a standard of conduct that was nearly the exact opposite of that at the kids’ home. The campground had a culture where foul language was avoided, music and entertainment were uplifting, conversations were seasoned with love, grace was shown to all, and the kids were told every day how much they were loved. It was a 180-degree turn from what their hearts and minds are soaked in daily at home.

It made me realize the power of culture. Kids are easily shaped by the lives of the people around them and the homes in which they live. It cannot be denied.

Therefore, I encourage adults to consider carefully the culture they are setting in their homes. How you act, the precedents you set, the behavior you allow, and the things you do set the culture of the home. The culture in the home begins to shape the young hearts and minds of those who live within its four walls.

We are quick to blame the culture of our city or our country. These cultures do play a role in a part in the mindsets of our children. They are immersed in the culture of their schools, their cities and their country. They will learn many things from the people outside of their homes, but the strongest influence comes directly from the home.

It’s time for us to start taking a look at the culture we are setting inside our homes. It’s time to realize that the culture that exists outside of the home doesn’t necessarily have to be the culture that exists inside our homes.

The culture we set inside our homes will make a tremendous difference in the lives of children. Let’s make sure it’s a positive difference.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at