By inducting your kids into the cult of your family from birth, you can have a much easier time instilling a sense of family unity from early on.
Now I don't have teenagers yet, so I can't tell you if it will help mitigate any of the anticipated turmoil, or rebellion, but I have to believe that inducing an intrinsic sense of belonging and family identity early on will have lasting subliminal impact (even if it seems distant for a decade in the middle there).
There are a few things we've done to create a family identity. Try the ones that seem up your alley.
All of our kids names have a theme, but it's not obvious. They each know how their name relates to eachother, but if you saw a list of their names, it wouldn't be obvious. See if you can spot the pattern:
See how hard it is? That last one really throws you off! I'm kidding. Those aren't our kids names. But each of our kid's names relates to a different type of animal in way that is more or less obvious in a different way.
This has led to each kid having their own totem animal, or class of animal.
And the impact on each kid so far has been profound. One kid is associated with sea animals.
He doesn't like to eat seafood. He has tons of shark paraphernalia, and can breathe underwater.
Another kid prides himself in his ability to find things in nature, with his “eagle eyes” and has a penchant for finding and collecting beautiful feathers everytime he walks outside.
Another kid believes he has iron is teeth, and can eat sticks.
On a playful level, they each have superpowers, associated with their animals, and we've of course explained that they all share eachothers superpowers to some degree, in order to forestall the inevitible comparisons and competition.
This instills in each of them a sense of connection with nature on a deep level, and with eachother in a secret society kind of way.
Of course we have a last name. But we also have a Family Name. Like how when our powers combine, you get Captain Planet's power, or Voltron is the sum of his parts.
Let's pretend our last name were “Sandovel,” well then our Family Name would be Sandove(anima)l.
When we are all on the move, we say “Sandove(anima)l, let's roll” and we motivate out together. It has a nod to the fact that they each have (animal) references, plays off of our last name, and has the word (anima) in it, which gives up a little spunk from the Spanish definition.
It gives a sense of pride and belonging and unification, that will hopefully tie them together when we're dead, and bring them connection even in the times in their life when they hate eachother (or us).
We've also created a unique affirmational personal motto for each of our kids that involves a pun in their name.
For example, if these were our kids names, Jenny, Bill, and John, these would be their sayings:
“To infinity and be John!”
“Where there's a Bill there's a way.”
“You can do Jenny thing.”
Each one is a private mantra that bolsters their true inner sense of self. Reminds them of their potential when things can be hard.
We all say them to eachother when we need them. And like their animal powers, they all can be shared. Bill can do “Jenny thing” we wants, and where there's a Jenny, there's a way too.
If you would like me to write a saying for you or your kid, please send $20 in bitcoin to me, and I'll send you one, or your money back.
Lastly, as a gift, a wonderful family member designed a family crest for us that incorporates all of our totems. She gave it to us as a vector image, that we have used over and over.
We have stickers, laser etched leather crests, mugs, tote bags and hats. Perfect gifts for all the grandmas.
Make it you.
Those are some of the ways our family does it. But do it your own way!
Do each of you have a secret State that is your home base, that you travel through?
Are each of you a color, that when put together makes a personal rainbow of green, red, orange, and purple? An innocuous four color arc, you will all recognize anywhere as a source of your combined beauty and power?
Do you each have an instrument, or a note you play? Is your family a chord? Or a band?