Naming this website, familyninjas.com, was a journey in and of itself. Not only is basically every simple url name taken already, but we also wanted something that embodies individual and family wellness. So, after much thought we settled on Family Ninjas because a ninja is someone who develops many skills, has great dedication to a good cause, and puts hours upon hours of hard work in to protect and fight for what is important to him or her. I’m sure most ninjas lose battles at times and probably some of the skills are hard to fine-tune, but they keep trying. So, familyninjas.com was created to try to give people tools to strengthen their ninja families.
As we have added more and more articles to our website, I have found some recurring themes about what a family ninja is. Although there are probably countless more qualities that make a person a family ninja, these are some of the common values I’ve been pondering about:
Family Ninjas Spend Time Together to Team Build
In order for any team to work together in a cohesive way they first need to spend time together. This way, they built trust and get a sense of how each individual works and contributes to the team. Family ninjas regularly engage in activities that build and strengthen their relationships.
One of my personal life missions is to proclaim the power of playing together! Almost every single parenting program I’ve ever learned about in my years working as a social worker has one-on-one, kid-led play time as a foundational element. Remember, parenting programs are created for difficult parenting situations, so this isn’t a fluffy challenge for kids who are already well-behaved. Playing as a whole family is also important. Of course, one-on-one time (dating) is also necessary for couples. It’s amazing to see the wonders that can happen when we take a break from conflict, from business, or from isolated boredom and try to have fun together. I’ve seen client’s relationships do a 180 when they put in the effort to have one-on-one time.
Now, I realize that life is hectic. It’s hard to carve out that time and energy. So start small. You don’t need to be a Disneyland parent or a chick-flick romantic spouse. Just set aside 15 minutes a week to spend some one-on-one time and find a place in your schedules that work for you. Remember, find joy in the small moments and encourage yourself in remembering the good times you create.
Another classic, research-backed way to spend time together is to make a habit of family dinner. The benefits of family dinners are truly astounding. Yes, I know that daily busy-ness can get in the way and it can be more difficult than it seems to have family dinner. But, the benefits of it far outweigh any obstacles. If the obstacles seem too great then start with somewhat that is doable. For example, maybe you start off by picking just one day a week where everyone can sit down together. Then, slowly but surely carve out a family dinner routine that works for your family.
Family Ninjas Communicate Well
Another critical aspect of working together as a team is communicating well. Family ninjas take time listening to one another instead of trying to get their point across first. They accept that every family member’s emotions are valid and important (even if we don’t agree with behaviors that coincide with it). Validating emotions is another topic that I constantly find myself mentioning in blog posts.
Positive words are abundant with family ninjas. They express their love to one another and freely give praise and show gratitude to one another. They are trying to develop and maintain the principle of 5 positives to 1 negative!
Last, but certainly not least, family ninjas know how to communicate their concerns assertively instead of giving the silent treatment, dropping sarcastic hints, or yelling hurtful insults out of anger.
Family Ninjas Get Through Tough Battles
Just like every ninja undergoes crazy fights (at least in the movies), family ninjas experience many battles of their own but they keep fighting! Whether it’s mental illness or relationship loss or a financial strain, they find ways to cope. They use their courage every time they react with purpose and come out stronger or more knowledgable, or even just survive! Know you are not alone and you can do hard things.
Ninjas have tools that they use in their battles, and familyninjas.com was created to help provide tools to families. We want to provide coping skills that range from how to talk to your emotional teen or tips on how to cope with depression or increase self-esteem. We are constantly trying to add more tools; if you have a suggestion for a topic just let us know in the comments or through our Facebook page.
Family Ninjas Work at Becoming More Aware and Educated
Every good athlete (and I assume ninja) works at becoming more aware of their weaknesses and strengths as well as their opponent’s weaknesses and strengths. The same goes for family ninjas. We don’t want to just float along in life. Instead, we might learn more about what our spouse or child is experiencing when they struggle with anxiety. Or, we might become more aware of how our actions are affecting a family member’s well-being.
No individual is perfect and no family is perfect. Family ninjas recognize this and try to learn how to become stronger and happier. They evaluate what they learn and can then make more educated choices to try to serve their family.
Family Ninjas Fight for Strong Values
Strong families have strong values. They know what they are fighting for. Their dreams and goals align with other family members’, and decisions both small and big are based on them. Everything from how you parent to daily rituals will reflect the family’s values and mission statement.
These values might include things like faith and spirituality, education, hard-work, treat others with respect, or finding humor in life. However, it certainly isn’t limited to this short list!
Above All, Family Ninjas Love Each Other
Crazy things happen in life, and we all do crazy things we wished we hadn’t sometimes. But when we try to put unselfish, pure love first, things usually turn out alright.
A few years ago I learned a lot about attachment theory. The basic premise of attachment theory is that your wellbeing depends on secure attachment. As I was reading thoughts from child psychiatrist Bruce Perry, it struck me that love is the ultimate trump card. He talks about how the severity of the abuse doesn’t matter as much as whether or not a victim has a caregiver that can give them the unlimited, pure love that they need. The same goes for therapy. For change to occur, theories and homework take a back seat to the relationship with your therapist. This just sums up how much power love has and the lasting difference it can make in people’s lives.
So above all, family ninjas show their love to one another. I know it makes a big difference in my life when I focus on love instead of criticism.
Family Ninjas Don’t Give Up
It’s really easy to look at everyone else and think they have it all figured out but that we can’t seem to do what we know we should do! Trust me, as a social worker I know everything I should do but it’s hard to do it when I’m tired and in the midst of a melt-down. But that’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes! Know that you aren’t alone! We’re all going to say words we wish we hadn’t or get involved in habits that aren’t healthy sometimes. I believe a major difference between strong families and not-so-strong families is the strong families get back up and keep trying when they make mistakes.
Going along with this thought, please be compassionate with yourself! Too often we focus on our failures instead of our strengths. We don’t have to be Supermom or Superdad to be a super mom or a super dad.
Enlist in the Family Ninjas Bootcamp!
Be sure to check out our Family Ninjas Bootcamp! We have a month long activity calendar. Every day focuses on a different activity or value that will hopefully strengthen your family.