Part One: The Family Name

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

In today’s podcast, we talk about creating culture with the Family Name. We used our family name to instill identity and culture into our kids. 

We are beyond excited to (re)introduce our family and share the heart behind starting Crazy Cool Family 

It all started with our oldest daughter Mollie, who gave us a crazy idea, to write a book! Our book is called Crazy Cool Family. Each kid has a voice in the book and in today’s podcast! They answer our questions about family and growing up in the Manning house 

In our book, we talk about rethinking the way you do family. We specifically focus on pursuing God, building relationships, and creating culture. 

Creating Culture is the Focus Today. Let’s Go!  

We start by introducing our kids from oldest to youngest. Some are married, some are in school, but all of them love Jesuseach other, and us! 

Who Are the Manning Kids?  

  • Mollie: oldest, married, and the one in charge  
  • Madeline: second, married and loves to play basketball (her words) 
  • Macy: third, married, and brings the emotional dynamics and fun games 
  • McKenzie: middle, brings the depth, and one-on-one intentionality 
  • Michael: oldest boy, in college, and bridges the older and younger siblings  
  • Maddox: second to last, semi-new driver and loves to explore  
  • McCade: baby of family, middle school, Maddox is his main parent (his words) 

What Do You Think About Being a Manning? What Was Different About Your Childhood?  

“We learned early on how hanging out with each other was the first option. Mom and Dad always said our siblings were our God-given best friends! They come first!”  – Mollie  

“We also did not spend the night at people’s houses. Our parents wanted us together under one roof and since none of us got to do it, we were okay with it.” – Mollie 

“Thankfully the younger crew (Macy-McCade) had less strict parents. We got to spend the night, but we had the rule of no double sleepovers (2 nights in a row).” – Michael  

One thing we did as a Manning family is encouraged the idea of “standing alone, together.” Suzanne found creative ways to illustrate to our kids how standing alone is healthy, good, and God’s design. She would remind them we are set apart and God gave us each other to stand alone, together.  

The fruit of this culture revealed itself as the kids grew up. Each kid benefited from their sibling’s good reputation. In school, church, and other areas of influence, the older kids chose to live set apart lives (not perfect, but different). This gave the younger kids favor and confidence to stand alone in a world that screams, “fit in.”  

Remember parents, kids don’t know what they don’t know. We get to go before them and help cultivate their view of the world.  

Each family is different, and you create healthy rhythms and boundaries for your family by investing time and energy into your culture.   

Using the family name to build your family’s culture helps kids learn good from bad, or right from wrong. It gives you and them common language.  

What Other Things Did Mannings Do? 

  1. Intentionality: We found creative ways to build family culture 
  2. Open Conversations: We were ready and willing to talk faith, politics, and anything we wanted to opened up about 
  3. Experiences: We kept a balance between protecting innocence and being honest about the world we live in

Remember parents, the goal is your kid’s heart. Everything we do is in pursuit of them. We are called to lead them to Jesus.

The heart is connected to their identity and we can use the family name to help them see the significance they have in the family God has placed them in.  

Here’s a Few Encouragements for You!  

Encourage Creative Play! 

“It creates a lifelong ability to create fun in any season of life! It’s worth it to pull your kids away from screens and help them develop creativity and fun!” – Macy 

Intentionality Starts at Age 0!  

“Phrases, declarations, concepts from growing up still go through my head because I’ve learned them my whole lifeSpeak out the culture you want to see and believe in faith it will happen!” – Madeline 

Failing is Progress, Never Forget Grace!  

“We knew Mom couldn’t play with them 24/7 and neither can you, parents! Give yourself grace if you’ve had a hard few days, months, or seasons! Today is a new day and you can start being intentional today!” – Mollie 

Talk About Spiritual Things with Your Kids 

Drip spiritual concepts into your family and allow the Holy Spirit to grow the seeds.  

Mollie shared a great example about Bash disobeying by moving cans and ultimately hurting his little fingers. Even though he is 1 ½, she shared with him the power of listening to authority and how disobedience pushes us outside God’s protection.  

He is so small and barely understands all her words, but she faithfully planted the truth in his heart. We invite you to speak truth in love over your families and allow God to work.  

“Finally, building relationships can be hard, but keep it simple.” -The brothers 

Don discovered this to be true with the boys. He saw doors open when he simply learned what they liked to do and joined in! Here’s a couple things the boys said happened when Don did this:  

It opens the door for deeper conversations.” – Maddox  

Meeting us where we are shows he cares.” – McCade 

“Dads! Just do what we do, no matter what! Even if it’s a hard work out and you’re 50!” – Michael 

“By being with them, creates a foundation for spiritual conversations and it’s worth it!”- Don 

Culture is Contagious 

We know it takes time and energy to build culture, but it is worth it!  

When family culture is prevalent, the older ones kids start sharing with the younger siblings. You may hear your older son/daughter say, “Hey! We are best friends. I am coming with you!” or “(Family Name Here) don’t say those words.”  

We believe in you! We promise building your family name is valuable beyond belief!  

How can you start intentionally speaking into your family today? Pick 1 or 2 ways and do it! 

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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