Author’s note to newcomers: Our family of origin—or the culture in our own homes—has a considerable impact on our work, our rest, the lens through which we interpret relationships, our kids, our conversation, our spirituality, even our sex life (betcha didn’t think you’d find them in there!).
Plus, I just think it’s plain interesting to understand where we came from—as someone who lives in a different culture that’s helped me better understand my own. It’s helped me be more gracious, more wise, more self-knowledgeable (which helps me be more aware in my relationship with God), and hopefully more holy.
Remember when using these to imagine tacking on the end of every question, Why? and How did this affect you and/or your family?
- How has forgiveness—or lack of forgiveness—affected your family? How does your family treat grudges—or extend grace?
- What strengths have been passed down through your family for generations? I’ve got hard workers, devout Christianity, and Midwestern hospitality on both sides, from at least all four grandparents.
- What weaknesses have been passed through your family for generations? (Have trouble with this one? Sometimes your greatest strength is simultaneously your greatest weakness.)
Family genograms are one way that family therapists uncover relational, medical, and psychological patterns through family lines—like a family tree on steroids. Check out this fascinating tool here.
- What methods does your family typically use to communicate?
- Who typically initiates communication in your family? Who doesn’t?
- You may have taken a personality profile before; often the testers recommend that you look at one area of your life (home, work, etc.) for the test, because your profile can alter in different environments. How does your personality profile with your family of origin differ from your profile at work? From the family you live with now?
- Who is typically most frugal in your family? Most generous? Most impulsive?
- Who in your family is most expressive? Most reserved?
- How do your parents complement one another in their gifting and personalities?
- Who is most likely to celebrate with you when you get good news? Who’s a great listener in your family?