For our purposes, “calm” refers to a child and family who are able to access their natural born state of calm awareness and well being. It is not a stifled, uptight position but rather an awareness of being in the flow of life, an inborn trait that has been incrementally lost by the rush of technology. This loss is only temporary as we neurologically and physically catch up with all the sweeping changes that have occurred in the last couple of decades.

Given the likely reality that these ongoing cycles of growth and change will continue, we need to better prepare ourselves and children to integrate fast change. Interestingly, the answer lies in an ability to readily access a calm state and to operate from this calm state versus a frenzied, frantic state of overwhelm.

By identifying to yourself and your children this desire for a calm family, for yourself and for them, you begin to set the stage and expectations to have just that: A calm family culture.

Some of the values that families often want to represent are honesty, respect for parents and each other, helpfulness, academic achievement, responsibility, cooperation, faith and hard work. Of course, the list is as long and varied as there are families on the planet. Our children are much more likely to follow these values when they are clear and when we model them, not perfectly, but reasonably well and consistently.

The issue of values leads us to a calm family culture and how to create one. Around the world, many parents are looking for a way to calm things down and offer their children opportunities to experience the richness of life, not necessarily in financial terms, but in terms of observance and appreciation for a life well lived.

Setting up regular routines that include reciprocal activities like eating together, playing together, spending time together in quieter, enjoyable ways is the first step to creating your own culture of calm.


Ahwatukee Foothills resident Debra Onsager is a therapist and entrepreneur with a practice in Tempe ( Reach her at

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