I often complain about American culture.

I was born here. I’m patriotic. “I’m proud to be an American,” just as much as Lee Greenwood, because at least we know we’re free, right?

What is most interesting about American culture is that we have none. Our favorite traditions are borrowed from other cultures around the world. Our favorite foods, most-loved holidays–none of them belong to us, to me.

Sometimes the only thing that feels like it’s mine is the freedom America affords us.

But my culture-less home is exposed when that freedom is threatened, changed, or comes at a cost that seems too high.

I realize this is not only true of America but anywhere. You can be plucked out of our familiar and comfortable culture anytime. You can be hit with change like a ton of bricks when governmental bottoms exchange governmental seats.

There are about 13,000 Adventists currently displaced from their own homes, churches, and culture of Ukraine as they seek refuge in other countries. This is only a tiny fraction of the estimated seven million Ukrainians displaced.

If you asked, these people would tell you that nothing is certain. Many are glad to have escaped, yet they have no clothes, no food, and no home. They escaped with their lives and have to rebuild now–something many never expected.

The prodigal son of Luke 15 experienced culture shock and forgot who he was. A son.

I’m not comparing the man-child in Luke 15 with refugees from war-torn countries. He prematurely asked his father for his inheritance (while he was still alive!), then left home to squander his fortune, only to end up a servant, caring for animals he deemed unsuitable even to touch. He was not forced from home as so many are.

No, I will compare the shock of moving from one culture to another without meaning to or being prepared. Being forced out of your culture, one thing or another forces change onto your culture. What can you do then?

How do you remember who you are and where you’re from? I realize maybe I’ve put my identity in the wrong for too many years. If you want to protect your family’s identity no matter what happens, you can start by cultivating a strong culture of Christianity now.

Here are five ideas to cultivate a culture in your family–a Godly culture:

  1. Pray together daily. If you don’t pray at meals, start there. It doesn’t have to be too complicated to add prayer at mealtimes. If you don’t usually do this, don’t worry about the kids thinking you’re suddenly weird. Odds are, they’ll probably think it’s fantastic.
  2. Talk all the time. Talk to each other and about each other (lovingly). Talk about your fears, your plans, and your failures. Talk about your own spiritual experiences and beliefs. Talk and listen, respond and praise them for sharing every chance you get.
  3. Read the Bible daily. Even if you don’t read the Bible together daily or have the kids participate in any worship, you can cultivate a culture of Bible reading by letting them see you reading the Bible. Try this: leave your Bible open in an area where it’s usually not (like the dining table) and see if your kids ask questions about it.
  4. Find a community. Talk together to find out what everyone would like to find in a church and youth group. You may be surprised how much your kids want to be around and meet other kids on this crazy Christian walk. You may also be surprised how interested they are in finding other people asking the same Bible questions as they are…and also finding people who can answer some of them.
  5. Start with you. Your culture starts with you. You don’t have to pick up everything you’re given. For instance, a spirit of legalism may not be something you want for your own family culture. Take a look at it and sit it back down. Instead, sit alone and worship God alone, and then take that worship to your family. In other words, try on everything yourself before putting it on your family.

If you’re still not sure how or when to start a culture of Christianity in your home, check out this resource: Revival & Reformation and Your Family