Having strong family ties is an element of identity, meaning, strength and security: untold numbers of families use the model effectively. With this in mind, we begin our final element of parenting control and effectiveness. Many parents use the following method to varying degrees. Most individuals don’t have a name for it, many do – I call it RAM Time:
RAM Time is one of the most effective methods used to develop a strong, secure, and successful family which chooses to do that which is right and proper for themselves, their community, and the rest of the nation.
- Some of you will elect to begin RAM time sooner or later; however, the ideal time is to begin on or before your Little One’s first birthday. “RAM Time” is simply Rituals/Rules And Morality guidance. A sense of right and wrong (morality) has to begin at home. It is at this time that your family, headed by you, the parent(s), should plan family code-of-conduct meetings. Under RAM time participation, at least three things can be set up ahead of time: rituals, rules of behavior, and consequences. Of the three, Consequences is the most important because if the rituals/rules are not followed, the individual will pay a price to the rest of the family – not to a corrupt gang, or a band of Law Enforcement Officials (LEO).
The following guide is by no means “cut in stone.” It is simply an outline, a sketch, a framework of a means of energizing and planting the seed of a strong family unit: a unit that protects and supports all that is sacred for you and your Little One.
RAM Time is the beginning of a formal family routine; it is designed to merge the life of your Little One into the routine of your total family and community. The most appropriate setting is at the dinner table, and the rituals should be specific. Establish a definite time for your “RAM-time dinner hour.” If you are fortunate enough to provide it daily, that’s fabulous — do it. However, many of you may only be able to squeeze it in once a week — that’s a minimum. If that’s where you stand, no problem — do it. Also, we are aware that many of you are busy, but you’ll be surprised at how effective it will be to plan an entire week’s “dinner-hour-meals” in advance – nothing elaborate: even if it’s sandwiches every day (on the weekends solicit suggestions from the rest of the family — no special individual dishes).
Everyone will partake of the same menu-items during the “dinner hour.”
Point of interest: have you ever heard of a homeless family? You only hear of individuals who are homeless. Families always tend to bond together and share their success and failure. Life is full of challenges, many of us cannot avoid failing to measure up to some degree. This site is designed to increase the likelihood that each individual of the family will enjoy success to a greater degree than ever before.
Let’s continue. We were talking about the dinner menu. Every Sunday night (or whichever day ends your week), post the menu on the “frig” (or anyplace that all can easily see) as a reminder to all (it might sound somewhat regimented, but it has proven to work wonders).
In some instances, you may want to designate specific days for specific kinds of meals. When I was a child, we lived in “the projects.” Nevertheless, my family enjoyed fish on Friday, sandwiches on Saturday, and chicken and potato salad on Sunday. During the rest of the week my mom offered practically anything and everything.
First let’s address Rituals. There are two parts to the Rituals routine.
Designed to inculcate morality and ethics in your entire family, particularly your Little One. The way you do that is to ask just three questions followed by why (call it mentoring or whatever you will, but do it at least once per week), incidentally, “Nothing” as an answer to each question is not an option. For example:
1) “What did you do today (this week)?” Follow that question with a comment, such as, “That sounds like it might be fun: what made you think of that?”
2) “What did you do that caused you to feel the most satisfaction?” Again, follow up with a comment such as, “Do you think you’d like to do more of that?”
3) “What did you do that you kind of regret (maybe it made you sad/happy)?” Each question should include a related followup question or comment. In the case of the third question, you might say, “If you were in that situation again, have you thought of a way to avoid/prolong/repeat it?”
This ritual is designed to share a different culture with your little “Bundle of Joy.” If you are wealthy or well off, interrelate with a family who struggles to make ends meet. If your family struggles to make ends meet, interrelate with a family who is well off or wealthy (Culture-sharing should be completed at least once each month).
The following are five suggested RAM “Time Rituals” to be completed at the dinner table.
Ritual: (Part A)
1) TV and radio (except background music) are to be avoided.
2) Eating by any individual should be started only after all are at the dinner table, and (this may be controversial) eating should begin only after the head of the family has given thanks that there is a meal to be had. The thanking is usually religious in nature (“thank
God”), but it does not have to be (the atheist can thank whatever or whomever he believes is responsible for his existence). The important thing is to guide your Little One in the path of understanding that there is a “force” higher than he is, that has allowed him and his family to be fortunate enough to have
life-sustaining products available for their consumption.
3) Interruptions such as phone calls or visitors should be postponed until after “RAM Time” has ended.
4) Everyone should remain at the dinner table until all are finished and the head of the family agrees that “RAM Time” has ended,
5) (this is the most important part of “RAM Time”),
Everyone must participate in communicating with each other (not
just talking, but really communicating).
The question might be asked, what should the family talk about? Actually, when you talk to your infant, what you say is not terribly important. Whether you like it or not, you teach your little one about right and wrong all the time by what you do, and how what you say relates to what you do. The point is, it is important that you be consistent: that your words match your actions. Also, it is important that the family seeks to develop the habit of communicating with each other. When successful, you’ll be surprised at how well things will work out.
Having said that, let me add one critical point. Regardless of the topic, the stance should be from a positive point of view. Your household should identify failure, but only as a learning tool. For example, a person could be victimized simply because he was in the wrong place or time. An interesting and thought-provoking discussion could be started by suggesting how a situation could have happened and how the resulting problem could have been avoided (maybe take a news item from TV or newspaper). The point is, the only thing that really matters is success instead of failure, heroes instead of victims, courage instead of cowardice, desire to achieve instead of acquiescence toward that which tends toward victimization.
Rituals (Part B)
This ritual was taken from just a handful of good parents: however, agree or disagree, you might consider introducing it to your family to share. It is a matter of sharing the practical application of a different culture or lifestyle. As a rule, it should be started with your Little One, but not prior to nine months of age. If your position in life, in terms of financial resources, is middle class to wealthy, the culture-sharing should be among the poor to poorest of the poor. If your position is poor, the culture-sharing should be among the middle class to wealthy.
The sharing can easily be accomplished by attending services at a church, synagogue, mosque, or any house of worship. At an opportune time, usually before or after the services, introduce yourself and your Little One to one or more members of the congregation who has a child of pre-school age. The objective is to develop an association with a different family who enjoys a different lifestyle and/or culture than you. The other family may have more than one child within their household that fits the standard of your objective; nevertheless, it is important that you include only your little “Bundle of Joy.” If your position is that you have more than one pre-schooler, you might consider taking the other one(s) to a different house of worship and completing the same action.
After completing a session of Part B Rituals, the RAM Time dinner table might tend to be even more interesting, informative and educational than usual.
One last thing about Rituals: they should apply to each family member and/or guest(s).
There should also be rules of behavior that should apply at all times including “RAM Time.” The following are six suggested rules of behavior, each of which is stated as a prohibition:
1) Lying/cheating is prohibited
(Reason: the liar becomes a victim of the person to whom he lies);
2) Crude and/or profane language is prohibited
(Reason: use of such language in formal settings indicates lack of breeding and intelligence); on the other hand, keep in mind that this
is a routine that is designed to secure family and community togetherness. Use of crude and/or profane language might be part of your culture and it might be included as part of your survival mode. If that is true, acknowledge it, at the same time keep in mind that your goal is to build a strong fortress of successful family values.
3) Physical contact with the intent of hurting another person without cause is prohibited.
(Reason: it indicates weakness and insecurity, plus it could increase the number of people who may want to harm you);
4) Taking another person’s possessions without permission is prohibited.
(Reason: that is stealing: winners don’t steal, they earn);
5) Rewards must be earned.
(Reason: production of assets builds character, integrity and wealth);
6) Inappropriate behavior is prohibited; it is defined as violation of any one or all the previous five prohibitions.
Finally: appropriate behavior should be established and defined, and agreed upon by the entire family).
Rules can easily be established during the beginning stages of RAM Time, or parents can establish the rules and hone them to fit their family needs and purpose.
Now comes the matter of consequences (Part C). The establishment of consequences is probably the most important part of the rituals/rules saga, they should be established as an agreed upon result of unacceptable behavior. You might ask, “Agreed upon by whom?” The answer is, agreed upon (without coercion) by each family member before an incident happens (that means that they must be general and all-encompassing).
Keep this important point in mind: your actions of following through, or failing to follow through on these rituals/rules/consequences, sends a powerful and vital learning message to your Little One, a message that lasts a lifetime. However, one point of caution: don’t be so black and white, so died-in-the-wool stodgy, that you can’t be reasonable and empathetic. On the other hand, don’t be so liberal that you accept any excuse as satisfactory! Nearly every excuse is merely that – an excuse (unacceptable).
Maybe you believe in God and maybe you don’t. Whichever the case, I think you will appreciate the way Scott Cooper talks about right and wrong in his book titled, “God at the Kitchen Table.” Of particular interest is the section titled, “Informal conversations: Right and Wrong.”
RAM Time is an important foundation for family togetherness, security, and problem-solving. If each family member participates with the intent of communicating, the result can be extremely effective. The above guidelines, or suggestions, are general but very effective. They may fit your needs exactly; on the other hand, it is you who must establish the rules and Rituals that fit your environment and needs. If you are seeking a moral and close-knit family (the essence of wealth and abundance), successful parents have proven that there is nothing more productive than RAM Time; it works, and it works well.
In fact, not only does it work well under “normal” conditions, it works even better when things are out of kilter. For example, say a member of the household is unemployed: RAM Time is an excellent stage to discuss plans and procedures to obtain employment. Also, discussions of what went right and wrong during the previous time-span, and how the time could have been better spent, or how the plan could be better implemented or arranged during a future encounter are incredibly effective. The marvelous impact is that open discussions strengthen each member of the unit as well as the whole family unit.
Under any conditions, RAM time relationships produce a closer knit family, a more secure, and more successful individuals: you and your Little One will benefit enormously.
Before we continue, I have a little to say about “Power of the Parent” and our current society. If you don’t mind, please continue by accessing that section.