An Interview with Steve Markel, founder of Families of Character
Endow is very excited to be offering Families of Character content to our audience to accompany women more easily to build virtue within their families! You can learn more about Families of Character here: https://www.familiesofcharacter.com and buy your own box here in our shop: https://endow-groups.myshopify.com/products/families-of-character-purpose-box.
Learn more about why this is important for you by Founder, Steve Markel in an interview below:
What is the Mission and Vision?
Our mission is to provide parents with a resource that help them develop virtues in themselves and their kids. The vision - “Virtuous families make a better world.”
What is a woman's role in your program? What is her impact in restoring a wounded culture though her family?
Even though the objective of Families of Character is to help families grow in joy and unity by developing virtues, our messaging is to moms. We have discovered that moms not only activate the child for growth in personal and spiritual development, she, the wife, activates her husband for growth. It’s not that the husband and father doesn’t want to get engaged, in fact he will. It's that the husband will not typically initiate the development of the family. Moms are the vital link to creating healthy families and healthy familiars strengthen the church and the culture. In Theology of the Body, Saint John Paul II says that women love unconditionally, by her very nature women are more likely to out serve her husband and children. St Monica, the mother of St Augustine, is a great model of this. Her unconditional love and service to her husband and son led them both into the church.
How have you seen women who have gone through FOC successfully activate her children and husband for growth?
A husband and father taking the Families of Character course was asked to give a short talk on his experiences. In his talk he said one of his biggest discoveries, after starting the course, is that he “wasn’t an intentional husband or father.” In fact what he realized is that he, “wasn’t even in the back seat of the car,” he was “in the trunk” as a husband and father. But now that they had been working on growing in virtues as a family for the last two years, that he “was now in the front seat with his wife.” Before he sat down the woman organizing the meeting said to him, “Did you start the course because you thought it would be good for your family?” He responded, “Are you kidding - my wife invited me in!” His wife is the one who realized the importance of the course for her family and suggested to her husband that as a family she thought they would benefit.
Standing where you are today, what's the most critical advice you could give a new mom and her husband?
Research shows the most important 2 years of a child’s life is from 0-2 years of age. When a child, in those first few years, senses the love of the couple for each other, the child feels safe and secure. This security promotes the child’s wellbeing and healthy development. We are happiest when we give of ourselves in doing good. Virtues are good acts done for others. When a person replaces a bad habit with a good habit it becomes an act of love and promotes joy and unity in relationships. “The deepest level of friendship is a friendship of virtue shared in common.” I would suggest that young couple begin early in their marriage by actively practicing growing in virtue.
What's an example of the impact this program has had on a modern family and their extended communities?
I have seen families residing under the same roof but living as individual siloes with almost indifference towards each other. When a family actively works at growing in virtue together it promotes joy and unity in the family. The family becomes a community.
One mother was telling me that her family was working on the virtue of temperance. Her young daughter said she was only going to spend money that month on buying what she needed and not what she wanted. The mother said she was shopping and her daughter saw something she had wanted, pulled it off the shelf and started pestering her, the mother. The mom turned around and simply reminded her, the daughter, that she thought that she was only going to spend money on what she needed. The mom said the daughter looked at the item for a few seconds and put it back. Another woman in the aisle, overhearing the conversation, came over and asked how she got her daughter to put it back because she would have been in a battle with her own children. What the young girl had done was attractive because it was good, she did it on her own.
Living a virtuous life is attractive to others it shows respect in actions. This not only helps families but the greater community.
Steve Markel is the CEO and founder of Families of Character. After working as Senior Vice President at American Funds for 21 years, he founded Families of Character. He's married with five children, and a growing number of grandchildren. Steve has a unique talent of meeting each person where they’re at and encouraging them to grow alongside him, a talent that inspired the creation of Families of Character. Find out more here.