Do you have family traditions? Do you ever make New Years resolutions? For a few years we have been setting family goals each January. We love to involve the whole family as much as possible. This has become a new family tradition that we love.
Before January rolls around, we, as parents, sit down and discuss what God has put on our hears and minds for the year to come. Things we want to learn more about, things we want to see happen or change in our lives, commitments we want to make, things we want to teach our children. It becomes a brainstorming list of..”when all is said and done- at the end of the year what do we want to BE SURE we accomplish?” Each year we do it, it causes us to look farther into our future and our children’s future. We ask ourselves, What do we want for our children 10 years (or so) from now and how can we work toward that?
Then on New Years Day, after a hearty helping of gooey cinnamon rolls, we stay at the dinning room table and start talking as a family. Sean hangs huge paper on the wall and we take notes, list ideas, and more. This year we provided categories for our children to think in. (lest we end up with a long list of yearly goals like making chocolate chip cookies everyday!!) We chose 5 categories that we, as parents, had prayed through and committed to for the year to come. Our 5 were:
1- LOVING OTHERS (practical things we can do to love others the way God created them in His image)
2- DISCIPLESHIP (opportunities to learn new things so that we can teach others wisely)
3- SERVANT LEADERSHIP (opportunities for diligence, independence, responsibility & service)
4- EDUCATION (areas in which we want to grow both individually and collectively)
5- RELATIONSHIPS (to either start, build, or continue building)
That was our list- you could choose anything- less or more- but it was helpful for us to have a structure to build our thoughts from. Then, after brainstorming, we leave it up on the wall and take the next few days (or more) to think it over, discuss with other family members, and pray earnestly about God’s will for our family and our willingness to commit to these things.
In some of the categories, people have individual goals and in others we have family goals. They aren’t huge and lofty- they are practical yet life changing goals. Sometimes, we as parents have a goal that we set before a child, and sometimes the child has a goal for the whole family. Sometimes a child comes up with a goal then a sibling has an idea for turning it into something the whole family can do. For example, some of our kids love to plant flowers. Well as parents we want our kids to be able to enjoy that WHILE they are learning other things too. So we asked the group “ how can we make this a family opportunity for servant leadership? SO the kids want to grow colorful flowers from seed (perennials) and learn all about it as part of schooling. Then, on our “All Church Work Day”, they want to plant them all over the church property since we have so many people that come to our church property for the enjoyment of the land. A way to bless people with Gods creation.
GOALS THAT CAN “GROW” OVER THE YEAR—Here is a simple example: Our church already serves at the Hartford Rescue Mission once a month. It is mostly attended and organized by our church youth group. Sean has been a few times and he had a desire to involve our kids. Knowing that would take time to learn since many of our kids are younger or have varying abilities in a setting such as a Rescue Mission, we decided to make it a family goal that “grows”.
Sean will take our kids “Noah’s arc style” (two at a time) to go with Daddy and “learn the ropes”. Learning how to act, how to interact, where are my personal gifts best suited for service, etc. Then, once ALL the kids have built individual confidence in their servant leadership abilities, we will attend as a whole family. That may take two months, or it make take the better part of a year. We are OK with that. It is not our goal to get everyone there as quick as possible, it is our goal to teach them to be confident servant leaders for God. We will get there when each child is ready and able. Oh but what a glorious day as a family that will be!!!
THAT is why we set family goals. Without planning that out, we probably wouldn’t do it (to be honest) or maybe just some of us would go. But we desire to serve together as a whole family, because God put us all together for a reason and we want to keep it that way!