When to Begin a Family Vision
Parenting is hard. As our children were growing up, we knew that our two were not the same - they were unique. One loved structure and having all the details listed before taking action. The other child embraced detours, and felt empowered with a loose framework filled with options. Raising these two different children called for different parenting techniques.
In spite of the differences, as parents we wanted these two different individuals to operate day-to-day with the same values that we held high. We wanted them each to develop a deep and strong identity as followers of Jesus. Ultimately, only through grace, we trust we were successful.
We’re guessing your parenting experience isn’t much different than ours --- there’s every chance that each of your children are unique and different from the others. Your parenting will need to shift and change even as you seek to honor God while raising these little blessings. But what needs to remain the same?
Pointing to a family vision, mission and shared values can be what remains the same in parenting each child.
It’ll ensure each member of your family is ready to go in the same direction, relying on the same values as “rumble strips” along the way.
Have you and your spouse developed a vision, a mission and values for your family?
As parents, you’re influencing your children’s direction each day - you’re leading them.
Ken Blanchard, co-author of the book Lead Like Jesus Revisited, has said that leadership is about going somewhere, with a clear vision on how to get there and values to guide the process.
How can you empower your children to move forward to who you want them to be if you haven’t set out a vision to get excited about? Which values will your children use to guide their day-to-day interactions if you haven’t talked about your own values with them?
One of the best things you can do for your family is to experience a Lead Like Jesus Encounter. In fact, if your children are teens, bring them along. We’ve had some wonderful discussions with teens during the Encounters we’ve done. These discussions have also opened up the eyes of their parents to some real issues and concerns in the hearts of the teens.
Developing a vision, mission and values for your family is a good beginning to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction.
It’s never too early to begin - even if you’re cradling your newborn, days after coming home from the hospital. It’s never too late - even if your teens are heading off to college next year. If you and your spouse are going to develop a vision, mission and values for the family - now is the best time!
Maintaining energy to serve and lead your family.
But then real life happens, with all the joys and stresses of raising babies to toddlers, and middle-schoolers to high-schoolers, and then supporting as your young adults go to college.
How do you maintain that energy to continue to serve and lead your family?
That’s where using Jesus as your role model - especially as parents - is important.
- Making sure your heart is right, and exalting God only, not edging God out.
- Using Scripture to understand life issues and apply it liberally.
- Making it a habit to spend time alone with God and to hear from Him.
- Making prayer a first priority, and not a last resort.
- Developing and supporting healthy relationships.
- Extending grace, admitting mistakes, and modeling forgiveness.
- Providing encouragement.
Yes. Raising your children feels like it will take forever. But it doesn’t. Before you know it, your children are adults. They choose their own path in life. Perhaps they even begin raising their own families.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could look back at their life as they grew up and know the values they’d been taught and used were what supported the vision you had put forward as a family?
It’s not too late. Begin now.
Written by Robert and Lori Ferguson