We are in a series called My Purposeful Planning where we explore different areas for setting goals and planning to be purposeful and intentional in our lives. We’ve already explored Spiritual Goals and Personal Goals so you can read those if you missed them.
Today we are discussing Family Goals. Family Goals are those that are directly related to being intentional and purposeful with your family and children. I know that many moms have these ideals ingrained in them for how we want to be as parents and how we want to raise our children. But sometimes our ideals may be very different from what we’re actually doing. It’s easy to say that we want to be life-giving and encouraging to our children, but are we really doing that? What about when your child acts out impulsively or has an emotional outburst (which they often tend to do)… do you then turn around an have an emotional outburst of your own? Or are you able to be objective, respond in love, and get to the heart of the matter for why your child may be acting out in the way that they are? It’s true that we are often harshest with those we are the most comfortable with, but we cannot let this be an excuse to crush the spirits of our children. I’m speaking to myself here too, because it is a hard, hard thing to learn and to implement. And then every child is different, so there’s also that to think about and consider. Parenting is not easy.
We do need to be students of our children and learn more about them so that we can understand them. We need to see them as the God that created them sees them. Learn their personality types, and see the potential in them. Remember that we are not just raising children – we are raising future adults. Despite what we may say sometimes about wanting this to last forever (am I the only one?), we don’t want them to stay immature children forever. We want them to grow and learn and mature, and we have a vital role in helping them do that.
How can we nurture our children in their unique, God-given personalities and encourage them in God’s specific plans for their lives? We reed to realize how important our job as a parent is. While we won’t be perfect (none of us are), we can still plant the seed in our children – the seed of faith, teaching them who God is and who He made them to be. There are things we can do to water and fertilize it as we watch them learn and grow into the beautiful creations that God made them. We have to be intentional and do our best to plant these seeds in them and watch it grow and Everything we teach them now will develop them into the adults that they will one day be. We must also be careful not to squash the spirits and personalities of the perfectly designed children God gave us (Have you seen the movie Inside Out?), no matter how much they frustrate us.
Family Goals Ideas:
- Be positive. Always. To and about your children. Don’t call them bad. Don’t nag them for how terrible they did on their math test. Don’t embarrass them by yelling about how they missed the catch that was thrown to them on the field.
- Pray over your children, not just for them. They need to hear you talk to God about them. This is your opportunity to model prayer for them and to teach them how to take any joys or concerns they might have to God.
- Establish a family devotional or Bible study time with your kids. Read a Bible story and discuss what it means and how it applies to their lives.
- Practice grace-based discipline. We should never embarrass them by disciplining them in public or to be so harsh with them that they are scared of us. The goal is to help them learn from their misbehavior and disobedience by discussing it with them. Talk about why it was wrong and what they could do differently next time. Yes, sometimes discipline will include a consequence, but maybe not always. We do need to always let them know that we love them, and end discipline on a positive note.
- Learn your child’s personality type. Understanding them better will help you parent them better on so many levels.
- Learn your child’s love language. While all children need love from all of the love languages, they usually have one that they have a preference to the most in which they receive love best.
- Plan family fun activities to build those life memories with them.
- Plan one-on-one dates with your children to hang out with them and let them know how special they are to you.
- Embrace celebrations with your kids and your family – whether it’s for good grades or a good game or just for handling a tough situation at school in the right way. Celebrate the good, and praise the positive.
My Current Family Goals:
I’m studying the personality types of my children, and this is something that has helped me tremendously. I used to have trouble with understanding my oldest, who is the complete opposite of me. I just didn’t get why he wanted to talk the heads off of strangers and why he was always so bored if we stayed home day after day. I’ve learned to appreciate this about him, because he helps me to talk to people I would have never been brave enough on my own to approach.
My second son’s personality is very similar to mine. I’m trying to notice the ways that we are similar and think about how things would make me feel so I can better understand the way he feels at times. For example, one day he acted out at school, and as I was talking to him about it, he told me that he did so because a friend had colored on his paper. I realized that this would have upset me too if it were me. I would have wanted a new page and to start over. So I gave him grace and understanding, but then I also gave him ways that he could have better handled the situation, such as telling his teacher the reason for his frustration, and then she could have helped him to have better self-control in the moment of frustration.
It’s not always easy for me though. Sometimes I can’t easily understand why he’s getting upset, or why he acts out so harshly to somethings so minor and small. I don’t have all the answers, and I think that sometimes parenting gives us challenges that we don’t understand. It’s why I pray about these challenges often and ask God to give me wisdom for how to handle it. I pray about it with him too. I look for the positive things that I can praise so that life isn’t always a lesson to be learned. I don’t want him to see himself in a negative aspect, because this is the way God made him, and He made him this way for a reason. I thank God often for this child, for his personality, and that He gave him to me to be his mama!
I’m also really glad that I’m able to stay at home with my kids and homeschool them. While this provides an extra challenge for my oldest, who wants to be around people, it’s going to be much needed for my second son when it’s time for him to start school. I feel like he faces more challenges than most kids his age do, and I’m researching and learning ways that I can help him. I can homeschool him and teach him in ways that are great for his personality type and his learning style – it’s not me trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
In our homeschool and in life in general, I really try to focus on things that really matter – shaping them into awesome adults one day. We study Apologetics, to give them a Biblical worldview and show them why we believe what we believe. We learn catechisms about who God is and our our purpose in life. Another thing we do is with our boys is “Knight Training” which teaches them the lost art of Chivalry. This shows them how to be men – how to live a life of honor and integrity.