Thursday, October 30

Five Year Plans and Parenting

I remember during one of our endless, swooning, long talks over the phone during our dating days, sitting sideways on one of the shag green stairs in the apartment where I lived with my Mom and sis, phone cord stretched through the kitchen and round the corner, never again to coil properly again, that Sean started talking about his five year plan. Five year plan? I think that was the first I had ever heard of it.Keeping in mind that "man makes plans but the Lord orders his steps" (totally paraphrased, I'm sure), I think it is a wonderful idea for couples to sit down and have an idea of what goals they have in mind and then break it down into feasible itty bitty bits.

For example, one of our goals is to raise our children and have them turn out to be solid, functional human beings who have a growing relationship with the Lord and contribute to the betterment of their world. And I just pulled that off the top of my head so I am pretty sure there would be a more eloquent way of phrasing it. But there it is.A pretty nice goal, to be sure, but how can we see it accomplished? What steps do we need to take? How will we know we are on the right track? All of a sudden, simply because we have this goal in mind, we have a screen to filter things through. Education, media, friends, toys, games, family vacations, discipline - all the thousands of choices that make up a child's life become important and scrutinized because we have an end goal in mind.

Make plans for the day to day, month to month, and year to year regarding parenting:

1.) Spend daily time reading the Bible and bringing all things before God in prayer. I know that this focuses my attention and makes me more a more purposeful and patient parent.
2.) Build or get involved with a community of parents who are purposefully parenting and have common goals.
3.) Utilize available parenting resources, for example Family life Today, Cloud and Townsend, learn to love reading (books on cd are great during housework!). Run everything you read through the filter of God's Word.
4.)Set specific goals for each child for the coming year. These can be educational, but I think at a young age it is more important to focus on goals instilling morality and character. If you want to see a child who is a sluggish worker become more diligent - what will you do? What will this look like? How will you know the goal has been accomplished? Buy a $1 notebook and write this all out.
5.) Encourage healthy friendships for your children.
Sean and I have been praying about one of our children finding a close best friend. As our children grow, I want our home to be the place where all of their friends want to be. That is an enviroment we can begin cultivating right now.
6.) Support your local church in these areas. Get involved! Be the dad who befriends the kids from single family homes, invite young couples over, encourage tired moms!
Do. Something. Make it not all about you.

In the past we have set goals for marriage, finances (Dave Ramsey!), areas of service, giving, health, business and parenting. All this week, I'll be sharing a glimpse into what these goals look like. Leave a comment and share yours with us too.


Beth said...

I LOVE goal setting, but in my life goals generally revolve around surviving the day (laundry, feeding, schooling, peacemaking, diapering, cleaning, etc.).

There are also goals of home improvements, but because we want to pay the house off, most extra money goes towards the principal before unnecessary projects.

Whenever I open the Bible, I am reminded that goals here on Earth will pass away. My house will not be here forever, nor will my body. When I put goals into an eternal perspective, raising my children to know Christ becomes overwhelmingly important.

I continue to enjoy your blog, thank you. :-) Beth

amy said...

My husband was a pastor in CA, and we moved with the intention of planting a church. We just sat down last week and began our Two-year plan for the church. It will be so much work and I am so looking forward to it!

Jen said...

Thankyou! I have 2 girls, right now;) And, it's I've been noticing that great things don't always "just happen".....they take planning and work. I'm not a natural planner--neither is my husband! Your thoughts are appreciated- Jen

Charity Grace said...

Hannah, you are literally the first "big family homeschooling" person I've ever heard whose goal is a functional family. I'm sure there are many who are aiming at functionality, but most of what I hear (and read) centers around lifestyle choices...Whether girls should wear jeans or go to college, whether women should have home businesses, whether husbands should work from home or whether babies should be born there.

I find that a lot of well-intentioned families go down really unhealthy paths as they do good things...Simply because they are not spiritually and emotionally whole. So thanks for your focus on wholeness as opposed to dysfunction. It's refreshing.

Anonymous said...

I just love your blog. I know I think these things, but you put them into words so well!! I have been thinking so much about the goals and dreams my hubby and I have for our family lately (especially anticipating another child soon). Thanks for the encouragement in this area:) Thinking about the long term and having a "five year plan" always helps me to get out of survival mode and look at the big picture of what God might have for our family. Thanks for sharing:)

Anonymous said...

I really find your blog entertaining and I love your photo journalism. I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Julia. :) Can't wait until your next entry. Take care.

Cana said...

I think goal setting is very important for everyone to discipline. Helping kids to set goals will help them develop healthily.

mandi said...

my husband and i have been talking/praying about these exact things lately. he has always been an 'opportunity' will present itself kinda guy, but god has been leading him into specific areas to lead our family. i am so thankful for his obedience and willing to be refined. that in itself is a shining example to me!

for me- one way to line up all i do is under the guidance of 'seek first the kingdom of god and HIS righteousness'. and though i often fall short of seeking him first, i find that when i am looking towards this i am more eternally minded, less temporary minded.

thanks for starting this dialogue!

Sommer said...

Hannah~You are one of my most favorite places to go to. You are so gentle, and yet you speak such great truths! Thank you!

My hubby and I have never really sat down and made a "plan" although we discuss our desires for our family and life. I think it is a great idea to actually discuss this in a more focused, perhaps on paper kind of way. Thank you for the encouragement!

Lots of love,