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How to Turn Your Family From Frantic to Intentional!

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Do you ever find yourself spinning in circles? Do you ever find that your family is just out of control? And you don’t know where to start or what to do? Do you ever just work and think to yourself, nothing changed this year. Nothing is going to change. We didn’t work or improve anything for our family.

That’s normal! I think that everyone feels this way. But does that make it Ok? Do you ever think there’s gotta be another way.

I listened to a podcast from the Art of manliness about 1.5 years ago. The host Brett Mckay spoke to Patrick Lencioni, author of the "the 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family" and he addressed this very issue. He said:

"“society is facing a serious epidemic of chaos in families, the cost of which is both real and painful.” These costs appear in the forms of poor health, financial difficulties and even divorce, he notes"

After listening to that podcast, I was enlightened about this concept of intentional living. It changed my perspective on how to go about obtaining our goals as a family. It really brought a lot of our goals into focus of what we wanted to achieve, specifically in the next 6 months to 1 year time frame.

Lencioni's goals were to have:

“three big, simple questions” to “restore sanity and clarity to our families.”

Lencioni works with big companies and proposed that we could run our families like how we run companies in terms of having a purpose and a mission statement of the goals that we hope to accomplish. He trialed it with his family and found success.

I’ve mentioned Lencioni's Frantic Family Scoreboard before but today I’m going to focus on discussing how it specifically changed our life in regards to paying off our mortgage and then working towards our next goal. You can listen to the podcast interview here or you can read the book or you can do both. I did both. The book was easy to read and reads like a short story.

1. The first thing to do is determine what makes your family unique:

What makes our family unique?

Think about: what attracted you to your spouse in the first place?

What do you love about each other? Is it their creativity? courage? or sense of humour?

What is the foundation of who we are together as a family?

“What is that we believe to be so true in our family that we want to teach it and reinforce it in everything that we do”.

Don't include aspirational values that you don’t actually possess but wish that you did. Don't be too generic and say, "we are nice people."

Be Specific and list your core values about what makes your family unique.

Your Core Values: try to stick with approximately 3 values that are true and that you never want to violate even if people complain and get upset with you.

Example. If you stand up to a bully and people complain but courage is a core value than you can’t sacrifice it, just to appease people.

“What are the intentional decisions that you have made as a family, that will differentiate you from others and help you be successful and live the life that you want to live.”

Make sure to ensure that your core values are strategic like a business plan. You want to be able to be intentionally strategic instead of living with regret, chaos and becoming reactive.

For example, if you have decided to be a one income family and that is important to you, then ensure that you do everything to make that intentional choice work for you.

You have the power to decide ahead of time intentionally. What you don’t want to do
“Don’t just let the world dictate this to you and feel like a victim of circumstances” otherwise before you know you it you are living a life that you didn’t chose.

Make Intentional decisions and honour those decisions.

So when an opportunity arises, it's an easier decision. You can simply ask, does it line up with your core values?

Having firm core values, gives you peace and strategy because you’ve already made the decision in advance. Your values then become the plum-line in which to measure the daily decisions and circumstances against. Each family is going to have a different set of core values.

2. What is your Rallying cry: what is the single most important thing that we need to focus on as a family that we have to get done in the next 6 months to 1 year.

Example: prepare family for new baby, potty training, paying off debt, or saving up an emergency fund, etc.

In light of the recent school announcement about children in grades 4-12 wearing masks when necessary in schools and on buses starting this fall, I think it is even more important that families start this school year with a New Rallying Cry: how the heck are we going to make it through this new school year with this new protocol!?? and are we going to be victims of circumstance or make an intentional decision to either Homeschool or go to regular school with masks and have a great year despite the uncertainty?!

Our rallying cry this year is saving up money for the Mercyship and all the various activities that support that intentional activity.

(A) Defining Objectives: or goals

Can have several.

These help prepare and support you to achieve your rallying cry.

Your extended family members love you and want the best for you but you have to live your own life according to what is best for you and your family or you will end up living their life and not your own. You may have well-meaning and loving parents, friends or neighbours advising: you have to do this or you have to do that or your kids have to be involved in this club or they’ll never get into college or never get ahead? They are most likely following cultural norms and rules because "society says so."

For example: one of our core values is listening to God's voice.

We try to listen to hear God’s voice and follow God's purpose for our lives. We want to follow God’s purpose of why he put us here. Sometimes that includes not listening to conventional wisdom. Sometimes that includes living out in faith.

An additional Defining Objective for this year for us includes starting a mentoring program for boys ages 11-14 called B: Following Jesus. We want to be intentional this year about mentoring our oldest son in his journey toward manhood through our church community. We find that this is a space for this in our community and want to build upon it. We highly value raising our sons to become godly men of courage and integrity.

When you say no to those miscellaneous or extraneous things because there is a higher priority or more pressing important goal, then you know you are living the intentional life. These extraneous things are nice things and good things to do but not important right now.

(B) Standard objectives: don’t change. They are always going on in the background of your life and might not change for 10 years.

We can’t let those things slack, like having a job and paying the necessary bills. But just living for those things can burn you out. The purpose for your rallying cry is so that you can answer this question:

“What’s the thing that we are doing to make our family stronger so that next year we’ll be a different family?”

How long will this take to determine your core values?

Go on a date and ask your spouse a few basic questions. It’s a process but doesn’t need to take days. You might come up with more core values as you go about your week. You can involve the older kids in this discussion too but ultimately the parents are the leaders of the family. They set the tone and encourage the kids input and buy-in.

3. Evaluation:

Once a week on a Sunday have a short weekly 5 minute meeting to evaluate your progress. This way you are prepared to charge into the week with intentionality!

Keep the Family Scoresheet on the fridge so that you are reminded of your rallying cry everyday.

Look at the values and goals and evaluate your progress. Rate it with a green, yellow or red magnet. The kids can rate themselves. Encourage everyone to work together to intentionally turn the red magnets to yellow magnets and the yellow ones to green.

Hopefully when we've lived with intentionality, we can look back in 3 months and revel in the glory of what we have accomplished!

Print out a copy of this free Frantic Family Scoreboard here, now GO and BE INTENTIONAL!

I'd love to hear what your goals are!

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