Have you set any family goals or resolutions for 2014? I like the word goals better than resolutions. New Year’s resolutions always seem doomed to fail, and if you don’t start on January 1 or fall off the bandwagon by January 3, you feel defeated. But goals? Goals can be set anytime, and should be revised and revisited throughout the year!
In our family, we do New Year’s goals: both individual goals as well as family goals. We sit down together at the start of every year and set a few individual goals that always include one character trait we need to work at such as becoming more consistent, being more careful with our words, or some other virtue or fruit of the spirit to develop.
In addition to these individual goals, we also set family goals for the upcoming year. Family goals can consist of a variety of activities or some result we want to achieve, but they all have one common hopeful outcome – to bring us closer and stronger as a Christ-centered family.
Some family goals are the same every year, such as taking one family vacation just the six of us, but many are different from year to year. We create our lists of goals as a family, and the list includes ideas from both kids and parents. The kiddos often have some of the best input!
Here are five family goals you can set anytime of the year to become a family of purpose and change your family for the better:
1. Plan a weekly/monthly family night. Finding time together is more difficult now that my children are growing older. Unlike, when they were all under the age of eight and by our side 24/7! Between play rehearsals, karate calls, and youth group activities, we spend many evenings apart – as do many families with older children. Having a consistent, scheduled evening each week (or monthly if you’re not able) where we plan no activities except spending time together is key. It allows us to reconnect, set aside our digital devices, and truly come together as a family. Sometimes we plan a family movie night and popcorn, sometimes we play board games, and sometimes we just lay around and be silly, but we always do it together.
2. Sit together at the family dinner table whenever possible. I am a big fan of the family dinner table. Growing up, we ate dinner together every night, and I truly believe it helped us stay close as a family unit to this day. There’s something unifying about coming together at the end of a busy day, comforted by good food and a loving atmosphere. When your children are smaller, it can be difficult to get everyone eating dinner at the same time–and it’s not always peaceful! If you have multiples you know what I mean… Those nights when you’re trying to get one child to stop crying, while another child is attempting to sneak food to the dog, while yet another child is asking for the hundredth time how many peas they have to eat? But I promise that as your children get older, the family dinner table becomes more and more important, and you will look forward to that time together, relish it, and one day look back on it fondly with a tear in your eye.
3. Have a daily family devotion time. Some families do morning devotions, others plan them for the evenings when everyone is around at the same time. Our nightly family devotions keep our family rooted. It’s a consistent time each day that we come together to study God’s Word, give prayer requests and praises, as well as discuss important family issues. Our children are old enough now that they take turns participating in our devotional time, and even lead the lesson or prayer time themselves. Watching and listening as they pray from their heart or share a truth they recently found in the Bible is one of the greatest joys I’ve experienced as a parent. As parents, we strive to pass our faith onto our children, and by spending time together in the Word each day, and making it a priority, we are passing on our love of the Lord to them by our examples – and that’s the best way!
4. Schedule consistent mom & dad date nights. Yes, I know this one doesn’t include kids, but it’s an important one for the family as a whole. For your family to run smoothly like a well-oiled machine, you need to have a strong foundation in Christ (we covered that in goal #3), and you and your spouse have to work together as a team. There have been seasons where my husband and I have struggled in this area, and years where we were great at it. Spending quality time together, just you and your spouse, is super important to the health of your family. It’s so much easier to work as a team when you are in sync with the other player.
5. Do a community service project together. At least once a year, our entire family embarks on a community service project. There are so many different options for this activity. Find a project that aligns with your family’s passions, and serve in some area of need – either for a charity or nonprofit, or for an individual in need. It’s amazing the lessons both children and parents can learn when we spend time giving back. And the rewards are great when you bond together as a family during an activity like this!
These are just a few of our favorite family goals to get you started. As you look forward to the next year, think of family goals that will help you and your children grow in a certain area. If you need more ideas, I highly recommend Dave Stone’s Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord and Building Family Ties with Faith, Love and Laughter. These two books are great resource for Christian parents, with creative ideas, real-life stories and Scriptural guidance for building families that love God and enjoy being together!
I hope this will give you a fantastic jumping off point to start your family goals list for 2014! What family goals are on your list for the upcoming year? Leave your comments on the blog – we’d love to hear from you!