If you’ve ever worked in the professional world you’ve probably been held accountable to an annual review. You have to write down your goals a year prior and then see if you’ve met said goals. Strengths and weaknesses are discussed. It’s the SWOT analysis and I hear the acronym fly out of my mister’s mouth often as he talks details about the ministry. But as a mother I have no such acronym, or boss, to see if the goals I’ve set have been met or need adjusting. And as often as parents (of teenagers) will hear how they’ve failed them because they are the only ones without a cell phone or car or whatever, we really have little accountability on parenting. So, what’s a girl to do? Here’s what our family is doing to Live On Purpose…
SET A DATE. MAKE NEW GOALS (and write them down). REVIEW OLD GOALS
1. Use your anniversary date for your marriage/parenting annual review.
We like to use our anniversary as our annual review date. We talk about our marriage first i.e. what worked, didn’t work, how our needs were met or unmet, how we’d like to see the next year of our lives change/improve/stay status quo. Then we talk about the kids. Now that our children are getting older (our oldest is a tweenager) our goals are becoming more specific to each child but here’s a list of things we’d like to see in all four of our children.
- Of strong Faith
- Of strong character
- Life-long learners
- Independent and critical thinkers
- An appreciation of music and art (i.e. the two oldest are in piano lessons)
- An appreciation of nature (God’s artistry!)
- Decide how you are going to meet your goals.
- Write your goals down! Studies have shown that if you write it down, you are exponentially more likely to actually achieve your goals!!
- Ways we’re trying to meet the goals for our children
- Providing a quiet time for the kids to read their bible, prayer or respond to either of those by drawing or journaling. (I use the baby’s nap time as the quiet time for the big kids)
- Homeschooling- I’m not raising my homeschool flag or anything but it’s been instrumental on being able to work towards all the goals listed above (and particularly the independent and critically thinking part)
- Classical piano lessons (weekly) and daily (30 minute) practice with the exception of Sundays as a Sabbath resting day
- Gardening (that includes the weeding!) and a membership at the local botanical gardens
- Summer book club for the girls (fostering a love of reading- all year)
- Classic literature (read alouds or audio books) all year long. This summer we’re going to tackle The Magician’s Nephew and Anne of Green Gables
- Awana/Youth Group- socializing and loving God- what could be better!
- Summer Chores (outside of regular, non-paid chores) to earn some money and learn how to spend,save, tithe
- Model all your goals. Read, listen to music, enjoy nature, volunteer, make a meal for someone who needs the blessing, show your children how to love well by loving your spouse well, etc. Their best example to learn all the goals you’ve set is via you!
- Your marriage is the most important relationship that your children will ever see. Be sure to model it well! We’re big communicators at our house! Always chatting! And we love to set aside 15 minutes each day- in front of the kids- where they know Mama and Daddy are having adult only conversation. The kids need to go play so that we can catch up on the day, briefly, and enjoy a moment alone before dinner, dessert, bath, bedtime routine, etc. etc. etc. happens.
- Table Talk. As the kids get older, meals seem to be the only time we’re all together. In essence, it’s the only time that we’re a family unit. Currently, we’re going through the We Choose Virtues parenting cards. They are awesome! 12 parenting cards are included and each discusses a virtue (contentment, patience, diligence, etc.). The cards come with activities to do as a family, a challenge on how to talk appropriately to each other when faced with exercising one of the virtues, and scripture references. They’re GREAT! What I love the most is that it teaches us how to communicate better and change how we see behaviors (the good and the bad) in our home. So now we don’t need to remind our kids how there are starving children in Africa with no shoes or roof over their head to communicate our point that they need to be content. We now say “Are you content? Do you have your “wanter” in check?” And let’s be honest, our kids need to know about poverty and how to be compassionate, but our rant isn’t intended to teach them about either. Save that talk for another time. 🙂
How do you keep yourself accountable to your goals? I’d love to know what works for you 🙂