Today Donald Miller spoke at our church on the need for fathers to have vision for their families. He pointed out that if you don’t have a plan for your family someone else will. His recent engagement to Paige Smith has him somewhat freaking out about the responsibilities marriage will bring. It really is a big deal. Dads are called to lead their families…and that’s no small undertaking. Miller went so far as to warn single women to stay away from guys who aren’t freaking out about marrying them.
Fathers need to give their families a purpose; something beyond simple survival. Listen to John Piper’s words in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life: “Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud—just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time, of course), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend—woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life. We were created for more.”
Writing that plan down is critical. It helps you stay accountable. It also places before the members of your family a reminder of who you believe them to be and what you think they are capable of achieving. It reminds me of the power of goal setting and writing those goals down. A Harvard Business school study between 1979-1989 makes a good case for this. Students in the graduating class of 1979 were asked if they had any goals set for their future. 84% had no goals, 13% had goals in their minds, 3% had written goals. Ten years later at the end of the study a survey was taken. It was discovered that the 13% of the students with unwritten goals had achieved success twice the amount of those without any goals. And the big finding? The 3% with written goals had achieved ten times more than all the other 97% combined!
So where exactly is your family going? What does your preferred picture of the future look like? What will each member be doing if they turn out the way you have proposed? In other words, what will things look like if they go as planned?
John Maxwell once said: “I want to make a difference with people who want to make a difference doing something that makes a difference at a time when it makes a difference.” What a great place to start! We want our families to make a difference in this world. So fill in the blanks. Describe the what, when, where, and how of making a difference.
How about it dads? Do you have a vision for your family? Can you easily articulate it? Will you take the next step and write it down? Click here for a basic template and a link to CHAZOWN (Hebrew for “vision”) where you can utilize a life development tool to determine spiritual gifts, vision, values, and goals.
I know what I need to do. Although our family has had a basic mission statement for a number of years it’s time to help each member begin writing down their own personal vision. That’s right…time for me to plan some date nights with my wife and kids.