If you’re like most people, you have individual goals you set for yourself. Your spouse may also have his or her own aims, and even your children may have already established basic objectives for themselves. But what about your family unit as a whole? Do you have goals for it? Chances are, you don’t, but you may want to change that.
Being intentional about the visions you have for your family has many benefits. Setting family goals forces you to think beyond the chaos that is family life and focus on what matters most. Targets help you work together, as a unit, to strengthen your relationships and better understand one another. Ultimately, though, shared aspirations help you move forward as a family and grow together instead of apart. If you want to become a family of purpose and change your family for the better, consider setting one or more of the following shared goals.
1. Sit Together at Dinner
According to the data, 40% of families say they have dinner together three or fewer times a week. Another 10% of families say they never eat dinner together. Sixty years ago, the average dinnertime was 90 minutes. Today, it’s a measly 12. If you and your family rarely or never eat dinner together, or if you rush through meals because of other concerns and obligations, resolve to change that.
There are several studies that point to the tangible and lifelong benefits of regular family meals. For instance, findings show that they are associated with higher levels of self-esteem, better grades and delayed sexual activity. Children who grow up in households that regularly eat together also demonstrate fewer symptoms of depression, violence and suicide while exhibiting more prosocial behaviors, such as empathy, respect and sharing. They are also less likely to abuse drugs, run away or engage in other risky behaviors.
Bettering your family and your children’s futures may be as simple as revising your nightly routine to include a sit-down meal. Though you don’t have to eat together every night, you should make it a point to do so whenever possible.
2. Host a Weekly or Monthly Family Night
Regular family meals come with a host of benefits, but being “fun” isn’t exactly one of them. It’s just as important that your family set aside time for quality fun as it is to set aside time for quality conversation. Between school, work, extracurricular activities and other obligations, it may be more difficult to get everyone together for a day at the zoo or a picnic in the park than it used to be. Though understandable, you shouldn’t let your busy schedules keep you from foregoing family fun altogether.
Pick one day or night of the week to do something you all enjoy. Whether that means hosting a family game night once a week or committing to spending one full Saturday a month trying something new together doesn’t matter — what matters is that you make the time to have fun together.
3. Have Family Devotion Time
Family devotion time can keep your family rooted and ensure you’re able to pass on your love for and devotion to God to your children. Though you should never discourage individual prayer, you should strive to come together each day at the same time to study the word of God. Use this time as an opportunity to share prayer requests and praises and to discuss your family goals for faith and growth as well.
Becoming a family of purpose doesn’t have to require significant change. By sitting together each night for dinner, hosting a weekly or monthly family night and committing to a family devotion time, you can change your family for the better.