Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm a Family Manager!

I'm reading this really great book called Desperate Households. It is a very different perspective on homemaking. Instead of offering a cookie-cutter method to foolproof cleaning, cooking and schduling, this book began by encouraging me to look at my own style. I have always struggled with domestic skills. I want to have an orderly house, to have meals on the table on time, to have chores done regularly, but I just have a hard time giving up my impulsiveness and remembering to DO those things. For years I've beaten myself up for not being disciplined enough, for not finding the system that works, for being myself instead of what I wanted to be. Finally, I'm free from guilt over all that!

Before beginning to make significant changes in the way I approach domestic skills, I have started looking at my style and my priorities. So today I answered these questions:

Why does our family exist?
To glorify God and to expand His kingdom to our children and descendants, and beyond our family into the world. (I really pondered whether I really believe this, or just know it's the "right" answer. I decided I do really believe it, even if living it out has been off track for a while now.)

What are we trying to accomplish?
We are trying to nurture our own relationships with God so that we can each personally glorify and enjoy Him. We are also preparing for and seeking ways to help others develop and enjoy relationships with Him. Accomplishing this includes education, life training, learning scripture, developing holy habits, guarding ourselves against ungodly influences, investing ourselves in each other and in others beyond our family, learning to serve, learning to think about the things that influence us biblically.

What do we stand for; what is the heart and soul of our family, the beliefs upon which we make decisions and take actions?
We believe that God is the sovereign Creator who deserves to be worshipped by everything. We believe that the family is a microcosm of the kingdom composed of God’s elect people, and that the family is the training ground to prepare us for living with the family of God’s people. We believe that the quality of life together is determined by the kind of relationships we have with each other—whether we can enjoy one another and live lives which show love for one another. We believe that God has a plan for us as a family and as individuals, and that He wants us to know and follow His plan for our benefit and His glory, so that we come to know and trust Him better, and reflect that trust in our relationships with each other.

What is our basic approach to achieving our purpose?
Being together and doing things together as much as possible. Where we do things individually or explore individual interests, we gather together again to share those things with each other. Also our family is not closed to others, but looks for ways to bring others in and love and include them as we love each other.

What is the overarching purpose I have as Family Manager?
Coordinating the interests, activities and habits of each family member so that being together is enjoyable and productive. Creating a peaceful environment that nurtures each member and enables them to thrive and grow. Pointing each member to God as the purpose and reason for everything we do.

What would I like my family to say about me when I’m gone? (Specific traits and descriptions)
Still working on this one.

What is really important to me? (List)
Relationships with other people
Remembering people
Making decisions and living life according to what God’s Word teaches
Thinking about things, and not just accepting whatever someone says.
Figuring out and enjoying how the people I love tick.
Enjoying the ways God made us unique
Learning new things
Being free to do the unexpected/Spontaneity
Making people feel loved
Liking your family
Maintaining peace

If I know I only had a year to live, how would I spend my time, and what would I change about the way I run my home and life?
I would get rid of a lot of stuff.
I would spend more time doing fun things with the boys that are memorable and productive.
I would spend a lot of time writing down the things I've learned.
I'd write more notes to the people I love.
I'd scrapbook like crazy.
I'd go out to lunch and for coffee more with friends.
I'd simplify the "work" part of life so I could do it as little as possible.
I'd quit feeling guilty about staying up late with the boys, even when we sleep a little later too.
I'd take time to enjoy each season with all it's changes.
I'd get rid of unnecessary expenses.
I'd smile and laugh a lot more and frown and fuss a lot less.
I'd start dreaming aloud about what heaven will be like.

The next thing I have to do is go from here to writing a mission statement. Oh boy. Like I have the brevity of words for that!