It takes Time. It takes a Family. It takes a Champion
Many families want to become an Intentional Family, but only some will be successful in their efforts. As you begin this process, we want to share the 3 secrets of the families who successfully become an Intentional Family:
Time. Intentional Families don’t just happen. Families who end up being successful in the Intentional Family Process are those who set aside time on a regular basis to talk through their Intentional Family plan. Remember, cultivating a family identity is a priority for Intentional Families, so they manage their resources wisely in order to achieve this goal. Don’t try to rush the process, but also make sure you are giving the process the investment it needs to succeed.
“…if you don’t have time for one night or at least one hour during the week where everybody can come together as a family, then the family is not a priority.”
So find a regular time (weekly, every other week, monthly) that works best for your family to start having these discussions. Consider starting with a time that you already set aside for family connection, such as a family meal, bedtime routine, or weekend outing. We have seen Intentional Families who set up weekly family meetings, while others may set apart time on the next family vacation. One family even created an annual family retreat to review their Intentional Family plan. The main thing is to create a schedule that works for your family — and to stick to it.
Family. The Intentional Family Process is about cultivating a family identity; therefore, Intentional Families are committed to involving their entire family in the process. This is important for two reasons. First, if your family is not involved, then it is likely that they will not be committed to the Intentional Family process. Also, we have found that an identity and plan created by one person ultimately is a personal identity, not a family identity.
Everyone in the family should be treated as important as you cultivate your family identity and create your family plan. Encourage each person in the family to share what they think is unique about your family. Seek consensus from family members as you create your core family values. Collectively create family goals that move your family forward. The family that plans together is more likely to achieve their goals together.
Champion. If the family is a team, then the Champion is the Team Captain. The champion’s role is to cheer on the family as they make progress through the Intentional Family Process. A Champion rallies the team together, encouraging them when decisions are difficult and progress is slow. The Champion’s job isn’t to win the game — no one can win a game on their own. The Champion’s job is to keep the team in the game. They hold the family accountable to their Intentional Family plan.
The Champion’s job isn’t to win the game. The Champion’s job is to keep the team in the game.
The Champion of the Intentional Family is the facilitator that keeps the family moving forward through the process. They help set the pace and make sure everyone is on task. A Champion’s job is to see what needs to be done — and then connects the task with the family member who would do that task best. The Intentional Family Process works when we get everyone involved and working toward the win.
The goal of the Intentional Family Project is that all families would find success in becoming an Intentional Family. The journey is not always easy, but we believe it is always worth it. So we invite your family to begin the Intentional Family Process. Join us, and other families, as we cultivate our family identities and achieve our goals.
For more information on the Intentional Family Process and the IF Project, visit our website at intentional.family.
Written by Karen Melton, PhD, Assistant Professor of Child & Family Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.