As we embarked on the Intentional Family Project over three years ago, we desired to create a narrative that would help families create a great family life. We knew that we would need the stories of families who were examples of the type of family life we were studying. Not perfect families, but families who would help us understand intentionality in family life, and families whose story might serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration to today’s families.
In this blog series, Portrait of an Intentional Family, we introduce you to the Allen family, one of the first Intentional Families we interviewed. We share their story with you – not to ask you to mimic their story or to compare yours to theirs. We believe that Intentional Families are powerful simply because they have the courage to live their family story. Each month, we simply want to share how they walked through the four steps of the Intentional Family Process so you can get a glimpse of what it looks like in real life.
Intentional Families are powerful simply because they have the courage to live their family story.The Intentional Family Project
When we first sat down to interview the Allen family, they were a couple in their late 20’s about to celebrate their fourth year of marriage. They were both in established careers in the helping professions, and Mr. Allen had recently graduated with an advanced degree. They had hopeful expectation for future changes, with the desire for adding children to their family someday.
As we have found through our research, families are most likely to pursue intentionality during seasons of transition in family life, such as marriage or the birth of a child. For the Allen family, their journey to intentionality began on their first date. The groundwork for their dating relationship was laid through their shared desire for a purposeful marriage guided by shared values and mutual support. These shared goals were further explored during their engagement through pre-marital counseling. It was during these counseling sessions that the Allen family created visual reminders of their shared values, goals, and commitment to mutual support on their journey of intentionality.
The Intentional Families we have interviewed have generally had some specific motivation for pursuing an intentional family life . For the Allen family, looking back to their family life growing up played a significant role in helping them recognize who they wanted to be as a couple moving forward. As they said in their interview with us:
“Our families growing up really have played a big role in our intentionality. Our families had dreams, but never any goals or plans, so the dreams never came true. In our family, we want to live intentionally, not reactionary. We want our kids to know our values and experience our goals for our family.”The Allen Family
The Allen family recognized their dreams were not just going to happen. Their family life growing up taught them that. They wanted to live a life where their goals and values were clear to everyone around them, including family, friends, and their future children. In order to accomplish this, they knew they were going to have to create a plan.
In our next blog, we will uncover the steps the Allen family took in order to create their Intentional Family plan. Until then, we invite you to begin your own steps to an intentional family life. You can start here with our introduction to the four-step Intentional Family Process to begin the journey!