In this blog series, Portrait of an Intentional Family, we have introduced you to the Allen family, one of the first Intentional Families we interviewed as a part of the Intentional Family Project. The intention of this blog series is to share the story of how Intentional Families have walked through the four steps of the Intentional Family Process so you can get a glimpse of what it looks like in real life.
In last month’s blog, we uncovered the steps the Allen family took in order to recognize their family identity. Their shared values and goals, birthed out of their desire for an intentional life, led them on a journey to create a family plan so that desire could become reality. The first step of any family plan is to set goals.
While general goals are a great start, Intentional Families have to set clear, measurable goals for family life that relate to their core values. For the Allen family, their family values of peace and freedom matched the short-term goals they set for family life, which included:
These goals were aligned with and motivated by the values they shared and the life they hoped to live. They planned to begin a family in the near future, and their short-term goals supported financial, physical, and relational well-being. Achieving these short-term goals, which they planned to continue in their way of life long-term, would allow them the freedom to make desired lifestyle alterations once they had children, including allowing one of them to stay-at-home with their children.
As the Allens set these goals, they had to ask important questions along the way to determine their ability to actually accomplish their goals, including:
The Allen family had to realize the cost of setting and accomplishing their family goals, and collectively consider their ability and willingness to see their goals to completion.
Once families have accepted the cost and their capacity to accomplish their goals, Intentional Families have to think through boundaries that may be needed in order to achieve goals. As the Allen family shared with us during their interview,
“In order to be intentional in achieving our goals and maintaining our identity, we have to be clear about what we choose do AND what we choose not to do. There are things we have had to say “no” to and experiences we have chosen to live without in order to live intentionally.”
The Allen family talked about the importance of deciding up-front what they were going to say “yes” and “no” to in order to achieve their goals. They found that when they decided ahead of time together what they were going to do and not going to do, it helped them stay on-track and remain on the same page. This way, they kept their long-term values of freedom and peace first and foremost in their daily decision-making.
Preemptively and collectively deciding what they are and aren’t going to do helped them stay on track and on the same page.
Admittedly, though, one of the trickiest aspects of the Intentional Family Process is the leap between making a plan, and actually sticking to it. In our next blog, we will uncover the steps the Allen family took in order to put their Intentional Family plan in to action. 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!