Step Four: Preserve Your Family Identity

Staying intentional and flexible.

This fourth step is the glue that holds the Intentional Family process together. Accountability is the key for families being able to recognize their identity and achieve their goals. Many family goals will take a long time to achieve. The journey of raising our children takes time. The process of healthy relationships is lifelong. It is easy to lose track of what we want to achieve in the mundane and busyness of daily life. Intentional families remain accountable by creating space for communication, measuring progress towards goals, and remaining flexible.

Creating Space

Regular communication is a hallmark of Intentional Families. Intentional Families create space in the journey of their lives to make sure they are on track with their family goals. It is easier to stay on course when you create opportunities for conversation in your family routine. Some Intentional Families have regular family meetings & fun nights where they check in once a week or once a month. Other Intentional Families may have annual retreats where they check-in with one another on how their Intentional Family plan is going.

At these regular-check ins, Intentional Families remain accountable to one another and to the family plan by asking themselves questions like:

  • Are our values the same as they once were?
  • Are we reaching our goals? Do we need to create new goals?
  • How is the family plan working? Do our family rhythms need to change?

They allow for honest and open feedback to celebrate small wins and help guide any changes that need to happen in the Intentional Family plan.

Measuring Progress

There are also some concrete ways to determine your progress and hold your family accountable to your Intentional Family plan. Some Intentional Families use family documents, such as a budget or calendar, to see how they have been doing. Concrete information helps Intentional Families know if they are progressing in their family plan.

In addition to family documents, we also provide a couple of formal assessments that your family can use for accountability in the Intentional Family Process. The Intentional Family Capacity survey and the Thriving Family assessment can be used on an annual basis as you mark your family’s continued journey to becoming an Intentional Family.

Staying Flexible

As you create space for communication and measure progress, you may find that your family is on track to achieve your family goals. If your plan is working then keep doing it!

However, it is much more likely that you will find that your family needs to make some changes to your goals or your plan in order to get where you want to go. Be willing to be flexible with your plan. There are many reasons why families may need to modify their plan. At some point, all families age-out of their plan—this simply means the family rhythms you set are no longer appropriate for your current lifestyle or situation. Sometimes families may need to change their plans because of a diagnosis, disaster, or even possibly a death.

Whatever your situation, when you find that your current plan is not working, don’t lose heart! If you find a value has changed, you will want to loop back through to Step One of the Intentional Family Process. If you find the family plan needs to be revised, loop back through to Step Two. Remember, the Intentional Family Process is just that — a process, and a journey. And we are here to help you each step of that journey.

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NEXT: Additional Intentional Family Resources

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