Step One: Recognize Your Family Identity

Knowing who we are.

This first step in becoming an intentional family is to recognize your family identity. Your family identity is not as simple as saying “we are a sports family” or “we are an outdoor family” or “we are a religious family.” To know your family identity requires you to stop and reflect on your family values and beliefs.

One of the first steps you must take on the journey to becoming an intentional family is to discuss and identify your values. Values represent the “non-negotiables” in our lives.  For an intentional family, values are central to who they are and how they live their life.

It can be hard for families to have this discussion. Families are made up of different people who may value different things. In the Intentional Family Process, we want you to focus on core family values. These are values or beliefs that you can all agree on. Core family values create the feeling of unity among family members. They remind you that you are all on the same team.

Core family values help create the feeling of unity among family members. They remind us that we are on the same team.

The process of finding your family identity is a journey. Families who seek to find their family identity often use questions to jump-start conversations about what is most important to them, like:[1]:

  • When our kids are grown, how do we want them to describe our family life? 
  • What do we want to say we accomplished as a family?
  • How will we know we have lived our best family life?
  • What are our spiritual beliefs? What values do we have as a family because of those spiritual beliefs?
  • What families inspire us? What are they doing in family life that we like?

We have developed this 2-page Core Family Values worksheet you can use to navigate through a series of questions designed to help you identify what is most important to your family. You can also use this resource, What’s Important to My Family, developed by the Barrett Values Centre. The activity worksheet is designed to engage your entire family in the process of identifying and selecting core family values.

Finding your core family values is a journey, not a destination. As you begin this journey, we encourage you to start small. Limit the number of core values to no more than 3 in the beginning. As an intentional family, you will be encouraged to let your core values guide how you make decisions, how you spend your time, and even how you spend your money as a family. Identifying fewer core values helps create clarity in what goals you should set as a family.

Many Intentional Families find that writing down and displaying their family values in their home is essential to remaining consistent during the Intentional Family Process. For inspiration, check out this story of an intentional family who created a mission statement outlining their family values.

Once you have a better idea of your core family values, you are ready to move on to Step Two, where you will set family goals and create a family plan!

NEXT: Establish Your Family Plan

BACK: Cultivate an Intentional Family

[1] Stephen R. Covey (1997) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

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