After fifty years of watching families who succeed, three things have held amazingly true:
- Families learn from other families.
- Families who fail to plan, plan to fail.
- Scripturally based families have a far greater success rate than those who don’t practice spiritual truths.
One of my favorite dads is our Chief Operating Officer, Doug Goodwin. Man, I love this man for the way he helps me run Kanakuk and the way he leads his family.
I have always admired Doug’s ability to balance his excellent professional life with his quest to be a good husband and dad. Doug is the most pleasant, most positive, most well-organized leader I have ever met!
Each new year Doug, Dee, and the kids do six things.
- They look back at the previous year and God’s blessings, and they recount His many individual blessings.
- The Goodwins take a fresh look at their family constitution. The Goodwin Constitution has twelve core values:
* Respect and honor each other at all times.
* Listen intently to each other to encourage open communication.
* Eat dinner together as a family.
* Take an annual family vacation.
* Support each other in every good thing.
* Encourage each other in relationship with God.
* Pray together as a family.
* Prioritize the local church.
* Prioritize family giving.
* Encourage each other verbally.
* Pursue time together.
* All help in family operations.
- For each new year the Goodwins talk about, evaluate, and recommit to their family constitution The third new year’s mission for this delightful family is to review their family mission statement, which decrees, “As children of The King, we desire as a family and as individuals to please, praise, pursue, and proclaim Him.” They ask, “How are we doing? Where are we falling short? How can we improve?” The Goodwins evaluate as a team.
- Next, Doug, Dee, and the kids talk about planning their family vacation for the upcoming year.
- Then they talk about their strategic giving goals.
- They each write and discuss several personal, age-appropriate goals for the year. (When the kids were little, I’m sure their only goals were the pacifier and their next “Happy Meal”!)
Doug calls the New Year’s Summit his “map for the new year.” Humbly admitting their many shortcomings and struggles as spouses and parents, Doug and Dee cherish each new year and the opportunity to rebuild, refocus, and recommit to those they hold most dear.
If you and your family don’t yet have a family constitution, I’d encourage you to hold a family meeting and draft one. Feel free to use the Goodwins’ as a starting point, but modify it to meet the unique values and needs of your family.
Next, like the Goodwins, start an annual tradition of reviewing the old year early in the new one, and then setting goals and making plans to achieve them in the year to come. This small investment of time will help you to accomplish more than you would otherwise, consistent with your core values. And, as a bonus, it will also draw you closer together as a family.
May I also suggest that your plans for 2019 include sending your kids to Kanakuk this summer? God touches kids’ hearts in amazing ways in this place, and He might just want to do that for your children this year. It would be our honor to be His hands and His voice in helping your kids draw closer to Him here in the beautiful southern Missouri Ozarks.
Together for Kids,