Listen to the Podcast
Podcast 01: I use the words intentional, relational, heart focused to describe our family life, and to describe the things I talk about here on my blog. In this first Live life with your Kids Podcast, I unpack what those three traits look like.
Read the Blog:
Do you want an Intentional, Relational,
Heart Focused Family Life?
My passion is to find that sweet spot in our family life where we are being intentional but always relational, being relational but always heart focused in all we do.
Being intentional in your family life means taking your family from where they are to the dreams that you have for them. Our goal for our kids was that they would grow into self-governing, responsible, passionate people. That they would have a love for their God, and a love for the people around them. That they would be comfortable with the talents and abilities given to them and that they use those skills to bless and encourage others.
To be intentional we look to the future but work very much in the present. To be intentional we ask ourselves – what do we want in our life? In our family life? For our children? And then we identify ways that will help us get to that place.
For example: We wanted our family to be a family that talked about truth and ideas. So we thought of ways that we could encourage our children to think and communicate their thoughts. We found ourselves having to adjust our preconceived ideas of family life – for example dinner time as a time to eat up your dinner – soon became dinner time a time to talk. Yes, we had to eat dinner but that was kind of secondary to sharing and talking with each other. This has become very central to who we are as a family.
Being intentional isn’t just for parenting though – we are first and foremost a person – male and female and we can be intentional in our own lives. Being intentional is more than setting goals – it is seeing a big picture, and taking steps towards the details of that big picture. We can aim to be intentional in our personal life, our marriage and other relationships, in our homemaking, in our study or business, and in our community involvement. Every sphere of our life will be changed if we start looking at it with intentional eyes.
Another aspect of my heart is that families are relational.
Being relational means that we value people and we come at life with this undergirding value. When we are relational we get to know our children as people – they have their uniqueness, their personality, interests, quirks, weaknesses, strengths.
Being relational means we love them unconditionally and as we do so we build a relationship with them – and them with us. Being relational means that people come before tasks – even though the tasks need to be done, never at the expense of people.
We can only have influence in the lives of others because of our relationship with them – and never is this more relevant than with our own children. This is very obvious when our kids grow up and are in the season of life like mine are now – older teens to young adults, but really, even our little ones are little people and everything we do builds (or breaks down) our relationship with them.
And the third aspect I wanted to touch base with today was being heart focused.
Being heart focused – this idea has shaped our family life maybe more than any other principle. Ten years or so ago, Peter and I saw a slather of parenting books talking about the heart – but we didn’t really know what ‘the heart’ meant. So I studied it for a bit and found that the heart is that internal place in all of us that processes and holds our beliefs, values, passions, emotions – our heart determines our will, our choices.
So to be heart focused means that we teach and train our children’s heart – their beliefs, character, and passions – so they have convictions, and values that will shape the choices they make. It takes parenting beyond obedience and getting our kids to do what we want. It gives them the moral skills to live by and the ability to live well once they leave home – because their character and convictions will guide them.
One thing that we spent a lot of time with when our kids were young was teaching the language and actions of character. We intentionally taught our kids what responsibility was, what orderliness was, what patience was. We taught them what these responses looked like, and we taught them why these character traits were important. These lessons built up our kid’s moral and spiritual heart. This was all a part of intentional, relational, heart focused family life for our family.
If these ideas excite you then I’ve created a worksheet where you can process each of these three aspects – intentional, relational, heart focused and assess issues in your family life that you can change once you start thinking this way.
Don’t forget to download the worksheet that will help you on your way to be intentional and relational
Heart Focused Parenting. Heart Focus Parenting – teaches our children to be personally responsible for their beliefs, character, choices, emotions and passions
10 Things we did as Intentional Parents. These 10 things shape who we are today as individuals and as a family.
How to Teach Character to your Kids. Character is a life skill that teaches our kids how to respond to people and circumstances – it is a life skill that will benefit them for life.