When I was younger, I didn’t have much guidance for my future beyond doing well in school and getting a decent job.
And I wasn’t even really sure what that entailed. Good grades and lots of money was what I assumed.
I wasn’t actively taught much at home or in school about relationships, finances, stress, or anything actually important that currently seeps its way into my subconscious and lurks with criticisms and less-than reminders every single waking moment.
My parents wobbled between totally hands-off and stifling authoritarianism, depending on the situation.
I ran absolutely wild through the neighborhood from about 4 years old on up after school and summers, but I seldom had any friends over to my house for a meal or sleepover or playtime, and not ever if my dad was home. I’ve never had many friends, but I’ve had lots of acquaintances over the years who came and went.
My parents only ever intervened at school maybe three times in 13 years. The rest of the time I was on my own to work out any issues with bullies, inept teachers, politicized and uncaring administrators, groping boys, and weird parents.
While I realize that having been left to myself, I developed character and learned a lot about how to solve problems, but I think I’d like to be a little more involved and proactive with my family.
While there are gazillions of articles, blog posts, books, and videos dictating rules and regulations, and shoulds and shouldn’ts, I think we all have to set our own values and goals. We’re bombarded with so much information that sounds like authority, but if we don’t hold any of it to any standard, we will fail and collapse with information overload.
What’s your standard?
My standard is the Bible.
As a Christian wife and mom, I hold up everything to the standard of Scripture. If it doesn’t fit with my worldview, then it’s not for my family.
This is true for books and TV shows and movies.
This is true for friends.
This is true for activities.
If anything takes away from or somehow doesn’t align with my values and goals, then it’s not for us.
How do we find our focus?
Discovering our personal values and setting goals for our families should be accompanied with much prayer and discussion with our spouse.
If you’re not pleased with your home life, then take a good look at where your priorities lie. Maybe it’s time for an evaluation and some changes.
Focus in Faith
We spent many years trying to determine our beliefs. My husband grew up Presbyterian, which meant he attended Sunday school as a child and that was about it. I never attended church except with my grandma 2-3 times a year or with friends who occasionally invited me.
I knew I wanted to raise my children with a strong faith foundation.
We teetered from Presbyterian to Baptist and tottered back to Presbyterian and then to Lutheran.
It’s often difficult to find a temporary church home when we move around so frequently.
Focus in Family
My children are my priority.
This means that I limit my social engagements. I don’t work or volunteer outside the home.
I don’t overschedule our family, so we’re seldom stressed. We like a peaceful home atmosphere.
I enjoy being with my kids. I enjoy teaching them and working with them and everything in between.
I seldom go anywhere without my kids.
Focus in Education
Homeschooling is my calling.
I don’t rely on videos, DVDs, games, other people, or the government to educate my children.
We read books together. We learn together.
I delight in my children learning new concepts.
I make time for art, nature study, music, and each of my children’s interests in addition to the math, Latin, history, and science we learn. Academics aren’t everything. Life is our education.
Focus in Friends
We’re very choosy about who we spend time around.
This is probably our prickliest topic.
While I don’t need a lot of social interation and rarely trust people, I know my husband and at least two of my children crave social stuff.
So, I make sure to provide opportunities to feed their social butterflies.
Focus for the Future
We are active planners for the future.
This includes financial planning and also teaching concepts my children will need in certain situations, like what to do regarding:
rude questions, requests, or touches from adults,
advances from peers of the opposite (or same) sex,
fire safety, and more.
I want my kids to have open conversations with me. I want them to feel safe discussing anything with me. And I want them prepared for social interations or life situations that might become unsafe.