Tag Archive for vision

Building a Purpose-Filled Marriage

Marriages benefit when partners take the time to reflect on their marriage and establish the driving values of their relationship. Your marriage will grow more intimate when you and your spouse acknowledge your common purpose and the values behind that purpose. Discussing your marital values and purpose will set you marriage on a trajectory of deeper intimacy, love, and joy. Establishing your marital values and purpose does not typically happen by chance. It requires you, as a couple, to intentionally bring your individual values, dreams, and life purpose to light so you can integrate them with your spouse’s. It takes at least four ingredients to develop a strong marital purpose based on your values.

  1. Building a purpose-filled marriage takes HEART. It requires that you sit down as a couple to have a heart to heart in which you courageously discuss your passions and priorities. In other words, you need to reveal the deep passions and dreams of our heart to one another. What are your most cherished values? What are your most important values in regards to marriage? What do you want to reveal through your marriage to inspire your children and those around you? What passions excite you? What dreams call to you? How can you work together to fulfill those dreams and passions? Building a purpose-filled marriage means learning the heart of your spouse and supporting the desire God has placed deep within their heart.
  2. Building a purpose-filled marriage takes EARS. Learning our spouse’s deepest longings requires that we listen to one another deeply and intently. We listen beyond the words to hear the emotions, needs, and passions driving their words. This type of listening builds relational security and enhances intimacy. Intimate communication and mutual cooperation thrive in the midst of this type of listening. You will find your marital purpose becomes more clear and your work toward that purpose more “in-sync” when you learn to listen well.
  3. Building a purpose-filled marriage requires VISION. A purpose-filled marriage looks to the future as well as the present. By looking to the future, a purpose-filled marriage develops direction and keeps a long-term perspective. Vision keeps an eye toward the activities you plan to engage in together, dreams you plan to pursue together, and places you plan to visit together. Keeping this long-term perspective puts daily hassles and minor conflicts into perspective as temporary and requiring resolution so they do not interfere with an exciting and highly anticipated future together.
  4. Building a purpose-driven marriage requires EMBODIMENT. A purpose-filled marriage is more than talking, planning, and dreaming. A purpose-filled marriage is lived out daily. Embody the values. Have fun. Play. Engage. Becoming active in your marriage enhances intimacy. It will help each of you grow as an individual and as a couple. You will learn to work as a team. You will learn to play and have fun, express intimacy and enjoy one another’s dreams. You will learn to resolve conflict and enjoy discussions. You will embody your purpose in your daily life.

Building a purpose-filled marriage is not necessarily easy. It takes heart, ears, vision, and embodiment. But, the dividends are amazing—a long and happy marriage filled with purpose and inspiration.

“Dream Big”…Are You Sure?

I often hear parents tell their children, “Dream big; you can become anything you want.” This encouragement, although well intended, misses the mark. It provides incomplete and even inaccurate information to our children. Think about it. Can anyone really become anything they want? I suggest we continue to encourage our children to dream big, but modify that encouragement, expand it to include some helpful information. I suggest we try changing to sayings like these three…all three beginning with “Dream Big….”

  1. Dream Big and Be Prepared to Work Hard. Dreams do not bring success; hard work does. We need to encourage our children to work hard in reaching for their dreams. We need to teach them that reaching for the big dream requires tradeoffs and sacrifices. Effort invested in the area of any big dream will result in less effort in another area. Any big dream will demand sacrifices in time, energy, and even possibly lifestyle. The effort our children invest in their big dream deserves our acknowledgment and recognition. Their effort, not simplyKids on Victory Podium their dream, will move them closer to their goals.  Their effort, not the dream, brings success. So “dream big and work hard!”
  2. Dream Big and Celebrate Every Step. Our children need to learn that big dreams are achieved by taking one little step at a time. Teaching our children to set smaller goals that lead to bigger achievements will help them reach their big dream. Our children need to learn that each step toward the big dream, each little goal achieved, represents a significant accomplishment. Celebrate the effort it took to take that step.
  3. Dream Big but Be Realistic. “You can become anything you want” is not really true; it is inaccurate. For example, consider these stats from NCAA research:
    1. Only .03% of high school seniors playing basketball will get drafted by the NBA. That works out to 3 out of 10,000.
    2. Only .08% of high school seniors playing football will get drafted by the NFL. That means 8 out of every 10,000.

Face it, not everyone has what it takes to become a pro athlete…or musician, engineer, chef, or anything else. Our children cannot really become whatever they want. It is even less likely they will become what we want. Instead, we need to help them take a realistic look at their strengths, abilities, interests, and weaknesses. With a realistic self-concept, we can encourage them to dream big…in the right area. We can help them develop a big dream that coincides with their strengths, abilities, and interests.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for telling our children to dream big and shoot for the stars. But as we encourage our children to dream big, we need to give them the complete picture:

  • Dream big and be prepared to work hard.
  • Dream big and celebrate every step along the way.
  • Dream big, but be realistic.

What Your Parenting Destination

“I start my vacation tomorrow, Frank!”
“Great! Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
“When are you leaving?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, how are you going to get there?”
“I don’t know.”
Most people do not start their vacation without knowing the destination and mapping out a route to that destination. But, many people start the journey of parenthood without any thought as to the final destination or the route to get there. We have children, but no destination for them in mind. We parent with little to no idea of the route from here to the final destination. 
An ancient proverb states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (Proverbs 29:18–NASB). With no vision, there is no organizing goal or destination. If parents have no vision for their children’s future, how will they discipline? If they have no goal to define their parenting style, what behaviors will they nurture? If they have no destination of future character in mind, how will they instruct? With no vision, they find little reason to establish limits that go beyond keeping their children “out of their hair.”
Children in this situation become “unrestrained,” unbridled, loosed from any guiding conscience. Without the restraint of guiding principles, children determine their own direction before they have the wisdom and experience to do so. They become rebellious, unwilling to submit to any guiding principles, whether in the school, home, or community. Without a motivating destination, children become floaters. They float from one activity to another with no real commitment to anything–no staying power, no determination, no zeal. As a result, they become easy prey to the many sharks waiting to take advantage of children who aimlessly wander without the vision and guidance of a parent in their life. Soon, they may experience the shame of living at a standard below their potential, dependent on others, with no steady job, and perhaps even in trouble with the law.
Parents who have a vision of the character they want their child to develop will organize their parenting style to achieve that goal. They will establish limits with the intent of helping their child develop into a responsible adult. They will love and nurture with the intent of helping their child mature into a loving and caring adult. The clearer a parent can envision a final destination, the more successfully he can guide his child in that direction. So, take a moment to consider your parenting destination…your vision for your child. Where do you want your child to “end up”? What kind of adult do you want them to become? You might say “happy,” “a great athlete,” or “valedictorian;” but, think a little harder. Is that really the most important destination for your child? After all, what kind of character does a happy person possess? What kind of character traits will make your child a person you can admire? What does your child need to learn to move from today’s level of maturity to greater maturity tomorrow? Here are a few questions to help clarify a vision to guide your parenting:
1.      Do you want your child to have fame and fortune…or the wisdom to make wise choices in life?
2.      Is it more important that your child become a scholar and straight “A” student… or that your child be known as dependable and trustworthy?
3.      Do you want your child to become fiercely independent… or kind, compassionate, and considerate?
4.      Would you rather your child see themselves as a step above the crowd… or envision themselves as a person who serves others with a humble confidence?
5.      Would you prefer your child be known as a great athlete… or a person who has a reputation of honesty and integrity?
6.      Do you dream of your child enjoying great material wealth… or the riches of deep, loving relationships?
7.      Do you want your child to constantly strive for the approval and acceptance that comes from performing well… or do you want them to grow increasingly thankful for the person they have become and the blessings they have received?
8.      Would you rather your child grow into a great business person… or a great husband/wife, father/mother?
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with standing above the crowd or becoming famous, independent, a great athlete, materially wealthy, or a great businessman. But, is that the ultimate goal of your parenting efforts? After 20 years of untiring effort and sacrificial time, what destination do you really hope to enjoy? Whatever destination you choose will determine the route you take. Whichever answer you choose will guide your actions and your parenting.

The Timeless Mind of a Parent

Parenting is a process, not a one-time event. It occurs over time. Effective family shepherds have a “timeless mind” that maintains an awareness of past experiences, current behaviors, and future goals all at the same time. What have our children done in the past? What relationship have we developed through past experiences? What does their current behavior reveal about their learning from that past experience? What do we want them to learn and what character traits do we want them to develop for the future? How can we use the current experience to successfully move toward that future goal? All these questions and more pass through a parent’s mind in an instant when their child forgets to say “thank you” at an appropriate time or gets too loud in a library. With amazing agility, the family shepherd moves from the present to the past, to the future, and back to the present again—an amazing feat of mental time travel, all in an instance. Consider the timeless mind of a parent, the genius of a mental time travel.
Creating a history for tomorrow: The process of parenting provides multiple opportunities to build a history of amazing moments with our children—memory files of joy and adventure, frustration and disappointment. You and your child will share emotions ranging from ecstatic joy to deep sorrow, amazing pride to disappointing anger, and overwhelming happiness to heart wrenching sorrow. Each memory and emotion you share provides the opportunity to teach your child how to manage emotions, make wise choices, and develop intimate relationships. Children gain their sense of value and worth from their history of interactions with parents. They assess their relative worth in your eyes as they observe the energy you invest in them compared to the energy you invest in work, sports, TV, or money. What parents do today build’s their children’s memory of your love for them. This remembered history impacts your long-term effectiveness as a parent. 
Back to the future: Parents, as family shepherds, keep the future in mind as well. You have probably seen a scenario like this: a mother and her preschool son are standing in the checkout line when the young boy spots a candy bar (those wily store owners, putting the candy bars by the checkout counter and right at a child’s eye level!). He asks his mother for the candy bar. When she tells him no, he begins to argue. His mother stands firm initially. But, the young boy has one more tool in his pocket. He starts to cry. Screaming, he falls to the ground, kicks his feet and shakes his tiny fists in the air. Crocodile tears begin to flow while his mother looks around in a panic. She tries to calm him, but he just screams louder. His mother doesn’t know what to do. She feels embarrassed, fearing that everyone believes her an incompetent mother because of her son’s tantrum. In desperation, she grabs the candy bar and hands it to her son. He immediately stops screaming, sniffles a few times, and then smiles as though nothing happened. What has this young boy learned for the future?
Parents have to hold the child’s future in mind. Our children will not live with us forever. They will grow up, mature, and leave home to live their own lives. So, what future vision do you have in mind for your child? After all, the actions we take today will either guide our children toward a healthy tomorrow or a miserable tomorrow. Here are some important questions to consider for your child. The answers will help shape your parenting as a family shepherd.
·         What kind of adult do you want your child to become?
·         What are your hopes and dreams for your child? Do you want your child to be better known as a great athlete or an honest person? A brilliant business man or a man of integrity?
·         What personal characteristics do you want your child to develop?
·         What are your child’s strengths and weaknesses? What impacts your child and what does not?
Take time to consider your answers to these questions because your answers will help guide your parenting.