"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toward an Intentional Life

First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do.

(Epictetus)

Appealing to my love of order, and realizing that we are moving into a house that is quite a bit smaller than the last house we owned, and smaller than the one we are currently living in, I picked up Organized Simplicity about a month ago. The title itself was appealing to me, but I've also seen it mentioned more than a few times around the blogosphere.
In 1967, Charles E. Hummel wrote and published an essay entitled Tyranny of the Urgent, stating that the "greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important." We spend so much of our energy and time putting out fires, answering phone calls and e-mails, and in the meantime, we let the most important things in our life pass us by. In the twenty-first century, many of us respond to the tyranny of the urgent. We let the things we value most take a backseat to whatever is begging for attention in the moment.
Hmmm ... that sounds way too familiar.

One of the steps toward living an intentional life that has been on my mind and heart (again) is to create a family purpose statement. This has come up over and over again through the years. I have started work on it, only to put it aside and forget about it. One of my goals this summer is to actually complete it, and create a family crest, before the school year begins. This is the third chapter of Organized Simplicity.

Now that the kids are older, it's been fun to involve them in the process. I sat down and "interviewed" each of the older three and Daddy, after answering the interview questions myself first. I asked them things like: What are the strengths of each member of our family? Collectively, when are we at our best and when are we at our worst? What could we do better as a family? What would we like people to say about our family and about our home? What is the main purpose of our home? What does our family look like in ten years? What is the purpose of life?

It was interesting to hear what the kids had to say, and comforting to know that, despite our lack of intentionality lately, Daddy and I are still largely on the same page. I was also happy that we were unanimous is our response to the question on the purpose of life: in its simplest form, "to get to Heaven."

The next step is to sit down, when Daddy gets home, and look at our answers together, see if we can identify any themes, develop a list of adjectives to encompass them, and start creating our statement.
In the end, the goal is to have a clear, concise, workable purpose statement that accurately reflects your priorities, your personality, and your vision for your family.... It will help you make decisions, feel confident about saying "no," and be a bit better at focusing on the important instead of the urgent.
So ... any advice? Have you created a family purpose statement and/or crest? Do you have a name for your home school or a motto? How did you get there? How does your purpose statement serve your family?

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