When the calendar turns to a new year in a couple weeks, most of us will be tempted to swear off chocolate, lose weight, control our Amazon spending, or any number of other New Year's Resolutions. And if your success rate is anything like mine, by February it'll be time to plan the 2018 Resolutions.
But let's fix that. And as parents, let's first make the commitment to live out some resolutions for our families in 2017. Here's 7 resolutions for you as parents to consider making a priority in your family in the next year.
1. Let's resolve to become invested in our church - I can't encourage you enough to plug into a church and invest your time and energy in serving there. If you're on the fringes, make the next step by plugging into a small group, finding a place to serve, and developing a ministry.
2. Let's resolve to live out our faith in front of our kids, neighbors, and friends - As parents, you cannot expect something out of your kids you're not willing to yourself. When I was a youth pastor, I often saw parents frustrated their kids weren't making spiritual progress, and I could often trace the cause back to not seeing a consistent example from mom & dad. So let's make it a point that we're living out the faith we profess. Let your kids see you serving and loving each other, let them see you forgive, pray with them, and be a witness to your neighbors, coworkers, and friends.
3. Let's resolve to make time together a priority - It can be so easy to get pulled apart with school functions, work obligations, and extracurricular activities. Make a plan to have dinner together on a regular basis, and schedule time together as a family. Go to the zoo, a park, or the beach (sorry friends up north, it's 30 minutes from us!). When you're together, be together. I love the Chick-Fil-A cell phone challenge, putting them away lets you as a family engage with each other.
4. Let's resolve to get our finances under control - One of the problems many families face is outspending their income. This year, make it a point to spend time with a financial counselor or participate in a financial seminar to learn the basics of budgeting, saving, and spending. I recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover or Randy Alcorn's Treasure Principle. However you do it, get your finances under control so you're able to spend, save, and give wisely and generously.
5. Let's resolve to family devotions - They don't need to be church services at the dinner table, but take advantage of time together at dinner to pray, read Scripture, and talk together. Ask your kids what they're doing in Sunday School, what their youth group mission project was like, and tell them what you're learning and growing in from your quiet time. You can get some ideas here, here, and here.
6. Let's resolve to regular date nights - It can be so easy to get lost in being a parent that you forget your identity as a spouse. Just because you're married doesn't mean the time together isn't important. Work on having a monthly date night where the kids are handed off and you're able to spend time together. It's worth the expense of a babysitter so you're able to invest in your relationship with each other. They don't need to be fancy, the important thing is that you're spending time with each other.
7. Let's resolve to being satified with less - Every garage sale and junkyard is filled with yesterday's treasures. The storage unit business is projected to have $30B in revenue by 2018. Why? We're consumed with consuming. In 2017, make a point to be happy with less. Downsize the amount of stuff you have. Donate your unneeded clothes, furniture, and toys. Take stock of what you really need vs. what you think you have to have.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.