Deen Family Strategic Planning 2018

At the end of every year, I bring my family together for a family strategic planning meeting. As I wrote more extensively about in this blog post, family strategic planning sets direction, helps manage family resources, and sets family members up for success.

26170236_10156104720323573_7933505914530801455_o This is why we take the time to go out of town, recharge and relax, before heading into a meeting that allows us to revisit what we’ve done in the past and where we plan to go, moving forward. Ideally, the goals set at the strategic family planning meeting are then followed up at monthly family meetings that allow family members to discuss issues and incidents that are important to then, celebrate the wins, learn from the losses, and plan adequately for the future.

This year, however, was a little different. The family voiced out that the core values that we identified–godliness, respect, integrity, perseverance, and excellence–seemed to be driven by performance, and left little room for grace.

“Let’s do a little design thinking,” Catherine, my wife, suggested, “and revisit the core values.”

I was initially hesitant–my vision of core values saw them as values that would stand the test of time, rather like La Salle’s Religio, Mores et Cultura–but the feedback that it was high-pressure and performance-driven could not be ignored. So Caths led us in a Design Thinking exercise that gave us the opportunity to write down different values that were important to each of us. We then categorized them together into groups of similar intention, and grace, God-centered, joy, respect, and excellence were the values that stood out.

26111911_10156107279288573_7766162826156376487_nWe then wordsmithed these values into more tangible content that seemed more relatable and achievable, and these are the results.

In 2018, the Deen family will endeavor to live out:

– Grace-Filled Living
– A God-Centered Lifestyle
– A Joyful Disposition
– Respect in All Relationships
– The Pursuit of Excellence

RESOURCES! If you’d like to try strategic planning for your family, here’s a sample family strategic planning template (in Excel format) that you can use, and  here’s a sample family meeting template that you can use for your monthly meetings. Just replace the section on Family Values with your own, or feel free to adapt ours to suit your family’s needs. Happy new year from the Deens!

Three Things to Do When Your Child Disrespects You

A few weeks ago, I had a situation with one of my children. Upon the child’s arrival from school, the child’s grandmother suggested a haircut from the neighborhood stylist, which the child refused to do. My wife was home but very sick at the time, so she had no energy to get up and address the disrespect; it was actually disappointing that the child showed no concern for the sick mother. I resolved to deal with the disobedience when I got home, but when I arrived, the child was already asleep, so I couldn’t deal with the situation.

bible_rod_discipline_childrenI got my own version a few hours later though, when the child woke me up at 1AM because the child awoke and couldn’t go back to sleep. The scandalous shouting match that followed did not wake up anyone, thank goodness, but I certainly gave this child a piece of my mind for the events of that day.

As Christian parents, we set the example for our children in godliness, respect, integrity, perseverance, and excellence, and we set the boundaries and rules for them so they, in turn, grow up to become disciplined, independent Christian adults. However, it’s inevitable that every parent will experience a situation where their child disrespects their authority and pushes their buttons just right. So what is the Christian parent to do?

Disrespect is ultimately disobedience, which necessitates discipline. It’s important for parents to present a united front, especially if their natural discipline styles are different. Otherwise, the children will run to the more forgiving parent, while the other parent comes across as an angry monster.

My wife and I are united in three things when it comes to dealing with our children’s attitudes towards respect and obedience.

1. Instruct with the heart and deal with the heart. Every disciplining situation is a chance for a parent to speak his heart to his child. As you address your child, remember this is a learning opportunity for your child. Proverbs 15:5 says, “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.” This is even more important to remember if you feel your child is willfully disregarding your advice or discipline.

No parent intentionally gives his children bad advice, and, on occasion, a child’s disobedience may not be because he intends to disobey but because the boundaries weren’t set or instructions weren’t clear. End of effort, it must be clear the child knew what he did was wrong.

2. Provide discipline that speaks to the child. There are consequences to negative behavior, not just so the child will learn not to do it again, but so they’ll understand how the world works. A home in which there is no justice is raising a child with blurred moral boundaries.

When it comes to discipline, I believe in the concept of “hit them where it hurts.” (This doesn’t necessarily mean the rod, although I have, on occasion, spanked my children when they were younger, and applying Tip No.3 afterward.) If you balk at spanking, you can still provide discipline in other ways. For us, we know our children hold something of value, and we apply discipline by addressing what they hold valuable. For example, my son is a techie, so discipline for him involves grounding from video games; my daughter loves her Shopkins, so discipline for her may involve the temporary withholding of Shopkins benefits.

I do want to also say, though, that it is not enough to (temporarily) remove the object of value; we need to fill the void that it creates. It is important to provide an alternative activity or item that will give the child time to reflect on what they did. For my son, I’ll ask him to clean the room (with me, because I enjoy that); for my daughter, I’ll have her read a few chapters from a book, which we will discuss afterward.

3. Restore. After every disciplining effort, it is essential for the parent to make time to sit down with the child and process the disciplining effort. Make a deliberate effort to speak to the child in their love language, and reassure him that there is forgiveness and grace for him. The child needs to know that you will continue to love him despite what he did, and you always will.

What about you? What are some things you do when you deal with your disrespectful child?

Image taken from here. No copyright infringement intended.