5 Questions to support Courageous Goal Setting
As we all prepare for our children to return to the hustle and bustle of “normalized in-person” schooling, we, as parents and family leaders, are all considering how we will manage the shift back to school. On top of the “normal” challenges that this time of year brings as we wind down the days of sleeping in during the summer and trade them for busy mornings of getting kids and ourselves out the door with lunches, homework, and all of the things. We are doing this while still dealing with the aftermath (well, maybe) of the Covid-19 health pandemic, ongoing and new wars, a worldwide continued racial uprising combined with a fluctuating and uncertain financial outlook, and historic levels of political unrest and division. When considering that, mainly related to education which has been underfunded, marginally successful, and under full attack from all sides, there is little that will be normal about our precious children returning to school this fall. While we, as parents, will do all we can to protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, there have already been incidents indicating that this year will be different than before. The question that leaves, considering all that is going on, is whether that is necessarily a “bad” thing. As seasons and times change, it opens up a new opportunity to re-evaluate and renew our focus on family leadership. When we consciously lead our families courageously, these times provide the entire family with the ability to reset, which is more valuable than liquid gold. How we see times of transition can provide insight into whether family leadership is a priority. Here are five questions we ask and answer during this time of year to help consciously elevate how we focus on and lead our families through goal setting during times of transition.
Personal Leadership: What do I want to improve upon during this next season?
We ask ourselves this question individually, as a couple, and about each of our children. The process of thinking about not only our personalities, but what steps we want to take in this season of the journey to becoming our best selves. This season we decided to take steps to improve our physical health. Having gained a few pounds during COVID and with us cooking at home pretty much every night, we had the motivation and a structure to improve our eating habits with minor changes in how we intentionally plan and prepare meals. We also committed to developing a workout routine that would work for us and that we would enjoy. We know that anything we do for ourselves also sets excellent examples for the kids, so this was an exciting discussion and goal for us this season.
After discussing with our kids, we determined that we wanted them to develop their abilities to follow through and commit. So we chose to stay with piano lessons which include a commitment to daily practice. We also said it was important to us that each of them had a choice of an organized sport or activity of their choosing. With the bigs starting middle school, which has many different clubs, sports, and activities, and the littles having a newfound love for football and baseball, this was not too difficult to determine as a step forward. We finished this section by deciding who would talk with each kid about their leadership, goal and ensure they were signed up or registered.
Relational Leadership: What relationships need to be further developed and how?
As we consider the internal and external relationships, both inside and outside of the home for ourselves, we as a family with one another internally and externally as well as with extended family. We noticed that our big kids had been bickering a bit more than usual, so much so that the littles were beginning to join in the chorus. We had both been discussing what they were arguing about, and often it had to do with who was doing which chores and the littles not picking up after themselves. The conflict was with them not following their schedules, but also not talking to one another in ways that would escalate and being able to handle their emotions when they were upset with each other effectively. We know that some of this chaos is just kids being kids, but this is also an opportunity for us to develop some skills in these areas. We determined that we wanted to build delegation and communication skills as parents and family leaders so our children can develop more autonomy and we all have clarity moving forward. We also were going to be more mindful about how we spoke and intentional about how we reinforced our expectations for them to interact with one another. Having them come together to do their schedules and monitor them seemed like a good path moving forward to help them in this area.
Home Leadership: How can the structure and organization of our home, routines, and distribution of chores, develop age-appropriate skills in each child and bring peace?
Home is where all of the beautiful personalities in our family come together, for better or worse. During these times of transition, we get an opportunity to evaluate how we can bring peace and tranquility to our living spaces. For us, we love to have a clean and organized yet functional home. This requires all of us to work together, and when considered carefully in connection with personal and relational goals, it can actually be rewarding. Since we want to focus on our health through more intentional meal planning, have several activities for the calendar and transport, and have to re-evaluate chores to make them age-appropriate, it makes sense for home leadership to be organized through a family calendaring and scheduling system. The bigs had to work with the littles to set up our meal planning and prep calendar, along with the cleaning and activities schedules. Everything they decide upon (relational leadership) becomes their job, and they must work together to accomplish their daily goals. Scheduling is very time-consuming, but it teaches so many skills and helps to develop autonomy. The expectation in our home is that we do what we have to do, so we can do what we want to do, and as long as we complete our responsibilities without being asked, everyone gets paid. This system has the kids looking forward to determining their schedules and working together. This year we paid particular attention to how they disagreed as they built their schedules and provided support on better ways to speak to one another since it was one of their goals above. Since the bigs are going into middle school, I also had them take over the task of typing up their schedule and posting it each week. This helps us with our delegation goals as we foster their development. Home leadership is our responsibility as parents, and it is where we can have the most impact on our family’s success. Being intentional about this area is a great way to make family leadership a priority,
Financial Leadership: How are we intentionally developing the power of our finances and the abilities of our children to do the same?
We believe that with financial leadership, there are three areas of support we can provide as families. 1) Compensation (Earning Money) 2) Education (Financial Literacy) 3) Application (Spending, Investing, and Saving). Therefore, each of us has an age-appropriate individual plan for what we earn, what we will learn, and how we spend when it comes to money. We have tied our home leadership responsibilities to financial leadership by using the Greenlight app as a financial leadership, organization, and motivational tool. While we were setting financial goals for ourselves as a couple and for furthering our economic future, we spent considerable time, since it is back-to-school time, on connecting home leadership responsibilities with compensation. Ensuring kids are compensated helps them connect the work they contribute and the value of money. We utilize Dr. Boyce Watkins’ Black Business School curriculum to develop our kids’ skill set, and they each have a Greenlight account for money management and a savings account.
Professional/Career Leadership: What skills or abilities do we need to develop to be most successful in business or career development?
This one is intentionally last symbolically and procedurally for the goal-setting process. This is not because we don’t value education, but because we actually place a high value on it and take our role as parents very serious in building the capacity of ourselves and our children to build a life they love doing and something they enjoy. We can’t effectively support our skills development if we are unclear on what we want to develop and why. During this process, we have several conversations with each other and our kids to see where we want to focus our efforts in formal schooling and skill development. We believe all subjects are important, but we must spend a considerable amount of time in our family discussing our cultural and ethnic history. Given this, we look at which area we want to support our kids based on what they need to succeed. For one, it was reading another, peer interactions, organization, focus for one of our boys, and balancing social and academics for our more extroverted middle schooler. As we take this look at schooling, it helps us as a family to consider what is most essential and not succumb to traditional views and uses of schooling. We are much less concerned with how they score on a test than how they develop as people since we know that, as a family, it takes the pressure off of our kids to meet the standards of success that were not designed with them in mind.
What makes this Courageous Leadership?
Every individual and family unit is going to define for themselves what it means to be Courageous. We define Courageous Leadership as that which creates opportunities and eliminates barriers to our definitions of success. We define success in terms of the 5 Pillars of Courageous Family Leadership. Being intentional about developing ourselves and our families to achieve our purposes of success provides an opportunity and a space for people to thrive as their authentic selves. By designing our lives in such a way that elevates our families, we consciously eliminate barriers that would impede their success by providing them with an opportunity to develop their skills at their own pace in a loving environment.
With five kids at home and 1 in college, when do you find the time to make this happen?
To make this happen each season, we have come to a place where we take time together as a couple at the start of every season to rest, recharge, and renew our focus on both one another and our role as family leaders. This year we have done this during our trip through California visiting family with the little kids. We had these intimately honest conversations and returned with a focus on our priorities, an attitude for success, and, most importantly, a shared vision of the plan ahead and what we needed from each other in the next season. It felt amazing to know that even as busy entrepreneurs with multiple businesses, we had taken the time and steps to keep our commitment to Family Leadership as our focus. A Consideration for You…
How are you using this time of transition to ensure the Courageous Leadership of your Family is truly a priority? We would love to hear your thoughts and responses in our Courageous Families' private Facebook group. Join the conversation today! Interested in shifting the conditions that hold systemic problems in place? CLICK HERE to sign up today for our Courageous Leadership Book Study Course, and learn how you can start creating significant change for yourself and your family’s legacy.