Want to cultivate a stronger family? Consider the following family resolutions (and accompanying action steps and resources) for the new year!
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‘Tis the season when we start thinking about the new year and all its possibilities. It’s a blank slate just waiting to be filled. What are you going to write?
If I’ve learned anything in the last several years, it’s the importance of intention. If you want to accomplish something, you have to know how you’re going to do it. If you want change, you have to know how you’re going to affect it. If you want to make progress, you have to know what steps you’re going to take. Wishful thinking isn’t going to get you there, and neither are ideas (no matter how good they are) circling around in your head.
You need intentional goals and plans.
And as we’re thinking about the goals we want to set and the resolutions we want to make, what better area to focus on than family? A strong, healthy family affects almost every other area of our lives, undergirds our children’s lives with a solid foundation, and propels them into their futures with confidence and competence.
For those reasons and more, here are 5 resolutions to make that will strengthen your family in the new year.
5 Family Resolutions to Make in the New Year (With Action Steps)
Want to cultivate a stronger family? As you work on setting your goals for the coming year, consider the following family resolutions. And to help you turn those goals into reality, I’ve included action steps and helpful resources for each one.
1. Make a plan for family discipleship
This is arguably the most important goal you can set for your family in the coming year. In their book Family Discipleship, Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin define family discipleship as “leading your home by doing whatever you can whenever you can to help your family become friends and followers of Jesus Christ,” and for Christian parents, it is not optional. It is a Biblical command (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4).
This isn’t something we should leave to Sunday School classes or a Christian school education. It’s our responsibility as parents. The family is “the primary instrument and environment for discipleship” and it shouldn’t be something we get to when we have some extra time, but rather a central focus and the underpinning of our interactions.
That being said, one thing I’ve learned about family discipleship is that, as with so many other good intentions, if you don’t plan for it, you won’t do it. So, here are a few action steps to take with this resolution:
- Research — Read books, blogs, and articles; listen to podcasts; and talk to other parents to learn what they’re doing for family discipleship
- Brainstorm — There are so many different ways to disciple your family, it can get overwhelming. Before making any plans, get all your ideas down on paper. Don’t censor yourself or select anything yet — just write it all down!
- Make a plan — Looking through your ideas, choose a few (don’t try to do too much at one or you’ll get burned out) that best fit your family’s personalities and lifestyle.
My weekly family discipleship plan
As an example, here is what goes into my family discipleship plan each week. Yours does not have to look like mine! It is just an example to get you thinking:
- What we’ll read in the morning (this is always a passage straight from the Bible, and right now we’re going chronologically through the New Testament)
- What we’ll read during dinner devotions (supplemental materials on faith, character, heroes of the faith, etc.)
- What Scriptures we’ll memorize (the boys each have verses for their church classes, and I choose one additional verse to memorize as a family)
- What specific themes/issues/behaviors/character traits we’ll focus on
- Other activities we might do
- I recently started choosing one question to ask from this book by Natasha Crain
It looks like a lot, but it really doesn’t take as much time as it seems. And the longer I do it, the more natural it becomes.
- Family Discipleship (book)
- The Lifegiving Parent, by Clay & Sally Clarkson (book)
- Raising Tiny Disciples, by Phylicia Masonheimer (ebook)
- “Practicing Faith Skills With Your Child” (article)
- Mama Bear Apologetics blog
2. Cultivate your desired family culture
Most of us are familiar with the term “company culture,” but have you ever thought about your family culture? According to Craig Groeschel, culture is “what you intentionally create, or what you allow,” and whether you’re aware of it or not, every family has one.
The question, then, isn’t “Does my family have a culture?” but rather, “What do I want my family culture to be?” As Phylicia Masonheimer says, ““Family culture can be beautiful or it can be ugly. But it’s only beautiful when we create with intention.” This coming year, think about what you want yours to be, then be intentional about cultivating it.
- Research — Again, read about family culture (it might not be called this, specifically, so you could also try searching “family values,” “family identity,” or “family environment”), listen to family-centered podcasts, and talk to other families you admire.
- Cast a vision — Think of some values you want to be characteristic of your family. Examples might include: love, joy, peace, purpose, gratitude, stewardship, service, hospitality, Biblical ethic, worship, music, arts, the outdoors, etc.
- Make a plan — Write out some action steps that will help you achieve your vision. What will you need to do to cultivate that culture? What character traits do you need to build? What behaviors/habits do you need to work on curbing? Are there any changes you need to make to your schedules, routines, or lifestyle? Make a plan for how you’ll do it.
- The Lifegiving Home, Sally Clarkson (book)
- “How to Create a Biblical Family Culture” | Phylicia Masonheimer (article)
- “Family Culture: Shared Identity and Belonging” (article)
3. Build strong family bonds
Life gets busy and moves more quickly than we even realize while we’re living it. That’s why it is essential that we are intentional about fostering connections between family members and building strong family bonds. It is not going to happen by default – we have to purposely pursue it. Following are some suggested action steps for this family resolution.
Action step suggestions
- Schedule time together — Plan when, where, and how you will do this, and put it on your calendar
- Learn each other’s love languages
- Share regular family meals
- Play games together
- Do chores together
- Engage in daily conversations
- Create a family mission statement
- Have family meetings
- Volunteer together
- The DIY Guide to Building a Family that Lasts, by Gary Chapman & Shannon Warden (book)
- 101 Conversation Starters for Families, Gary Chapman & Ramon Presson (book)
- How to Strengthen Family Bonds (article)
- 5 Ways to Reconnect With Your Family on a Daily Basis (article)
4. Read together
Reading together as a family is more than just a hobby or entertainment. Research shows that reading to kids develops language and literacy skills, lengthens attention spans, builds creativity and imagination, teaches life lessons, promotes social and emotional development, and broadens understanding of the world around them. Not to mention, it provides valuable bonding opportunities.
For some families, reading together is as natural as eating or breathing. For others, it can be a struggle. If family read-alouds are not already a part of your everyday routine, consider the following action steps to slowly (but surely) build the habit.
- Figure out what time of day works best for family read-alouds, and put it in your schedule
- Start with a goal of 10 minutes a day
- Take note of what kinds of books everyone enjoys
- Learn how to make it more effective and enjoyable – this IS a skill that can be developed!
- The Read-Aloud Family, by Sarah Mackenzie (book)
- 9 Practical Tips for Reading to Your Kids (article)
- 7 Ways to Raise Lifelong Readers (article)
- Our Favorite Chapter Books for Read-Alouds (article)
5. Have fun together
Growing a strong family isn’t all work and no play! Having fun together is an equally important part of building a strong family identity, and should therefore be prioritized. So for this final family resolution, get ready to have some fun!
- Get input from family members about what kinds of activities each person would enjoy
- Make seasonal bucket lists
- Study your family members (and yourself!) to learn about each person’s interests, passions, and preferences
- Make time for it and S-C-H-E-D-U-L-E it (see a theme here?)
- Memory-Making Mom, by Jessica Smartt
- “7 Secrets of Fun Families” (article)
- 30 Winter Activities For Kids
- 15 Delightful Spring Outdoor Activities for Kids
- 100 Fun Family Activities for Every Season
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- 7 Ways to Build a Loving Family
- 30 Scriptural Prayers For Your Family
- 10 Ways to Build a Kingdom-Minded Family
- 5 Ways to Maximize Your Family Time
Share your thoughts!