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How to create an Intentional family lifestyle; a dad's perspective

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Do you ever feel like you are just floating along through life, wondering why you are even doing what you are doing? Does your family spend weekends and dinner times distracted and isolated from each other? You are not alone!

Everyone is so busy just struggling to get through each day with our jobs, car lines, homework help, cooking, cleaning and everything else. With all that going on, it can feel like we have lost the purpose and conviction we once had. It does not help that our modern world seems to glorify being busy as a sort of virtue. If you are ready for a simplified, more peaceful and fulfilling lifestyle, read on to learn about intentional living.

What is Intentional Living?

Intentional living means living knowing your purpose, your values, and making choices so that your life reflects those choices. We live in a society that practically screams at us what we should buy, how our families should look, what we should eat, read, watch and listen to. It can be so easy to just go along with the culture and forget what is important to us.

It's time to take stock and discern what values are important to you and your family. Living intentionally will bring your family harmony and purpose. Here are a few ways you can create your own intentional family lifestyle.

The very first step is to start being present in your own life. Engage in what and who is before you. Our culture is saturated with distractions. It is frustrating when you feel like you are not giving anything your full attention, but this can change when you have the intention to be present.

  • While you are at work, focus your attention on the job at hand.

  • When your kids are talking to you, put down your phone or tablet and listen to them.

  • If you have a goal to complete a task at home, put aside all other distractions and focus solely on that task until it's done.

  • If you are reading a book, tell yourself that you are going to complete one chapter before you set it down to check your email.

This one seemingly small change will have a large impact on your life.

Family Mission Statement

The next step in having an intentional family lifestyle is to make a family mission statement. Your mission statement should articulate your family's goals, standards, and values. What are you passionate about? What beliefs do you want to impart to your children?

Your statement could be outlined by what virtues are important to you like kindness, faithfulness, and honesty. All members of the family that can should contribute to the creation of the mission statement. You could even make up your own family motto as a central theme.

After you have your mission statement, figure out what kinds of changes your family needs to make so that your lifestyle reflects more of the values that you hold dear. Perhaps you want to become more environmentally friendly, or maybe you want to reduce screen time or have more dinners together as a family. Other cultures such as the Chinese put tremendous value on the importance of shared food and the family unit. Our modern society could learn from these values.

You might realize that everyone has too many commitments and decide that it's time to simplify your schedules. You could decide to plan a couple of family time activities a month like a game night or a day trip out exploring. Whatever changes you make, write them down and hang them in the central area of your home as a reminder to stick to them.

De-Clutter Your Home

Your home is the hub of your family life, and it should be a stress-free environment. Clutter makes your home an unpleasant place to be. The more things you own, the more they take up your time and infringe on your life.

As a family, decide what things are important and valuable, and then create two piles for everything else: a donation pile and a trash pile. You could even have a yard sale or sell your unwanted possessions online and put the money towards a family vacation.

Finally, a singularly great way to find fulfillment and grow closer together as a family is to give back to the community. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, clean up a road or a park or make up some care kits for the homeless. There are so many ways to give your time as a family, and it will benefit you as well as others in more ways than you know.

There is no one correct lifestyle for each family, but it is important in this loud, fast-moving world to take a step back and discern if the current you're in is right for you all. You can always reevaluate and amend things as you go, and things change. Just remember, with intentional living, the point is that you can make choices about your life, and it never hurts to simplify.

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