Get out your calendar! We have made it to the final component of the recipe for a highly focused family. If we stick with the symphony analogy from yesterday, this last step is the rehearsal schedule. The orchestra will have their complete scores in mind, their notes and experience from prior sessions in front of them, and that day’s section practiced and prepared for. The rehearsal will reveal the progress that has been made and set the plan for the next discussion.
4) Focus Talks
This step is simply stated, yet is vitally important and requires the most discipline to carry out. To put into place each of the previous three steps without carrying through to this one is to set the system up for failure. First, realize that we as humans are programmed for a weekly cycle. We need to be re-anchored every week. We don’t have to wonder about this. God set it into place. We only have to look as far as our weekly worship to know that refocusing weekly is vital.
Focus Talks are weekly times set aside and ruthlessly adhered to, that involve no more than 20-30 minutes of reviewing the Drivers and removing roadblocks that stand in the way of progress. There are three components to these talks – prayer, progress and the path forward. Pray for what you are trying to achieve, measure progress over the prior week’s commitments, and plan for how to stay on top of the Drivers during the week ahead. The path forward should also include reviewing the family calendar at least a month out.
There you have it. Four steps more easily articulated than followed. Their challenge lies in the discipline required to carry them out. That brings us to the last few questions we should ask ourselves. Does God have a desired picture for our families and how important is it that we seek to conform them to his desires? Do we wish for our families to be a function of our circumstances and the choices of other people, or do we want to be future-oriented and focused on the most important things? Do we want to take after Jacob or Esau in this respect?
Planning takes discipline and it also takes time – time devoted to long-term thinking. It requires building time for this into our weekly schedules. In the midst of crying babies, children running around the house, music lessons, chores to be done, work to complete and all of our lofty pursuits – we must set aside time to paint a Future Picture and create a plan to realize it. The one thing that we can count on in all of this is that life will take us by surprise. Tragedy may strike. Windfalls may come our way. We may be forced to move. That “surprises” will come should be no surprise to us. Neither should it provide us an excuse for not doing the hard work of orienting ourselves toward the future, and charting a plan that provides us focus in such an important calling – our family.