Good morning, Five Minute Families. No matter where you in your ACTIVITIES of festivities this time of year, take a moment to breathe deeply and remember that every moment of every day is about Jesus Christ. Remember, He loves you, right where you are.
Once the Christmas festivities have ceased, folks will begin thinking about what the new year will bring. Let’s discuss the concept of New Year’s resolutions and what we suggest this year instead (and why).
But, first, let’s define three important words:
Standard – a required or agreed level of quality; more easily understood as the acceptable normal
Goal – the object of a person’s ambition or effort; this is your aim or desired result
And, last, Resolution – a firm decision to do or not to do something
These three words are not the same yet so often are used interchangeably. Today, let’s zoom in on standards.
As the writer at MidAmerica Martial Arts stated, “Let’s [first] discuss the difference between goals and standards. Standards are rules and guidelines; benchmarks that are the minimum level of effort and achievement expected daily. They are the norm. Goals are a result of some concerted effort; a place or level of proficiency above where you currently are.”
Thus, if your family has low standards, no amount of goal-setting or resolution-making will be successful. In business, standards can only be maintained when the people of the business share the same expectations. The same applies to family standards. As Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” We must discuss together what standards we want to have in our home. Do we have a standard of excellence?
My standard for what has become acceptable in my average day of managing our home and how I organize homeschooling has dropped dramatically in the past five years, especially during the two and a half years when I was often sick, in pain, anxious, depressed, or all four. Until my standards are higher, my kids will continue to put in the lowest possible effort. I want to set a standard for each weekday… time in the Bible, time outside, time with my family, and less time on screens, you get the idea.
Those can be overwhelming, especially if we jumped to defining specific goals and resolving that everything must change at once without setting expectations of norms. So, let’s discuss how we will tackle raising our standards so that we afterward can begin goal-setting and resolution-making as a family.
- First, we must identify our standard, and the standard for a five-minute family is the Bible. Our standard canNOT be the family we have identified as the “most Christian.” Many folks put their pastor and his family on a pedestal. Others identify a deacon’s family, a teacher’s family, a prominent community figure’s family. Please do not fall into this trap. While some families are certainly going to get things “right” and “better” than our family, we need to look to the Bible and see what God is encouraging our family to work on. Maybe mom and dad didn’t have good Christian examples, or maybe there has been trauma that has caused someone to digress in their walk with the Lord; nevertheless, we can begin to see what God wants our daily standard of life to look like.
- Next, identify the ONE area of your family life that needs attention whether that is in the area of spiritual living, healthy habits, working practices, or mental health. If you have come to accept low levels of kindness or interaction, then that is what you will get. Choose the one area that you can see has a low standard or quality in your home.
- Begin taking your thoughts captive. This will include listening for your family’s dynamic in communication and addressing words, phrases, or attitudes that do not contribute to building one another up. Yes, this applies to homework, chores, screen time, Bible time, you name it.
- Set boundaries TOGETHER for the standard you choose. For our family I began monitoring how much time I spend on devices. We already have monitors in place for the kids, but I wasn’t really paying attention to the amount of time, just whether things were of acceptable content. I plan to utilize this information to raise our standard of time management.
- The biggest thing a five-minute family must do while trying to raise standards of daily living is to forgive one another when someone messes up.
Join us next week as we tie our standards, goals, and resolutions together to help families make 2023 a fabulous year for the whole family. Be blessed!