Family, Inc. Workbook

The Family Inc. Workbook is a 34 page guide that will help you plan for your family’s future by accomplishing five steps.

The 5 Steps You Will Learn In
The Family Inc. Workbook

Step 1: Deciding My Family’s Foundation

Step 2: Designing My Family’s Vision

Step 3: Describing My Family’s Mission

Step 4: Defining My Family’s Values

Step 5: Determining My Family’s Goals

 

Think of this workbook as a step-by-step guide to walk your family through the process of creating your family’s mission statement.

There are questions to answer, activities to complete and thoughts to record. You will brainstorm ideas and think creatively about the focus and future of your family. The process is simple, but it will take some time to complete. Enjoy the process and set a reasonable pace to walk through each step. You don’t need to rush, but don’t let it drag either. The longer you wait between steps the more momentum you lose.

 

Cell Phone Responsibility Agreement

Normal Use

  • I will not text or place phone calls between ___:____p.m. and ___:____a.m.
  • I will send no more than ______ texts per day.
  • I will not exceed my allotted monthly minutes or text message limits.
  • I will charge my phone in an open space and not in my room.

Safety

  • I will answer my phone when my parent calls.
  • I will not download/subscribe to anything on my phone without parental permission.
  • I will not disable any parental controls on my phone.
  • I will tell my parents when I receive inappropriate texts or sexts.
  • I will tell my parents if I am being harassed by someone on my cell phone.
  • I will not harass or bully anyone with my cell phone.
  • I will not use my cell phone to arrange meetings with anyone my parents don’t know.

Texting

  • I will not send threatening or mean texts to others.
  • I will not take or send embarrassing photos of myself, my family or my friends.
  • I will not share photos with other people without their permission.
  • I will not text messages about people in a way that hurts their reputation.
  • I will not forward a hurtful message or picture sent to me about someone else.

Being Polite

  • I will not bring my cellphone anywhere that my parents prohibit its use, like the family dinner table.
  • I will not be rude to others by talking or texting in public places where cell phone use is not allowed or is inappropriate, like in a church or a library.
  • I will follow all school rules about cell phone use.

The following are reasonable consequences if any of the above rules are broken.

Consequences

  • I understand that having a cell phone is a privilege that can be taken away.
  • I understand this agreement will help me to demonstrate responsible behavior.
  • I understand my parents reward good behavior with more freedom.
  • I understand there are consequences for breaking this agreement.

Parent Responsibilities

  • I will answer any questions my child has about owning a cell phone.
  • I will periodically revisit these rules as my child gets older and technology evolves.
  • I will not take away my child’s cell phone if he [or she] comes to me regarding inappropriate content received from someone else.

 

Child’s Signature: ____________________________ Today’s Date: _______

Parent’s Signature: ___________________________ Today’s Date: _______

 

Rules for Maintaining a Healthy Social Media Account

  1. You must “friend” Mom and Dad and keep us as “friends” at all times.

  2. You must provide your social media password to Mom and Dad and let us know if you ever change it.

  3. Do not “friend” anyone that you don’t know personally. For example, don’t “friend” another person’s friend just because you know that other person.

  4. Don’t post a profile picture with someone other than a best friend, family member or pet. At some point your girlfriend or boyfriend is acceptable.

  5. Don’t “like” or comment on any post that will hurt someone else, hurt your parents or disappoint God.

  6. Don’t post any pictures of others without their permission—including a profile picture. Ask them first.

  7. Don’t “like” any websites, apps, music or videos that are inappropriate. If you don’t know, then ask Mom or Dad.

  8. Remember that future employers and universities often check social media sites when considering you for employment or enrollment when you are older.

  9. Ask Mom and Dad if you have any questions or concerns about something on any social media site.

  10. Think before you post anything. Things you post can exist forever online, even if you delete them right away. Someone could have taken a screen shot of your post and saved it. If you are not sure if you should post something, don’t post it.

 

I understand these social media guidelines, and I also understand that if I break one of these rules my account(s) may be suspended as a consequence.

 

Child’s Signature: ____________________________ Today’s Date: _______

Parent’s Signature: ___________________________ Today’s Date: _______

 

Venture Minute: May 27, 2018

Our next Discover Baptism class is coming up on June 10. Baptism is a way to share publicly what God has done in our hearts through Jesus, so if you haven’t been baptized yet, now’s a great time to take that next step in your faith. Sign up at our website.

Next, have you ever thought about leading a group, class or team here at Venture, but been afraid you wouldn’t know what to do? Sign up online and join us on June 10 for a quick overview on how to lead a group where people can connect and grow spiritually!

And last, consider a life changing short term mission trip with our India teams this Fall. We have two trips to India, one ministering to orphans and women rescued from human trafficking, as well as a trip to offer free medical care in remote villages. Stop by the info hub after service to learn how you can partner and pray for these teams.

Looking to stay up-to-date with all that’s going on at Venture? Don’t forget to check your program, our website, or sign up for the Venture Weekly Email. 

Venture Minute: May 20, 2018

Hey everyone, and welcome to the Venture Minute, a quick look at what’s ahead.

In your 20s or 30s and looking to connect?  Join me next Saturday for a one-day retreat focused on spiritual refreshment. Don’t miss this opportunity to set a day aside and recharge in nature, spend time in prayer, and worship.  Sign up venture.cc/events

Next, have you or someone you know thought about baptism? Take the next step and follow Jesus’ example by being baptized. The next Discover Baptism Class is Sunday morning, June 10. Sign up at venture.cc/classes

And last, continue to invite friends to the new family series! Don’t miss Pastors Chip and Craig teach on How to Raise a Healthy Family in a Modern World. Invite friends online by sharing our posts, the email invite or picking up invite cards at the Info Hub after service.

Looking to stay up-to-date with all that’s going on at Venture? Don’t forget to check your program, our website, or sign up for the Venture Weekly Email.

How To “Buy Time” With Your Family

I like what author Tim Ferris says, "I think time management as a label encourages people to view each 24-hour period as a slot in which they should pack as much as possible." But what if we want more time? Can we get it? Can we buy it? Walk with me for a minute...

Do you like a good sale? You know, the “take 50 percent off the already low price” kind of a sale! You get quality merchandise at a great value. I guess if I have one complaint about such a sale is that they usually don’t last. If you don’t make time now––while the sale is on––then you will have missed a great opportunity.

We are reminded to take advantage of a good sale or good opportunity in the Bible. It’s true! Ephesians 5:15-17 talks all about it:

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
— Ephesians 5:15-17

Now, you may be inclined to take the words “what the Lord wants you to do” as an instruction to go and take advantage of every great sale at the mall. I would say “A” for effort, but that’s not the part of these verses that talk about a sale.

It’s actually the words, “make the most of every opportunity.” Those six words literally mean “buying the time.” Now, we all know there isn’t a place that sells time, so what does it mean to “buy the time”? The thought goes back centuries and was a metaphor taken from the time when merchants would observe the best time to sell their goods, much like ads for a sale catch our attention today.

A few years ago, I was invited to be a guest speaker on a cruise ship. As it turned out, I was available! When the ship arrived at our first port of call, passengers had the option of staying on the ship or disembarking and walking around town. We opted for the second. Once we stepped off the ship, we were met by at least 50 people selling T-shirts, jewelry, purses and food. I guess you could say they were in the right place at the right time.

Pretty smart to be in that exact location at the very moment when the ship arrived. It’s like they somehow knew. Well, of course they knew, and I’m sure they knew when the next ship was due into the port as well. You see, they were “buying the time”––taking advantage of the opportunity.

Just like a modern sale has a beginning and an end, and just like our cruise had specific arrival and departure times, our time on earth is limited, and we need to be ready to take advantage of the time we have.

To put it bluntly, our children sail in to our lives and then sail out. 

We have a limited time with them, so we must take advantage of the opportunity. We must buy the time we have with them now.

We can’t just sit back and expect all the good deals in life to come to us. We must do the looking and comparing to find the best way to make the most of our time with our family. That will mean saying no to some good opportunities in favor of better opportunities, or the best opportunity.

We can only do this by reaching forward and looking ahead. When we look back and see what we have missed, we may say, “Now that I look back, I should have taken advantage of that opportunity.” Our hindsight is pretty clear. It’s when we look ahead that life can appear to be a little fuzzy; but that’s where our faith comes in.

We ask God for the wisdom necessary to make the most of our time, and we take advantage of every opportunity we have with our family. If we don’t take advantage of our time, it will sail away, it will pass us by. Time does not stop while we try to decide how to best take advantage of it. Time is relentless that way. Taking advantage of each opportunity requires a certain diligence and planning from each one of us.

1. How will you “buy the time” today?
2. What moment will you take advantage of with your family today?

 

How To Spend Uninterrupted Time Together This Week

Monday

As a parent ask and answer this question. “What one thing can I stop doing to have a better family life pace?

Tuesday

Just before bedtime, Read Ephesians 5:15-16 together as a family then pray this prayer. “God, help us to be careful with our time. Give us wisdom as a family to know how to make the best use of our time together. Amen”

Wednesday

Have dinner together and ask this question and let everyone answer, “What where your highs and lows today?”

Thursday

Parents, on a separate piece of paper, write a note to each of your children letting them know how much you love them. Put it in their lunch or on the mirror in the bathroom for them to see.

Friday

Collect each family member’s phone and put them in a drawer. Spend the next hour playing a board game that gets you all talking.

How To Create Space For A Healthy Family Pace

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The picture above doesn't look like much, in fact, it doesn't look like anything at all! Garbled, unreadable, cluttered, stressful it just doesn't make sense. So, why the picture?

The picture is significant because it's this entire post without any space. Without space the message is unclear at best, unreadable at worst. Words on a page need space in order to make sense. We really don't notice when space is there, but when it isn't, we can tell. Without space words loose their meaning and, you can see where I am going with this, without space, people loose their meaning too.

Without space our overscheduled and unchecked lives become garbled, unreadable, cluttered, stressful and it just doesn't make sense.

Creating space around and within our schedule allows for freedom of movement.

How do we create space around our work and family life?

It honestly comes down to healthy boundaries and healthy awareness. At times I schedule appointments and things I need to get done back to back to back. 8:00-9:00 then 9:00-10:00 then 10:00-11:00 and it allows me to accomplish more because the "get it done gene" inside me likes the feeling of accomplishment. This "lack of space" in my day also allows me to be less tolerant toward others (usually toward the ones I love) , and give me a sense of accomplishment buy staying "busy."

We all need to create a little space in our lives. Call it what you want, wiggle room, balance, margin, me time, whatever you call it, "it" won't work unless you practice it. I will be the first to NOT point a finger. The picture here is a screen shot right from my calendar. 

Clearly I'm a work in progress. I will tell you that my schedule rarely looks like this anymore and it's an exception rather than the rule however, occasionally, I fall back in to old habits and bump things right up against each other with no space. And, on occasion, I actually overlap things hoping the "time fairy" will actually give me more time.

So, I'm writing this post for me...and you!

Let's think about creating some space. Let's think about setting a few healthy boundaries or borders or margins or limits so life makes sense!

Creating Some Space For A Healthy Pace

1. Create Space For YOUR Family

Creating space for your family takes one thing into consideration...YOUR family. It's not being selfish it's being real. For instance, a healthy no for your family could be another family’s healthy yes. Space within your family's schedule needs to make sense for your family not the family at church or down the street.

2. Create Space You Can See

A calendar is a great place to see open space. Without a few lines between sentences a paragraph looses meaning and the same is true with family. Without a few moments between appointments or after school activities life becomes a grind filled with hurry not joy. You will often hear the phrase, "happy and healthy." You never hear, "hurried and healthy."

3. Create Space For Face to Face

When you are running from here to there with no margin or space life feels like one big hamster wheel. You are doing a lot of work but to no end. Get some face time with your spouse and talk about ways to loosen up your schedule and create space so life doesn't feel so rushed and non-stop.

Once you create some space, you will notice things begin to change. Please understand, things won’t change overnight; they will change over time. You will most likely experience a bit of negative feedback from your children, whose lives are suddenly altered with "down time." However, after the initial shock has worn off, you will all experience a less rushed and more healthy family life.

The Hardest Word You Will Ever Say

It's one of the easiest words in our language, yet it's the hardest to say. Yes, I’m talking about no.

If we all knew the right time to say no then we would all know when no was the right thing to say. Does that make sense?

Saying no isn’t as easy as it seems. Let’s face it, some personalities have a hard time saying no. Mary and I are two of them! We aren’t talking about saying no to unimportant things. We are talking about saying no to good things, even great things.

How about saying no to an opportunity to feed the homeless? How about saying no to serve on the board of a battered women’s shelter? How about saying no to going on a mission trip or helping someone in need? These people, these opportunities, need someone to say yes to them—to help them, serve them, love them. I would like to revise the first line in this post: Learning to say no isn’t the hardest word to say, it’s just about impossible!

The reason it’s so difficult to say no is the things we are being asked to do or get involved with are good, worthwhile and compelling things. When someone asks me to do something or volunteer for something, I find myself just saying yes without knowing what I’m doing. It’s almost a reflex. Here’s what I have found. The more I say yes, the more it leads to stress; and the more I say no, the more it leads to slow.

I personally had to learn that when I say yes to everyone, I am saying no to someone, simply by default. The reason being "the law of unlimited resources." We think we can do it all! Take a drinking glass for example; it has a capacity. Once the capacity is reached, you can no longer put any more into it without causing it to overflow. The same is true with your life. How do you know when to say no? What’s the protocol? What are the steps or process?
 

Over the years I have found the following three guidelines to be extremely helpful when needing to say no.

1. Know Your Season
If you know your season of life you can determine how to spend your time. There are four broad seasons of life.

  • Single
  • Married
  • Married with Kids
  • Single with Kids

Are you single? Great, you have more time for what you want to do. Are you married with three kids? Great, you have more time to give your family. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT. Live your season!

2. Know Your Priorities
When values are clear decisions are easy. If you don’t know where you are going or what your priorities are then “yes” will rule your life. Knowing your priorities will help you “no” things that are not. I like what C.S. Lewis says, “Don’t be too easily convinced that God really wants you to do all sorts of work you needn’t do. Each must do his duty ‘in that state of life to which God has called him.’

3. Know Your Limits
All of us have our limits. The problem is I often want to push beyond them. I think I can do more than I was designed for. I push beyond my limits and get rewarded for it to later return and challenge those limits again. Busyness for God does not equal healthiness for your soul.

When I am asked to give my time to a project or cause, I am approached by someone who has the charisma of a movie star, the passion of a motivational speaker and they are asking not only for a good cause but a great one! When you are presented that wonderful opportunity to do something great and everything inside you wants to say yes, then pause... take a deep breath...and delay your answer so you can process the request with a proper perspective.

1. Take Some Time
When someone asks for your time don’t give an immediate answer. If they push you for a quick answer then tell them no.

2. Talk It Over
Have a conversation with your spouse and agree on a decision together.

Questions: 

  • How easy is it for you to say no?
  • Is there something on your calendar that you need to say no to right now?
  • What is it?

The Greatest Family Invention Ever!

The Digital Calendar! Yes, that’s it, that’s the answer. Let me tell you why.

If you want to spend time together as a family you need to get it on the calendar because it won’t happen by accident. Rarely do families drift into uninterrupted time together, it must be intentional. If you have more than one child and they are over the age of 10 then you have a dilemma. “How do I get everyone on the same “calendar” page?” Easy, go digital!

I have seen (and used) everything used from a piece of paper on the refrigerator–one piece of paper for each person in the family–to a digital calendar kept in the cloud and maintained by each family member on his or her own smart phone. The later is the best place for a family calendar!

Here Are 5 Reasons To Put Your Calendar In The Cloud

Reason #1: You Will Never Lose It
I know, never say never, right? There is always that one instance when someone loses his or her calendar online. However, with digital backups, Dropbox and cloud servers the chances that a digital calendar will be lost forever are slim to none. However, if you lose your paper calendar it’s lost for good.

Reason #2: You Can Print It
If you start with a digital calendar, you can always print what you have scheduled if you need to see it on paper or post it on the refrigerator. Any changes that you need to make can be entered on your digital calendar, and then the calendar can be reprinted.

Reason #3: You Can See It All...or Not
We have five individual calendars within one main calendar in our family. We can see each family member’s schedule individually or we can merge them to see everyone’s schedule on one master calendar. Each click of the button can change the view from all kids to just mom and dad. One-button ease of use is huge for managing a family with different schedules.

Reason #4: You Can Change the View
The calendar can be changed so that a single day, a week, a month, or an entire year can be viewed. With so much coming at a family on a daily basis, it’s helpful to be able to look at varying lengths of time for those plans that need to be made well head of time.

Reason #5: Everyone Can See It
As parents, it’s great to have the digital reins to the master family calendar. In a quick button click of a button, we can share appointments, family events and block off uninterrupted family time together and push those notifications and events to our kids’ calendars on their phones. Just make sure your kids understand that they must periodically check their calendars for changes and updates.

Once you put everyone’s schedule on one calendar you will begin to see when uninterrupted family times together can be added and what, if anything, needs to be removed to allow for those times. This may not be an easy thing to do, but start by deciding the answers to two questions.

First, what is most important to you and your family right now? (Dinner together? Game night? Eating out? Family fun night?) Whatever that is, put it on your calendar first because whatever gets scheduled usually gets done.

Second, what can you eliminate or stop doing right now? This is probably the more difficult of the two questions because someone in the family usually ends up sacrificing more than someone else, but sacrifice is always a difficult but necessary step in order to move toward time together.

The bottom line is that you have to schedule uninterrupted family times together, and you need to schedule those times in a way that works for your family–be it on a paper calendar or a digital one. But honestly, go digital, please!

There are several free calendar programs available online. I tossed a question out on Facebook asking if parents use a family calendar and, if so, which one. From the responses I received, here are the the top three calendars that were being used by the parents who responded.

Which calendar do you you use? Why is it the best for your family?

What Can Einstein Teach Us About Balanced Living?

Urban legend suggests that Albert Einstein’s wardrobe consisted only of black pants, white shirts and black shoes. The reasoning behind the simple wardrobe was that it reduced his choices.

If Einstein only had white shirts, black pants and black shoes he had no choice about what he would wear that day. He had to wear a white shirt, black pants and black shoes.

In other words, he would not, could not stand in his closet looking at and contemplating his options. He simply reduced his ability to choose and by reducing his ability to choose he led a more simple life. I wonder if his philosophy has some life application for us today?

With all of the choices we have in today’s world we need more self control.

We live in a world of bigger, better, faster, stronger. Some would even add “excessive,” and while I don’t believe there is anything wrong with having nice things or many nice things, generally speaking the formula looks something like this.

More Stuff = More Choices = More Stress

I’m sure each of us could use a little simplicity in our life, especially our family life.

Picture a life less complicated, crazy and chaotic. Picture your family life with less calendar clutter, over activity and noise. Now, breathe in, breathe out, wax on, wax off.

After talking to parents, leaders, and families across our country I believe there is a strong desire to live a more balanced life and a balanced life does have a level of simplicity to it.

As the current of today’s culture pulls is into more complexity we must explore the possibility of pause, patience and a more simple life.

Now, whether or not you subscribe to Einstein’s fashion philosophy––or hairstyle for that matter––isn’t the point. The point is to simply simplify life.