Personal: Family Goals for 2017

I won’t do this often, but this turned out to be a fun exercize with my family.  I was inspired by a friend of mine to have more family meetings. Specifically, a meeting to reflect on the last year and discuss how we did as a family, what we want to change and how we did as parents for the year. I am big fan of giving my children input into our decisions. This doesn’t mean their input will actually change a decision (it may), but they deserve to have some input in most decisions that impact the family. At the very least, I want them to learn to articulate their feelings and understand the impact that decisions may have on different people

We did this for the first time this year. Overall, the input was minimal, and not very insightful, but it was the first time and we are still learning how to conduct it.

We asked the questions I mentioned above and generally the feedback was about things we did or did not do and as much about ideals or relationships. That is ok, the kids are young. We did however come up with a number of goals for 2017. Some of them are lofty, and I am also not a fan of setting goals that I know for sure I can accomplish. Here is what our family has set for itself this year:

Beach Trip

We will have one beach trip. We have had children for 7 years. We have five now, and we have only ever been to the beach one time. I am personally not a big fan of the beach, but some of the family is so we want to go one time this year.

Success Criteria: One trip to the beach

6 family camping trips

I am very excited about this one. We had one family camping trip this last year, but I also went with the older boys a few other times. We want to do 6 as a family this year. Our last trip went very well. It was just car camping, but I am working on building the littles up so they are comfortable outdoors and don’t have to work too much yet. I also hope to take the older two boys on a more rigorous backpacking trip this year.

Success Criteria: At least 6 overnight camping trips with all 7 family members

Live Simply on Less

The conversation around this was a little more elaborate than the goal sounds, and we actually started making strides to do this in August of last year. One of our boys actually gave a lot of input into shaping these goals. This goal also goes in line with two other goals we had to reduce the number of things we buy and set waiting times before purchasing. I am just going to cover those three together. Ultimately, we want to live far below our means. It is very easy for us to say “hey, that would be nice to have,” or “we need that.” We want to catch ourselves if we say that and wait at least a day because we likely don’t really need it.

Success Criteria: Reduce our Misc spending category by 75% this year without just recategorizing the expenses. So this also has to come with a net decrease in overall spending (excluding giving) equal to the 75% reduction.

Limit phone time

This was a general feeling from the kids that we were on our phones too much. This is a hot topic that I am not going to rehash. Basically when I am home, I am going to leave my phone in my room for the most part. I don’t have a facebook account so that is not a distraction for me, but my side work with a non-profit can produce a number of emails and texts most afternoons. My wife is also going to work on this as well.

Success Criteria: Subjective based on feedback from our children at the end of the year. We will touch base monthly to see how we are doing.

Establish relationships with a family that is different from us

This is one that is very important to me, and the whole family came up with this. We realized that almost all of our close friends are white, middle class families. We want to break out of that bubble and develop a genuine friendship with a family that is different than us.

Success Criteria: Form a relationship that includes regular dinners together, play dates and/or other social activities with a family that is not like us. There is some subjectivity with this one.

Rethink gifts and giving

We started this conversation around Thanksgiving this year. We are tired of the mundane, spend money on gifts for all the family that you don’t ever see except Christmas, and endure the angst from all of the kids that culminates with a day of gifts that half of which will be broken in a matter of weeks and the rest forgotten in a matter of months. This also goes back to living simply and on less. We are still developing this one, and just want to discuss this in 2017 and come up with more ways to give our resources.

Success Criteria: TBD

Everyone conversational in Spanish

We have an ESL daughter. It has been touch wanting to learn Spanish, but needing her to learn English. It has also been touch meeting Hispanic families around our neighborhood, but not being able to say much more than “Hi How are you.” We are still developing our plan for this, but we want the whole family to be conversational in Spanish by the end of the year.

Success Criteria: My wife and I should be able to have a conversation using verbs in present, preterite, imperfect, and present progressive tenses without assistance. The children to be able to speak in present and preterite tenses without assistance.

And there you have it. Our family goals for the year. I would love to accomplish all of these. We will see.

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