Jeremy, at 23, spent 4 months in Jerusalem to learn Hebrew and was shocked to see Dad's very present with kids, one time a flock of Dads walking around with strollers. What difference in values would cause men to do this?
Until you get out of the water you're swimming in, you don't know what you're swimming in. Until he left western culture, he couldn't realize what was wrong with it.
What these Jewish men saw that was different than the West was a single word: Abraham. All of their family values trace back to Abraham's value for family.
Maybe we don't know what family is
If God is the designer of family, it's possible that we've drifted so far that we can't understand the design of family. Jeremy thought Abraham's prayers for his descendents and his family were outdated and traditional.
In the West, we think about parents that have a child, then they grow up and start new families. This kind of family has a memory of 80 years old. The reset button is hit every generation.
In the West, in numbers never before seen Dads leave the family. 60% of children now spend part of their childhood not in the home of their biological father.
The classical family (Abrahamic) would start when a patriarc would cast a vision (we're going to move to this land, start this business, follow this God), the vision propels the family. The vision often takes generations to achieve. If they achieve that end, then the family has a legacy. They can tell a story that goes back generations of when we started down this road, the impact had. A family like this has a memory that can last 1000 years.
How different are these two ideas of family? Consider Yitzach son of Asa vs Brad Johnson.
Yitzach son of Asa (son in the first century) - Lives in a village, many siblings, owns acres of olive trees, fields, flocks, house, employ servants and employees. Home includes older sibling's married partner and kids, and older aunt. - Hero: Patriarc. Family legacy is 200 years ago patriarc who was brave, bought initial acres. Had to sell some to pay for taxes. - Son wants to grow up and become a tradesman, then build another room for his older sibling, buy more acres. - Biggest hope is that Messiah will return, restore justice to family, that home will be established forever, for peace in the land. - Biggest fear is more taxes, have to sell land, name will be lost from Israel together.
Brad Johnson - Lives in middle class Christian home, two siblings, Dad works as regional sales rep, Mom as preschool. Family and grandparents live separately. - Description of family: parents are nice, Dad does baseball, Mom helps with homework, younger sister is annoying. - Heros: Superman, sports star - Future: want to go professional in sports - Family accomplishment this year: maybe go on vacation, buy a new car - Personal accomplishment: become pitcher for team, make some more friends, ask a girl out - Biggest hope: sports team wins - Biggest fear: not scared of anything, if had to pick not having friends / being a nerd
What is a modern family? - A springboard for individual success - Is everyone succeeding individually? Then we did our job
What is the classical family? - A multigenerational team on mission - Abraham had a goal that he wanted his family to accomplish, it would take generations to accomplish, thus his family needed to work as a team to eventually accomplish this vision - New springboard family is a new idea, most other cultures are Abraham/classical
Objectively, what is the family? As Christians, look at God's heart. What model springboard or classical best aligns with what we find in Scripture? - Best verse: Genesis 1. First time family was mentioned. "Subdue the world, bear fruit, rule" - Principle of first mention: first mention of a topic in the Bible often outlines the definition. - Primary goal of family is to bear fruit together, not individual fruit. Expand the boundaries of God's creation to cover the earth. - God didn't create a company, a charity, etc. but a family; a mission that couldn't be accomplished in a single generation
This is drastically different than springboard family. - Primary metaphor is the "nest". When kids grow up there's an "empty nest". - Purpose of nest is to nurture baby chicks. As soon as they're old enough, they should fly away and be on their own. Nothing wrong with autonomy and capabilities to function as an individual. But that's not what a family is. A family should work together, invest in each other. - Abraham would have thought of family as a team. We think of it as a nest.
"I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth and be blessed." – Genesis 12:2-3 - Notice the use of the word "you". Abraham only had one son. God was talking to "you" as the generational accomplishment. - Notice the goal, to bless all families of the earth. - When we hear family, we think of Nuclear family (parents + kids). When Bible talks about family
"Children are a gift from the Lord..." – Psalm 127:3-5 - A lot of values here - Children are a gift, reward, exciting to have multiple families - Goal not to launch children out and start all over - Goal to build warriars for the multi-generational family line so Father won't be put to shame at the city gate - Modern culture treats family as recreation center. All productive activity is done individually. - In Psalm 127, family is the outpost. It's through the family that you accomplish things. It's militaristic. - Favourite picture of this is Lord of the Rings "Rivendell", archetypal family Enron is building a house by which things can be launched. "Rivendell was perfect whether you liked foor, or play, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley"
"But a widow has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility... [...] But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household..." – 1 Timothy 5:4,8 - Feels like it's straight from the Torah. More verses there about caring for parents than there are for caring for children. Huge value. How you treat upstream generations matters in both Old and New Testament. - Paul says first responsibility is to care for upstream generations, first responsibility of the faith. We don't think of family like this anymore, never heard of a pastor preach through this before, "Before you serve in ministry, how are you serving the widows in your family?"
Be Fruitful, then Multiply, then Rule - There is a process to building a family - How do you be fruitful? How do you experience love, peace, productivity in your family - Once fruitful, you can multiple to make more disciples as an outpost - Across generational strength, you can become a ruling family. This is the scriptural model given in Genesis
Decide: Repent and Believe - What kind of family do you want to build? Springboard or multigenerational team on mission? - Which one is described by the Bible? Which excites your heart? - The Bible describes coming to a big decision as a process of "repent and believe". Change your mind. Don't first start doing lots of things, admit that your ideas are off. - "God I don't think what I believed about family is what you called me to build. I repent and set that aside. I believe you've called me to build a multigenerational family team on mission"
Session 2: Centering in on the Team (Jeff Bethke)
Jeff grew up playing team sports competitively. What's interesting is how much team stuff translates to family. Sports and work have more organic team work, but family's at this point don't.
Sports and work have a mission.
Two Misconceptions of Team
Myth 1: The individual is going to get crushed. - To that, Jeff says is facism. A team is the context in which an individual can flourish. This isn't the same as the Western context of individual success that is failing. - Note the 1 Corinithians context where the best self emerges from being on the right team and mutual improvement.
Myth 2: If you're a team, you must always be around each other. Anything separate is not being a team. - Being a family team doesn't mean you're never apart. It's a spectrum. Always apart isn't great. - For example, in church sometimes the kids go to individual ministries. Other times in certain seasons everyone sticks together. - In some cases, a team member goes out as an ambassador for the family team. For example a parent going out to work to represent the family team. Yet, at times if the individual finds their identity at work or a separate activity, then that's not great. - Be what a team would be. You're together some times. Than you split for missional and contextual purposes.
5 Team Traits
Every team has a coach - A coach, not two babysitters. - A coach takes ownership over the future of their team. A coach is not just trying to solve today, but to accomplish something for the future (day, week, month, year) - A babysitter is only to ensure safety and comfort for today - A coach meets those basic standards but is focused on the future, not just today - How do you as a parent corret, teach, discipline, have fun, engage with your kids to craft a future? Or is it simply to plug the holes today? - A coach takes ownership, whatever a team is like it falls on me. - A coach trains. A babysitter is reactive. A coach is proactive towards a future to obtain by God's guidance, spirit, and grace. - Can you say you're a coach? There's always areas to improve from babysitter to coach.
Every team has a playbook - In general, every workplace and team culture has a playbook for how it operates - Culture can sometimes be caught, not taught. If parents are angry, then anger is learned. - What is the culture we want in our home? What are some mechanisms we can bake into our day, week, year that will reinforce the culture regularly? - Shabbat is so we have 500+ shabbats over 15 years and reinforce rhythms, rest...etc - Jeff would get frustrated with Kinsley for expectations that he never had mentioned. Talk about the playbook and hold yourself and others accountable. How do you deal with disagreements? How do you deal with money? When kids feel that the parents are accountable to the same playbook they are, it can be powerful.
Every team has practices & games - Being a family team with toddlers doesn't feel as big or exciting. You're not taking your family on drastic mission, but in a way you are. - Try and identify seasons in which to define practices & games. This 3 month period, our practice/game is taking each week dinner to a family for example. Or maybe the games are hospitality, that someone feels shalom when they enter the house. - A plumber at Jeff's once gave the best compliment, "I went slow and wanted to stay longer because it was so peaceful and restful to be here." The kids asked him questions about plumbing, they offered him coffee, water, cookies. Those are the games. - But, you need practices for that: meals when no one comes over that you practice asking questions etc. The kids need to understand the value of both the practices & the games. - Celebrate the wins, lowest hanging fruit in celebrating accomplishing and improving as a team
Every team has rituals & traditions - Certain teams had certain hand shakes, or secret words. One tradition was a Jesus loving coach who had a big sleepover at the coach's house. If you weren't on varsity, you looked forward to. If you were, you enjoyed it. - Shabbat is a great one - Weekly movie night. Provide a specific context for screens, not just each on their own iPad. If family movie night is very intentional screen time together, it's not a crutch. - If you want your family to be fun, bless others, be spontaneous, what rituals can you build to support those values? - Give your values vehicles. What's something you can do over and over again to live out and practice your values.
Every team has a mission - Where are you going? Can your family answer that? - Spend the next few weeks and beginning of 2021, seek the Lord's face to know what unique talents have been gifted to accomplish a mission for the kingdom. - God brought your family uniquely together with all your talents, perculiarities, shortcomings, strenghts, story, trajectory, together as a unit of the Kingdom of God in your neighbourhood and in other people's lives. - What's a word? What are your pillars? My family is hospitality. My family starts businesses. My family serves. - For example, one family with adult kids. Jeff texted the Dad some questions about electrician, he said "don't worry I'll come over now, do it for you and teach you". The entire family came over, the Dad and apprentice son got to work, the Mom hopped in the kitchen and started cooking. High relational care was their bulls eye. It blew Jeff's socks off and was something he wanted their family to become.
Try and develop the above for your family team!
Session 2: Clarifying the Vision, Mission, and Pillars for your Family (Jeremy Pryor)
Dreaming process about the future to develop your mission can work well with thinking more about narratives than pure pillars or principles.
Proverbs 9:1,5-6. Wisdom is a house built on 7 pillars. Motivated family pillars.
Write independently a short phrase or a word and a matching descriptive sentence. Listen openly without feedback each person's pillars they wrote, then rank to narrow in on the top 7 (or whatever number you want).
Don't worry about this being set in stone, you can edit and refocus your pillars over time. Doing this hard work to define an aim for your team is pivotal.
Session 2.5: All Kids Panel
Session 3: Kids & Rhythmic Living Panel
Kelsey's first memory of rhythms was planning notebooks and rewards when they were able to stick with a daily plan. Jackson (her brother) didn't like it as much so they found different patterns later.
Rhythms have looked different through the years.
Whatever you do throughout your week becomes your identity.
Kelsey had lots of interests growing up but the ones that weren't part of a week didn't become her identity. She sews multiple times a week, and is a "sewist"; she loves painting but doesn't consider herself a painter since it doesn't happen once a week.
She doesn't like having a time slot for a specific task; not 30 minutes for literature. She liked a large school block and then doing highest priority throughout that block.
Jeremy: Some need well regimented schedule by the 15 or 30 mins. Others don't and larger blocks work better.
Session 3: Team, Time, Table
3 tools to build a family team
Time is a big deal. Families feel exhausted. When we say "it's important to be a team", it can feel like just another thing to add to your exhausted schedule.
It's one of the greatest creation of how to fit in all the key things for your life.
What's that amazing invention? It's called the 7 day week.
Do you know your ideal week? If you knew how to piece together all that you are, your family relationships, all you need to accomplish outside the family, all the fun things, what does that look like?
It looks different in different seasons, like with young kids but still is powerful.
This doesn't look religious. - Luke 11:46, Jesus speaks out against the religious burdens put on by the religious leaders. - Think of all the religious pushes that can come through different sermons: great prayer life, go to church early, serve the poor, focus on the family...etc and how overwhelming that is to have endless lists to do
A week causes you to make really hard trade offs so you don't find yourself in the frantic burnout that can happen so inevitably.
The week is fascinating. It doesn't exist like other time segments. Moon => Month. Sun => Day. Rotation around the sun => Year. - God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years" – Genesis 1:14 - Other cultures have tried non-7 day weeks. See the French Revolution. People got sicker and very soon after the society reverted back to 7 days.
Aim towards an ideal week, we have an entire lifetime to iterate towards one.
God gave us the pattern of the 7 day week. - "You have 6 days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat... For in 6 days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he reseted." – Exodus 20:9-11 - The Jews were slaves, working all 7 days. God called them into Shabbat to be free in rest.
Three views of life - Linear: Western people look far into the future thinking constantly about a peak moment in their life: graduation, promotion, getting married...etc and burn through weeks. Think about Western narratives: Joe grew up, moved here, found themself. West are consumed with endless doing. - Circular: Eastern people see life very cyclically, seasons, life is monotonous. - Spiral: Biblical weeks look like circular rhythms yet still with forward progress.
Rhythms vs Goals - What if you set 50 goals? What can stop or constrain you if these goals are overwhelming and realistic in the timeframe that you're living into. - Families and children aren't as suscpetible to having obvious goals like a career is. If you get excited by big goals, then your relationships can suffer when you focus on easy outlets for your goal achievement. - Rhythms may not have the same peak feeling of goal achievement but they let you reinforce your identity by putting it into practice every week.
Identity > Rhythms > Improve - Start with who you are: father, husband, worker... - Build your rhythms to weekly reinforce your identity - Each week, iterate on your rhythms to make them more effective
Think about a famous author who spoke at a conference, someone came up to them after the talk and said "Oh, I'm also a writer." The author asked the person, when did you last write? Well not today. What about yesterday? Well not then. And back and back until all 7 days. Well you're not a writer if you don't write in 7 days. - This is heavy but powerful. - This can feel overwhelming especially for Mothers who feel like they have full days and aren't deliberately crafting rhythms...
Session 3: Motherhood and Rhythmic Living
How does the above rhythms work with a season of motherhood with young kids
April: Sometimes when she heard this conversation when kids were young, it felt like wanting to scratch out someone's eye. It took a heart change and gradual improvement over time.
Heart change: admitting that God's design for a week was the best way to live
Lots of natural rhythms that can come with children: sleep schedule, caring for a new baby - "They have their days and nights mixed up": you're helping your baby learn what day and night is - Babies get hungry at regular intervals: rhythm is woven into their existence - Don't feel you need strict timed structure, or fitting a lot into the day, when your season is sleep, eat, play, poop etc. and that's a good natural rhythm
Preschool - We go to the park when it's nice out
New Mom Daily Rhythm: Nap Time - Stick with afternoon nap time - When everyone goes down at the same time, so much refreshing and rejuvination for a mother in that 1.5-2 hour time - Even if they don't sleep, having them lean into quiet reading or play during that time - You can be productive (phone calls, meal plan...) or even sleep and rest too
When you make changes to something that repeats, you begin to have a lot more traction in reducing the chaos of your life, and living into each of these seasons - That's why we call them rhythms - Rhythm is part of pre-existing beat "out there" that you're syncing up to (ie. sleep cycles, 7 day week – woven into creation) - Routine can be when we try to impose our schedules and todos on top of our lives - Getting in sync with rhythms can feel more organic
How would you describe trying to sync up rhythms even as families get older? - Lots of coordination to go into that - If starts when kids are little, can be different than when they are already emmeshed in other activites. - Start with one rhythm. Weekly meal, family activity together. - Meal one night a week is a great start to eat together as a family. - Different days could have different themes: "Tough Tuesday" (jam pack the day), "Soft Launch Sunday" (ease into the week with family work and softer work day). Keep tuning and syncing with each other to make the family move together throughout the week.
Keep tweaking your rhythms, not bailing - You may start to realize you're exhausted every Wednesday morning and can be more aware of "Oh that's because I stay up late Tuesday night"
One thing April wrestled with is time-bounded tasks vs endless list of tasks - Lots about "running a household" that can be ongoing and endlessly take time - April has to portion time, treat it like money "Once you spend it, it's gone" - I manage our finances every Tuesday afternoon. If I get to the end of that time and still have things to do, I can know that I have next Tuesday to finish that up. - Sometimes crazy things (ie. home construction) that eats away your time, you know that the next week is coming
Some seasons rhythms go out the door - Ie. Family crisis, new baby, vacation - Something quick (1 week) like vacation, you can rest 1-2 days and snap back into rhythms (this is what a Monday is like) - Longer seasons like grief or healing from C-Section - Acknowledge the season will look different and that you need to ask less of yourself, and others ask less of you - It doesn't have to be what the rest of your life looks like but this next 3 months it's going to be like this
Session 3: Fatherhood and Rhythmic Living – Blake Smith & Jeremy Pryor
Blake and Jeremy have had ongoing question of how rhythmic living looks like depending on your temperment (some people hype on rhythms, others not)
Blake: For context, my natural disposition is to love new systems and fail to implement them. - Initially really liked rhythms but got to living within it, it removed spontaneity and felt stifling. Both my wife and I have struggled with budgeting (time or money) for similar reasons. - Started by copying Jeremy's rhythm spreadsheet, changed a few things, and then tried to live it out. Can be good to take that leap and copy someone doing it great but doesn't work long term, you need to make it your own.
We don't need to have a rhythm for every second of every day - We need to schedule the things that are most important for us, or else spontaneity will bulldoze those important times
Embrace not just time-bounded rhythms, but order of operation rhythms - Consider a wake up routine where the same order happens but the time can shift around depending on the day - Jeremy prefers a big block and tweaking it, not getting frustrated and throwing out rhythms that can come from minute by minute scheduling
Values & Dispositions - Values: Things you care about, you need to schedule. - Dispositions: Lightbulb moment is most precious resource is energy. Scheduling around what gives / removes energy is necessary for Jeremy. For Blake, scarest resource is Joy. How do I use tool of rhythms to keep Joy high enough. For Blake's wife, it's giving and receiving love & caring. - Blake every week goes skateboarding or wakeboarding every week with his sons, brings joy, every month a live concert. Blake's wife cares for chickens, dogs, gardens and comes out of it energized. - Don't do a zero-based budget to map out every hour. Focus on "What's my most precious resource?", even use enneagram to determine that. Figure out how to get enough of that on a weekly basis. - Jeremy: Some people think they're wrestling with a lack of productivity. But often, that lack is from a missing other nutrient. Poeple treat that as a life problem, but usually it's a rhythm problem. - Once you find the depleted nutrient, their life doesn't suck, productivity increases etc.
How do you think this has impacted your kids? - Blake: I feel they'll hold us to the rhythm. We have a rhythm board that they keep an eye on, especially on themed nights like date night, midrash, sabbath (family day set aside they can look forward to)
Session 3: Alyssa & Joy Bethke
We've been hearing this 7 years now but every time, something new sticks out just like God's word. You turn it like a diamond and you see a differnt shine each time.
Families are always changing, growing so we'll latch on to different things in each season to keep applying these family teams truths in different ways in each new season. We can come to the table in this season and figure out how to make it work for our family. - Alyssa likes schedules, routines, knowing what's coming. Rhythms have been a life changer as a Mom and to stay in sync with Jeff.
Rhythms != Routines - Some people like routine, some don't - Everyone should live in rhythm even if you're not a routine person - A routine is something you do regularly but it doesn't form your family culture - A rhythm brings inertia and supports the family identity and team mentality - Jeff only uses rhythms to refer to things we do daily, weekly, and yearly that support the family identity, lots of things that fall outside of this
Time, what does that look like with kids?
Most of us live in an annual & daily rhythm, but most of us don't live in weekly rhythm. Weekly is the only one that doesn't intuitively match a celestial cycle (but turns out even our bodies thrive on a God designed 7 day week)
Live your ideal week every single week - This is your philosophy. Don't focus on "living your best life", "live your best week" and repeat it. It's maangeable. You can chew it. You can incrementally get better over time. - You can even put it on paper. - I don't mean Instagram life at the spa. With the marriage, kids, work you have, what's the ideal week where you start on Sunday and get to Saturday and feel like you're filled up. - Alyssa: Growing up in the American culture, resented the week. Monday's suck, Wednesday's hump day, living for the weekend. But, God blesses us with the week, this is the life we're living. How do we show up every week and be present in our current realities and responsibilities. How do we make it the best week we can so we can flourist, be intentional, happy marriages... Not just spa night. Sit individually and journal out what your idael week looks like. What do you need so you can be the best husband, best father... you can be? Consider recrafting since so much has changed with Covid. - Keep recrafting, it's malleable and you should iterate
Let your week fulfill your core identities - Jeff: Do your core identities show up every 7 days? - What do you care about? They should show up every 7 days. - Jeff: I want to let my fatherness, husbandness bleed out into the week. - Give my values vehicles where it can get in the car, drive somewhere, do something. - Vocation is a core identity, but the world's identity around work often surpasses our identities of fatherhood and husband. Our father-ness should bleed into our work, not the other way around. - I've really gotten into cooking after getting into the family teams stuff. It makes sense now that I'm leaning into the coaching...etc. Same with wood working. I want things to do with kids, to teach them, to pass on. My father-ness has infected my hobbies. - Alyssa: Who am I? Who has the Lord called me to be? Everything else can slide. - I'm a follower of the Lord. I want to be someone who prays for my children, who spends time in the word and with the Lord. I want to cheer my husband on and write him notes. As a woman or mother it can not feel like a worthy identity, I can't keep it all up. But realizing that this is my core identity that God has called me to can be freeing.
Do it badly and then iterate (in small ways) - The goal is not perfection, the goal is formation - If that's who you are, you need to take that to the Lord. When intimacy with Jesus is your ultimate, and not perfection; then you have a lot of grace and don't expect to be amazing in a week and focused on the fruit. - Don't overhaul the week every week. Focus on one little thing that went wrong and fix it. Keep putting new tools in your toolbox. - Maybe focus on Sabbath for a few months, don't worry about Monday - Thursday for those months. Once you have it in your back pocket, move on to something else. - Tea time has become a cool tradition! We do a lot of school, Bible teaching around the table. Having tea around the table has helped us stay around the table longer. - "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly". I often feel like if I can't do it excellent, I shouldn't try. But it's so freeing to live in grace and keep trying to do something, even if badly, and iterate. It took 3 years for us to do sabbath, but it's now so good. God's heart for us is one for iteration and growth, grace. - Grace is huge, it's about intimacy with the Lord and your family team becoming stronger, and that depressurizes the situation.
You have a lifetime to learn your ideal week
Make rhythms a regular part of team meetings - We try to have a meeting every Sunday to go through the week. Biggest blessing is not the look forward, but the look back. - If your kids are 8, 10, 12 and older, they should be a part of that. What went well this week? What should we work on? Optimize that rhythm and team culture of iterating each other forwards. - Sometimes this can fall on the Mom - Jeff every week meeting asks Alyssa "How can I serve you this week" and it gives her a chance to actually say what she needs.
Couple questions that can come up... - Well, what if stuff comes up? What if you're a firefighter? People think rhythms are really ridgid, that's not what we're saying. There's a spirit balance to this. Yes, there can be things that come up, but you can also take charge of your week. Sometimes people feel bad saying No, or look at their calendar and your family's life has been stolen from you to serve everyone else's mission (sports, church, ...). - When you give your time to an event, you end up serving another mission - If you're always serving someone else's mission at the cost of your family's, that's not right. You have permission to let your family be first priority. - In the West, we don't question when school or work demands us to show up at a certain time or perform a certain task. We don't think about this with family, we can always cancel the family thing when we wouldn't think of doing that for work or school. This mindset shift changes slowly. - Living rhyhmically. If you can't live your whole week together, focus on a few sacred moments. - A family dinner where no one cancels, and everyone is there and that's your family day. It's leaps and bounds above families who can be always with each other - Intentionality is what beats out just time together - Ask the Lord for how to live intentionally with the current life you have - Alyssa: I felt that for years when we travelled a lot and couldn't commit to weekly things. - Once you have rhythms established, like Sabbath, you can invite people into it, it's not just about saying No to everything. You can still go to birthdays or whatever, 80-90% is still success. - The more you live as a family team, it becomes a magnet, a portal into the kingdom, a portal into joy. People like being part of our family rhythms.
Session 3: Q&A
Family and mission, family as the mission, or family on mission? - Family and mission: You have your family, and you have your mission. They're separate. - Family as the mission: Building a great family is your ownly mission - Family on mission: how can you do mission together as your entire family - As mothers, does this mean in certain seasons my mission is changing diapers?! This doesn't feel like a mission! There is a season where you're focused on your family, and you can feel like family as mission. But during this time period, you're training them for success "on mission". That mission can be being invited over to someone else's house for dinner, how to sit, eat with fork, ask to be excused, how not to fight, and then another kid is born. A lot of training goes in the early years. A mission could be not having a meltdown going to the grocery store.
You have to first build a fruitful family - Be fruitful, then multiply, then rule - It's important in that season of fruitfulness to lean into that training - A lot of times we're in the fruitfulness season and can't replicate & multiply our family since it's young, immature, weak, and we need to get it to the fruitful stage before we can multiply and rule. If we can get through those seasons, than the impact your family can have on the world can be immense.
What do you do when your kids resist the mission? - If you're buying into this when your kids are older (8 years old and up) and you're having this a-ha moment and trying to regain your kids that have scattered. For example, a father with teens took it on himself that his leadership had failed after learning family teams. He brought his kids and wife together and repented "I've failed in leading, I've been lazy, I want to make things different. I want to try, but I need you to be on board." Kids were really on board, their hearts had melted even though in lots of previous things they had been resistant. Repentence is a good place to start.
How do you know what mission your family is called to be on - You need to take time to do soul searching. This is the most critical part, to have these hard and heart conversations about the vision, desires, what God has placed in you, what's broken in the world, what gifts are in your family to discover your family's missions. Working through the workbook questions together will help you find your mission.
Session 4: The Table – Jeff & Alyssa Bethke
The easiest way to transform your family is to center your family, your marriage, your grandparents around the table
Statistically, centring on the family around the table (eats together) drastically improves family and individual outcomes across the board (well being, mental health, wealth...) - On average, a family needs to eat 3 times per week, more than 15 minutes in length to get the above benefits (not all 21 – 3 meals x 7 days) - The table is also primary throughout the Bible
What is the point of the table? The table is a portal to the kingdom - Most, if not all, of Jesus' descriptions of the "kingdom" are a wedding banquet, a feast...etc - We're in a culture that on average is 4-7 minutes once a month family meal. In the 1800s, it was every day 97 minutes. Culture today doesn't leave room for the table. With toddlers, maybe it's only 15 minutes but if it's an intentional 15 minutes, that can be more than enough! - One of the primary ways to be a kingdom ambassador maybe isn't going on missions trips but is inviting people over for dinner - Invite someone over even if it's not perfect or it's a bit chaotic, that doesn't take away from the shalom that someone can feel from being invited into your home
The table brings intimacy - Maybe you don't know the person well or have extended family tensions, but eating across the table from someone breaks down barriers - It's a gift to nourish by food or conversation someone else - Invite your kids to take ownership in different ways to serve everyone welcomed into the home (write name cards, engage with guests...)
The table gives a natural place for everyone's identities - It's the place where the multiple generations can all exist - If you have grandparents that you're willing to have over, and even if it's not super healthy (but not toxic), you can do the following to heal those grandparent bonds. Meals and storytelling are a perfect way to invite grandparents to put on their grandparent hat sitting in a seat of honour answering questions from kids. - One of Alyssa's biggest desire is to do things together, integrate the whole family into the event. Involve your kids in planning and doing the event. It's so fun because when the guests come, the kids are excited and own the visit. Prepare the kids with "Grandparents are coming over, what questions do you want to ask them" - We all want to be people who ask good questions, I do and our kids too, to keep learning from family and lineage who they are, their giftings and qualities, and who we come from. Alyssa cherishes when her Mom calls out giftings Alyssa has that her grandparents had it's a grounding influence to realize where giftings or qualities come from and the legacy in that.
It's a percentage game, not a perfection game - It's about the love you give the people you invite into your home, not the perfection game with cleaning or perfect Michelan star meals - It's the thought that matters, inviting people into your home with a smile, plan an activity for the kids...etc
The table is a place for formation - For training, 70% of Jeff's discipline, coaching, repetition happens at the table. Jeff wants it to be a good space so people can be invited in. We're hostage by the food, so Jeff can share Jesus while everyone is there - 99% of the time that Jeff opens his mouth about Jesus is at a meal - Open your mouth about your thought process. What is your thought process, on your heart, what did Jesus tell you today. Chew them up and feed them to your kids. Normalize them in your conversation. What's something God showed you today? - It's where we recite catachism, benediction, memory verses for the week. We have a basket by the table that has our hymnal, catachism, story book Bible. - Even for non-believer guests: What are you thankful for? What are you hoping for? Do this with your kids and it can be a habbit every night to keep understanding your kids and encourage each other. The hope is the table is a safe place for kids to share what was hard about the day and receive encouragement and prayer from the family, that's where they get their encouragement.
Maybe make it a goal for the next year, improve your table game - Percentage, not perfection - Lots of times where it's not perfect, kids are fighting and no conversation. If that happens every time, maybe need to take more time to do training. Other times it's just part of life with toddlers. - Lean into training and faithfully continuing effort at the table - Don't jump straight to "every meal together" awkwardly. Start with 1-2 special meals, be intentional. - Shabbat dinner or "making dutch babies Sunday morning together" for Bethkes. Choose a few times and make them special, have the kids look forward to them.
Session 4: Jeremy Pryor
Table can be the best first strategy to take up to improve your family team life
What is your idea of the good life? - If you had to draw a line from childhood to death, where are the peak moments of life on the timescale of an entire life? - At the end of high school, someone took Jeremy aside and said before he went off to college "This is going to be the best years of your life, make the most of it" - That's powerful to know when the peaks going to be, but as Jeremy thought about it, it's pretty depressing. - If culture says college is the peak, then the peak is the least responsbibility, most freedom to indulge all hedonistic impulses. There has to be more to life than that. - "3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord. 6 May you live to see your children’s children – peace be on Israel." Psalm 128 - This feels like a much better peak to life, multiple generations around the table - We don't know how to handle family around a table in current culture
Crafting your family meal - Lots of people today would say, "Oh but we do have meals together most days", but really they're rushing through the meal, catching up on administrative business, then rushing off to the next activity - But an intentional meal where each person lives fully their identity as son, daughter, father, mother, grandparent; a time to connect - We've forgotten the role of a formal family meal as a culture. Think of no more china plates or dedicated dining rooms.
Shabbat? - Means "to cease" and is where you begin to start your day of rest - Some people choose Shabbat to be this epic family meal. Others Sunday night, others another night. - For those with Sabbath dinner, it's a way to kick off a day of rest. - For the first 7 years, Pryor's did Sabbath Saturday into Sunday. For past 13 years, Pryor's have done Sabbath Friday into Saturday
Don't see Sabbath as religious obligation, but as a gift - None of us are religiously required to keep sabbath as non-Jews - "27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”" – Mark 2:27 - Exodus 16, Sabbath is a gift - Paul in Galatians 2:16 specifically condemned anyone judging others for how they hold or don't hold sabbaths or feast days - There's no religious obligation around Sabbath or epic family meals, Pryor's took it on to kick start improving family
Shabbat and the Gospel - The Gospel is all about resting and trusting in what Jesus has done - Rest into the Gospel - What are the two kinds of rest? - I'm so exhausted, I'm tired - I'm completed in something. I feel accomplished. Like when you finish a project after many weeks. - When Jesus says, "It is finished", it's this expression of rest that the work is done - "15 You shall remember that you were a slave[c] in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day." – Detueronomy 5:15 - It's a chance to remember we're freed from our sins - Sometimes people think about Sabbath as the boring day where you don't do anything. Instead, make it so the Sabbath is the favourite day for your kids and family. Figure out how to make the rest connect with each person in your family. - Start simple - Easy to get carried away and feel stressed with a huge dinner - Start with pizza and paper plates and improve it each time, keep it simple
Session 4: Sabbath Round Table Q&A
Pryor's have been doing Sabbath for 20 years now so don't get overwhelmed by their example, it's taken a long time to get there
Sabbath Friday night has the Pryor's around the table including all the people who live in the house (grandparents, great-aunts, cousins) and sometimes others
It started as pizza and paper plates, then special plates, then fuller meals, then inviting other family members into it. Start and keep it sustainable.
April's Mom, Julie: initially started as a surprise that it'd be every week, but soon realized they weren't doing anything better so they joined in. After her husband died, the following year
Janet & Jerry Pryor (parents of Jeremy): were intrigued initially and now it's a great habbit and highlight to the week to spend time with the kids. They live close by but sometimes they won't see everyone each week, so Shabbat is great since everyone is going to be there. Jerry likes giving the blessing for the sons each week, Janet or Julie do the blessing for the daughters, April lights the candle, likes the Shabbat song.
Clayton (nephew): Clayton's used to live up the road and started coming a few years ago. Brought a significance to both rest but also to work. Used to feel like life droned on, every day was the same. After Shabbat with no work, even work days changed feeling a mindset of doing the work now so that rest can be had.
Jackson (son): Gotten to appreciate more as he's gotten older. When young, it was a special drink or whatever. His spirit resonates with ceremony. To have a holiday-esque meal every week, it feels like something epic and it being a taste of the kingdom every week is great for spiritual life.
Kelsey: Like's the Rabbi saying of "The 3 days after are looking back to the last Shabbat, and the 3 days before are looking forward to the Shabbat". Like most Biblical festivals that look back on something happened or looking forward to something that will. Enjoys the cleanup dance party after.
Next daughter: Favourite is the blessings. Before the meal every day we pray. But with Shabbat there's the blessing, song, Jeremy gives a little talk, and it feels very special.
Jeremy: Over the sons "May God make you like Ephraim and Manessah, ... may you continue our family in the line of Jesus..."
Keira: Really like the Shabbat song. No more work to do. Dinner cleanup is
Sydney: Helpful reminder that there is something beyond this world. During the week we dedicate time to work / school, with Shabbat we shift our focus to what is important (family, God, spitirual things).
April: Lots of people want to know the details of what we do. First thing we got is the Shabbat box. We bought white table cloth that is "blessed by the Rabbis because the stains always come out". In the box we keep our special plates and a Yankee Candle (Sage & Citrus) that they'll always make (the smell of rest), lighter, written down copies of the blessings (now grandparents have them memorized).
Kelsey: Couple questions around the Sabbath. First question: Mother, how do you feel you can rest while you're still taking care of everyone?
April: Not sure how well I did this while everyone was little. It's hard when every day feels the same. Changing diapers, nursing, feeding children, all the same still on Sabbath. What feels different? I had to take my Martyr syndrome and set it aside. I chose to not put anything away after Shabbat dinner and wait to clean it all together at the end of Sabbath. We'd plan an activity in the morning Saturday and everyone nap/rest in the afternoon. I couldn't rest because I had an attitude problem of thinking that the current chaos would last forever and it wasn't just for a season.
Jeremy: Another question we get a lot is, when someone wants to involve grandparents how to deal with push back or questions about whether this is weird. How do you make Shabbat as inviting as possible?
Jerry: My wife and I put ourselves in a learning posture. We put ourselves in a position to learn, adapt, and be flexibile, and transition into it.
Janet: Then we began to see the values, see that this is different, ask lots of questions, then settle into after seeing the blessings and benefits.
April: What would you say to others who want to involve their grandparents?
Julie: Once you reach a certain age, our culture turns you off "you're not relevant anymore". Through Shabbat, respect is given to our generation. It drew me in. I do have things to share and Shabbat conversations and the position of respect given to grandparents was significant for me. I don't know anywhere else in the current culture where this happens. Our generation is the bridge between the people came before who are no longer live, and the current younger generations. We can communicate those stories.
Janet: Showing honour can open the door to give and take. We bridge in our life 5 generations some before, some ahead so lots to learn.
Kelsey: How do you not judge how each person uniquely finds rest when it can be different?
Jeremy: I think one of the greatest misunderstandings is that to rest, "all you need to do is stop working". But the Jews realized that true rest takes some thinking and work. You need to learn how to find your off button. Each week you can try different things so each person can find rest.
April: When kids are little, take turns week to week or within a day what each person wants to do that is restful.
Jeremy: What has helped you rest? What's your off button?
Jackson: For me, Saturday is when I hang out with friends. Throughout the week, I try to find pockets to hang out with friends but doesn't tend to happen much with work. In the week lots that are happening, lots to process. Saturday as full day to hang out with friends, talk about what I'm thinking about is great way to experience rest.
Kelsey: Spontaneous plans. I don't like knowing something is happening on Saturday. I like sleeping in. I only like a plan in the middle of the day. I like a spontaneous road trip, or coffee, or read and sew.
Daughter: When I don't have to think about school work and can guilt-free procrastinate, explore my creativity and fun things (drawing).
Kelsey: It can be hard when everyone can't rest on the same day. What do you do?
Jeremy: Day of rest is supposed to be a cultural experience, but our culture no longer protects Saturday or Sunday well. When you start, it can really confuse friends and family, "Can we plan a birthday on Sabbath... or?" To establish a rhythm start with "Can we do this in a restful way?" and for many things say No.
April: It's the art of saying no. You only have so much time. Between the spouses, need to choose what to say no to, pray together. It's the dance of many different priorities. Some weeks, a birthday could be restful. But sometimes other weeks it would be a disaster. If you're starting from scratch, be patient with the process. You'll probably need to pair down a bit and say no. Try something, iterate, keep trying. As you do it, people will become aware, and you can start to bring people in. Sports on Saturday is a big thing for some people, you need to figure out your priorities.
Jeremy: For a while, Sunday Sabbath was easier given our networks. But over time, networks changed and Saturday made more sense. Think about what it will mean for your multi-generational family team to establish a dinner like this.
Shabbat Shalom Song!
Session 4: Message to the Mom's – April Pryor
It's hard to be a Mom. A lot that goes unseen.
Dying to yourself as a Mom starts the moment you become pregnant. and on and on.
Is it worth it?
Motherhood designed as a tool for life in God's kingdom and household.
Our families can be outposts for the kingdom.
Session 5: Family Team Summit
Three components to a summit - Look back and reflect - Enjoy the vista and the view - Think about where you're going
Setup: find a way to not get distracted by the day to day, focus
Start with a 48 hour summit, begins in an afternoon.
Evening of Day #1: Reflect - "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done. I ponder on the work of your hands" – Psalm 145:5 - Reflect on how God has blessed your family, what challenges he's brought you through - Journal Reflections - 2-3 Biggest Wins per Quarter - Review Vision, Mission, Pillars - Which did we live into the most - What could we work on going forward - Review Rhythms - Have a meal ("Summit Dinner") where each person shares reflections from what they've journaled in the afternoon
Morning of Day #2: Dream - Rewrite and refine your annual, 3 year, and 10 year vision - Take time individually to reflect and share those
Afternoon of Day #2: Plan - Don't focus on a lot of lofty goals - Focus on a few achievable goals - Spend most of time to Refine your Rhythms - Simplify - Are the rhythms that should be dropped? - Establish - Is there something that can be added to the week to better reinforce a pillar? - Improve - Here's an element of the week that isn't working great, how can we adjust it? - Reorder - If there's times we notice that a certain day of the week is always bad, how can we move around the puzzle pieces of the week to make the week do better. - For example, if we have two evenings out during the week, we make sure it's not two nights in a row so we have time together to fill the tank.
Evening of Day #2: Commit - "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act" – Psalm 37:5 - It can be easy to get carried away with planning and scheming - But instead, commit these to the Lord and worship and pray, seek his wisdom and his guidance to change remove or add to the plans you've just made. - If kids are older, great chance for them to get reenrgized about the family - If kids are young, good chance for couple to get away and focus
Begin to establish the family summit as an annual rhythm. Can work well between Christmas and New Year's
Session 5: Jeremy, Kelsey, April Pryor
Jeremy: Kelsey, any favourite memories from family summits?
Kelsey: When we got that Airbnb and Grandma and Grandpa came with us and played with the two young kids while the three older kids and Mom and Dad did the summit in the basement. Sometimes we all go away and all participate in it, last year we just bounced from coffee shop to coffee shop was fun.
April: Other times that have stood out for me were times we stayed local and just went to a local hotel.
Jeremy: Getting away even if you are local can be a big part of it. What's the most important part of a summit? What's a particular exercise or practice that is helpful?
Kelsey: I can't remember how many times we've done it but writing what we envision life in 5 years, then split into 1 year milestones, then down to quarters, then down to our family rhythms. One of the ones I made was to write a book and I did it.
April: I for a while felt it hard to think of my own individual goals because I often felt mostly part of the collective. I've liked in more recent years the 5 capitals, writing out different financial, personal, intellectual, learning goals. They don't always get done in a year but it's been fun to dream and do some of them.
Jeremy: How about with little kids?
April: Try to get away as a couple, get grandparents or friends to babysit. Try and work these things out together. Highly encourage that if you're heading down the argument path, set that aside and deal with it later. This is your one time of the year to focus on the full overview so don't let it get derailed. We had some friends who did this every quarter and loved planning and got away every quarter.
Jeremy: There's nearly no business that can be succesful without some sort of offsite and planning regularly. We don't too often bring these tools into the family but if we want to level up as a family team we need to leverage these different team tools to bring alignment, move forward. These are necessary to transition into being a family team.