Friday, October 24, 2014

Habit #2 of Holy Catholic Families

Since we've built and moved into our home in 2005 the boys and I have worked on many projects together.  We built a chicken coop in 2006.  While Catherine was in the hospital for four months after her birth in 2008, we built brick patio to pass the time.  In 2010 we installed an above ground pool and built a deck around it.
2006 Chicken Coop
2008 Patio

I love these projects and the boys do as well.  I hope that as the years go by they will look back fondly on this time spent together.  We recently discussed these projects and I asked what types of things they had in common.  They complied a good list.  We all worked hard on them.  They all cost money.  Each project had purpose for our family.  They all required physical labor to complete.  However, one thing that they didn't list was that each project had a plan, dad had and end in mind.
2010 Pool & Deck

Habit #2 - Begin With the End in Mind

"A goal with out a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The 2nd Habit is about setting goals and making a plan to achieve those goals.  When we began teaching the boys about this next habit I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up.  One said an engineer while another wanted to join the military.  We had one considering priesthood while the other wanted to be a husband and father.

I then chose the engineer as an example and asked what they thought it would take to be an engineer - college, experience, practice.  I then chose college and asked them what it would take to go to college - money or scholarships, good grades, the right attitude, desire to succeed.  Next I asked what it would take for them to get good grades to enter college - study, taking the right classes, maybe a tutor.  This went on until I got them to the day they were living in.  If the goal was to be an engineer, the plan was all we had mentioned, what could be done that day to work toward that goal.  That was a lesson in habit #2 - Begin with the End in Mind.

What we are sharing with our boys and encouraging them to do is make goals and then make a plan to achieve those goals.  The goal could be finishing school work early.  How are you planning on reaching that goal?  The goal could be winning a competition.  How are you going to train for that?  The goal could be to make money for an item.  What is your plan?  What steps are necessary to reach the goal?

Setting goals and designing plans are a sure sign of someone who is already in the habit of being proactive, remember habit #1?  Reactive people, those who wait for life to happen to them, do not set goals or make plans.  They wish, and to rephrase the above quote, a wish is just a goal without a plan.

Memory Device - STEPS

Using "Steps" as a memory device to Begin with the End in Mind is appropriate for us since we live in a home on a hill with 3 stories.  You can't get anywhere around here without steps in the same way you can't get anywhere in life with out a goal, a plan, and taking steps.  It's also important to realize that the steps to a goal may change.  They may increase or decrease and we have to adjust.  The key is to keep our eyes on the goal.  Change and adjust the plan, never the goal.

Faith Connection - The Ultimate Goal is Heaven

As you can see in this picture of the whiteboard, the ultimate goal is Heaven.  Every vocation and/or career should be leading us closer to that goal.  

“The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” - Leon Bloy.

Jesus talks about this habit, "Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?" (Luke 14:28)   (John 3:5)

We can also see, even way back in the book of Genesis, that God began with the end in mind.  He didn't abandon Adam and Eve and us after the fall.  His goal was the same.  His "end in mind" always was and always will be that we should be with him in Heaven.  The steps to get us there changed, the plan changed a little as it often will, but the goal remained the same.

Sacrament Connection - Baptism

If we listen closely to the words used during Baptism we will quickly realize that this sacrament is ultimately leading toward Heaven.  Heaven is the end in mind for the Sacrament of Baptism.  Here are some examples from the Rite of Baptism - (Chrism) - "As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life."  (White Garment) - "See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven."  (Candle) - "May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom."  Heaven is the ultimate "end in mind."

Virtue/Vice Connection - Diligence

Diligence is the capital virtue that enables us to keep our eyes on the prize.  It is the virtue that gives us strength to continue to do what we ought long after the excitement of doing it has passed.  It is the virtue that gives us the resolve to achieve our goal even when the steps become slippery and difficult.  The opposite vice is sloth.  It is that tendency to inactivity, physical, mental, and spiritual.  It is that sin that removes any joy from life and causes despair, having no end in mind.

5 Practical Steps

  1. Discuss and set some personal and family goals.  (Get out of debt, work in a shelter, read the Bible)
  2. Make a plan to achieve the goal.  Break it into small, achievable steps.
  3. Keep track of your progress.  (Make a chart to put on the fridge for all to see)
  4. Remind and encourage each other to be proactive toward this and other goals.
  5. Find Habit #2 in the Sunday Gospel this week.
Setting goals can be both serious and fun depending on the goal.  Make sure to take some time to set some fun goals like going hiking once a month, or playing board games together for 10 Sunday afternoons in a row.  Also, consider teaching your children to set goals that have the welfare of others as the "end in mind".  Set a goal to work at the food bank for 5 consecutive months or pray the rosary for those with cancer every night for a week.  Making the habits fun to learn will make them stick that much easier!


No comments: