Have you ever planned a road trip with your family? You know, where everyone piles into the van, backpacks loaded with games and books, lots of loud sing-a-long music playing, and suitcases precariously strapped to the rooftop? What was your destination? A state park for a weekend of camping? The grandparents’ house? Or perhaps a city full of sights to see and explore? We have had a few exciting journeys with our children over the years and they always seem to involve quite a bit of planning. As my husband, Rich, and I pore over the atlas, we map out the route we will take, looking to see if there are any adventures to be had on the way to the final destination. When possible, we like to make the journey exciting as we make our way to the final destination. On several occasions we’ve been tempted by spur-of-the-moment enticing detours, and we always have to evaluate if these diversions will hinder us from reaching our final destination or if it’s a good time for a small reroute. An exciting, adventure-filled journey makes for good memories and excellent Facebook posts, but if we never make it to the end goal then a lot of disappointment will assuredly ensue.
Years ago, Rich and I agreed to drive an RV from Charleston, SC to Los Angeles, CA to deliver to some friends arriving at LAX from overseas. We had a 48-hour window to make the 2500-mile trek, which didn’t allow for much diversion from the route we laid out. It took a lot of self-control to stay on the highway when exits pointing to the Petrified National Forest or the Grand Canyon seemed to give a siren call that we had to willfully ignore. While those stops promised fun, beauty and adventure, we’d have had some mighty disappointed friends sitting on the curb at LAX wondering what became of us had we taken those detours. We would have missed our destination.
Our life is a journey and every journey has a destination. To reach a final destination takes vision. Andy Stanley in his book, Visioneering, says, “Vision is a preferred future. A destination.” Do we have a vision for the journey we are on as we raise our children? What is the preferred future for our children? If we want our children to end up somewhere on purpose then we need a vision of what that will look like and we need to have a plan to implement that vision. A vision without a plan is simply a dream. Dreams are nice, but they don’t necessarily transport us to where we want to go.
Next week I’ll share how we came up with a vision for raising our children, what we’ve done to implement it, and how you can implement a vision, too. Until then, if you don’t have a vision for your children, start dreaming. When your children leave your home one day… (yes, moms, it will happen someday. Prepare yourself. Our eldest just turned 18 and will be leaving for college in a few months. Wait, what?) When they leave home, what will they have accomplished? What will their character look like? What will be in their moral warehouse? What places will they have visited? What knowledge will be in their brains? What experiences will they have had in life? Dream big and PRAY bigger. Grab a sticky note, a used envelope, or the backside of your grocery list and start jotting down these dreams. Make lists. God has a God-sized vision for your children and He has chosen YOU to guide, direct, teach, and train them. It’s a huge responsibility, but one that will be an exciting journey as you make the odyssey towards the destination.