John Cox, Watermark Community Church’s executive pastor, just finished leading one of Watermark’s staff leadership teams through the book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family, by Patrick Lencioni. The book is a leadership fable about restoring sanity to the most important organization in your life (your family).
The premise of the book revolves around the fact that while many of us can lead organizations, very few can lead their own family well. He says that many of us can run our companies, organizations and staff teams with purpose, clarity and direction. Many of us can lead an organization with vision, strategy and great success.
Yet,when it comes to leading and guiding the most important organization in our lives, we fail miserably. Our schedules are full, our lives overcrowded, and we find ourselves desperate for relief. In a word, our families are frantic. Lencioni wrote this book to help the reader lead his/her family with more clarity, context and purposefulness by provoking the reader to answer three simple questions that can change their life.
As Lencioni often does, he teaches the reader through a fable and helps the reader think through his family’s core purpose, core values, strategy, goals and roles and responsibilities.
The 3 Big Questions for the frantic family are:
- What makes your family unique?
- What is your family’s top priority (rallying cry) right now?
- How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?
We read the book together as a team over the course of two weeks and then each of us came up with our own family plan on how we would apply the book to our own, unique family situations. I enjoyed the wide variety of responses our team came up with. Here are a few examples:
- One family is having their second baby in a few months, so their rallying cry is to get ready for baby #2 (i.e. by painting the baby’s room, reorgazining their other bedrooms)
- Another family wants to create an atmosphere and path for their kids to become best friends (i.e. by affirming and encouraging each other, challenging them to spend time together as kids, and by cheering each other on at their sports games).
- One family just moved and their rallying cry is to intentionally develop relationships with their new neighbors (i.e. by hosting pool parties and and inviting neighbors over for dinner).
- One family has a son leaving for college in a few years. Their rallying cry is to use the next 2-6 months to help set them up for success the next few years before their son leaves for college (i.e. by planning intentional family vacations and father/son road trips, service opportunities together as a family).
For the Kedersha family, our rallying cry is that we will follow the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) in our immediate family. Kristen and I have noticed that our kids don’t seem to be ‘for’ one another. At sports games, they don’t root each other on, and they seem to argue more than encourage. We plan on achieving our rallying cry in 4-6 months, primarily by determining ways to encourage and affirm each other, finding ways to serve each other (see a need, meet a need), and by defining as a family what it means to serve your brothers. We also determined a few other potential topics for the future, including decluttering the house and eating better as a family).
The genius of the book is the easy method Lencioni teaches the reader. He leads the reader through the process of answering the 3 Big Questions. We need to do a better job of fighting against the frantic lifestyle most families live today.
- Go buy and read the book! This would be a great book for community groups to read and discuss. We are talking about doing this with our community group of four other families.
- What would an outsider say about your family if they looked in on you? What do you value? How do you spend your time and money? How you spend those resources communicates a lot about what you really value.
- Why do your kids do what they do (i.e. why do they play sports, play in the band, take piano lessons)? Is it because they want to do these things, or because you’re trying to live out your childhood dreams through them? Do you, as their parent, derive some kind of significance out of their performance?