Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Purpose and Vision

Written by Damien

Almost every activity has it: the event. For some sports it is the race, for others it is the tournament. For musicians, dancers, and actors it is the recital or the performance. For artists it is the exhibition.

The purpose of the event is to showcase skill. Whether it be by a battle for the prize, or to capture the hearts of the audience. Sometimes both.

The event gives purpose to all of the time spent practicing. It provides a source of energy and motivation. For some, the motivation stems from a desire to win, or at the very least be a worthy competitor. For others, the motivation comes from wanting to accomplish a goal - to cross the finish line and hopefully do a little better than before. And for non-competitive activities the motivation comes from a desire to put honed skills to work in a venue where they can flourish.

Assuming that you have decided to give this Unplugged Sunday idea a try, have you given any consideration to purpose and vision? Can you use your one-day-a-week activities to build something bigger than one-day-a-week?

For our family, our version of Unplugged Sunday revolves around hiking outdoors, the further from civilization we can get the better. One day a week (usually Sunday) we go hiking for the entire day. This activity is the norm for us, part of our regular routine. The thing you may not know is that this practice was birthed from a desire for something bigger. It was envisioned as the means to move us closer to goals that we haven't realized yet. Our weekend hikes are just part of the training routine.

In addition to our weekly hikes, we keep things interesting and exciting by working-in bigger events on a regular basis: Once a month instead of our day hike, we go for a multi-day trip. A trip where we put our hiking skills to use in a bigger theater. These multi-day trips are our family equivalent of the tournament weekend or dance recital. They are a lot of fun and immensely satisfying.

Every time we plan one of these trips, we nudge the bar up a little higher in some area. Sometimes the kids can be a little skeptical, they don't always feel keen to push themselves. I am always careful to make sure that we won't be pushing beyond our capabilities. But I do like to make it a bit of a challenge in some way. 

Here are a few examples of our accomplishments:
  • We feel a great sense of accomplishment. Especially when we know that it was a new milestone. Our kids really are proud of their achievements. They appreciate the satisfaction they get from pushing a little (sometimes beyond their comfort zone) and accomplishing a goal.
  • It gives us something to plan and prepare for. Regular multi-day trips give our weekly hikes more purpose; the opportunity (and the reason) to fine tune things in between. We test gear. We make changes. We learn how to be better prepared for next time.
  • Family holidays and vacations have more meaning. We are much more intentional about how we spend our non-working time. Our vacation/travel/holiday time has become less about vacation and leisure and more about lifestyle. This doesn't mean we don't rest or have down time, we do, but it looks much different than it did in the past.

As much as we get from our multi-day trips, you might be surprised to find out that they are still just part of the training. Kind of like a local tournament that takes place before regionals and nationals. They are part of the vision, but not by any means the end.

Our weekly training sessions are strung together between events which will hopefully lead to even more exciting things in the future.

Without going into the details of our family vision (that would require multiple posts), this is what we have found: stringing together our one-day-a-week activities with a common thread has given our Unplugged Sundays more meaning than just a day-off... and has brought with it excitement for the future.

Does your family's life have an over-arching vision and purpose? 
How is your Unplugged Sunday fitting-in towards that end? 

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