Recently in church, a homeschooling friend testified that she remembered the difficulties of rearing a household filled with small children, but it was a “whole new ballgame” once some of those children began to grow into teenagers and young adults. The challenges at this point, as anyone who’s been there will agree, are constant and relentless—and the devil gives no quarter.

Moreover, once our children are finally grown, whether they’re still at home, off to school, raising families, or simply “doing the next thing,” we are foolish if we think that we are now off the hook and our parenting is over. Here’s news: it’s never over. In light of that, we need to keep a vision for our families’ futures clearly set before us. We must define our vision, prayerfully teach toward our vision, and seek encouragement in the process.

Defining the Vision

Scripture tells us that without a vision, the people perish. A vision of hopes, goals, and dreams for how our families are to be molded and shaped for the future is essential. Christian families should take their vision seriously. For homeschooling Christian families, that mandate takes on extra dimensions. To begin analyzing your own vision for your family, ask yourself some basic questions: What are your long-term lifestyle goals for your children and your home? What specific spiritual and character goals do you hope to see your children practicing by the time they reach adulthood? How do you envision their futures in the workforce or in their own homes? How do you hope to see them use and develop their attributes and skills? Be specific.

Here are a few ideas of what I mean. I want my grown children t

     •   seek the Lord’s guidance whenever they make decisions, large or small.

     •   be faithful, no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in.

     •   love their spouses.

     •   be devoted parents.

     •   have compassion, looking to the needs and concerns of others.

In practical skills, I want them to

     •   demonstrate godly character and self discipline in the workplace.

     •   be handy.

     •   nurture an appreciation and enjoyment of the outdoors, art, mechanics, etc. (These goals should be individually defined according to the loves and enjoyments we’d like to pass on.)

This is a minuscule list, of course, but enough to give you the idea. If you sit down with a paper and pencil and begin to ask yourself these questions, you will see a list of goals popping out onto the page, perhaps even some goals you hadn’t considered before. You will begin to clearly define where it is you want to go.

Sometimes our vision for the future is undefined simply because we are caught in periods of discouragement or feelings of being overwhelmed. Sometimes the blatant distractions of keeping up with daily life can keep us from feeling that our vision for our family’s future is attainable. It is never too late, and there is no wrong time to sit down and try to lay out a clearly defined plan—or at least some of our hopes for the future.

We may not be able to see the big picture for the years ahead. In fact, it’s almost certain that we won’t. But like an artist, we can begin to sketch an outline for the final vision. We can daily take our disillusionments, our frustrations, and our failures to the Lord and to His Word. He will give us the pep talk we need, the love we cherish, and the strength we long for to keep our eyes on the prize. Finally, we can begin today with an organized plan to conquer the distractions that threaten to invade our lives so our vision does not become cloudy.