As the new year old unfolds and resolutions are made, we should ask ourselves: what am I working towards? Am I working towards something, to become someone? Or am I just working?
The reason this kind of question is important is because the goals and resolutions we make and what we work towards in our daily lives leads us towards something… yet, if we don’t have a clear idea of what that something is, we might find ourselves somewhere we don’t want to be.
In Uganda, there is a saying, “If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will get you there.” In contrast, if you know where you want to go, you can then make the right choices that will get you there. This idea can be incredibly powerful because it means that we really have the power and the responsibility to make our own realities.
So then, this points us to a specific question: What do I want for my life?
And while knowing what we want as individuals in life is so important, it is also important to challenge yourself to consider that knowing what you want for your life will always be intricately connected with your family. Because our families make up our current realities: 1) being able to manifest our vision in our lives will be aided or impeded by our family and 2) no matter what our vision may be, ultimately, our health, happiness and well-being will always be connected to the health, happiness and well-being of our families.
The following activity takes this question to another step by asking you to build a vision for your family as a way to holistically find clarity for your own personal vision.
Tip: Try this activity with your family without explaining why you’re doing it. It might actually help to get the point across faster and more efficiently.
Activity: Building a Vision for Your Family
Materials: Paper and drawing materials.
Purpose: This activity is used to illustrate the importance of having and articulating a common vision as a family.
Use a large piece of paper and ask your family to draw a picture together within 5 minutes. Every family member must contribute something to the picture. If anyone begins to ask questions about the how to go about making the drawing, smile and explain you are not allowed to provide any further instructions.
After five minutes, look at the picture together and explain the picture. Many pictures may have very little content and some participants may be puzzled or even put off by the activity.
Next, announce that you’re going to explain why you’re doing the activity and how to go about it.
1) Read the following quote about families from the Inauguration of the Family Peace Association given by the FPA founder and chairman, Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon:
[T]he family is the most fundamental and defining institution of our human experience. It is a sacred institution where God’s original vision of creation was meant to take root. It should have been the well-spring of True Love, a divine selfless love of self-sacrifice; the school of love where True Life is formed; and the hometown of His direct dominion where all humanity is connected directly to His True Lineage through a covenant in blood.
Instead of being just our Creator, God intended to be our True Parent and co-create with His sons and daughters the physical kingdom of heaven on earth. His deepest desire was to connect intimately to every human life in a parent and child relationship of love. Through this relationship, He wanted to bequeath His truth, righteousness and goodness to His sons and daughters, expanding His presence through blood ties into a wider network of familial relationships, especially to subsequent generations. Such God-centered families would and should have become the building blocks for a peaceful, ideal world.
2) Take five minutes to discuss the passages above. Is your family working to fulfill the ideal as outlined here? Do you want to? What would it take to head in this direction?
3) This time, take another large sheet of paper and work together to draw a picture of the kind of family you want to have. Plan out what this would look like and assign each family member a specific role in creating this picture.
4) Next, you have the same five minutes to draw the picture together.
At the end of the five minutes, lay the picture from the activity from the first time next to the picture from the second time (same people, same materials, same time period). Ask each family member to share some of the lessons learned in this activity.
The facilitator may want to point out some lessons (some listed below) if they are not mentioned by anyone. Some of these may include:
- The picture drawn in the beginning was chaotic and perhaps unsatisfactory because no one knew what they were being asked to do.
- The second picture was probably much more meaningful and full of symbolism, with people contributing both ideas and images more readily than in the first picture.
- Having an idea of an ideal makes it easier to plan out what our own ideal might look like.
- Discussing and planning are essential to be able to work together effectively.
- We can see the beauty of diversity quite clearly and the need to encourage participation from every person in the family.
- It is good to have a common vision or goal, otherwise working together may not have purpose, direction or even satisfaction!
Questions for Further Discussion:
In this activity, we could see the importance of a common vision. Do you feel that your family has a common vision of peace and prosperity?
If so, what are the action steps and habits that you would want to build together as a family to make sure that this vision can become a reality?
If not, what could be done to build a common vision together?