Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Family Planning

Lindsey Smallwood

I’m part of a sweet local group of moms called MOPS – Mothers of Pre-Schoolers.

We meet informally for park dates and beer hour and prayer group and library story times.

We also meet a formally a couple times a month for brunch and discussions about different topics and – free childcare. Bless them.

Our last meeting was about creating a vision for our families, based on the ideas in Patrick Lencioni’s book The 3 BIG Questions for a Frantic Family. The core idea is that a family is an organization and there ought to be goals and strategies to guide them to achieve their mission, whatever it is.

It’s a thought provoking idea with a lot of layers.


Dream about your family in the future.


Create goals for who you want to be together.


Set objectives to help you meet those goals.


Identify key words to guide your progress.


And I buy it. If we want to lead our family in some intentional direction, we have to have a vision for it.

But let’s be honest. The Smallwoods are a little too sleep deprived to be developing long term objectives this month.

Chris is running all night experiments and most of my nights feel like an experiment in how I can get both boys to stay asleep.

So around the table during the discussion time, I listened as other women chimed in with their ideas as I doodled on my worksheet and wondered if I remembered to put wipes in the diaper bag.

Soon our discussion moved from strategic planning to one of our favorite topics – adorable babies. There were two newish babes at the table and I was amazed at how much my friend Ali’s 8 week old baby had changed since I saw him last.

“They change so fast.” I remarked.

Ali smiled. “It’s their job to grow!”

“Actually, it’s so cute,” she continued. “My husband goes into our toddler’s room to read him a story every night and when they’re done he asks him ‘What’s your job?’ and our son says ‘To grow.’ And then he asks him ‘How do you do your job?’ and our son tells him ‘I try, try, try, try, try.”

Lovely, isn’t it?

And talk about vision casting for your family. That’s just about as clear as it can be.

What’s your job? To grow.

How do you do your job? Try. Try. Try. Try. Try.

Ali looked back at her newborn. “You can almost watch them growing and changing,” she said. “And if they don’t grow and change then we worry and wonder and call the doctor. But somehow when we get to be grownups, everyone stops looking to see if we’re growing and changing. Even though we really still should be.

We really still should be.

We should be growing – spiritually, relationally, emotionally, intellectually – all the time. And that growth should change us in good, hard and uncomfortable ways.

But are we doing our job? 

I kept the worksheet about making a family mission statement, doodles and all. One of these days, when our margins get a little thicker, we’ll ask 3 BIG questions and set goals and put our family dreams to paper.

In the meantime, we’ll stick to two little ones.


What’s your job?

To grow.


How do you do your job?

Try. Try. Try. Try Try.

Friends, how's it going at doing your job today? Where do you need to try, try, try?

I'm moving forward in motherhood today by trying to spend 15 focused minutes with each of my kids.

Here's to growing by trying.