The Goodwin's are (always hoping to be) intentional--a word coined by our amazing pastor, Andy Stanley, and utilized in our daily lives.
For example, the Big Girls intentionally hid Eden among the 85 baby dolls and stuffed animals, hoping their mother won't find the REAL baby before the tea party was over.
Or, we intentionally invited Grammy to stay for 6-8 months, but we were happy with the compromise of two weeks.
And, "We can't clean up the 147 animals, dinosaurs, and little people YET! They are intentionally stretched across the main thoroughfare in the small basement floor blocking the way to the bathroom because they're on the way to the CIRCUS!!"
But we hope to use the word intentional in other ways, too--while using the phrase "help with the dishes" with a two year old is synonymous to the phrase "sabotage the kitchen", we realize she has to start learning sometime. So let's intentionally start with cleaning that spoon.
Or with friendships--sure, life is incredibly busy with preschool aged children, and who doesn't think it's just easier to check out for five years, and come back when everyone is sleeping through the night and potty trained? But that's a lot of life and time lost. So we try to be intentional about investing in the friends we love.
Taking trips to the aquarium with the kids--is there an ungodly amount of gear that has to be packed up to "enjoy" three hours of running amuck, potential melt downs, nursing the baby in the corner of the bathroom, chasing the two year old as she nearly dives into the sting-ray touch tank? YES. Do I feel like a margarita and a 4 hour marathon of SNL afterwards?? If only.
But do we realize these opportunities are HUGE in the eyes of a four year old who tells her school at Pre-K graduation that her dream is to be a dolphin trainer? Margarita: you can wait. I've got a little girl to inspire.
Intentionality is a word my Aunt Beth lived for me when I was a kid: to combat the verbal assault coming from a step-mother to a 6 year old little girl, my Aunt would tell me over and over, "No matter what she says or does to you, you're still a worthwhile person."
I feel pretty worthwhile now.
While being intentional about life does not come naturally to me, thankfully, I'm married to the CEO of Strategy and Spreadsheets--Tim Goodwin. Does he still wrestle with the girls and launch them (too) high on the trampoline all the while asking them what their 5 year goals are? Yes. And they love him for it.
If it were up to me, we'd just do a lot of kissing and hugging.
And our intentional conversations would just sound like this, "You're so cute." "No, YOU'RE cute." "No--YOU are!" "You infinity."
So I'm glad we've got this guy at the helm--taking the girls on dates for Valentine's Day...
...leading our family in great dinner conversations...
...taking the wife and Eden to fun places like Married Life at North Point...
...and taking me on dates where we talk about things like, "Share one thing your spouse can do to ensure your love tank is full." Fantastic questions courtesy of http://marriedlifeonline.com/greatdate/
So that guy has nailed the intentional concept. What can we do to teach it to our kids??
With friends: How about the oft-said statement to my 4 year old, "Let's let _____ choose what Barbie he/she wants to play with today!" Or the 2 year old, "When we play Lions and Tigers, it's not a great idea to scratch ______ across their face."
Or at birthday Sushi dinners, "Just TRY the seaweed salad--it's like those seaweed snacks--only wet!"
But how do you intentionally set them up for success when after seeing the circus, they are considering growing up to be "that lady in the sparkle leotard who climbed the rope and swung around"? We'll just leave that one alone for now.
A mistake I made when I was younger: not cultivating a loving relationship with my own sister. A mistake I am hoping to avoid with these girls. So is it ok to push the phrase, "Love your sisters! They are your very best and closest friends!!" up to 23 times a day??
Or to be honest with our kids about the effects of sugar on our bodies and that's why our "Hot Chocolate" looks more like "Hot Almond Milk and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips Congealed Into A Mess of Goodness"?
What about the tension of "Are there REALLY leprechauns (or fairies or aliens or ghosts or Santa) who leave us wonderful glittery presents"? How do we treat that situation with intentionality?
Maybe if we just relax and enjoy them NOW instead of obsessing that they turn out OK LATER,
and pause the "life lessons" to swing on the tire swing,
and play in the mud puddles,
even though the shoes will be a disaster to clean. And likely their Grandma won't be too thrilled about the cold-ish rain and weather combination.
But, having an intentional game plan every moment of the day makes me a little crazy sometimes. So the dishes will have to wait while we play outside in the rain.
I may cheat with that word "intentional" occasionally and think to myself, "Laying here in the sunny grass is very intentional--a kid's got to have some extra Vitamin D!!"
And sometimes, we have to be OK when our efforts at intentionality go awry--did Daddy train for this half-marathon for weeks and did we just get up at o-dark thirty to come watch him race in the rain and cold? Oh yes, my friend. But did the "race authorities" cancel it due to "hazardous puddles"? Bugger.
So thanks to the fantastic Brains working at our church, they have encouraged us to come up with and intentionally live our family values and habits. Making it easier on all of us.
They may not be James Dobson-worthy, but here's the values we're shooting for.
Family Value #1: Eat an egg every day.
Just kidding--that was just an Easter picture.
Real Family Value #1: Be loving. (Love God, love other people--if we'd would just love people like we all love Eden, we'll have that one in the bag.)
#2: Be honest. (Lying destroys relationships and your character--so let me ask you again sister, did you or did you not flush that stuffed bumblebee down the toilet, jamming the sump pump, eventually flooding our basement with poop-water?)
#3. Be a blessing (making life easier for someone--like Shiloh cheering for Pop-pop as he preforms the Annual Goodwin Egg Roll at Easter. And telling me that she loves me EVERY day! :)
#4: Be a second-miler. (Going the first mile is fulfilling your job. Going the second mile is establishing a relationship. So when you go get a band aid AND a napkin to wrap up your sister's injured toe, THAT is going the second mile!)
#5: Be faithful. (Sticking with it--like Canaan being FAITHFUL to throw that cupcake at her sister. Again and again until it smashes in her face.)
And Marin got her first.
To reiterate those values, we also came up with two habits we'll (try) to do throughout our kids' time with us.
Habit #1: Love yo' Gramma. JK.
Habit #1: Weekly Family Fun Night (where we eat dessert first, have a fun meal, and do something crazy.)
Habit #2: Praying, Reading, and Impressing God's Word Daily (jumping in that puddle with your jammies on is like...GOD! He...uh, wipes us clean...with, um, GRACE! Or a bath, in your mother's case.)
So while we still get impatient and loose focus and wish we could go on an 8 week Mediterranean All-Adult cruise sometimes, we are simply praying and hoping for the wisdom to be INTENTIONAL about raising our kids and the COURAGE just to do it.
And maybe a little more sleep.