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If your 'why' is Broken - Issue 333
February 14, 2014
Hi there! ....


This week: my goal was to make sure that Naomi and Daniel knew what their study routines were. We tried establishing them last week, but sickness messed up that idea. But then Daniel also had the opportunity to work with Peter in the shed so we had to be flexible with our time because that is a priority too! On Wednesday Peter and I headed into town, to stay at a motel, for the day/night, for a planning date. We like to take time out every year to catch up with each other, to hear each other’s hearts, to think about all the different aspects of our life, to consider goals and sometimes to plan the steps towards those goals. One day isn’t really enough – but it was all we had time for at the moment. The kids did well to manage their time, their to-do list and their relationships.

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If Your 'Why' is Broken

Peter and I spent a day and a bit this week away from the normal demands of our life to concentrate on the details of our family – a lot of what we did was simply talking, catching up with each other on the different spheres of our life. One of the things that became obvious was that without a reason for doing something we lack motivation.

We lack motivation for change, for new habits, for doing what we know we should be doing. I wonder how many goals that are set at the beginning of the year are based on what we know (or think) we should be doing – and yet we have no real reason for doing so.

I am reminded of a phrase that a friend said once, it has been at the background of our parenting – and yet, really, it is relevant to all spheres of life: If your why is broken, so is your how (Heather McEwan)

Do you know why you do things? Do you have a purpose? In that purpose you will find motivation.

I look back over the two times in recent years that I have succeeded in looking after my health:

  1. I had pain that limited my activities
  2. I was planning a holiday in Turkey

I had a purpose – my health was going to affect my plans, my dreams, my goals, my purpose. To say that I’m tired or that I don’t like my size – though that may be true, it doesn’t really touch my values, and it doesn’t motivate me to change. What is my purpose now? Having a vision for something but acknowledging my health is going to be a limitation will be far more motivating.

I know that the times I increased learning, understanding and skills in my life have been the times where there was a reason, a purpose for doing so.

The reason why women rush around with extra zing to tidy the house when visitors come is that visitors create a purpose – and I don’t mean just vain reasons of wanting to be seen as a good homemaker, but there may be a genuine desire to bless and be hospitable . The thing that challenges me is that this often means I’ve taken my eyes off the opportunity to be hospitable and a blessing to my family.

Peter and I looked at all sorts of areas in our family life:

  • Our passions, the things we are involved in
  • Our family, our kids, our traditions
  • Our business, our income
  • Our homeschooling
  • Our home

Some ideas and goals we’ve talked about over and over, not only previous planning dates, but also throughout the year. But we aren’t making any progress. This time we realised why…. Our why was broken. We had no real motivation to change, to step out, to do something. Instead this idea hung over our heads as a “Should”: we should do this, we should do something about that. Because we lacked the why – we have lacked the motivation to really do something about it.

I believe that as we start looking at the why’s behind the goals and dreams that we have, we will start to be more focused and more motivated to work on those steps that we’ve talked about.

This process made me think about the kids and their study, their character development and their skills – do they have a ’why’ for doing those things? Do they have a purpose? A vision?

Sometimes our kids don’t understand or can’t see the purpose of the things we say they need to learn – in this situation our job is to help communicate the big picture, the purpose, the application, the reason for these studies. To be honest, if the only reason we can come up with is “everyone does it”, “it is the norm”, “it is expected” then we really have to rethink what we are asking of our kids.

I also think our kids will lack motivation if we are providing the purpose, reason, vision for all the learning they have in their lives. They need to own some of the growth in their life; they need to have purpose that comes from their heart. They need to have some goals. They need to see a connection with their goals and the tasks they are doing.

This doesn’t mean we just let them do what they feel like doing, or want to do. As the parents we are ‘older and wiser’ and because of that we have a bigger picture than our kids do. The Bible tells us that children do need to listen to the wisdom of their parents.

It becomes our job to help them see the big picture. We need to paint a purpose, a vision for them. We need to take the things that we can see in our child – the talent, the bent, the uniqueness – and help our kids see a purpose for those things, and therefore, a purpose in building muscle and strength in those things (which is their education.)

So if you are lacking motivation to do the things you ‘should’ do – maybe you don’t have a vision for those things, a purpose. I’m not saying not to do those things, but rather seek God to find out why these things are important. Are your children struggling with certain things in their life? Do you know why those things are important? Have you communicated those reasons to your kids? Are you painting a picture, bigger than just learning stuff because that is what kids do?

If your why is broken,
so is your how

Heather McEwan


During the week I blog at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I posted:

Or maybe you'd like to read something from my website:

  • Homeschool Mum Needs to Know The day to day journey as a homeschool mum brings lots of challenges and sometimes doubts and questions. These 5 little checks help us keep on the path we have chosen.

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Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.




Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.






Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.




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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!


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Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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