The gifts have been opened, the excitement is waning, and the tree is drooping a bit.

Now that Christmas is over, what’s there to be excited about?

A new year is coming! It’s time to spruce up the family vision a bit and get everyone on board.

Do your boys have a vision—or some goals?

Is it time to tweak things a bit?

The New Year is perfect time to reassess and plan. You know the adage—“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” With kids, though, plans aren’t foolproof, and things often go awry. But when we look forward and plan, we lead our sons in lessons about:

  • Stewardship. Planning for the year ahead pushes us to do the best we can with what God has given us. What a great training ground for our boys!

  • God’s sovereignty. We know our ideas are simply plans, and they’re ours, not God’s. Sometimes He steps in and things go differently than we expect. What an opportunity to show our boys that God is sovereign; He’s the author of it all, and He teaches us both when our dreams fly and when they don’t make it off the ground.

  • Self-control. When we set goals, we show determination. We also have to prioritize, making choices about how we spend our time and effort—all valuable lessons for our boys.

How to get started dreaming?

  • Grab a calendar—one that fits your needs. There are huge grid calendars and some that show several months at a time. Brainstorm about what will work for you. Maybe even make your own!
  • Ask your boys what they love—what they want to do more, learn more about, master or improve. Let each boy make his own list, then encourage him to choose the most important activities. Encourage him to consider not only what he can do for himself, but what he can do for others.
  • Make a plan. Confer with your son and come up with practical steps to get him closer to collecting food for that neighbor or riding a bike without training wheels or reading chapter books or climbing that huge tree in the front yard. Figure out a way to make the plan visible and post one for each son.
  • Encourage, but don’t expect instant fulfillment. Model patience, showing them that each step makes a difference. Remind your boys that Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.”

When Christmas is over and the unending snow falls, life seems the same. And all too often, the boys seem the same—like a loud, messy, ever-squabbling crew of little pirates. I need that reminder, and so do my boys. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.

He has made it beautiful now. Not in June, when the shining sun calls us outdoors. Not in two years, when he’s finally potty-trained and they’ve learned to get along (sort of).

He has made it beautiful now. In the midst of the piles of torn gift wrap and fading holiday decorations, I can call my boys to look past stuff toward what God can do in and through them.

Some resources on goal-setting: