3 Big Questions for Frantic Families

Kara Powell | Oct 21, 2009

Photo by Erick Lee Hodge

As soon as my friend, Nancy, mentioned the title of the book, The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, I was intrigued. It’s by Patrick Lencioni, the author of a handful of great didactic fiction books geared for leaders (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Death by Meeting). Now he’s turned his attention to his family life, and ours too.

The book revolves around a fictional family navigating the stress of a busy life. While fictional, you will likely relate to the tensions of this family. Here’s a quote I underlined: “And then the husband and wife would proceed to review the various activities on their calendar, justifying each one as being important enough to keep doing, or lamenting a commitment that they had already made from which they couldn’t escape”.

The parents in the book realize that they need to be more strategic when the husband says to the wife, “If my clients ran their companies the way we ran this family, they’d be out of business.”

Today I’ll cover the first of Lencioni’s three big questions for a family, which is: What is unique about your family?

Lencioni encourages families to answer this question by:

  1. Thinking about their core values – the 3-5 elements of their family that are so core to who they are that they often seem extreme about it.
  2. Putting the answer in writing.
  3. Taking no more than an hour to do the above.

Here’s what Dave and I have come up with for the Powells: We are a family that loves and serves God, each other, and others. We want to be leaders and learners, content risk-takers, and people of gentle strength. We make intentional, Kingdom choices and view our resources (especially our home) as Kingdom tools.

What makes your family unique?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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