Careers is a fantastic board game that I played as a kid and now play quite often with my children. In the game, each player goes around the board starting various careers or educational experiences.

Before the game starts, each player creates a formula for success that will determine their criteria for winning. The three areas you must allot points to are fame, love and money. Various combinations of points from these three areas add up to win the game. You then must keep your success formula a secret from everyone throughout the game. The combined scores you collect must equal 60 for victory. A common strategy is to shoot for 20 stars with fame, 20 hearts with love or relationships, and $20,000 for money. The winning player is the one who achieves their unique success formula the fastest.

Careers has a powerful lesson for us as we work to improve the health of our families.

Have you ever discussed a success formula with your family? How can you tell if you’re on the right track as a family? What are the most important things that define “the win” for you and your kin?

When discussing priorities or values, some families prioritize vacation time together. Maybe your family would include being generous, visiting grandma regularly, or being quick to apologize and forgive. Some family success formulas would include eating meals together, supporting each other’s activities, or having family worship and devotion times.

Like Careers, however, some families may accidentally prioritize fame, popularity, status, money and looking good or “all together” from the outside.

I have found, that as a dad and husband, it’s easy to unintentionally pursue a success formula that I don’t agree with. This is surprisingly embarrassing to admit. Humility on the part of the parents is important, but so is courage and hope.

One way to combat this unconscious direction is to intentionally discuss what values and priorities your family will have and develop.

A practical way your family could do this would be to discuss core values at a family meeting. Warning: there may be eye-rolls, deep sighs, or worse. A family meeting just means setting up a time and place to talk about a few things that you want to be true about your family. Some of these values can be accurate descriptions now and some of them can be what you hope your family will become. It’s a good idea to pray together about this and write down the values and priorities you agree on!

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Proverbs 4:26 NIV

Parents and kids all should be encouraged to help set up the success formula. Including all family members in this process from an early age will help everyone work together to achieve a winning formula that is more likely to be pursued. Considering the Bible’s instructions for families, relationships, and God’s mission will help your formula be closer to God’s best for your family.

Remember that some items in your formula may change over time – some priorities might be for a short season. Ongoing communication about the focus of your family will be a big help.

What is your family’s success formula? How do you define “the win?”