How to Lead Your Family During Uncertainty

I’m certainly no expert in how to lead during uncertainty, but I do listen to and read what experts say and write.

Call me a curator.

I find the stuff and tell you about it so you don’t have to sift through piles of books and podcasts.

Your welcome.

One such resource is a series of talks from Andy Stanley. I’ll call them “talks” and not “sermons” so I don’t scare folks off who would otherwise benefit greatly, regardless of belief system.

The series is called “Leading Through: Three Essentials for Navigating Uncertainty.” At the time that I’m writing this post, we’re going through a pandemic, major civil unrest, and a very contentious presidential election here in the U.S. This topic is timely now, but the only certainty is that there is always just a little uncertainty at play.

One of the three essentials is ‘clarity’.

Our Families Desire Certainty

Many people crave certainty from their leaders. A family is no different. Kids want certainty from their parents.

But what if you can’t make things certain for them? What if you cannot predict the future?

What if you can’t promise them that school will be better tomorrow than it was today even though the same kids or the same teachers will still be there waiting?

What if you can’t predict if your child will make the team, earn a role, get into her first choice of college?

What if you simply can’t provide the absolute certainty that your children or spouse craves in a given situation?

Provide Clarity

If you can’t provide certainty, provide clarity (per Mr. Andy Stanley).

And the best way to provide clarity is to provide a clear plan. The example Stanley uses is from the biblical story of Joshua leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

Joshua’s only example from Moses was leading people through wandering around in the wilderness. He was now called to take people on a specific mission that was part unknown, despite the promises of God.

In the absence of being able to predict exactly what would come next, Joshua creates a plan and gives his charges something to do: Pack your stuff, prepare some food, and meet us at a specific place in three days and we’re crossing the Jordan.

Clarity. A plan.

That is what we can do to help our families when things are uncertain.

Uncertainty creates a vacuum within which our children and/or spouse will fill with all kinds of craziness if we’re not careful.

We can help fill that vacuum with a clear plan. Even if it’s not a perfect plan. Iteration down the line is always an option.

Help them clarify what they hope to accomplish in any given situation. Help them figure out what it’ll take to accomplish the mission. And give them as much direction as they’ll take to help them build the skills necessary to achieve or navigate whatever the situation is.

That’s clarity. A clear vision. A clear goal. A pathway toward growth in order to accomplish or navigate.

Whether it’s your family’s financial situation, a kid’s relationships at school, a child’s desire to make a team or find his way onto the Dean’s List…. you can’t control the outcome.

But you can help out with a plan and a clear vision and clear tasks.

That’s all you can do. But it’s all that’s required of you (or me).


I’d recommend checking out any of Andy Stanley’s books. His superpower is clarity. You’d benefit from any of them. Click here: Andy Stanley books at Amazon.

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