September 16, 2013

Bringing into Focus What Matters Most

The end of Summer felt a lot less peaceful than any of us would have liked and so by late August I was restless (and hopeful) for a new season to begin and a new rhythm to take hold.

One especially chaotic weekday morning I declared a family brainstorm to encourage the kids to participate in defining ideals for our shared home life. I wrote enthusiastically, my words filling the room as the boys colored furiously, big and small, to fill in all the white space.

The themes that emerged included: Peace and Quiet, Sleep, Love, Respect, Less Screen Time, Special Time, Being Kind, Responsibilities, Daily Routines, and Meal Time.

Later I identified some actions we could take to achieve our intentions. I wrote them out on colored cardstock and then over the course of a few days sat down with Roscoe, in particular, to discuss the details. How can we show each other that we love one another? What are some ways that we can be respectful to others? How can we say thank you with our actions, and how can we show our appreciation to our friends or family?

I've learned so much from Brene Brown over the years, and I recently listened to her short audio book Imperfect Parenting. One of the things that resonated with me is that family should serve to meet our primary need for belonging. No one should have to hustle (or feel like they need to) in order to be loved and respected in their own space. Our family is our home. We each bring ourselves to the table, and we are enough.

I added Belonging to our list of major themes because it is at the heart of what I want for all of us, and the triad was complete.

As if I needed an excuse to take out the kids' water paints and brushes, I enjoyed a little late night creativity and combined the brainstorm, our former mission statement (that has since been revised), and a few key phrases I've been carrying with me to create what has become our family's quick reference guide to what matters most. It serves as a guidepost for me and Andy as we strive to create an environment that reflects these ideals, and as a reinforcement tool for all of us.

The Quick Reference Guide for home life

When home life is overwhelming, how do you find calm and clarity? What is your process for bringing into focus what matters most?

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