Posts Tagged ‘Family Values’

Family Values Come Alive in Our Actions

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 02:09 PM
Author: admin

Family Values Come Alive in Our ActionsLately it feels like disaster looms everywhere. Wildfires burn in the west. Hurricanes assault our coasts. Earthquakes shake the continent. Floodwaters burden Texas. The potential for war with Korea feels possible. Puerto Rico struggles to recover from apocalyptic devastation. White supremacy, racism, civil rights, freedom of the press, health care–all swirl for our attention. Human rights. Civil rights. Personal rights. Adoptee rights.

How do we balance it all and ensure some resolution?

Intention. Values-based solutions. Action. All are necessary.

Choose to resist the  pull of trash talk, social media diatribes and finger-pointing. Instead, focus on formulating a well-reasoned stance that partners with an action plan. Whatever your views and values, move beyond talk, complaint and criticism. Change results from action.

Our families are directly affected by all this chaos. Our kids hear the news. They draw inferences. Often they rely on minimal information and sources with questionable accuracy. We all know kids tend to fault themselves like when difficulties such as divorce or adoption occur. Convinced that something about them caused the event to happen, kids shoulder a heavy emotional burden. We can and must help them understand that these circumstances result from adult choices and actions (or inactions.)

As Intentional families, we have a responsibility to help our children understand what is happening within our families, communities and country. Do this in age-appropriate ways. Discuss how your family values affect your thoughts, decisions and actions. Then follow through with ideas for how your family can “do” something to effect the desired results. Get as creative as possible. Choose activities to do as individuals and as a family. Find a way to have fun while you are making a difference.

Develop a family pattern of helping out in the community. Here are a few things you can consider:

  • Agree to perform an act of kindness every day.
  • Gather items for a food drive, storm relief, etc.
  • Explore the history of voting rights.
  • Decide how which daily actions you will take to help the planet
  • When you visit the playground, beach or park, bring gloves and a bag to gather trash.
  • Choose a project to do as a family
    • Hold a garage sale. Contribute proceeds to a good cause
    • Send letters to active duty military personnel
    • help serve a meal at a local food kitchen once a month
    • Bring a neighbor’s trash to the curb
    • Run a lemonage stand for charity
    • Pick up litter in your neighborhood (Take appropriate safety precautions.)

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Actions, Words and Family Values: Disconnected or Aligned?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 @ 03:01 PM
Author: admin

Actions, Words and Family Values: Disconnected or Aligned?-familyexpenses

Because we are committed to Intentional Parenting, last week we invited readers to consider a time-tracking practice to help identify the way we actually spend out time. We also revisited our Family Values to remind ourselves of their role in identifying  priorities. Actions, words and Family Values must align. Our words must reveal and reflect our values. More importantly our actions must bring both words and values to life. When a disconnect occurs between these factors, it makes family life stressed and chaotic. This is why a tracking exercise offers an excellent window into our reality.

One week has now passed. Perhaps you “intended” to take on the practice but then forgot. You still have time. Do it this week. You will still accumulate useful data. (Visit this blog for details on what and how to track.)

Sally Ankerfelt, another of our GIFT coaches reflected on my blog post and made a great suggestion for expanding the scope of our “practice.” In addition to tracking how our family spends time, she proposed tracking how we spend money.

Think about it. For almost all of us, money is a finite quantity. We must make conscious choices on how we use it. Every “Yes” is also a “No.” While we may think we manage our money thoughtfully and according to our priorities (which emanate from our Values,) a reality-based exercise like this may reveal some surprises. Download and use this graphic to get you started.

For those who did begin the exercise,  what have you noticed? (We’ll explore those observations in detail next week.)

For those of you who are hesitant, examine what is really behind your reluctance? Some emotions that might block us are: self-doubt; resistance to change that comes from more informed awareness; feeling like your plate is already overfull.

Actions, Words and Family Values: Disconnected or Aligned?What if you’re correct? Wouldn’t it make sense then, to identify what can be deleted? When we are too busy, things always fall off our radar, get forgotten or shunted to I’ll-do-it-later status. Often this leads to more crises. We then face a barrage of family “fires” that drain us emotionally, financially and consume too much time and energy.

So … take a breath, start tracking time and money and prepare for some surprises. Most likely you’ll find some positive and some negative data. Armed with this information, you can outline a better plan that is more aligned with your Values, dreams and intentions for your family.

Imagine how that might shift the mood of your family. Imagine and then begin! Will you be pleasantly surprised or shocked into Intentional change?

Yearn to Succeed? Be Like A Baby

Monday, August 15, 2016 @ 04:08 PM
Author: admin

Baby making his first stepsAs a first-time grandmother, I watch my year-old grandson with fascination and amazement. Like all babies, fierce determination drives him to learn. He takes trial and error in stride and innately understands that failure is the cost of mastery. I watch him and imagine how amazing we all would be if we retained that unflappable determination.

Experience tells me that eventually, his confidence will diminish. Self-consciousness will compete with his willingness to risk trying new things. Saving face will become more important than working through the embarrassment of being a novice long enough to develop proficiency.

Fear of failure presses kids–and adults– to avoid trying in the first place or to quit early in the process. This causes the loss of faith in ourselves and we succumb to discouragement.

As I write this blog post, the 2016 Olympics plays in the background. I consider these competitors. They did not fall prey to fear. They did not give up on their dreams. They embraced hard work and commitment, tolerated frustration, achieved success via the information distilled through failure and held onto their dreams of athletic excellence.

As parents, we can help our kids cultivate determination, persistence and acceptance of failure as an integral part of any learning process.

Another figure well-known for his determination comes to mind. Inventor, Thomas Edison who famously quipped, “I know several thousand things that won’t work.” His life serves as a wonderful model for persistence through failure. What made him so resistant to discouragement and surrender?
success not easy
As Intentional Parents, how can we help our children be strong, confident and determined? How do we teach them not to fear failure? No surprises here. No magic. Our most effective tool is the way we live our lives so that we model what we wish our kids to learn. All parents know that toddlers study us to learn about their world (flush things down the toilet, unlock baby gates, open cabinets, etc). This learning-through-observation never stops. Whatever their ages, kids watch us and learn. We must always remain conscious of this fact and be very intentional about what we are modeling.

How does this look in action? Consider these steps:
First,  set an expectation that success will NOT be easy. Emphasize how often we practice, rehearse, refine and repeat our efforts to learn and perfect our skills. Make clear that we expect to see the similar fits and starts in their lives. Assure children that we do not expect their proficiency to come easily, quickly or without stumbles and resets.
Second, show kids that learning is a lifetime process not just something that happens in the classroom. Let them hear about the challenges we face as adults which require our persistence and determination until we succeed.
Third, encourage effort. Talk about the tasks and skills which we are committed to learning both for work and for personal pleasure.

Convey that learning is valuable for its own sake, something we choose for ourselves, and not simply a burden imposed on us by others. Clue them in to the many tasks we face at work, home and in the community so they are aware of our efforts in action. Unless we call attention to our struggles, kids assume everything is effortless for us. (Obviously, we must use discretion so we avoid burdening our kids with worries that should sit squarely and solely on adult shoulders.)
Fourth, value failure as the road to success. As adults we know that instant success is a myth. Achievement results from effort, commitment and occurs in steps. Each attempt refines our learning and improves our skill, product or understanding. Comment on our own recognition of our incremental progress. (“Wow, I’m able to do that better than my previous time.”)

Remember to note our own encounters with the reality of “two steps forward, one step back.” Talk about failure in terms of how it propels learning instead of with an eye to fault-finding, comparing to others or belittling the lack of success. Convey an attitude of confidence that says success is possible. Do not play the blame game. It’s a dead-end that distracts our attention from revising to fault-finding.

Fifth, share our own struggles to learn. Even if it feels a bit silly, we can take a page out of the toddler play book and speak our inner conversations aloud. This allows kids to hear healthy, respectful self-talk. (It also ensures that we practice what we preach: encourage ourselves. Too often our inner critic is the worst bully we encounter.)

Dawn on the road in the forest in summerDreams are important.  They spark our creativity, however, they are “future oriented” only. We must help them move beyond “magical thinking” and exemplify for our children that it takes energy and discipline to accomplish dreams–for children and adults.

We must model through our own lives that continual practice eventually lead to “unconscious” remembering and doing. Utilizing feedback fosters flexibility that bends us in the direction most needed.  Instead of regarding mistakes as disastrous and dream-ending, we can teach kids to regard them as a way to expose needed adjustments that inch them closer to the fulfillment of their dreams.

How might your family benefit from this five-pronged approach to life as a learning conversation. What possibilities might it open? How might it strengthen relationships? Practice this for two weeks and notice how it influences family morale and then share your thoughts with us.

Timeless Thomas51TxnoesHmL._SX449_BO1,204,203,200_For a fun family read, that focuses on learning through failure, check out this review of Timeless Thomas written and illustrated by Gene Barretta. It opens with the lines, “Have you ever thought about inventing something of your own? You’re never too young to try.” What a fun invitation to spark a dream  in a child’s mind. Heck, I will paraphrase that quote and say, “You’re never too old to try.”

Dream on.