School is out for the summer here which draws to mind a question: How can Intentional Parents glean the best that this interlude can offer families? Released from the burden of homework, academic projects, and extracurricular activities and all the stress and time constraints that accompany them, we have a chance to create something special. All that is required is intention, a goal, and an action plan that is sufficiently compelling that following through is a given. Or, we can simply “go with the flow” and allow days to drip through our fingers like anonymous raindrops.
The idea of total freedom from schedules, agendas, and deadlines certainly is tempting. And yet, do we really want to arrive at summer’s end only to discover that we frittered the days away and have nothing to show for it? Don’t we really want a balance of restorative recreation and relaxed pace with a steadying rudder of purposefulness?
What purpose or goal for our life as a family inspires us? In the quiet darkness of sleepless nights, what vision of our family life occupies our attention? How will choose which one or two we will focus on?
First, we review our core family values to remind us of what is really important. This helps avoid the trap of choosing goals based on how friends and family might see and approve. With the vision of our values fresh in our mind, we can identify one or two aspects of our interrelationships as a family where a breach in those values reveals itself. For example, if respect is a core value for our family, how has it been expressed in the way we communicate with our spouse and children? Assess factors like attitude, tone, timing and authentic listening. Are we as considerate in our communication with family as we are with friends and coworkers? How well is the way we speak to, work with, and treat family modeling the best example of how to treat others? Adopted children are often prone to self-criticism and feelings of rejection. How do your communication patterns address and alleviate this sensitivity?
What are you willing to do to bring these dreams for your family to life? Here are some ideas for personal intentions. No need to announce them to the family. Our actions will form the best way to reveal them.
- Commit to being mindful of our tone of voice
- Promise to spend 30 minutes of one-on-one time with each family member
- Acknowledge what is working more than highlighting kids’/spouses shortcomings
- Apologize when appropriate
- Be the first to forgive
- Give compliments without tacking on any tangential criticism
Check out these Adoption-attuned resources!
Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We’ve faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding.
Listen to our podcasts on Adoption-attuned Parenting.
Read these book reviews by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift. They are written with an Adoption-attuned perspective.