What’s the BIG Idea Behind Parenting?
This summer I’m reading my Break Free of Parenting Pressures book on my Vibrant, Powerful Moms show. Please click here to read more if you are just joining us.
Covey, Stephen, R., A. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
Exercise: Setting Life Priorities
You are ninety years old, sitting in a rocking chair looking back over your life. Think about the things in your childhood that made you feel safe, secure and happy. Even if you had a difficult childhood, there will be things that helped you feel this way (an older sister who let you sleep in her room; a dog that you cuddled with; a spot in a tree in the backyard you would hide in, etc) so don't skip this part…really think about what helped you to feel safe, sheltered and able to carry on.
See if you can come up with 3 words to describe you at 7 years old: i.e. Shy, Timid, Afraid, Outgoing, Adventurous, Curious, Resilient, Tough, Optimistic.
Watch your life play out before you like a ﬁlm highlighting successes, challenges and disappointments. Fast-forward to your late teen/young adult years – especially once you moved away from home.
What are you like in relation to others (roommates, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc)? Are you bossy? Strict? Do you have lots of rules?
Or…Are you the messy, disorganized one - super relaxed with no rules at all? Are you somewhere in between – some rules, but pretty flexible?
Are you consistent in this, or do you waffle back and forth between relaxed and frustrated by the chaos? Just notice without judgment or regret.
Be really honest – you are the only one who can see the film you are watching.
What 3 words describe you now? Decisive, Leader, Controlling, Fun, Flexible, Relaxed, Go-getter, Sarcastic, Damaged
Now, let's zero in on the moment you find out you are going to be a parent – whether it's a bio parent, single-parent, teen-parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, etc. Think about the feelings this news creates for you. What are your dreams or wishes for the future?
Continue to move forward in time. Your kids are growing, learning to walk and talk, starting school, maybe joining in extracurricular… now they are 7 years old. If you're not here yet in real life, use your imagination to see where things are heading.
How do you treat them? What kinds of things do you do to help them feel safe, secure, and loved? How much do you work … play … stop to just enjoy?
What 3 words does your 7-year-old use to describe you when talking to his/her friends? Fun, Busy, Mean…
Keep on traveling forward. Your kids are moving out, maybe marrying or having children of their own.
How do they treat you, their partner, and their own kids? Do they like you? Is work dominating their lives? Do they come to visit you? If so, do they do it because they want to or out of obligation? Do they still talk about you? What are they saying now? (3 words)
You’ve reached retirement and moved into old age. How important is your job to you now? Do your previously close colleagues still call? Do you feel like a valued member of society? Did you live the kind of life you were hoping to live or did you get caught up in the pressure of it all?
You are ninety looking back. Do you like what you see?
If you could write your whole story, what would you change? While there might be things that seem impossible to adjust in your life, there are little things you can do to guide your life in the direction you would prefer to go.
Sticking to priorities is a tough task for all of us. Life seems so urgent most of the time, but if we don’t live now, when will we?