After allowing my own pain to unintentionally spill onto my children and family, I’ve committed myself to shift the narrative of their lives by shifting my own.
The words parenting and leadership are synonymous in my household, and because of that, if I’m not operating as a great leader, then that means I’m not operating as the parent that I was called to be. I don’t know where I got the notion of “I’m a great leader” from. Maybe it stemmed from catching a small glimpse of God’s will for my life at an early age and somehow thinking that meant I had “arrived” before I even got started.
Or maybe it was all those “experts” on Instagram that I allowed to occupy my mental space with their own beliefs instead of God’s word. Either way, up until a few months ago, I would’ve been willing to bet money on the fact that I was a great leader. But being honest, I suck! Well, maybe suck is a strong word, and I’m more like a strong manager with a leader’s heart, but having the heart of a leader without the mindset or skillset, will only take you so far. And it still doesn’t negate the fact that I’m not where God has called me to be.
My belief is simple:
It was a word God spoke to me many years ago when I was in a place of depression and not being “of good ground” as the Bible puts it. Only now that I have diligently tilled that soil, is that word starting to take root in my life. By doing my own heart work and unbecoming all the things that I allowed other people to confine me to has shown me that to address our children’s behaviors and fixed mindsets, we must be willing to address our own.
After our childless weekend getaway, hubby and I had a long conversation about what alignment meant to both of us and why it was important for our family to be on one accord. Hubby loves to use analogies (insert slight eye roll here because I hate his sports analogies), and he loves to think of our family as a ship. His perspective started to shift once I shared my viewpoint of “nobody wants to be on a ship and not know where they’re going or why.” He started to understand that even though our children may not have that much of a say so in our family’s destination, they did have a say in the stops that they made along the way and needed to be just as involved with the maintenance, itinerary, and more importantly the why, of being on the ship just as much as we are. So we re-implemented weekly family meetings.
I can’t speak for hubby (well I could, but I don’t think that would be fair), but fear used to be the foundation from which I use to parent until I replaced it with faith. I was so busy drowning in my own pain while trying to “protect” my children from experiencing the same painful things that I had gone through, that I stopped focusing on who they were as individuals and giving them the things that they needed. Thank God for the wisdom and discernment to know when a shift needs to be made and how to make it.
The first family meeting happened 2 weeks ago, and it was a real eye-opener and patience tester. The kids asked a million and one questions (which only means they were engaged), kept overtaking one another (a learned behavior that hubby and I taught them) and gave us some of the best marital advice ever (Ms. Velcro aka our youngest child gave us a whole word while the other kids snapped away like they were at a poetry slam LOL). The kids even came up with some suggestions on how we could improve the meetings. One of which was to include family game night into our weekly meetings. They just better remember that they came up with this suggestion when they’re all teenagers!
My personal goal was to use this meeting as an opportunity to have an orientation like forum (proof that I was only managing and not leading), but it quickly turned into a Q&A session. I’m learning how to let go of my expectations and allow positivity to flow, instead of forcing it to look like what I want. The depth of wisdom, knowledge, and comprehension that our children displayed proved to me that they are already the highly capable and intelligent beings that God created them to be. Hubby and I just need to pour more love, patience, and the word of God into them while “loosening up a little bit,” according to our kids, because we’re way too strict.
I can honestly say that it felt amazing to give our children the chance to discuss their feelings and opinions in a safe, loving, and judgment-free space. A place where everyone’s voice was listened to (not just heard) and respected instead of trying to compete for attention during the morning madness rush that is our morning routine (we’re working on it because I REFUSE to experience burnout anymore) or in between rushing to practices and sporting events. Everyone received the chance to contribute to the framing of the meeting (once I relinquished control and let God run the show), by setting the ground rules and picking the topics that needed to be addressed. We all answered some hard and uncomfortable questions that pushed us past our comfort zones and wrote down what we thought our strengths and weakness were as a family. I combined everyone’s thoughts, and created 2 family vision statements, presented them at the meeting last Friday and had everyone vote on their favorite. Here’s what we came up with:
I thank God for my family and I’m excited about the direction we’re headed in. They are undeniably my biggest teachers and supporters. I’m finally beginning to innerstand (far beyond comprehension) that just because God has purposed me to shift the legacies of families doesn’t mean that I’m supposed to start outside of my home. My real purpose lies in what I do inside my home, which means being that example of what love, life and being look likes for my children. It means raising my children to be disciples of Christ so that they can be lights in their own environments. Real purpose means doing things in God’s order and not mine because following God’s will can produce far greater works than anything I could ever ask for or imagine. In an effort to get more aligned with God’s will for what He wants for my children, I’m committed to finding and creating resources that’ll help me better myself for them. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
It’s time to start strengthening our families and getting back into alignment. But the only way we can do that is by making the decision to get in alignment with who we are created to be in the first place.
Have you created a vision statement for your family? What is it?
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