‘Cause here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong
This is our family jewel
– Sister Sledge
So sitting down to write your Family Manifesto may take more time that you’ve got right now. Fair game. In this post, you’ll get the short cut, speed-date version in just four steps.
1. Hit the pause button. Carve out just 10 or 15 minutes to think of what you want for your family and your kids. Need a list of virtues or ideas to spark your thinking? Click here.
2. Start Small. Make a 1-2-3 list each day that foster these virtues or traits. Do it every day for a week and keep it simple and attainable. There are a dozens of things you must do for your family today. But what is ONE thing you can do to support one fo those virtues and traits you identified? Keep this list laser-focuses on those traits. It might mean modeling kindness and then explicitly saying, “it was important to me to be kind to that woman who was having trouble carrying her groceries. Did you see her smile when I offered?” Or it might mean reading a picture book after school that talks about playing fair or showing perseverance. Or it maybe asking your kids during dinner, what they enjoy doing most as a family. Your 1-2-3 list covers the one must-do, two things you’d like to do and finally, three things that would be nice. Disclaimer: while I am a voracious and obsessive list maker, this comes from last week’s Lifestyle Challenge on the Whole Life Challenge .
3. Affirm and Reinforce. We all do better and feel better when we start with the positive, rather than feeling broken or that there is a deficit. Affirm to yourself and others what is doing well, what you love, what works for your family. Use your language – verbal and nonverbal – to reinforce those behaviors and attitudes. When you see your child struggle with homework, rather than swooping in to “help” or fix or email the teacher about what a crazy assignment it was, ask your child what would assist them in or if they need to take a break and walk away. Notice their effort and tell them that (“you sat there reading for 15 minutes, I know that it hard for you, but you did it!). Be specific. Be genuine. Support, reinforce and coach.
4. Have, faith in what you do. Know that you are doing the best you can do each day. Sure, we can all be better parents, co-workers, partners, but most of us simply cannot give 100% every day in every arena. Have faith in your abilities and efforts. When you show up with honesty and a willingness to try, you’re modeling some pretty amazing virtues for your kids. And that, my parenting-friend, is your family jewel.
There you have it – the shortcut version to writing your family manifesto. If it sparks your interest in working through this process – as I hope it does – simply subscribe to the newsletter (just to get updates on the blog posts and stay in the loop with future special offerings). Once you’re subscribed, I’ll send you a free PDF template to help you write your family manifesto.