Mom2Mom: Your Life as a Mother with Disabilities

In this issue, I have the pleasure of hosting guest blogger, Ashley Taylor of DisabledParents.org! She's shared some great ideas with us. You can find more helpful information and resources on her site. Enjoy!


Clear the Clutter

Clutter is something that just happens. It happens over time, and when it comes to clutter in our own homes, we learn to turn a blind eye. But when you have a baby on the way, it has to go. This is especially important if you have a disability that affects your ability to safely maneuver obstacles such as throw rugs, cords, or low-lying furniture. Spatial and visual impairments that inhibit your peripheral vision are also factors that should trigger a mass decluttering of your home before having a baby. Your attention will soon be focused on your child, and you may not be as acutely aware of your surroundings, making clutter a tripping hazard.

 

Brighten Things Up

Good lighting, according to the International Association of Lighting Designers, enhances the desirability and mood of any space. But more importantly, having a well-lit home will help you keep an eye on your child as he/she grows from bundled baby to teetering toddler.

 

Invest in Adaptable Gear

A quick trip down the baby aisle of any department store will reveal a virtually never-ending array of baby gear designed with the intention of easing the burden of parenting. And while many of them are little more than marketing hype, there are adaptable products that can make your life as a parent a little less taxing. HomeAdvisor notes chairlifts, soft-structured baby carriers, and velcro baby gear offer benefits if you have spinal injuries or limited hand mobility. A modified baby stroller is also worth looking into.

 

Baby-proofing Before Baby

The act of baby-proofing is not limited to parents with disabilities. We all have to take preemptive measures to ensure our children’s safety. Parents offers links to dozens of different baby-proofing ideas. Regardless of which route you choose to go, get it done well before the baby arrives. This will give you the opportunity to adjust to the small changes prior to dropping a helpless human being into the mix.

 

Hello Home Improvements

There are a number of minor home improvements that can drastically enhance your hands-on childcare skills as well as the safety of yourself and your child. Grab bars in the bathtub, for instance, can help you get up and down while assisting young children at bath time. Lowering your kitchen counters may help you more effectively prepare meals. Replacing entry stairs with a ramp will help you transport your child in and out of the home without fear of tripping while lifting your feet over an obstacle.

 

Other Ideas

  • Label children’s food/breast milk with braille labels

  • Install a whole-home intercom (Google Home now has this capability) so you can quickly interact with your partner no matter what room you are in

  • Set baby monitor volume to max while you sleep

  • Widen doorways to improve maneuverability if you are in a wheelchair

 

Your preparations will be unique to your situation. However, it never hurts to eliminate hazards around the home and to get yourself acclimated to changes before your family of two becomes a family of three – or more. If you are looking for more ways to prepare, your greatest resource is the parents who have “been there and done that.” You can find local special needs family groups onMeetUp.com or via your community Facebook page.

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Want to explore how you want to prepare for your family's future? Book a consultation and get a free 30 minute coaching session to get things rolling. No obligations whatsoever; purely focused on your desired future and actions to get there.

Effective Parent = Effective Executive (at home)

Time doesn't stand still and things change. People change. To thrive and succeed, you and your family members will need to lead and manage effectively.

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"The most common cause of executive failure is inability or unwillingness to change with the demands of a new position." 

Drucker, Peter F. 

How true this is in parenting! We become the most important persons in the world for another human being (for a limited time), often without clarity about the demands of the ever-evolving role.

Sure we can figure out sleep patterns, feedings, diapers and cleaning up poop. But once we master that, the little ones become mobile and probably verbal. They start testing our instructions and decisions. They're extremely adept at letting us know they're upset. If we have not become proficient in regulating our emotions, we're going to have a rough time comforting our kids.

Are we able and willing to change with the dynamic demands of being a parent?

As our children develop autonomy and initiative, we want to wisely provide boundaries for their safety but also opportunities to foster their ever growing capacities and abilities. Again, if we have not fortified our management of our interior, it's likely we will become unbalanced, either too controlling or too lenient.

When the time comes for K-12th grade academic learning and extracurricular experiences, our children are developing competencies and character for future success. With the abundance of offerings, we find no shortage of activities and programs to fill our schedules. By this time, if we still have not addressed our need for integration and emotional health, our schedules are busting at the seams and our souls are dying. We're exhausted and unprepared for the most challenging season of our children's lives—adolescence. 

The transition from child to adult is never easy for anyone: parents, teachers, coaches, siblings, as well as the one going through it. It's a time of letting go of the old and discovering one's true self. This is absolutely essential if one is to integrate head and heart to effectively collaborate with others to create and contribute to a desired future. 

If we haven't successfully individuated, we're still living encumbered with others' beliefs and values (most likely cultural and family or origin). And this is fine if we've had the freedom to evaluate them and decide we want to keep them. This transformation frees us to design a life that is relevant, successful, and fulfilling. Along this path, we are able to grow healthy, intimate relationships. And as we develop our capacity and ability to live and work closely with another, we become people who make a difference, positively impacting how things are done and made. 

To be an effective executive requires tracking where our time goes and giving time to activities that take advantage of opportunities. This keeps our focus on creation and innovation that will prove most helpful as our loved ones get older. This can  also be the best way to solve problems. Because often times, directly reacting only addresses symptoms rather than root, systemic issues. 

Let's say your child is chronically grumpy and disrespectful. Simply reprimanding them is a waste of time and causes further distancing. Not helpful. What may be needed is creation of time and space for play, rest, and family. Rather than trying to change our children's attitudes, we need to rework how we are connecting and recharging. This shifts our attention to potential rather than what we find upsetting.

Becoming a parent is taking on the role of an executive. To be effective, we must understand that it begins with how we lead and manage ourselves. Our children are substantially impacted by the environment and rhythms we create.

The culture we create reflects our inner life. If it's one of peace and joy, so will be our home, regardless of size. But if we're anxious and reactive, our kids will be adversely affected. They will naturally, unconsciously  try to accommodate and adapt. 

It's not that we need to make everything perfect for our family. Rather we want to help them  be ready to weather storms and prepared for opportunities. But we shouldn't be the source of uncertainty. We don't want to be the ones who stumble them in their development.

In our kids' formative years, we are the source of trust and security that empowers them to explore their expanding world. Without our effective leadership, they will struggle with mistrust, shame, doubt, guilt, and inferiority. If we don't make changes by the time they become adolescents, their challenge evolves into role confusion and isolation.

I'm not saying we are absolutely determinative but our influence cannot  be underestimated. We must see the need to take our leadership at home to the next level so our love effectively benefits our family members for long term happiness and fulfillment.  

Elevate your effectiveness as an executive at home by prioritizing awareness of your interior and create experiences that impact your fundamental organizing principles.

Next steps:

Email me (familyconnectionscoach@gmail.com) to start a dialogue about life changing experiences.

Pick up a copy of my book, Growth- Centered Family for more in-depth content on this.

Book a free 30 minute coaching session!

Are you a single parent?

Here are great tips from a guest blogger! In this issue, I have the pleasure of featuring Daniel Sherwin, a single dad to a daughter (9) and son (6)! Check out his site, dadsolo.com. He's got great advice for single parenting.

 

Tips for Being a Great Single Parent

by Daniel Sherwin


Parenthood is one of life’s greatest challenges and most rewarding experiences. There are days when you feel run-down and tired, but there are other days when you cannot believe how blessed you are. 

When you are a single parent, both feelings can be magnified. Between handling your relationship with your ex and trying to care for yourself and your children, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lost. Here are some helpful tips on how to be a great single parent.  

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Image Source: Pixabay
 

How to Get Along With Your Ex

Unless the other parent is completely absent, you’ll have to work with your ex to care for your child. While that may sound daunting, there are ways you can make it work. 

First, GoodTherapy.org recommends that you reduce your expectations and let go of control. There’s a good chance you and your ex will have a difference of opinion on how to raise your child. Don’t hold your ex to lofty expectations. Give up trying to have control over how he or she thinks and acts, even if you think your ex is acting against your child’s best interests. Not only will this make you happier, it can help your child feel less anxiety and stress about why you’re a single parent. 

The Spruce offers an unusual but effective way to communicate with your ex: Stop defendingyourself. This does not mean you agree with everything your ex says or does. You simply do not engage in a fight. Stay focused on the communication that’s necessary for your child and refuse to get into the usual arguments. If you stop defending yourself and just move on, you show that arguments don’t work. That’s something that can also benefit your children because they may blame themselves when parents fight. 
 

Keeping Organized

Even if you have a healthy relationship with your ex, you need to keep your life organized. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a single parent, and there’s only so much your ex can do to help. 

If you feel like your house is disorganized and messy all the time, then it’s probably time to declutter. Having fewer things, especially possessions that you never use, can help your home feel and look better. Redfin recommends that you split everything into three piles: “Keep,” “Trash,” and “Donate.” Then follow through with that plan! Don’t create any “Maybe” piles, or you’ll never declutter your home. 

For the belongings that you keep, find a place for everything. Drawers, fabric cube organizers, and shelves can help you keep your home organized. If needed, try discretely labeling drawers and cabinets so you know where everything is. This way, you’ll never be wasting time looking for scissors or a sewing kit when your child needs a little help. 

To organize your life, remember that a calendar is very helpful. Add all your appointments, obligations, and reminders so you can keep track of your busy schedule. A digital calendar is great, but be sure to share it with people in your children’s life. When your children get old enough, share it with them as well. 
 

Self-Care Is Important

Being a capable single parent doesn’t mean focusing exclusively on your child. Remember that you are a role model, so if you don’t take time for some self-care, your child can grow up thinking that’s unimportant. 

Finding time for self-care is tough as a single parent, so set clear boundaries. Don’t let your child constantly interfere when you’re showering, exercising, or reading a good book. Use a timer if necessary so your child knows when it’s okay to interrupt you. And never forget about hiring a babysitter! Sometimes, a night out with your friends can really help you. 

Enjoy Being a Single Parent

Although it can get stressful, you can still be the best parent possible for your kids. Don’t engage in fights with your ex, keep organized, and make time for yourself when you can. This way, it’ll be easier to enjoy the many rewards of being a parent. 

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Wow, Daniel has hit all the essentials: your relational environment, your physical environment, and your internal environment.

Are you ready to take your management of each and every one to the next level? Book us time to chat. Let's talk about your dreams, desires, and challenges. You determine what you want to take away and we'll make that our objective for the conversation. No further obligations. 

Get clear and move forward with what matters most!

 

Are you living the genius of this 'and'?

Unwavering confidence AND discipline to face brutal facts

Last issue, I shared about being optimistic. Yet, there's plenty to be pessimistic about. Enter the Stockdale Paradox, a great example of the genius of the "and".

Be radically optimistic AND brutally honest. Why?

Builders of success that lasts exemplify the Stockdale Paradox.

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Meet Admiral James Stockdale:

When we encounter significant, substantial problems, we are perplexed with long standing opposition and arduous challenges. In these situations, solutions come through unwavering faith that we can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of our current reality, whatever they might be.

Think it's impossible? 

Well, we need a foundation undergirding unwavering confidence.

We need to develop a practice in dealing with the most brutal facts of our problems and challenges.

Both of these elements require definition of our identity and purpose. This means putting in the hard work of developing leadership and management of our soul. What is this labor I'm talking about?

Stockdale learned from the Stoic philosopher Epictetus that his main business was to maintain control over his moral purpose; he went so far as to say, "My moral purpose is who I am."

What is this moral purpose?

It is the choice before choices. It precedes every day decisions and governs them, mostly without conscious thought.

It is that which governs our body, mind and will.

It is our soul, and its organizing principle. 
 

If our soul is well, it's organizing principle will align BELIEFS AND DISCIPLINE to integrate positive meaning, thoughts and actions.

The soul is the integrator and generator of the "and". It is the radical source of lasting success.

Our soul thrives and works the way it should when we die to cravings and behaviors driven by fear and insecurity. Thus courage and confidence find their source in having enough, being enough, doing enough.

On the other hand, our soul's fatigue and ineffectiveness are evidenced by: 

  • being bothered more than we ought to by annoyances
  • less resistance to cravings of the body; favoring  short-term fixes and pleasures 
  • inability to make decisions, especially ones that positively define you in difficult circumstances; less courage to tackle priorities that matter most 

If these chronically plague us, our soul is fatigued, restless, lost. We're fragmented, dis-integrated. 

When our soul is not well, we find identity in external things; it's easier. But doing so, we are not giving attention to the business of maintaining our moral purpose. We lack a choice that healthily governs other choices.

Without a life giving organization, we become impatient. Always in a hurry, our soul cannot find a home, a place of deep belonging. What we build, even if successful, will not last.


DISCIPLINE TO FACE BRUTAL FACTS

Too often, we do not effectively care for our will, mind and body. As a result, our souls dwindle away. Reversing this begins with eliminating beliefs [of scarcity] that cause us to neglect wellness at this level. 

  • There's never enough.
  • More is always better.
  • And this is just the way it is.

When I operate with these lines of code, I am going to rush. Then, being hurried disables me from being fully present with God, myself and others. I cannot appreciate and enjoy simply being.

We need to slow down. As Dallas Willard put it, "Ruthlessly eliminate hurry."

Slowing down enables me to observe beauty and experience  peace that become evident when I believe the truths of sufficiency:

  • There's always enough.
  • Less can be better and more.
  • Things can change; I can get better.

The significance of being enough over doing enough is a gift from God. Whole hearted acceptance liberates me from the need to hurry.

Choosing to view our circumstances and even ourselves with  sufficiency transforms our other choices. We can choose to be radically optimistic and brutally honest. We do not have to be oppressed with the choice of one over the other.

We are free to express value rather than attempt to be judges who determine value, especially of other people and their lives.

If we take sufficiency's perspective to heart, we will change our actions. We will commit and persevere through the discomfort and pain of going against the grain of scarcity.

Over time, unwavering faith and the practice of facing stark realities reshape us. We become builders of success that lasts. 

What will your 2018 look like with a vision that is radically optimistic, implemented with brutal honesty, organized by the belief that there is enough, and you are enough?

What's your outlook for 2018?

Your perception is the reality you work with.

As we begin a new year, how's your hope? How optimistic are you that you'll get better, life will improve, that the world is getting better?

Is the world getting better?

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Well, check out what some people are saying (taken from Time, January 15, 2018 issue):

  • "Thirty years ago, 1 in 5 children in Ethiopia didn't live to their fifth birthdays...Ethiopia wrestled down its morality rates for children under five by two-thirds from 1990 to 2012—an impressive feat for a low-income nation." Bill Gates
  • "In 1776, America set off to unleash human potential by combining market economics, the rule of law and equality of opportunity. This foundation  was an act of genius that in only 241 years converted our original villages and prairies into $96 trillion of wealth." Warren Buffet
  • "We've seen the devastation in the world. But we've also seen the giving. There is an opportunity for everyone to create change. In this world of technology, we have the opportunity to engage with activists on the ground level." Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show
  • "In 1990, the city (New Delhi) saw 3000 new paralytic cases of polio; since January 2011, India has seen zero new cases, but for the victims, polio is forever. Doctors like (mathew) Varghese are assisting with therapy, surgery and more...'I am able to do this little bit,' Varghese says, praising his staff. 'But there is so much potential out there that is not tapped.' " Nate Hopper
  • "The need for a treatment (Alzheimer's disease) is dire, and in the search for new medicines the rates of success are not high...But it is misleading. When we consider each 'failed' study, we can often uncover answers to the question, Why didn't this work? And those answers have propelled our understanding of Alzheimer's disease forward—bringing us closer to finding a treatment...One of the greatest advances...is the ability to use a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan to confirm if a person has amyloid plaque or tau tangles in their brain before they begin a clinical study...I believe we can deliver a treatment to the millions of Alzheimer's disease patients and their families who are waiting. And my optimism is rooted in the science, which continues to evolve and advance right before our eyes." Budd Haeberlein, VP of clinical development at Biogen


"I think it's pointless to be hopeless. If you are hopeless, you waste your present and your future." Malala Yousafzai, founder of the Malala Fund and author of Malala's Magic Pencil
 
Time magazine presented these individuals as optimists. How optimistic or pessimistic are you?

If our information diet consists of a lot of news, it's likely we're pretty pessimistic. Yes, there's plenty to be concerned about but so much of it is not actionable on our parts and much of the good across many fields goes unreported.

"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you do read it, you're misinformed," Denzel Washington

Moreover, if we don't get balanced servings of positive progress and their beautiful benefits, we're missing out on a significant side of reality, especially in areas where we can effectively contribute time, energy, and resources.

This is even more important when it comes to our personal growth, fulfillment, and health. If our perceptions, much of it based on default beliefs, consistently major on the negatives, disproportionately to the things we could be grateful for, we are not effectively engaging ourselves and others to get better. 

Pessimism fosters fear.
Optimism is powered by love, even against all odds.

Even if the world wasn't getting better, it is essential we are getting better. Message me to talk more about getting better in 2018 and beyond.

Are you building success that lasts?

It'll depend on aligning what matters most to you with your thoughts and actions. 

Alignment: Essential for lasting success

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Whether it's wheels and tires, school curriculum, personal health, or organizational elements, without alignment, performance, outcomes, and longevity suffer. Most importantly, within our families, we lose affection, connection, and hope.

When anything continually operates without alignment, the wear and tear will take its toll. But with it, things work the way they're supposed to and we can get amazing results.

 And when our soul, body, mind, and will align, watch out; success built to last!

How does does this happen?

Builders of enduring success passionately embrace meaning, thoughts, and actions. They go deep into what matters most, growing knowledge, understanding, and expertise. They allocate time for passions so work doesn't organize life but rather work is organized by life. Builders develop discipline and practices to align all parts of themselves.

Giving alignment highest priority is not a luxury. Rather it is a required commitment to consistently engage to achieve meaningful, long term dreams and visions.

It's about being an agent of generational change. This long-term thinking will require a transformed mind and heart. Being freed from socially conforming pressures is foundational for success built to last beyond ourselves.

And transformation begins with identifying deep painful areas of our life and entering it to understand and manage it effectively and maturely. Doing so frees our heart and passions to be and do what we were made for. But too commonly, we either run away from relational difficulty or we blow it up.

Avoiding or annihilating contention robs us of opportunity to unlock the best ideas and pathways to greater joy and performance.

If we're not passionate and free to disagree, we will not be successful in the long term.

Contention doesn’t become evil unless it is ignored. It is part of a rich collaborative process to build enduring success.

Pain gives us a window into our soul to see what matters most to us. We need that pain to change us, to reshape our hearts.

Lasting success requires knowing what is inside our own skin, especially the subconscious triggers and hidden default beliefs and values that Fccoach2015!! us from healthy pain management. The universal model for lasting success is knowing what behaviors we want for ourselves and our loved ones and consistently aligning thoughts and actions we are sending to ourselves and  throughout our family. Easy to say very difficult to do. Most families never achieve high levels of this kind of alignment. 

What is healthy pain management? Having forgiveness as a central theme and practice. It is the dismissal of what caused the pain. Builders do not focus on blame but focus on what they are building. And in order to be free to build they must dismiss stumbling blocks caused by unforgiveness.

When a judge dismisses a case, it doesn’t mean a crime has not been committed. It doesn’t mean that parties experience resolution. It just means there’s no more prosecution for the crime. This is forgiveness.

Forgiveness calls out the wrong. But then lets it go of desires for punity; it does not hold onto the story and shackling expectations.

And we do this because we are bigger than what happened to us. Love is bigger than it all.

When something painful happens, the question is not who is to blame. The question is who is responsible for what? And I am responsible for building my future.

And if I'm going to build something of lasting value, I have to be willing to put up with grief and difficult emotions that come from failures and humiliations.

This is how we align ourselves. Refusing to acknowledge wounds and weaknesses is the source of tragedy. Acknowledgment and authenticity is the source of wisdom.

The highest most painful level of Innovation is recovering after somebody else’s mistakes. We don't just throw everything away but rather redeem the aftermath. This is actually modeled by God. The Biblical narrative is about the redemption of humankind through the forgiveness of God. His deep conviction from His own identity determined what He did. He wasn't governed by tradition or conventional wisdom regarding success.

Compelled by true love, He engages our failures.  With tremendous patience, He helps us go through painful failures to build lasting success.

Carl Lewis Olympian of the century said you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. So losses, pain, failure, rejection, guilt, shame, loss and trauma, low self-esteem, all need to be acknowledged so that they can be changed. 

The builders thought style is to not dismiss negative emotions, mistakes and failures but to process them and learn from them.

So here are alignment fundamentals: choose healthy pain management, choose forgiveness. In essence, it's choosing to love for better or for worse. This is the only way to develop good hearted stubbornness to achieve greatness that lasts. 

We need more great leaders.

What are you doing to fulfill that need?

Simply being a good person, having a good life, a good job, raising good kids is not going to help.

Are you moving from...

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Don't settle for good.

Pursue great.

Consider impacted schools, jobs, and opportunities. The competition can be overwhelming. I'm sure you know students who've had stellar transcripts and resumes and still didn't get into the schools of their choice. The same goes for adults applying for limited, highly desirable jobs. 

There's a lot of competition, stress, frustration, disappointment, and even disillusionment when we get caught up in the conformity of limited societal opportunities. Moving from good to great not only helps us avoid the rat race but fortifies us for the uncertainty of changing markets and societal needs. Consistently improving our discipline, creativity, and productivity empowers us to see, adapt and take advantage of opportunities outside of what 'everyone' else is going after. 

Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, (summary) has identified what he has termed the level 5 leader. In addition to the qualities of the good, they have 2 virtues that distinguish them. And if we can cultivate these elements in ourselves and others, just think what it'll do for our families, organizations and communities!

What are these 2 qualities?

HUMILITY AND WILL.

It's operating with a purity of bigger-than-self purpose and fierce resolve to achieve that purpose. It's aligning and committing to a cause that treasures individuals yet scalable to bring benefit to many others. This level of presence and performance doesn't come naturally. It's not a microwave process. It's a process that embraces patience, perseverance, and pain to mortify insecurity and raise up true love.

Meekness (not weakness) and resolve working together, create disciplines to make consistent effort to move from good to great. The key discipline is staying true to what Jim Collins calls the Hedgehog concept, i.e. the intersection of what one can be the best at, is passionate about, and drives their economic engine.
 

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How might we translate this into parenting? 

  • What can we be the best at? Connecting with our kids' hearts (just being mom and dad make us the best candidate by default)
  • What are we passionate about? Our kids thriving!
  • Spend time, energy and resources to develop ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. (we are the engine: self improvement increases our capacities and abilities to do the first 2.) 

What will be the intersection of these 3? Centering on growth. Prioritizing and organizing ourselves to abide in this intersection fosters humility and will.

Why?

Because effectively engaging our hearts and that of others requires consistent choices with sober awareness, vulnerability, and courageous resolve. All the essential elements of humility. When we grow in these dynamics, we are living soulfully to perpetually think and act as people who care deeply about what matters most—people's hearts and souls.

So what will the intersection look like for you? Connecting with your kids' hearts. Cultivating emotionally healthy spirituality. Personal development. This means knowing yourself and your children, and slowing down enough to see opportunities and be intentional with them.

Good companies became great when they were disciplined to stay in the Hedgehog zone over years. We as parents can go from good to great when our commitment and discipline transform the direction and destiny of our family.

Embrace Changing Times AND Timeless Principles

Do 'AND' well.

Go consistently to where real change happens and do what consistently needs to be done.

Evolution happens. Revolution is what we do with it.

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We start with an idea, perhaps a great idea. And as we work on and in this endeavor, problems, challenges, and needs arise. Just like raising a family. 

Hopefully, we engage, solve, change, grow, and thrive. Of course this depends on our solution or better yet, our revolutions. Their effectiveness is determined by how well we adapt to change AND implement timeless principles.

It's critical that we do 'AND' well. We must engage our context meaningfully. But we also must implement unchanging wisdom. And this  'AND' depends on the condition of our souls. Without wellness, we default to fear based responses. With it, we operate from virtue and courage. And this health of the soul is determined by what we do and think on a regular basis and who and how we love consistently. 

When our soul is well, we're ready for change. Change is inevitable and unavoidable. We should welcome and embrace it. And as we do, we will benefit from transitions when we love and work according to eternal, immutable principles. 

Like what?

Knowing and understanding how people function, including ourselves. People (including ourselves) must always be our highest priority. Meaningful  alignment with this timeless principle is reflected in how we and those we care for are doing. And this is not simply about what we do for others. It's much more about the relationships we have with them. When  people are actually valued rather than just notionally, we will commit to figuring out relationship challenges so that it can do its job of maturing those in it. 

And what does that look like?

Improving our relationships with greater exploration and learning about our inner lives. 

And here is where we come to a life and death crux. Are we going to accept this timeless principle of taking 100% responsibility for ourselves or will we operate on something less? 

What does 100% entail?

It's our verbal, mental, emotional, spiritual dimensions, and our energy-filled responses leading us to do things that either grow or kill our souls and even those around us.

When something bad happens, something painful, shameful, and even traumatic, whether by our own doing or others, we are faced with the highly difficult awareness of choosing to accept or reject our needs and realities. Will we be honest, humble, brave, and compassionate?

If yes, our next choice will be what to do about our needs and realities. Will we reach out for help? Will we trust the power of vulnerability? Will we effectively treat injuries and brokenness? Will we root out toxic narratives and dysfunctional loyalties?

Why should we take time and energy to deal with these  intangible, abstract enigmatic, terrible feeling, messy, even horrifying troubles? It's the only way we will become what we can and must in order to fulfill our revolutionary purpose and answer the transformative call of a version of history that makes sense.

Jessi Kolhagan wisely points out, "Part of our human growth is recognizing that all the experiences of our lives are simply mirrored reflections of our own inner landscape." (Read more of her great insights here.) 

If we're not clear about this landscape, this prospect, how will we know where our treasures and resources lie in order to create highways of accessibility? How will we know what needs restoration and reconstruction so we can fortify them and experience their intended functionality? When we take our ownership to the next level, we will change our perceptions. When we change our perceptions, we transform our experiences. Transforming experiences alters direction. Altering direction determines destination.

If we are not heading in a desirable direction, and we don't see ourselves ending up where we want to go, especially with our family, we need to increase our occupation and ownership of our inner potential.

Refuse to do this and expect perpetual frustration and futility. We will continue in dysfunctional cycles, destructive patterns that disintegrate our souls, our families, even our societies.

Every positive revolution we've benefitted from started with a single person's consistent and bold courage to consecutively think and act according to timeless principles while also embracing changing times and contextual trials.

"The personal revolution is far more difficult, and is the first step in any revolution." Michael Franti
  
Rosa Parks didn't run away from the racism all around her. She knew what was right. She was tired of giving in. She got on the bus. Sat in the 'wrong' seat. And the rest is history. What drove her? Desire for freedom and justice. Yes, timeless principles.

Have you responded to your evolutions with revolutions? If yes, awesome! What will be your next one? Let's chat about your current evolution and explore the revolution that will continue your forward maturation.

What is Your Central Value for Your Family?

What is Your Central Value for Your Family?

To investigate, download the new Family Connections Coaching primer on your family's central value now!

 

  • Learn more about the different effects of bad central values
     
  • 4 concise pages of research-backed explanation and tips
     
  • Includes exclusive material from the forthcoming Family Connections Coaching book, "Growth Centered Family"

"Forgive us as we forgive others"

Why do it? How does it even work?

It's about self awareness that improves how we love others and empowers us to be our best even in the midst of fear.

We live in uncertain times, sometimes turbulent, sometimes devastating.

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Tragedies like the one in Las Vegas this week are horrific and devastating. Depressing and painful. We grieve. How should we lead and manage ourselves, families, and communities  when faced with such challenges?

And it's not only the ones that make headline news. What about the chaos within our own homes around the conflict and isolation resulting from chronic  resentment and grudges; the emotional distances that creep into our relationships and steal our joy and sense of fulfillment.

"Forgive us our debts..."

A cry for mercy. We need freedom from our liabilities, character flaws, mistakes / failures, and dysfunctional habits that stop us from the love that overcomes all difficulties and stays intact till the end. 

If we continue indebted, we will be enslaved to unhealthy responses and patterns, destructive dances, toxic environments, systemic corruption, hopelessness.

This familiar phrase from the Lord's prayer is about ongoing, even growing self awareness of our buttons, triggers, baggage, fears, anxieties, and the deeply lodged narratives, choices and experiences that keep us in the dark, confused about why we're here, who we are, what we want, how to change, and where we're going in life. 

It's about getting clearer about our emotions and dissociative cycles so we can know how others feel and are stuck, even our spouses and kids.

And once aware and clear, invite God to heal, release, transform, even on a daily basis.

Without inner enlightenment, we will continually be victims of circumstances and events, injustices, and other people's treatment of us (perceived or actual). 

"...as we forgive our debtors."

And letting go of our own personal demand for payback and desires to return evil for evil is evidence of our own truthful and compassionate self-awareness. They go together hand in glove.

Jesus taught this practice in the context of a prayer stemming from finding one's identity in God as Father and aligning the will with His. Forgiveness was that which would sustain one's soul and spirit daily, like bread for the body. And this central, even identity-defining discipline and focus would decrease temptation's power and rescue from chaos and disintegration, the kind that divides households and divorces people who had promised to love till death.

This is our most urgent and profound need. Yes, often overlooked and forgotten. Nevertheless it is the key to life long, loving relationships, relationships that do what relationships are supposed to do—grow us up to be emotionally healthy, mature people. 

 When we don't do forgiveness well, we don't do relationships well. That is, our relationships will not be doing what they're supposed to do and we and our loved ones miss out on becoming our best selves. 

Are you ready to go to the next level of your personal and / or  professional development? Let's take your creativity, discipline, and productivity to new heights so that whatever happens, we're ready.