Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families"

I recently rediscovered this amazing book, and I have seen some of the most beautiful changes in myself, my family, and the feeling in our home! It is written by Steven R. Covey, who has a warm tone to his writing, and really makes me feel that "I can do this!" Some of the things that really spoke to me are:

Habit #1-- Be Proactive

He speaks of a quote he read while on a Hawaiian sabbatical that says, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness."

I have decided to memorize this quote, because I have a real problem just immediately reacting to things my kids do. I never used to take the time to think and choose a response. I know that my kids were not being given help, real discipline, or a good example when I would fly off the handle. I have since made a conscious effort to improve, and the results have been astounding to me. My children now listen and obey more often than in the past. I find that I am hugging them more, and losing my temper less. When things get crazy, all I have to do is close my eyes, and think, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space..." In that instant, I can step back and trule analyze the situation and check myself. If all I got out of Dr. Covey's book was this one concept, it would be worth its weight in gold!

A Family Mission Statement

We have worked on a family mission statement in the past, but have never had one "stick." This is something that continues to evolve and change over time, with our family. In his book, Dr. Covey states, "For the most part, families don't have the kind of mission statement so critical to organizational success. Yet family is the most important, fundamental organization in the world."

I definitely agree with him, that the family IS the most important organization in the world. In reading further in the chapter, I found that he believes that the mission statement can come in many forms, like a song, a poem, or a piece of artwork. I then realized that my grandmother knew what she was doing when she chose a "family song" years and years ago. I have sung it with my amazing extended family time and time again over the years, and it still reminds me of who I am, and what I want out of life. Everytime I hear it or sing it, I am inspired to stand a little taller and be a little better.

In our own immediate family, we have finally-- after years of trying-- created our unique family crest. I have done years of study in the art of heraldry, and we have finally come up with something that speaks to us, and represents what our family is all about.

Dr. Covey says this about a family mission statement: "The mission statement itself has given us a clear, shared vision of the destination where we as a family want to go." This thought has impacted me tremendously. I am now examining what my goals are for my family. Where do I see my kids is the next five, ten, or even twenty years? What kind of "beautiful family culture" do my kids need in order to meet those goals and the vision we all have for our futures? He has some great tips and ideas on how to create a family mission statement in his book.

We CAN Be Successful

Lastly, I love this quote in his book, which was originally given by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

We are all, truly, destined for great things, as are our husbands, and our children. We can be a light to them, and to our friends, associates, and the world. I want to be the woman that God believes I have the potential to be. I know I can do it, with His divine help.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Running Errands

Maybe I am just weird, but I just loathe running errands. Today I need to go to the dreaded Wal-Mart. Ugh. I have some rolls of film that should have been developed a week ago. (My sister-in-law is waiting on us so that she can finish the family calendar. Oops...) And there's the various and sundry gifts that need to be returned. Oh, and I want to get my baby's first photo session done. I really do try to squeeze too much into my shopping trips, because I don't want to go out again any time soon!

One thing that irks me about going out during the day, is that it's no fun to drive my fifteen-seater van with just me and the baby in tow. My 12 year old daughter is a very capable babysitter-- thank heavens-- and since I carry a cell phone now, I am just a phone call away. (What DID we do before we had cell phones, anyway?!) So I can be thankful that I don't need to fight all eight kids whenever I need to do some running around.

The kids LOVE it when I go out. They get to watch a movie or two-- depending on how long my errands take-- and that's not an everyday occurrence! (anymore! ;) )

SIGH! Here I go, off to brave the small town crowd that's already gathered in the only Wal-Mart for miles. I shall come back victorious!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Poison of "Perfectionism"

1950's Homemaking Ideal

I am a perfectionist.

I hate it when things don't go the way I think they should. I get so angry at myself, and the self-loathing starts. Then I can't seem to do anything "right." So I do nothing. My kids suffer, my house suffers, my poor husband suffers, and I suffer.

So I am trying to look at things in my life in a more reasonable way. I am not perfect now, and will never be in this life-- perfection is for the next life.

Tuesday morning I woke up early with a panic attack about some little matter that I had not resolved. Luckily, I was able to get back to sleep while nursing my baby. But when I woke up at about 7am, the black cloud engulfed me. "I can't do anything right. Why did I think I could get -- accomplished? Why did I volunteer to help with---? I always mess things up."

On and on these dark thoughts battered me. I thought of the sink of dirty dishes I had left undone, the laundry I had forgotten about, the reading I didn't accomplish, the weight I need to lose, etc. I began to cry. My wonderful husband-- heaven bless him-- comforted me. He found some essential oils to help me emotionally, and proceeded to rub my feet. The heady perfume of "Joy," the bright scent of lemon, the woodsy smell of "Valor." I began to feel a bit better. The black cloud lifted slightly, and I could see a ray of light peeking through!

Then I asked my true love to give me a priesthood blessing, and the Lord spoke beautiful words through him. I was reminded that my Father in Heaven loves me, and does not expect perfection of me. He knows I have great potential and infinite worth, and that I should never forget that. I was also told that the adversary desires to have me, and bringing me down in the depths of despair is one way that he can get to me.

My home is never going to be 100% clean for more than a brief instant. The laundry will never be "done," and I will never spend all the time I wish I could studying. It's okay! Only today will my toddler grasp my neck and say "I wuzsch you, Mama!" Only today will my daughter have her first mutual activity. Only now will my ten-year-old son ask me what new book on the shelf he should read next, my baby to smile big enough to show her dimples, my little artist to beg for some space on the fridge, my four-year-old to grin mischieviously, my son to make "Silly Putty" in the kitchen, and my five-year-old to ask for help with his paper airplane.

LIFE IS GOOD! And "good" does not have to be "perfect" to bring me JOY.

What a relief...