Our Family Vision

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A parenting book that I turn to time and time again is "Parenting with Grace" by Gregory and Lisa Popcak.  This is not the only parenting book that I own or am reading, but in reading this particular book I had that "aha" moment where everything clicked into place.  What does this book have that other books do not?  It's simple - faith!  My faith is so intertwined into every aspect of life that it only makes sense that I would seek advice based upon that very faith.

I have not read every chapter of the book as it is comprehensive - from infancy to adulthood and from discipline to marriage and beyond.  But I do want to share the authors' ideas on creating a self-donative discipline system, starting with a family vision.

The acronym is F.A.M.I.L.Y.

F = Focus on a vision.
A = Act proactively, not reactively.
M = Make relationship, not manipulation, the agent of change.
I = Imitate Christ's way to command obedience.
L = Look for ways to train the will, not break it.
Y = "Yes" to methods that increase internal control. 

Those points sure resonates with me - even before reading the authors' in depth view of each one.  In addition, my husband and I recently made a change in childcare based upon our discipline beliefs and our dislike of how discipline was being handled.  And rightly almost a third of the book is centered around discipline because this everyday interaction with a child is so crucial to their education.

I have been reflecting on the first point, creating a family vision, for several months.  I believe that intentionally creating a family identity is crucial.  Bottom line is that an identify will form whether you do so intentionally or not.  So why not make sure it's a identity founded and centered on the values that ring true to your family?

Since our children are very young, we are choosing to keep our vision simple.  This is so that it can easily be understood as they grow and learn our vision and also so that our vision can evolve as our family evolves.

Our family is kind, merciful, and generous.

We chose each of these because they encompass lessons we feel are appropriate for early childhood and all ages.  Learning to act pleasantly and friendly toward others, forgiving wrongdoings, and sharing our gifts and talents with others.

So how does this play out everyday?  The book goes into detail, but I want to share one example.  The author's share that their son and daughter were fighting over a toy.  The son explained his frustration to his father and his father replied:

Dad: "It sounds like this is a really tough problem you've got.  Can I make a suggestion?  You may handle this problem however you choose, but whatever choice you make you much remember to be generous." ("generous" was also in their vision statement)

Son: "Can't you just go upstairs and yell at her?"

Dad: "Well, I could - but I think you are big enough to figure this our for yourself."

I love how the son was given a choice, but with direction and expectation derived from the family's vision statement.

I'm excited to see how the vision statement plays out in our family's day-to-day, both for the children and parents.  And while this book centers around the Catholic faith, I encourage any parent to seek out at least once source of advice that centers on their own personal belief system and where the author shares that belief system.  I feel so empowered, both as a mother and as a Catholic woman, when my faith drives my parenting style.  I look forward to sharing more from this book!
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