Blue Ocean Creation Step Three: Raise

Now we get to the fun stuff. Step three of the Four Actions Framework is raise. It may not be possible to keep up with Super Mom in everything, but since we are willing to let her surpass us in areas we don’t care that much about, we can focus on a few areas of personal importance and outperform even Super Mom. How? Because our energies will be focused and Super Mom’s are spread out. Maybe idealized Super Mom can do everything well, but even the most super of humans can’t be the best in everything. We might have less energy and fewer resources, but because of our narrow focus we can be excellent where Super Mom is only good.

Set a timer for two minutes and write down the aspects of raising children and family life that you care about. You can always cross out later, so during this brainstorm session write down everything that comes to mind without judging yourself. Then take a few moments to review your list and pick out one area that you care about the most (at least at the moment – don’t be a perfectionist about this!).

Are you excited? Overwhelmed? I went through this exercise and found that the first thing I wrote down also jumped out as my top choice. The words I spontaneously wrote down, “parent-child relationship – strong and respectful,” fill me with excitement, determination, and a bit of fear. I love those moments when I connect with one of my children and when they say “I love you,” but I look with horror on those moments when I shout or drag a child into a room and close the door in exasperation. At this tender age my kids still love Mommy most of all, but their little hearts seem so fragile and there is no guarantee that they’ll be saying “I love you” in the teen years.

How can I possibly think I can outperform the competition in the parent-child relationship category? It’s far too overwhelming. Yet the very vastness of the topic can be an advantage as I seek to find a way to move forward. I can’t move in every direction at once, but since there are many directions, I can choose the one that seems most doable and find the very next step I can act on today. As I wrote before,

“You don’t have to do it now, just think what would be the very next step necessary to move in the right direction. Could you act on it right now? If not, then you need to burrow down one more level. You might need to find a tool, or ask a person, or find a number.”

It’s still overwhelming to think what my next step should be, so I’ll give myself some time to think and will report in the comments when I’ve decided. I would love for you to do the same! We can all be encouraged to see the small steps others are taking to make their family culture even better!

6 thoughts on “Blue Ocean Creation Step Three: Raise”

  1. I’m excited about this step. After all, people don’t flock to Cirque du Soleil because they don’t have elephants, but because they have something they do with excellence.

  2. This is a very interesting topic. My brain dump did not come easily, but I managed to squeeze a few ideas out. I am most definitely in a phase of coasting (there is a more scientific word for this, but it’s escaping me right now)- basically, once we hit a skill level that we consider *good enough*, it is very difficult to continue to make forward progress, even when we practice that skill every day. I think that even though we are over the new baby hill, I have stayed in my *good enough* mode without continuing to make forward progress. So, for the brain dump, it took me a minute to find things, as my default setting is, “good enough!” It was very important for me to realise I was sabotaging my progress this way.

    I already mentioned that I am restyling our homeschool a bit to reflect a closer match to my values, and this certainly crosses over into parenting. So, here’s a few things I came up with after doing your exercise:

    – strong sibling relationships. I am due for a re-reading of Siblings Without Rivalry, so that would be an easy-to-implement next action.
    – being trustworthy (me, not them). I’m usually very good at this. The parent that says maybe when they really mean no is the parent that makes me nuts. But I have slipped up lately, and I need to get back on track. If I say yes, then I’d better be ready to schedule a time for said yes. If I say no, it should be a thought-out no and not a knee-jerk response. Actionable step: When I say yes, pull out the calendar and plan it.
    – Literate family. This for me, is about having children who are well-read, well-spoken, and well-written (capable of good written expression). This is part of the family culture I want, and also part of the homeschool culture that I am working towards.
    – Being mentally present for my kids. This comes back to a good organisation system. My next actionable step is to listen to an audio lecture on home management that I’ve had saved for a while now.

    Phew. I’m exhausted. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the comments! Your observations and notes have given me many ideas for future topics to discuss.

    Monica, I love that you have a concrete and doable next action that came from your brainstorm. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. My “next step” in the parent-child relationship category:
    I’d love to always speak with patience toward my kids. I do a good job of taking their requests seriously, but when I’m pressed for time or am frustrated, I do not use a respectful tone and sometimes yell (despite having taken a parenting course promising I wouldn’t remember the last time I yelled at the kids). My 4-yr-old was slow getting on the bus the other day, then got my pants all wet with his umbrella. After urging him to hurry and scolding him I noticed he was very sad. I though it was because I’d scolded, but it turns out we had gotten on the wrong bus and he knew it, but I was too busy directing to notice his communication!

    I want to “reduce yelling” and “listen better” but both choices seem too abstract to be a realistic next step and they will only lead to guilt when I fail again (which I will). So after weeks of contemplating (what did I say about not being a perfectionist about this exercise?!) I’ve decided to observe the situations when I am impatient and jot down the context, the trigger, and other relevant details for later review. Maybe I can find a common trigger and then an easy solution to a hidden stress-maker.

    1. Oh, my heart breaks for the child who tried to point out an error and was ignored. And for you. But knowing you, you apologized, and encouraged him to continue trying.

      It’s another one of those things that’s hard to balance. How do we help our children be bold in speaking up without allowing even a hint of disrespect when they do? I’ve seen children (and adults) who have learned that it’s safer to keep quiet and allow mistakes to happen, and I’ve seen children (and adults) whose attempts to correct errors are packaged in contempt. Both are horrible situations! But the respectful, helpful middle is a treasure!

  5. Yes, I apologized, but it probably happens more than we realize. Kids are so gracious, though. The just go along and forget about it. We can learn so much from our kids when we keep our eyes open.

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