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!