As a new school year approaches, I asked parents where they needed the most encouragement. The responses poured in and fell into three buckets:
Bucket #1: Stepping back so my children can wrestle with their struggles and decisions instead of wanting to give them instructions and advice.
Bucket #2: Maintaining space in our family schedule so we don’t miss connecting with each other.
Bucket #3: Remembering to celebrate transitions as they arise in each family member’s life.
These specific desires shine a light on the beauty of family life when lived well – it is the wellspring of trust, connection and ritual. Thank you for desiring encouragement. It means you already know the treasure you hold.
I’ll take one bucket at a time so you can savor the idea and let it soak in.
Encouragement for Bucket #1:
I encourage you to keep this question on the tip of your tongue to use when you see your child struggling: “What do you need from me – to just listen, to give you space or to offer ideas?” Then honor their request.
By asking this question you are communicating three significant points:
- “I trust you.” (This is a mightily empowering message.)
- “Your decision-making muscles are getting stronger.” (Soon the stakes are going to get high. But you are not afraid because you know your child has had lots of practice and will face difficult decisions with skill and courage.)
- “I love you.” (Giving lots of detailed instructions or micromanaging is fear-based. Being present, attentive and respecting their desires is loving. It is warm. It takes discipline.)
Stay tuned for encouragement for Bucket #2.
[Blogs or portion of blogs may be adapted from the blog of our partner school founder and advisor, Laura Sandefer.]