As parents of two young adult males ages 22 and 17 years old, we’ve had our share of joy and challenges being parents and running our corporation better known as our family. Yes, we do see our family and its many needs, uniqueness of each member and the overall goals of the unit as a whole and that of each member who makes up the unit as a corporation. Of course, the biggest goal of all is to develop the unit and its members to be fully functioning and contributing to their community, their province, country and hopefully the world. In other words, our corporation’s utmost goal is to turn over our sons to their community where they are equipped to build up and contribute to where they live, work and play.
‘Turning it over’ is a term that my husband uses when he talks about the goals we share for our unit or when we must address a family member’s behaviour that is contrary to the overall goals of the unit. I must add it seems like we have had more years spent addressing limiting behaviour than applauding and acknowledging supportive ones. I digress, I know the past 22 years of being parents we have had a multitude of opportunities where our sons have brought us reasons to celebrate.
Why is though the unwanted behaviours are typically the ones that tend to stick in our minds? I have to go back to the term ‘Turning it over’. If we approach both the wanted and unwanted behaviours with the intention to use both as teachable moments then we will begin to move quickly past both. If we know that as parents we are the CEOs of the unit and consequently the visionary leaders, then we will know our intention is to turn over our children to their communities where they now can be future visionary leaders in their chosen ways. With this in mind, we would take a different approach to correcting unwanted behaviours and applauding wanted ones.
For ‘Turning it over’ to be successful, children will need to know some basic truths that are realities for a successful life. Some of these ‘truths’ will differ from one family to the next; yet many will be similar in the fundamental principles that guide human behaviour. In our unit these fundamental principles are:
- You never leave your partner behind
- Somebody has to do something to keep the unit running and that somebody can be you
- Look for ways to express gratitude to a family member-always
- It’s always better to speak the truth than to tell a lie
- There are key tasks that must be learned before graduating from the unit: laundry, cooking, basic housekeeping, volunteering, financial literacy and a sense of spirituality and connectedness
When the above five key fundamentals are kept at the front of the mind, whether you are acknowledging or correcting they will guide you to your ultimate goal of ‘Turning over’ your children to make a difference in their community.
Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, Professional life coach and Dietitian
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