by Bob Doman
We all have the tendency to get stuck in many patterns and ruts that can make it very difficult for us to achieve our potential as individuals, parents, and as families. When we take time to assess what and how we are doing, we can usually come up with a list of things we acknowledge that we could do better.
There have been many things said and written about good intentions, mostly related to our failure to execute them. But every positive step forward begins with the intention to do it. Intention needs to be followed up with execution; and execution requires a plan and commitment.
I would like to suggest that although we may often lack the commitment to change and do things for ourselves, we love and care enough about our families and children that we create a plan that structures us into regular assessment of how and what we are doing and creates the intention to improve it, followed by a plan, commitment and execution. What we do today, tomorrow, and going forward matters. Every day and in every way, what we do impacts our families’ and our children’s futures. Let’s identify the ruts we are stuck in and the proactive things we need to be doing to move forward in an organized, structured way to make positive lasting changes.
Patterns are habits, and habits are not easy to change because we are good at them, and they generally require no thought. Changing habits and patterns requires commitment and a plan. I suggest a plan for parents who wish to really do something with their children that can truly improve all their lives. To this end I would like to propose a Family Reset Challenge.
The goal of the Family Reset Challenge is to help parents create an ongoing mechanism for family/child development and progress.
I want you to imagine something incredibly simple, something that would generally take less than thirty minutes per week and very possibly as little as ten minutes per week. Something that could improve your lives as individuals, your relationship with your spouse, and the lives and futures of your children.
What I am suggesting is that parents make the commitment and accept the challenge to have a scheduled targeted weekly meeting. Single parents need to schedule this special time as well. Prior to meeting together, I suggest that you take time individually to think about what you could, should, and would change that would benefit your family. Following what could be as short as a five-minute meeting with yourself, meet with your spouse, and when appropriate, with your children as well. Share your thoughts, evaluate where you are, where you want to be going, and create a plan– a plan built around the realities of what is needed to break old habits or create new ones.
To create a new habit pattern generally takes 30-60 days, so for our challenges I am suggesting that from the get-go you make a one-to-two-month commitment. See it as an investment in your family’s future.
Challenge number one is to make the commitment to the weekly meetings, then in those meetings make the joint decision to create new 30-60 day challenges with the intention of creating ongoing new life changing habits and patterns.
I have created a list of possible challenges to give you some ideas, but the challenges you create need to be the ones that fit your family and circumstances.
- Commitment to schedule an implement a weekly parent meeting
- Commitment to dedicate 5 minutes per day thinking proactively as to how you can help your spouse and each of your children
- Commitment to have a weekly family outing/field trip
- Commitment to a daily family walk or indoor physical activity
- Commitment to not have your children eat any meals alone
- Commitment to have at least one whole family meal per day
- Commitment to eliminate dairy from the family diet
- Commitment to eliminate sugar from family diet
- Commitment to eliminate gluten from the family diet
- Commitment to actively teach, schedule, and build the list of your children’s chores and responsibilities
- Commitment to read to your child daily
- Commitment to give each of your children 4 positive comments to every negative
- Commitment to be consistent with feedback and consequences
- Commitment for parents to improve their function by using Simply Smarter
- Commitment to creating very specific holidays from electronics
- NACD Family specific challenges
- Commitment to do x percent of your child’s program 5 days a week
- Commitment of each parent to assume responsibility for specific program activities
- Commitment for parents to read an NACD article or watch an NACD video with discussion weekly
- Commitment from a sibling(s) to assume responsibility for one or more specific program activities
Do you care enough to accept the first challenge of a weekly meeting? After you succeed in the first challenge, the next is easier; and it just keeps getting easier as you create a new pattern of accountability and acceptance and learn that if you have the intention to make changes and improvement, you are up to the challenge to make it be.
I would encourage families to comment on the challenge concept and to share their challenge experiences and the challenges they have created.
This first challenge of a weekly meeting to assess, evaluate and proactively improve your family is very possibly the best investment of time you will ever make, less than 30 minutes per week, that is 1/336 of your week that has the potential to change everyone’s lives for the better.
It’s tough to find a better investment and is worth the commitment.
Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 35 No.4, 2022 ©NACD