Grace

What happens when your expectations are high, but the reality is much lower?

Change!

 

The idea of having a family did not cross my mind until I was in my mid-thirties. My husband and I were not sure we wanted to have children. However, as we both grew older, the idea of having a family became more and more prevalent in our life. We were not able to have biological children and looked at other options for creating a family. We chose adoption through the foster care system. We wanted to adopt two children; we were blessed with four. 

 

In our minds, we had expectations about what our family life would be like: Days filled with joy and happiness, rainbows, and tripping through snowdrifts (it was January in Minnesota when they came to our home). Oh, we knew there would be times where we would struggle. I had read many parenting books about adopting children from hard places. I was prepared! Yeh right! 

 

I am glad my husband and I didn’t realize how little we knew at that time. Our expectations of parenting did not match our reality. Not even close! There have been times of tremendous joy and happiness, countered with times of overwhelm, worry, and struggle. It’s not easy going from 2 to 6 people in a house, literally overnight.

 

I had to let go of the expectations of a perfect family. However, in letting go of those expectations, I gained so much more!

 

Showing myself and others grace

 

Grace can mean courteous goodwill and can be challenging at the best of times. One of the changes I gained was to practice grace. I needed grace for myself before I can have it for others.

 

There have many times I have practiced grace for myself. One such instance was when my son had a minibike accident.

 

“What did you do that for?” is what I blurted out to our 10-year-old son after his mini-bike accident. He was riding his mini-bike in the yard, Racing faster and faster around the lilac bushes. I could see the deep path in the dirt around the bush. He cut a curve to close, and slip went the bike out from under him, slamming into the sharp, newly pruned branches.

 

After I asked my blunt question, he lifted his pant leg and displayed a deep puncture wound in his leg. Tears started to roll down his dirty cheeks. You can imagine the disappointment in myself for not showing empathy when my husband brought him to the hospital for nine stitches. 

 

In this instance, I had to allow a little grace for myself. The words slipped out of my mouth before I even thought through the impact of those words. I have done this more than once, not considering the effect of my words. 

 

Grace to Children

 

Our children came from a hard place. Their early childhood was less than idyllic. In listening to the podcast interview of Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry by Brene` Brown, the question to ask about a child’s behavior is not “what is wrong with them” but “what has happened to them.” Early childhood trauma can have a lasting effect on a person’s health, behavior, and learning. 

 

When looking at a child’s behavior, ask yourself, what has happened to this child? What is the child’s story, and how can I give them some grace in this past stressful, overwhelming year? The act of grace comes in all forms, saying sorry, smiling at a child that has just made a rude comment, or taking a deep breath (or two) before you consider what to say. 

 

Take the time to give yourself, your family, and others a bit of grace in your life. Interestedly the word grace has increased in use over the 20 years – maybe because we need to show more of it. We all need it.

 

Photo Credit: Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Deep Dive Strengths Conversations

Are you a parent, teacher, or leader?

Looking for a way to support your child, motivate your students, or maybe bring out the best in your employees?

I am a certified Strengths Communicator, and I know that your strengths are the first place to do just that!

I have created a special offer to help you begin on a path to knowing your unique talents. The offer includes the Clifton Strengths assessment, a 60-minute strengths conversation, and supplemental materials to support you!

It all begins with you! You need to know your talents and strengths before you can help bring out the best in others.

Let’s dive into your strengths. 

Here are the details to Deep Dive into Your Strengths conversation package.

 

Using Your Strengths To Overcome Challenges: Part 3

I love it when I receive questions from followers. Last week I had a really big question from a follower,

 

How do you help adults overcome

childhood trauma and toxic stress?

 

Wow! Big question! This is too big of a question to cover in a ten-minute video or even in a blog post. However, I can give you a few tools to start on a path that will decrease your toxic stress response and increase your self- regulation. Once your nervous system is regulated, tapping into your strengths to build up your resilience is key.

 

You can build your self-awareness toolbox as an adult and tap into those tools when stress enters your life.

 

This is a journey where each new tool you use and practice can help you along your path of resilience.

 

Watch Using Your Strengths to Overcome Challenges Part 1 and Part 2 to add more tools to your toolbox.

 

 

Strength-Based Resilience is a four-part course for educators, parents, and caregivers. A new session starts on September 9, 2020.

More information about the course can be found here.

 

 

Three Steps to Take When Life Isn’t a Bowl Full of Cherries

It is a bright sunny day and you’re going about your daily business, going to work, washing clothes, sweeping the floor, making supper, and then boom!

A bomb drops!

Maybe the bomb is that your teen is involved with drugs, your friend’s mother has died, or your close friend is in an accident. Something that stops you in your tracks and shakes you to your core. You know you will step up to the plate and do your best, but how do you take care of yourself when life is anything but normal?

How do you react?
Where do you turn?
What do you do?

How do you react?

First, you react in a panic, milling around like a bug that has been swished by the big shoe of life! Or is your reaction sadness and crying, where you feel the pain and have empathy for your people involved, or for yourself. Your reaction might be to go into planning mode? Well, next I have to do this, and then I need to do that….

In reality, it could be all of these, and the reactions could all happen within seconds. Shock can take a toll on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Finding ways to calm yourself down and make an assessment of what is happening is hard at times when life is less than brilliant.

Breathing is the first step to calming down your reaction to the situation. Deep breaths that go in through your nose and out through your mouth. Automatically humans take over 23,000 breaths a day. Mindful deep breathing is an action we don’t usually focus on in our lives. Yet by taking several deep breaths, you can get your racing heart and mind under control. Continue breathing deeply until you can lower your pulse and arrange the next steps in your mind.

Where do you turn?

After your mind is cleared, you might ask, “What is next? Who do I turn to? Please place people in my life to help me.”

As you breathe, say to yourself, “May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy and may I live with ease.” Next, say this for the other people involved in the situation. Send out encouraging energy and an intention of loving-kindness. Then think of people you can contact for support and start contacting them. You can find support from your partner, spiritual leader, or a trusted friend. Be willing to seek out trained professionals such as a therapist, counselor, or doctor in a time of crisis.

What do you do?

When turning to others, you will receive an assortment of advice, however, listening carefully to your heart, ask yourself some key questions.

  • What do I want?
  • What’s important about that?
  • What is my intention in the situation?
  • What or who am I overlooking that can help me?
  • What am I committed to doing?
  • What am I committed to not doing?

Working through these questions alone, with a trusted friend, or with a professional assures that moving ahead based on first reactions won’t produce actions that you will later regret.

So let’s be honest, the unexpected will happen in your life. It’s inevitable that upsetting events will occur. In situations where life is not a bowl full of cherries, remember to breathe through your reaction, turn to others and ask for help, and do work through the tough questions about the problem. The problem remains and needs to be dealt with in the best way possible. Dealing with the difficulty using these steps will help you address almost anything with a clearer mind and a thoughtful plan.

 

Photo by silviannnm on Unsplash