We’ve been dealing with a lot of BIG feelings around here recently – at ages 7 and almost 5 (along with ages 34 and 36!). Some days I find the bickering, along with the nudging to: “be gentle”, “stop fighting”, “treat each other with kindness”, paired with constant redirection, repeating, and reminders of why we SHOULDN’T hit, and what we SHOULD do instead when we feel angry… all to be a bit too much for me. At times, I’ve felt out of control as a parent – meaning, I feel like my children are just tumbling forward ahead of me in a snarling cat and dog tangle, and I’m running behind, holding a broken leash, discouraged (will they ever understand that peace feels better than conflict?) and confused (what am I doing wrong?). I KNOW my children’s actions and feelings aren’t mine to control. Yet, I also know it is my job (and desire!) to encourage and teach them to express their feelings in creative and helpful ways – instead of destructive and hurtful ways. But I’m not so good at being that proverbial rubber ball. The things our children say and do all have an effect on me! So, it’s a delicate balance of letting them work through their OWN feelings, keeping myself from being hurt by words they may throw without fully meaning them, telling them when they do say things that aren’t acceptable, and giving them gentle (yet firm at times), direction and examples.
Parenting is hard, that’s just a fact. Doesn’t matter whatever else you have going on in your life, parenting is still a difficult job – a ton of responsibility – not just to physical everyday tasks (the washing, care, and feeding of kids), but the emotional guidance and teaching of a new and small human to whom everything is NEW – feelings, reactions, objects, experiences, everything.
In a moment of calmness today, I sat down at my computer, feeling still frustrated, yet hopeful about finally finding that key to helping settle the next cat-and-dog quarrel, when suddenly an email I’d written a year ago, popped out to me from last year. The title was VISION BOARD. Vision board, what’s a vision board? I opened the email, (which was just a link to an image…) and was met with a collage of inspirational words: Possibilities. Power. Happiness Lingers. Energy. Prosperity. Love. Be Transformed. Along with beautiful images: flowers, a women jumping, an island in the middle of a calm sea.
My hope increased. This, I thought, is EXACTLY what I’m going to do. Make a vision board!
So, what IS a vision board?
It’s a visual reminder of what you’d like to be, where you see yourself in the future, what you believe you can achieve, or what you would like to have more of in your life. It’s a way to envision where you’re going and what you’re reaching for – and to take that vision out of your mind, and into a place where you can see it every day. The intention of making a vision board is to put your desires out in front of you (and into the universe), in order to help you focus on what you want more of (Peace! Harmony!), instead of what you don’t want (Bickering. Quarrelling.); all in the hopes that you’ll discover what you want finds you more often, and in greater quantity.
I liken in to the experience of waking up after a less-than-stellar night’s sleep (what? No sleep? Huh?) – and having your thoughts turn to, “ugh, I’m SO tired, HOW am I going to make it through this day?” – and then continuing through that day, which, often turns out to be pretty rough. Versus a day when, in spite of bone-tiredness, you get up, smile in the mirror, and find something wonderful about the day – maybe it’s even the thought of that first yummy cup of coffee – I’ve found THAT day is remarkably more wonderful than I’d expected, given the lack of sleep.
Why is that? Simply, I believe that what you think, what you BELIEVE, is what you become.
I think a vision board is this same idea – crafted so you can SEE and be reminded of what you would like MORE of in your life! For me, seeing things – like writing myself lists or calendar reminders – helps me stay on track better than keeping lists in my mind.
With the hope of increased peace, we started out with creating our own vision board for our house! We talked about what we’d like more of – peace, fun, cooperation, happiness – and began cutting out pictures and words from magazines (& print-outs from websites) that made us feel good, then arranged & glued them down on construction paper, and decorated with stickers & sparkles. Simple! The kids had fun, and I think it turned out sparkly, happy, and inspiring. My daughter looked at it first thing this morning after breakfast, which warmed my heart.
Will it guide us towards more fun, deeper breaths, and peaceful conflict resolutions? I hope so. I can envision us passing by our vision board, smiling, and being reminded of the way we’d like to feel (and for me, the mom I’m striving to be) – calm, peaceful, happy, and fun. If nothing else, I know we enjoyed creative family time together – and that in itself is worth it!
(our vision board, completed - and DD apparently already got the message!)
Peace to you.
Ps: if you make, or have made a vision board yourself, please leave me a comment & let me know! I’d love to see your creations!