As part of our Family Mission and Family Values project---the ongoing journey---we are trying to live the life we want. (even if we haven't been able to capture it on paper yet) I think this is a HUGELY important part of the process.
(Though it might just be a justification as to why I can't seem to cement it in writing yet.)
Realistically this project takes time to iron out what you most value. And to be honest, I'm a little stuck right now...call it writer's block.
So to unblock myself I've been reading and listening to others views---and unexpectedly it is changing the way I think about even some of my deepest rooted values and habits.
Case-in-point, I never would have paired values and habits together---until I heard it from the Organic Sister. It was such a new way of thinking about this that I really had to pause and give it some thought.
Your habits are your values in action.
No hiding from that.
It's one thing to say you value something (say patience) and yet yell at your kids as soon as trouble arises. The proof is in the pudding...you in fact value IMpatience...no matter what you THINK you value. This is where you have to start working out who you want to be and how you want to get there.
And it's a learning process for us. Sunday my husband and I had a fight. Over something stupid, I'm sure. He went to the store and I stayed home and ran through the whole thing in my mind. When he came back he had made a second stop to the grocery store and bought organic whipped cream so that we could make butter. Of the many things we need to learn before we have a farm (our ultimate family goal) one of them is how to make butter...and he thought of one little activity we could do together to bring us into an active role of trying to be our best selves.
No apologies needed after that.
So everyone stopped what they were doing and made butter together for the very first time.
Then the kids convinced Jon to pull out his saxophone (for the first time in TWENTY YEARS!) and show them how it worked. And for the next hour we took turns blowing on it, dancing to it and generally just laughing.
I love the New Year. No offense to Christmas, I love Christmas. But I also love when it's over. I'm usually ready for a return to the routine, and to refocusing on what's important.
This year we have decided to focus on setting our family goals. After years of reading articles about finding your parachute and 7 daily habits and all of that...I've decided to put the knowledge to practical use. We are going to make our way through 2013 (and hopefully 2014-the rest of our lives) with the goal of improving ourselves as individuals by improving ourselves as a family.
I first encountered this idea of unity goal setting 10 years ago during a 3-day Franklin Covey seminar at work. At the end of the three days we were charged with writing the Mission, Vision and Value Statements for our company. It didn't mean much to me at the time (because I was 24 and couldn't have cared less), but I see now how having a singular mission for a group of people can help keep your goals focused and ever-present.
To kick off this project we started by doing a family vision drawing. This came from the Families With a Purpose Blog, specifically from their 31 days to Fresh Starts calendar, which divides a bunch of these activities (and others) into easily planned daily chunks. Some are as simple as cleaning out a closet, others more time consuming, like creating your Mission Statement.
The question was posed: draw a picture of your ideal family life. (Our future, our goal, our vision...our heart and soul) We cleared the table, and sat down with hot tea, blank paper and colored pencils to begin our evening's journey.
There were laughs and stories and silliness. All in all, it was a pretty perfect night. Our family vision pictures came out nearly as I would have expected. Farm animals, love, adventure, reading, exploring and being happy were reoccurring themes throughout almost everyone's drawing. (I am glad for that, I was little afraid that legos and Disney princesses would be more prevalent)
For the most part the kids seemed to understand that we were aiming for true happiness, not passing fancies like toys. There were a lot of grappling hooks and rockets in Luke's picture...but he swears it's because true familial happiness lies in exploration...even in outer space. And really...who can argue with that?
Becoming Maggie Blue is the journey to becoming the person I want to be. After many years of living a conventional life, we decided to move to Alaska and live on a boat. Currently we're traveling full time in a camper with our two kids, exploring North America. We have no plan beyond going slowly and seeing all there is to see, and taking the time to connect and be together as much as possible in these special years.