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The Antidote to Busy

The Antidote to Busy

Did you know that it took radio 50 years to reach 250 million people? Television took 30 years to reach the same number and the internet took just 4 years! But it gets better – iPods took 3 years and Facebook just 2 years.

So what’s next?

And… how do you feel when you read those figures? Do they stir something inside you that could resemble a mild panic? These feelings could be tapping into the rush rush of life that is the single biggest issue that prevents most parents from being their best.

No point talking anything like a positive parenting mindset if ‘busy’ is the central theme in your life.

In a fast paced and rapidly changing world it takes a definite intention and action plan to be a present and attentive mother, father, partner, uncle, aunt, grandparent or friend.

Do you remember how people used to just drop in when they were passing by? A rare event these days in our over-scheduled lives. Some would now consider this rude.

Wouldn’t it be good to have a bit of that old style connection back?

Perhaps the barometer of a healthy and resilient mindset is having another answer other than ‘busy’ (the B word!) to the question of ‘How are you?’

Lets explore this some more. Lets get inside the heads of parents that are doing this well.

What does it take to function as a positive influence on your kids AND also function in a world that is tearing along at breakneck speed?

At the core of this question it is important to recognise that ‘right mindset’ walks hand in hand with physical and emotional health. Exercise and play are key ingredients in this and are not just left at the end if time permits – these are an important part of a healthy routine.

So it does require prioritizing and saying no to some things. No is the new yes BTW!

Schedules and routines are heavy-duty words that rarely evoke a sense of enjoyment. Another way to say this is to ‘build rituals’ — as author Tony Schwartz says these are “highly specific practices that you commit to doing at precise times, so that over time they become automatic, and no longer require much conscious intention or energy.” For example – scheduling regular time in your calendar for one-on-one time with kids, or for ‘date night’ with your partner.

More from Tony Schwartz here – http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2012/01/no-is-the-new-yes-four-practic.html

One big issue worth mentioning here is about ‘enough’…. and what is enough in terms of your lifestyle and how hard you need to work to achieve this. Did you know that if we were prepared to live like most families did in the 50’s we’d need to work only 18 hours per week?

So an inventory of what is enough is a good idea… and agreeing on that as a family! But that’s another blog!!

Parents who are getting it right also know that they cannot do it alone. They have babysitters that they use regularly and they have friends who they can talk with about family and parenting problems. They also have an action plan when they feel down or overwhelmed. Essentially they have a mental health plan to support a healthy mindset.

But wait … there’s more – they will also have a support network that includes other adults their kids can talk to. There will be a number of healthy role models of both genders, and mentors for their adolescent kids.

Family life will be rich in stories and connection.

They have mental health plan for their kids too.

A village!

So the questions for you to consider are;

Do you schedule in exercise and play into your week?
What is your mental health plan for yourself AND your kids?
Who is in your village…. and more importantly who should be that isn’t there yet?

Stepping out of the busy mindset and into the positive parenting mindset does require getting out of our comfort zone at times.Like the saying – ‘if you’re not standing on the edge you’re taking up too much room’.

But the real health benefit is that this can free up energy you didn’t know you had. This allows us to operate more effectively and make the most of our precious time.

We’ve seen this first hand and have spent many enjoyable hours with dad’s exploring and planning what it takes to get it right with their families in todays often hectic world. Skills for easy communication and having strong family agreements are central to maximising enjoyable family time.

Yes it requires effort and thought, but it is worth it on so many levels.

We’d love to hear of any successful rituals that have made a difference in your family.

Be Sociable, Share!
  1. One of our family rituals for birthdays is that after the candles are blown out everyone in the room has to say what they love about the bithday person . It must go like this “i love Johnny because …………! . After each person comments everyone simultaneously goes Ohhhhh or agrees . It goes around the room till everyone has commented. Even those with the most crusty exteriors melt a bit when they have to say what the love about someone else

  2. Powerhouse Programs Team |

    Nice work Leo!

    Perhaps try a Christmas ritual where everyone gets a turn at a time. Good to give material gifts but also the gifts of the heart!

    We try to encourage smaller children (7+) to not say that “I love you because you do things for me” as that can sound, and is, about the speaker. Encourage them to see the qualities in others like caring, generosity and warmth as a quality that is a big part of who this person is as an individual… and helps kids to not make it all about them…

    Thanks for sharing that great ritual!

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