For our family, having a routine and schedule that is simple, enjoyable for all ages, and also spontaneous keeps our ship on course and sets us up for smooth sailing. Not to say there won’t be rough water at times, with a cranky child, someone having a melt down, poor weather or a chance that we run out of gas... but, we will do it together and create memories (both good and bad, embarrassing and complete fails). And on this journey and season of life, we will take all the help we can get!
I guess it’s no accident then, as I work to add some order to my life, that I think of my grandfather. He lived to be 93 and he didn’t spend much of that time wrestling with ambiguity. He was organized. He didn’t have an accent or an overtly ethnic name, but his love of details and his allergic reaction to “winging it” was proof enough of his German upbringing.
I’ve come to learn over the years that Orderliness has 3 key attributes that help us understand this particular character strength: Order of priorities, order of time, and order of goods. I think my son’s lack of flushing falls under order of priorities.
I’m not talking about just saying “no” to projects a little more often (because that’s a given). What I’m talking about is more akin to those little lies we tell ourselves when the alarm clock wakes us up.
All of this happened because a third-grader wondered how it could be done and his parents met him halfway. They connected him with people in the community that did the same. On and on it went until an extraordinary vision was realized by an entire community.
Today, courage for me looks like: tears streaming down my face when someone discloses their suffering or pain. It means sharing the words “I have no idea how you’ve been coping with this” and “I don’t have the words, but I’m willing to sit with you and experience what you’re experiencing and we can navigate this together."
Have you ever wondered what kids have to say about courage? Read on to find out what one mother’s kids had to say about this important topic.
Read one woman’s story on how she mustered up the courage to start singing the National Anthem at football games.
So far, all I’ve come up with is this: the best thing I can do as a father is build the kind of moral compass within my daughter that steers her away from making bad decisions. That compass is made of experiences, whether they’re good or bad, accumulated over many years. It’s also made of shared stories about my own experiences, whether they’re good or bad.
You may, like I sometimes did, feel guilt, frustration, or even sadness when you can’t provide for your children’s wishes, cater to their tastes, or respond to many of their requests. But just think: perhaps not having exactly what they want, when they want it, is helping secure a vital hinge in their character that will open the door to a life of balance and moderation. And don’t we all need more of that?
To be honest, the thing that works best—stopping her in the middle of an outburst and giving her a big hug. By far, hugs followed by a warm bath work the best."
Our passions lead us astray. Our emotions get involved in the wrong sort of way... I had to learn that day that my desires and wants needed to be tamed. I saw how embarrassing it was for my daughter to see her mother in a very out of control way.
The last thing I want is in 20 years, when we are sitting around a dinner table talking about when they were younger, for them to say, “I always felt like I was competing for your attention with your phone.” Ouch!
This idea of inner balance and attaining inner peace is not a modern concept. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, discussed the idea of temperance or moderation in his theory of “The Golden Mean.”
Temperance is hard character strength to manage because it’s likely the one that we as parents struggle with the most ourselves, whether it’s buying too much stuff, eating too much or buying too many toys for our kids.
You see, we can find ourselves in such a rush and whirlwind of life that we forget we have to help our children learn how to do basic chores, such as pulling up sheets and blankets until they meet the end of the mattress.
As a stay at home mom, I pick up toys 236 times a day (or at least it seems that way). Are these my toys? No. Do I want/need help? YES. So, I have enlisted my crew to HELP! All ages are involved and each has an important purpose in this character building task.
Empathy and selflessness are not always caught and sometime must be taught.
Yet, the questions remain. Why is it that it is so very difficult to help at times? Despite the positive practice of “paying it forward” or the karmic idea of “what goes around comes around”, there is still this difficulty in putting the needs of your neighbor before those of your own.
It was an opportunity for us to have a positive conversation about helpfulness. These conversations flow so much easier while riding the wave of a success. The more we’ve talked about it, the more she has beamed with pride. Better yet, she’s looking for new ways to replicate that feeling.
We are Families of Character. We believe in joy-filled parents, and virtue can help get you there.
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Every month we choose a new virtue to focus on, setting goals for ourselves, our children and the entire family. Stay up to date with weekly articles from parents sharing their experiences as they themselves strive for personal and family growth.