Family Relationships – Master Inspire Plan Part 9

by Mary Ann on July 30, 2010

My husband and I have raised a wonderful and large family of seven children. We had wonderful times with our children and times that weren’t so wonderful. We have some amazing traditions that our children still carry on in their homes that revolve around holidays, spiritual things, food, and activities. We are happy about how it has all turned out.

A gift of a trip, for our 39th wedding anniversary, from our children

However, as I look back there are areas that I wish Don and I would have talked about more. I wish we had had a plan. Frankly, for the most part we just flew by the seat of our pants. In certain situations the one with the strongest feelings at the time held sway. I don’t think that that is the best way to create and handle relationships, to create a family culture.

That is one reason that I like the idea of a Master Inspire Plan so much – it puts a couple in a position to have to verbalize their hopes, desires, dreams, wants and needs as it relates to a family and how that family works. If we don’t make time for these conversations many of them never happen and many others take place in the heat of the moment and the one with the strongest feelings holds sway, as was our case.

So lets add FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS to our Master Inspire Plan. This is a written plan of what you would like your family relationships to look like and what resources and structures you would like to use to create the environments that will nurture these vital relationships. You may wish to include a list of family traditions you wish to create and preserve.

My sisters and brother and me clowning around. We have fun relationships.

First we need to consider having a written visualization of how we would like our relationships within our family to look and more importantly, to feel. When you are having a private moment and thinking about your husband, wife or children what does it feel like? Is it what you want? What are the feelings you do want. Let me share that portion of my plan with you.

“Through scripture study and meditation I have found a place of peace in my life. Despite living in a busy time my heart and mind are not always rushing to the next thing. I enjoy everything more, listening to the sounds of life, breathing, and rest. Don and I like being together and make time for it. We make time for travel and adventures close to home so they happen often. When we are alone and have no children or grandchildren with us we read together in the evenings, sit on the porch and visit or listen to music. It is restful and rejuvenating.

We have developed some wonderful traditions with our grandchildren. When they are here we spend time sitting together cuddling and reading. We talk and listen to each other. We sing and play music. We are not always trying to fill each moment with “fun” but instead with joy. We sit down for meals together and talk about the day, the world, the past, the future. We share ideas. They are becoming thinkers. Our adult children have begun to join in the reading, music, talking and listening. We have found that our evenings are warm and peaceful and we love being together.”

Ashley, Aubrey, Elizabeth and Parker, our grandchildren

Is it pretty clear that the overriding feeling that comes through my statement is one of slowness, quiet, peace, and warmth. If you recall, the article on EXPERIENCES was filled with these same feelings as was the article on CORE CANNON. My RESOURCES were centered on creating activities to promote this feeling. That is because this is a feeling that I really want.

In our family we have had peaceful, warm and quiet moments but it hasn’t been the prevailing feeling in our family culture. I have mentioned before that I have been a fairly driven person, a real go getter. What I desire is a slower pace, less busy-ness, more quiet moments. If I had visualized that years ago I might have had more success creating that even with seven children.

The second part to consider are resources that might be required to accomplish the plans that you have outlined. What if you really need to improve your relationship with your twelve year old son? Suppose that he loves bowling. Then a resource you may need is a savings plan to be able to afford to join a league together. What if you and your husband really need some quiet time on a regular basis to keep your relationship from slipping? A possible resource could be a class taken together, or funds set aside for a weekly date, possibly a short trip. For me it was musical instruments in our home and a fund for a trip to Hawaii, which I will talk about later.

The third element to think about is structures that can help facilitate your vision of your family relationships. That might be groups, special friends or activities. It could be a class. It might be a weekly gathering of families to play together. Maybe you start a mom school or a youth group of some kind.

In order for the plan that my husband and I have laid out to work we have had to restructure our evenings. We have had to stop working right up to bed time. That isn’t easy for us! We needed to pick a book we both wanted to read together. As we enter our retirement years it is vital that we work at keeping our relationship whole, exciting, meaningful and not live “parallel lives” which happens so often. We are buying some instruments and now we have to learn to play them. When our children and grandchildren are here we have to make time  to be together, to eat together. We pick one special place to go but for the rest of the time we are prepared to play with them at home doing things that matter to us and hopefully to them.

So begin thinking about what you want your home and relationships to feel like. If it were perfect what would it be like? Write that down.  Don’t be afraid. What resources and structures will support the vision that you have created? Write them down. If you aim for the sun and hit the moon it will still have been a wonderful trip!

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