Slowing down and setting new priorities

By Carol Dores

As the summer continues, we all seem to be slowing down more and more.  The rushed pace of the school year is a distant memory.  We are sleeping later and sleeping later.  The cries of “I’m bored” seem to be fading most days.

You can begin to figure out what each child’s strengths are.  Sit with each child separately, and together come up with a list of their strengths.  This can include things like music, helping younger children, taking care of animals, drawing, taking things apart, building things, math, etc.  Have them put a copy in their room where they can see it, and make a copy that you can look at when feeling upset with a child, to help remind you of positive things about each child.  This list can be used to help them use their strengths with areas that are challenges.  For example, if they are strong in music and struggle with spelling, they can sing spelling words quietly to help them remember them.  The list can also be used to think about areas they might want to focus their extracurricular activities, high school electives, college courses and career.  They are likely to be more motivated when encouraged to use their strengths.  Also, when we focus on strengths, they grow.

It’s also wonderful time to think about what’s most important in our lives, and to talk to our children about what’s meaningful to them.  Cooking together, taking a car ride, or a walk are wonderful times to have these sorts of conversations.

What things do you want to do less of, and which do you want to more of?  What can be eliminated entirely?  How can you spend more time as a family?

Helping your children to think through these questions can be helpful to everyone.  Then you can work together to figure out how to make the changes happen.  Having your children know what you are eliminating and what you are focusing on is modeling the changes you hope they will also be making.

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