I am a member of the mastermind group Hal Elrod and his business partner, Jon Berghoff, have created called the Quantum Leap Mastermind (QLM). As part of the membership, we received a series of group coaching calls with keynote speaker, co-founder of The Front Row Foundation and master coach Jon Vroman. The topic he chose to teach was business relationships and he broke it down into four calls. I decided to write out my biggest takeaways from these calls and how I related his information to parenting. He dropped so much great info I'll write a blog post for each call.
On the first call, Jon talked to us about our network and how important it is in business. He said there are three categories of people you should have in your network:
- Mentees- People to Help or Teach
- Peers- Help each other
- Mentors- People that can help you
In my experience as a parent, my kids fall into the first category. I do believe that I can learn from everyone and I do learn so much from my kids. However, in the grand scheme of things, I generally can help them out much more than they can help me. This group also includes people who look up to me as a parent. These are people I can mentor and give helpful advice. This might include parents not as far along in their journey of personal development or new/expecting parents. Now that I'm the co-author of The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, I have a lot more relationships that fit into this category. If you'd like to join a community of parents who want to bring out the best in themselves to bring out the best in their kids, you can join our Facebook Community.
My peers are my husband, Mike, and other like-minded parents. These are the people with whom I share challenges and celebrate wins. I’m blessed to now have people like Hal & Ursula Elrod, Jon & Tatyana Vroman, Jim & Jamie Shelis and Jon & Mara Berghoff in this group. This is the group I spend the most time cultivating. In The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, we write about having purposeful partnerships. The four families I mentioned used to be in the third group for me. I had to step outside my comfort zone and enter the circles where my mentors hang out. Then I had to create value in these groups to gain their trust and their friendship. I had to up my game to be in their peer group, and now I have to pleasure to call them my friends. As Jim Rohn says, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
The third group is my mentors. These are people further along in the parenting and/or personal development journey that can give me advice. In my world, these are the coaches I interact with- Julie Bogart and Jenai Lane. Julie is a homeschooling veteran and professional writer who created the Brave Writer system. All her kids are grown and have flown the nest and it’s now her passion to help other moms find confidence in homeschooling and develop it into a lifestyle. She is someone I highly admire and am happy to be learning from. Jenai Lane is the founder of the Spirit Coach Method and author of Spirit Led Instead. I have been working with Jenai for about 8 years and she has helped me so much in developing my beliefs and guiding me to create the life of my dreams. In this group of mentors, I also include authors I respect on the topic of parenting like Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure, and Dr. John Duffy, author of The Available Parent. These individuals took the time to write down their best practices and distill down their unique knowledge to help others. We can read their lessons and use them in our lives as a model instead of having to create our perfect family life from scratch.
Jon coached us to identify the eight people who are "in our Front Row." Who are the people who get to see us at our most vulnerable? Who is there when times are tough? Who is there when a celebration is in order? Who do you laugh with the most? Who do you learn from the most? Who brings out the best in you? Who makes you feel most alive? By asking ourselves these questions we can discover the people in our front row and then be more intentional about nurturing these relationships.
Jon talked to us about our schedules and creating a calendar that makes your heart sing. For him he's created large blocks in his day to help himself focus. From 8 AM-12 PM he spends his time creating, form 1-5 PM he's connecting and 6-10 PM he's celebrating the day with his family. As a stay at home mom, my schedule has to be a little more specific. I like to create an "ideal week" and then make adjustments as needed. Many of my tasks repeat from week to week, so I put all those that are pre-scheduled in first and then fill in from there. For example, my kids attend an alternative school 3 days a week, so I can fill that in. I prioritize self-care (like a massage or mani-pedi) once a week, which I like to schedule on Tuesdays while my kids attend their program, so I can put that on. I have to get to the grocery store once a week, and ideally I go on Monday afternoon. My son has Tae Kwon Do twice a week, so that goes on the calendar. My husband and I have a goal to go on a date night every week of the year, so I put that on. Once I have everything filled in that I know about I can fill in other errands I need to run that week and schedule time to write. I like to plan my week on Sunday, so I'm ready for the week ahead.
Everyone's system and schedule will look a little bit different, but the important part is that it works for you and that you use it. Play with different planners, online calendars and systems until you find one that works for you and create the schedule that makes your heart sing.
Jon then talked to us about the power of three different types of interactions: in-person meetings, dinners, and written words. If we think about these in regard to the relationship with our children they are all so important. We can get very wrapped up in the day to day happenings of our lives that we forget to slow down and have truly memorable and present interactions with our kids. Sometimes we have to intentionally plan time with our kids to be together with no real agenda other than to increase our connectedness. A great way our family has done this is through The Family Board Meeting. The basic premise is that you hold a one-on-one 4-6 hour meeting with each of your kids once a quarter. During the meeting you do something of your child's choosing, there are no electronics allowed and at the end you take the time to reflect on the day you had together. It's so simple yet has such a great impact on the parent-child relationship.
The next interaction is the family dinner. We have a section in The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families where we write about the importance of family dinners. The statistics clearly show that kids who grow up sharing dinner as a family are more successful in school and much less likely to fall into undesirable outcomes like drug addiction and teen pregnancy. While healthy food is great to have for dinner, the most important thing is healthy conversation at the dinner table. Don't feel guilty if you have to pick up some take-out in order to sit as a family discussing things that matter to you. Ask open-ended and positive questions. Find out your offspring's deepest desires and dreams. A book we have recently discovered that has a slew of questions that are great for stirring up interesting conversation is called Positive Family Dynamics. We also like to keep some Table Topics and Melissa and Doug Question cards on the dinner table to make questions asking easy. After a long day it can sometimes be challenging to think of great questions to ask, so these tools make it simple and fun to get the conversation flowing.
The last interaction is written words. This can be anything from a little note you stick in their lunch box, a quick text you send your teen just to let them know you're thinking about them or it could be a heartfelt written card on their birthday. One tradition I've started with my kids is to make them photo books every year for Christmas. I personalize each one with pictures of them and write captions to tell the story of their year. They have come to expect them each year and I love to sit with them and look at the pictures as we reminisce about our adventures big and small. Written words are powerful because we can reread them over and over. We can't always be by our children's side, but through a handwritten note from us or a funny meme we text them they will feel our love every time they look at it.
Jon ended the call by telling us, "If you want to draw water don't dig 100 one foot wells, but one 100 foot well." By this he was saying the depth of our relationships is important and it's better to have fewer strong relationships than many that are shallow. This could not be more true when it comes to the relationship with our kids. I don't want to wake up one morning when my kids are grown and realize I have no idea who they are. I want to invest the time and energy now to build a strong foundation so our connection will grow as they do.
I'm grateful for the insights I drew from Jon's call and for his willingness to share his knowledge. I'm grateful for QLM and the amazing relationships I've been able to build in that group. I'm grateful for the relationship I have with my kids and trust that it will only get better as they mature. I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook Community.