In a recent parent/teen workshop, one of the parents expressed the challenge of using wholeness as a framework for the family. A schedule that starts at 7 am with the family heading out the door to school and work and not ending until 7 pm makes it hard to even try to exercise and eat well let alone explore some of the other pieces of wholeness. Others piped in that they too are pushing schedules that leave everyone exhausted. Weekends were busy catching up on chores, getting kids to soccer matches or other extra-curricular activities.
Parents were also concerned that their kids be ‘well-rounded’ with lots of activities that will show up on college applications and increase their kid’s chance at success in a world that has become hyper-competitive. The fear and anxiety were palpable, as these concerned parents felt obligated to run a rat-race lifestyle for themselves and their kids even though deep down inside they wanted off the merry-go-round of this hyperactive lifestyle.
I agreed it is a challenge but it is also a choice to become proactive and break out of the reactive patterns in which most of us feel trapped. As we looked at the Wholeness continuum—it is clear that 85% of people live on the 0-5 reactive side. And the parents in this workshop could see they were too. But they also learned there is another option. The 6-10 side requires us to make a choice. To break out of status quo and realize that in taking just small steps over to the 6-10 side, in time it becomes a lifestyle that is far more satisfying.
We discussed this change is like a pendulum swing going back and forth. The move towards wholeness is a journey that starts small. Little by little you shed the old reactive behaviors and add new choices. To get exercise in, turn off the TV and take evening walks. Commit to once a week family dialogues about wholeness and get your teens to give you their thoughts on how to make life more proactive and pleasurable for everyone. Keep your focus towards wholeness and it becomes a reality over time.
Yes, 85% of people are on the 0-5 reactive side, 15% on the 6-10 side. But I asked these parents—what if it was the other way around? What if 85% of people were proactive, conscious and building wholeness? All of them agreed this would be wonderful and we’d all have far more sane lives. And all I could say is—it starts with you and your family. Be the one that turns it from 85% to 84% as you slip to the other side and show others it can be done. Pick just one area of your life and make a new choice while connecting it to a commitment to wholeness. Doing just that you’ll discover that your family’s wholeness begins to come alive.