Kids tend to copy what they see. Monkey see, monkey do – right? And in the perfect world, they will only see the ‘good’ sides of us, and only copy those habits and behaviours we wish them to take on. (I could laugh out loud right now – along with every other parent who might read this. ‘Yeah, our kids will only see our good sides’ Sure.) The truth is that kids truly do see all, and there are some of my traits I hope they don’t take on. I think the best I can hope for is to be as good a role model as I know how to be – and to trust that they will pick up on lots of the ‘good’, and downplay the ‘bad.’ I’m only human, after all.
But when it comes to habits, there are many things I do that I hope they will emulate – like being active, eating healthy food, making family a priority, being a good listener, and so on. And while much of this comes with frequent and intentional conversations – why we eat what we do, why we need to take other people’s feelings into consideration, (etc) – the most enjoyable for me is when I see my kids take up a habit of mine from observation, and from their own decision that it seems like something they would like to try.
And so, here I find myself, early on a sunny morning, sitting on our gazebo at the end of my morning ‘power hour’ – an hour that I spend every morning in preparation for my day. And the best part of today’s power hour is my company.
It truly is a reality that kids do as you do. And my kids see me journal often. They know that when they wake up in the morning they can find me in the back yard or living room with my journal, a book, or the computer close at hand. And of course they ask me what I’m doing, what I write about, and most importantly: why I do it.
And so I have told them: my ‘power hour’ is an hour I dedicate every morning as soon as I get up (usually 6am) to setting out my goals and intentions for the day. It is a practice that virtually every ultra-successful person I know (or know of) does. It’s something that has been touted as being one of the most productive uses of time from so many sources I can’t name them all (but Robin Sharma is one who writes wonderfully about it). And it is the one thing I do that seems to make the rest of my life flow better. I am more clear and focused, I can map out what I want to accomplish, get clarity on my dreams and aspirations, and where I see myself going. Quite simply, it keeps me on track.
And so, to have my kids join me in this practice is an absolute joy. I didn’t ask them. They’ve just subscribed to the notion of ‘monkey see, monkey do.’
What do I do? Well, for me, it starts with 5-15 minutes of mobility work (which wakes me up) This is followed by reviewing some of my own goals, intentions, values or dreams – each of which is a detailed document on the desktop of my computer. And then I journal. I review each week – wins and challenges. I set intentions for each week and each day. And I check in on it to see if I am on track. And then I map out when I expect to do any of the actions I have listed.
Sometimes I blog. Sometimes I dream. Sometimes I just get my thoughts out. But all in all, it gives me great clarity, keeps me connected to my purpose, helps me map out what I want to accomplish, and starts my day with gusto.
And I love that my kids have become frequent journalers.
Right now, Ethan is writing out his ideas for a world he wants to build in Minecraft (a world-building game on the computer), as well as ideas for a mod he wants to invent for it (a mod is a computer program… which, I guess means that we have to find a way for him to start learning programming…!)
Considering that I have found this practice to be one of the most important things I do to keep me on track – and is likely one reason I have been able to find harmony amongst the many busy roles I play as a mom, wife, chiropractor, business owner, and writer – I am exceedingly happy to witness my kids embracing this for themselves. I believe it to be as important for their wellbeing as being active and eating healthy foods.
I believe it fosters self esteem, instills the value of having a vision and mapping out steps to reach their goals, and allows them to celebrate the wins they experience every day. (like Audra’s evident enthusiasm for completing a walk over for the first time – and her celebration of the effort):
As I sit and watch them journal, think and create, it certainly fills my soul up. I have no doubt that they will indeed create their lives exactly as they wish, reach their goals, have direction and purpose – and live extraordinary lives.
Which, of course, is exactly what I wish for them.