Be. Do. Have.

The weekend workshop with Vicki was powerful to say the least. She gave us tools to better understand our kids as individuals, enhance our communication with them, and raise our compassion and empathy for who they are and why they do what they do.

One of the tools was an exercise in identifying personality traits. We were asked which animal we identified most with: lion, eagle, turtle, or chameleon. I’ll give you a hint which one I chose — my mom does woodblock prints and has a whole series of animals and out of all of them I chose this one to hang in my office. Hear me roar.

Lions want to be seen as highly competent and useful. They want to make a difference and will do almost anything to avoid feeling stupid, including acting superior as a defense mechanism. Bingo! That’s a big, fat chunk of self-awareness and I’ll be thinking about times when I sacrifice the relationship with my kids and husband (and others) in order to avoid feeling stupid.

Turns out our little family contains all four personality types. Jerry and Ellen are both eagles: organized, dependable, and like to have a plan and stick to it. They also like to be in control, don’t like surprises, and will do almost anything to avoid embarrassment.

Fenner’s a chameleon: friendly, fun, and considerate. She wants to please others, likes getting their approval, and will do almost anything to avoid rejection.

Charlotte was a puzzle, but I finally figured out her turtle tendencies: she’s generally easy-going and empathetic. She likes to take time to just be and connect and feel comfortable and she’ll do almost anything to avoid stress and pain.

This doesn’t mean we don’t all have parts and pieces from all four animals, but there’s clearly a primary identifier for each. The whole exercise has enabled me to:

  • see my own strengths and weaknesses more clearly
  • realize when I’ve been unconsciously reacting as though lions are better and everyone should be more like me
  • take a huge step toward understanding and accepting each girl as an individual
  • identify and practice ways of communicating with each one in order to be more connected and guide them in dealing with stress, rejection, and embarrassment.

None of these animals is better than the other, just different strokes for different folks. And each one is, as someone in the workshop said, “perfectly imperfect.”

With this shift in perspective I will BE more accepting and compassionate, DO more communicating that respects our differences, and HAVE more connection and trust in the family.

Ready, set, go…

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

2 Comments on “Be. Do. Have.”

  1. jennifer blackwell Says:

    i loved this entry. so well put. and i wanted to comment on your mother’s wood block print. i mentioned at the retreat that i sell my photo cards at market and you told me about your mom’s prints. i bet these would make great cards. i read your week 1 do nothing say nothing posts. you have inspired me to get back into the program. i am starting at week one. jennifer

    • flockmother Says:

      How exciting! You’ll be so glad once you get through the mess to the other side. Let me know how it goes…

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