Having Ian, Gianna, and Benjamin out of school half day for the start of Christmas break created a relaxing afternoon for the kids and me. The boys were in their rooms fighting army battles while Gianna hung out with me while I made a couple of crock pot dinners. The environment created a safe time and place for Gianna to open up. She shared a number of things about the way our family does things that hurt and bother her.
I listened and validated her as she shared her concerns. We talked about ways to make things better. We discussed her options. I shared creative ideas that percolated as we visited.
And then she looked at me with big, almond shaped, sad brown eyes, and said, “But, mom, you don’t follow through.” Sadly, about many of the things at home, she was right.
I’m great at listening. I have good people skills. I can strongly empathize. But, if the plan is not written down and clearly defined, life whisks me away and the plans we made dissipate.
“You’re right. And I want to work on that.”
So we laid out our plan. I could see a spark of hope in her watery and skeptical eyes. I realized that a great and important task was ahead of me. Gianna had given me the gift of the chance to build her trust in me. I had the opportunity to demonstrate that I was more than a great communicator with big ideas. I was her mom and she could count on me to follow through the whole year through.
In a letter to her on a yellow pad I wrote the things that I could do to better follow through. I asked for her help so I would stay on track. And I folded it up and put it on her bed, so she would see it first thing when she woke up.
The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Don’t leave things to chance when you have the opportunity to restore trust: write down how you will implement your plan.
Copyright 2013 Christina M. Weber