A friend and I were recently thinking together about some challenges. We noticed how our line of reasoning started to sound something like: “If only __(insert stressful situation here)__ wasn’t happening. Then, I’d be able to relax, find my peace, and be a better friend /partner /parent /colleague /neighbor /boss /teacher.”
It can feel tempting when looking a challenge in the face to wish it would go away. When it doesn’t go away, I find it super tempting to make someone or something wrong. It might sound like, “If only they would ______,” as if the solution is found once blame is accurately placed (hopefully far away from myself)!
What if, instead of looking for who or what is wrong, we could view it as an opportunity to discover our strengths and to grow more connected, capable, and courageous?
Maybe there really isn’t such a thing as a smooth, perfect, easy life, and perhaps we don’t really want one anyway! That would be like living in a neat science lab full of cool experiments ready to be tested… and to never try any of them out. Could you imagine never having the chance to explore, test theories, revise, make mistakes, figure out how to clean them up, and try something different that is even better?
So, what if the very thing that seems so wrong or stressful is actually nothing more than another opportunity to roll up our sleeves and play together in the lab of life?
Sometimes shifting my perspective away from that stuck “it is all wrong” place can feel hard. I find it helpful to lean on the framework of the four Crucial Cs* in these moments. The Cs provide a lens that helps me to reframe stressful and challenging situations into opportunities. It might sound like this:
- Connect: I’m not alone, I belong and this challenge can help me to deepen my connections with others.
- Capable: I am able to grow and can express new capability.
- Count: I’m significant. My community needs me and I matter. I can make a good difference for others.
- Courage: Resilience is innate. Encouraging and supporting others helps me to find my own courage.
A dad who recently participated in one of our parenting workshops wrote me this note afterwards:
His words touched the essence of how Family Leadership sees you, the adult /parent /teacher /friend /partner:
- You are connected. You belong. You are not alone.
- You are capable. You are empowered and have what it takes.
- You count. You matter. We respect your ability to use these ideas and put them into practice in a way that fits and honors what is unique for your family and community.
- You are courageous. And, you are enough.*
This dad also reminded me of the value and importance of the unique education Family Leadership Center provides. Parenting skills are learned, not something that some just magically have and others don’t. You can grow and improve. A little education for one parent can make a big difference for the whole family. On top of that, learning fresh strategies can be a relief and really fun. Even more, learning in a community of adults is deeply encouraging. Together we realize that we’re not the only ones, we’re not alone.
*A Reference Note on The Four Crucial Cs The Four Crucial Cs referenced above were translated by Dr. Betty Lou Bettner and Dr. Amy Lew from Dr. Alfred Adler’s core needs. Alfred Adler identified the four core needs: belong, improve, significance, encouragement. Ansbacher, H. L., & Ansbacher, R. R. 1956. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, Basic Books. New York.