Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Quality World

An friend asked via email that I share more about the "Creating an Effective Family" course I'm taking. One exercise we've done in class is to brainstorm some components of our "quality world," or, in layman's terms, Things We Like to Have in Our Lives.

Here's mine, in no particular order. (Disclaimer: we did this in two minutes, so if you don't see yourself on here, you are hereby barred from taking offense.)

A clean house
Blogging (and hearing from readers)
My husband
Time with the Lord
Walks on the beach
My siblings
Yummy, healthy food
Secure relationships
Spring and fall
Extra money
Funny podcasts
Dark chocolate
Connecting time with the kids

As I said, no particular order.

The next week, we revisited our lists and decided which of the four needs (other than Safety/Survival) was met by each of these items. Some of them met just one -- but that didn't minimize their importance. Conversely, some met three or even all four but play a minor role in the big picture. For example, time with the Lord met my love and belonging need, albeit in a deep way. Although it may sound silly, LOST actually met all four, although obviously on a more superficial level. Here's how:

Love and Belonging: This is a connection that the Professor and I share. We inhabit separate worlds all day long, but watching and discussing the show once a week (or more often, when we were catching up), is part of our conscious effort to find common ground. Also, I have other people in my life -- my brother Paul, for example -- who share the interest and don't seem to mind texting about it.

Power/Competence: Although much of the time the complexity of the show leaves me baffled, I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure things out and develop theories about how the pieces fit together. It's a bit like solving a doozy of a crossword puzzle or discussing a masterfully crafted novel. When, once in a blue moon, one of my theories proves to be correct -- well, you don't want to be in the same room with me, 'cause there just ain't room for much else but my head.

Freedom: I'm in the parenting realm all day long. LOST happens after the kids are  tucked away in bed. Q.E.D.

Fun: Well. This is probably self-explanatory.

The point is that we need "things" (broadly defined) in our lives that address each of our fundamental needs -- particularly the needs we've decided are most important to us. The other side of the coin, of course, is to consider the people around us and to ask ourselves how we're filling their cups.

Since knowing what makes up their Quality World is a huge part of understanding what makes them tick and why, the next step is to sit down and do this with my kids. I sense a Family Meeting coming on. Better stock up on that frozen dairy substance that's surely on all three of their lists. I think it fills the fun cup, although they might argue it's all about Survival.

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