How I helped make my family feel fabulous with a one-page profile

25 February 2015

Guest blog by Beth Sheldrake

My name is Beth. I am wife to John and a mum of three children, Arthur, ten, Hayley, nine and Penny who is two. John and I have recently decided to make some changes to our lives in order to get a better work/life balance. The first thing that we have done is put the house up for sale, ahh! Sounds so simple but trying to keep the house tidy for viewing is like trying to shovel snow in a storm. I feel like a number one nag!

Our family is fabulous, but very busy, so getting a chance to sit down and explore what is important to us as a unit is rare.

John and I spent many hours talking about how we would like our lives to look and how to achieve it, and realised we rarely ask the three people that matter the most to us in the world – Arthur, Hayley and Penny. So I decided to change that. I made the decision to create our very own one-page family profile. I have had experience of creating one-page profiles in my work and often facilitate young people to create a profile but this was the first time I’d tried it with a group. I sent invitations to the children and to Jack to join me in the living room where treats would be served. Anyone that knows children knows that a bowl of sweets is too good to miss and so I had no problem encouraging them to participate! The invitation added an air of ‘this is special’ to it.

We began with big felt tips and paper to write down what we love about our family and almost immediately, I could see what was important to us all; love, cuddles and support. We went on to explore what makes a good day and a bad day for us as a family. Predictably, ‘mum nags me to tidy my room’ featured under bad day but again it was the simple, free activities that made up a good day. Good stuff included walks on the beach, tea together and laughing together. The good day/bad day tool was a great way to focus everyone to start to think what is really important to him or her. You may be wondering how I got my two-year old to contribute to this process. We decided that we could do our ‘best guesses’ for Penny and write them in a different colour as Penny is quite good at communicating her likes and dislikes!

After a break we reconvened and I asked everyone to write down our favourite family memories. This sparked a lot of laughter, reminiscing, and story telling. It felt wonderful.

Using what we had gathered I started to pull out what is important to us as a family and how best we can support each other. Continually asking, guessing and checking throughout the time we spent together. The final job was to take a selfie. Sixteen attempts later, it was done but without the dog who refused to sit still! Arthur and Hayley then used power point to create the final version of our one-page family profile and it is now proudly attached to our fridge.

The impact has been great, I no longer nag as much, we have protected family time and we work together to make sure that we have meal times together, but bigger than that, we feel more ‘together’ than we have for a very long time.

 

beth blog

 

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