This article is about a trick to handling many of life’s hard situations.
I learned today that in handling situations, there is a perfect balance that will help us live happy and fulfilling lives. There’s an underlying rule of nature behind many of the situations we face – and it’s the rule of thirds:
For any challenge you come up with during your regular day as a parent, there is a perfect rule of thirds on how to handle the situation:
1/3 of all decisions will be to act.
1/3 of all decisions will be to wait.
1/3 of all decisions will be to ask for help.
We often don’t strike this balance. How often during your day do you ask for help? How often do you stand back and let the scene unfold without your active interference (go with the flow)? How often do you get in and rectify the situation straight away? What kind of person – or personality – are you?
Do you think you could stay aware of what kind of decisions you are making – act, wait or ask for help – during your day? It is helpful to see which way you swing and try to get to a ‘thirds’ balance. Imagine a wheel designed with three perfect sections, flat side up. And you pile up just one third section with weights, then spin the wheel. It will spin on an angle, grind as it fights between the movement in the air and the stiffness of the ground. It will slow to a stop.
This is what happens when you overload one of your options. The positive consequence is that you get plenty of practice in acting that way! But the negative consequence is that you could miss out on developing some essential life-skills, and teaching these to your children. And you may find that eventually, you burn out.
So, here is a quiz to help you identify how you tend to handle parenting challenges. Use notepaper to record your answer (A, B or C) and tally up your letters at the end.
1. Do you mostly entertain or care for your children with the help of other carers?
2. Do you correct (or sometimes get frustrated with) your partner or kids when they don’t do something the easy or best way?
3. Do you find yourself dreaming of what life could be like, and talking about your dreams and desires often?
4. Do you find your relationships with your partner, children, friends and family can be up-and-down and you sometimes have heated disagreements?
5. Do you find you have health issues, or you take medicine often?
6. Are you mostly early or often waiting for others to arrive?
7. Do you find your partner, friends or family are especially supportive, caring and helpful?
8. Do you find your children are very independent but sometimes you struggle to spend time together and have a meaningful relationship?
9. Do you find that people seem to get their ideas heard before you, or you avoid people who are more assertive than you?
10. Are you good at delegating jobs in your family, or are you most comfortable as a manager at work?
11. Do you classify objects and jobs into men’s and women’s jobs?
12. Do you find you are sometimes nervous at going out on your own with your children, or that you rely on your partner for handling problems with your kids?
You should hopefully have at least 5 letters written down. Add up how many A’s you have, how many B’s, and how many C’s.
If you have mostly an equal skew of letters, you have a very good balance in your life in the way you handle parenting challenges.
If you have mostly C’s, your tendency may be to Ask for Help .
You may call yourself a passive person, or be a good peace-keeper. You are a people-person and everyone is gentle and kind to you, but you may feel you are taken advantage of sometimes.
If you have mostly A’s, your tendency may be to Wait.
When you have a problem, you might talk lots about your situation but shrug off or reject advice. Or you might say you are happy to go with the flow. You may have exceptional skills in patience, and you may be easy-going and flexible, but sometimes you feel depressed and stuck in a situation while others around you get everything they want.
If you have mostly B’s, your tendency may be to Act.
You simply and quickly make a plan and start doing what needs to be done, solo. If you really feel something needs to be done, you are powerful and can get things moving by yourself. You’re busy and active and not afraid of change, but you’re often consumed in your thoughts and miss the beauty in right now.
Think about how the descriptions above affect your life and your relationships in the long-term, and whether your children will develop good life skills if they follow in your footsteps.
Getting the balance right means you will need to think about the best way to handle a situation when you face challenges during the week. Keep in mind the rule of thirds: for the first situation, act. For the second, wait. For the third, ask for help. (It will depend on the situation and your children’s safety and health).
Here are some tips on how you can improve your balance:
If you need to WAIT more:
Wow – this can be a hard one. Many of us are so well trained to ‘control’ that we often can’t sit back and let energy do the work for us. To wait, all you need to do is be clear in your thoughts and in your words what you want to happen. Then surrender. Accept that you will do nothing. You will soon see that what you wanted to happen will naturally unfold in front of you. And you and your children will be more relaxed and have more fun bonding in the meantime.
If you need to Ask for Help more :
How often do we feel like we need to handle a problem on our own? In truth, a person very close to you has broad shoulders and is very capable of carrying the load. Trust and empower that person, whether it is your partner, brother, or father, or a caring friend. You can even ask your kids for help as they love being empowered, and they love the opportunity to learn a new skill or take on a new responsibility.
If you need to Act more:
The most important thing is that you recognize that you are not acting, and you figure out if not acting is a conscious decision or is a habit. It’s easy to act on some things. Mostly these things are within your comfort zone, or you have experienced the situation before. But sometimes we are unconsciously afraid and hide from taking the situation in our own hands. Sometimes we are genuinely confused and are weary of making mistakes. Know that the people around you will support you the whole way, enlist a support person if you need, and take the first step now. Literally – take the first step, make a phone call, get your hands dirty, change your clothes and get stuck into the task at hand.
Day by day we aim to repair our bodies and have trust, faith and optimism for the future. You can join me as I walk to wellness in the private facebook group Joanna Haley Homestead (Journey to Wellness)
Joanna Haley, Author