Every Sunday, the Bloomington, Illinois newspaper, The Pantagraph, runs the Hearts at Home newspaper column. This weekly column is written my myself and three other moms to encourage families. You can find the column online here with new encouragement posted every week.
This past Sunday my article addressed how to take new ideas and make them into realities for your family. I thought this information was timely for those who are just returning home from the Hearts at Home conference. But it’s also applicable to anyone reading a practical book or even listening to a sermon at church. May this encourage you with integrating new ideas into your real life.
For thousands of moms who attended the Hearts at Home conference this weekend, this week represents a new beginning. For each mom, fresh vision, new ideas, and equipping strategies now fill her mind causing her to feel more equipped than she did last week, but likely a bit overwhelmed, as well.
I’ve experienced that feeling many times over the years following a conference event, a parenting workshop, or even after reading a really good book about any topic that is relevant to my life. What do you do with new information and how do you keep from being overwhelmed with all that you’ve learned?
Perhaps these tried and true tips will assist in the transition back to reality:
Debrief: Discuss what you learned with your spouse or a friend as soon as possible. The more you talk about it, the more you’ll retain.
Set realistic goals: Choose two or three concepts or “nuggets of gold” that you want to institute in some way. Set goals to help you accomplish your new strategies. Let the rest of the information serve as encouragement and perspective, but don’t try to conquer the world with all your new ideas.
Create visual reminders: Index cards with quotes or clue words, can help us move an idea into reality. You can also use technology like your cell phone, electronic calendars, or screen savers for regular visual reminders.
Ask for accountability: If you fear that you’ll fall into old habits, ask your spouse or a friend for accountability. Give them permission to ask how you are doing with new goals or strategies and offer them information regularly.
Communicate changes: Share with your family new strategies or goals you’d like to pursue. If your children are older you may need to bring them along on your new perspectives so they aren’t caught off guard.
Give grace and time: Often our learning experiences are a solo expedition. Give grace to a husband who might not be as excited as you are about your new ideas. Remember that he didn’t get the opportunity to hear the speaker or read the book the same way you did. Allow time for him to catch the vision.
Keep learning: Let this experience be a reminder of the value of continuing education in family matters. Along the parenting journey it becomes easy to have our vision clouded and our perspective skewed. Learning experiences are an essential part of keeping a clear vision and a healthy perspective about the relationships most important to us.
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