Manifesto: A written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer (Merriam-Webster)
As 2012 gets off to a start, I’ve already promised myself not to have any resolutions — especially those that may not happen all year as I’d like. However, I do have a bit of something to say and create in 2012 for our family.
Independence. Imagination. Healthy bodies. Courageousness. Sacred moments. Connection.
We’ve done all of these things but I feel now is the time to focus on doing them differently now that the girls are older. It’s not easy to push away the brain that is used to parent a baby and toddler. Our children are not babies or toddlers anymore. They turn 6 next week. And yet I want to protect them, give them the answers, help them — as I have always done.
I’ve been inspired this week by Patti Digh’s new Web site launch party for 37 Days when she confessed — and became quite emotional — to needing to be home more with her daughter and wanting to create a different way to be with family in 2012. She also encouraged viewers to focus on what’s yearning inside of them rather than the obstacle even though, she said, the obstacle is often what drives the story.
For us, I’d say, the yearning is to follow our dreams. The obstacle is fear and self-doubt. This came up when my husband and I both burned the words self-doubt at our church’s burning ceremony. We didn’t plan that.
I’ve also been inspired this week by Amanda and Stephen Soule’s book, “The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons,” a lovely little book that gives you things to make and do for each month of the year. The Rhythm of Family has one section dedicated to writing a manifesto for the seasons, which is a great idea. However, I really wanted our manifesto to be something that we can use in all seasons, all year and no matter what happens. It will probably change next year and again the year after that. This manifesto compliments our family mission statement that we have written in a little tiny book that sits on our dresser that just professes our values and reminds us of what is most important to us.
To write a Family Manifesto — and I’ve written others for my writing and myself before — it’s important to include these three things:
- Honor each other: Promote love in your manifesto if you do nothing else. Love to each other. Love to the earth. Love to the rest of your family. Love for just being here, where you are. Love for yourself. Or find some other way to say it but spread love because these connections to each other are valuable and irreplaceable. A manifesto needs to remember the most important ingredients. There may be more, but Start with Love.
- Absolutely Positively Upbeat: Your manifesto should include positive statements, happy statements — things that make you go, “Yeah!” This isn’t about losing weight, it’s about honoring our bodies and staying healthy so we can run and play together more as a family. This isn’t about spending less, it’s about using what we have in the most creative, useful ways. This isn’t about ridding ourselves of self-doubt, it’s about being brave and trying new things.
- Happy, Happy, Happy: What makes you happy as a family? What are those moments that you look back upon and laugh, smile, cry with joy? Yes, those! They are the ones you want more of this year or this month or this season. More ways to connect. Find the laughter in all the moments, even the difficult ones. Discover new things or new places. Take more adventures. Whatever it is, include it!
Here’s our manifesto.
How about you? What’s in your manifesto for this year? I’d love to read them and get to know your family better.