Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Our 360 Experience

Sometimes when my husband makes suggestions or brings home ideas from work I cringe.  He's a six sigma certified black belt.  That means that he's an expert in getting rid of variance in a process.  He is trained to break a job down to it's simplest parts and eliminate anything that adds cost or time.  He's also trained to manage the people that do the jobs so that they happily buy into the new cost and time efficient processes that result.  His training is wonderful but I've discovered that employees have more motivation for change than do family members.  I've also discovered that I don't really like to change.

After a difficult time managing a farm job yesterday afternoon we all sat down to a family dinner and he proposed that we have a family meeting when the meal was over.  As the meal progressed everyone was in good spirits.  We talked and laughed and really enjoyed each others company.  When it was time for the family meeting Rob told us that we each should share something we recognize about ourselves that could use improvement and then share something that we see in each family member that could use improvement.  The goal as I understood it was to recognize that we all fall short of perfection and that there are some very real steps we could take to improve our family.

I will admit that I was sceptical.  Sharing faults is not my strong suit.  I'm a glass half full kind of girl and this seemed like a glass totally empty kind of activity.  I was wrong.  As we moved from person to person I was blessed to see that the comments were thoughtful and caring.  We were able to share some things with each other in a safe environment that really needed to be shared. 

We laughed together and truly listened to what others  had to say.  Most of the time we all agreed.  When we didn't agree we found it possible to let go without being defensive.  Our only difficult moment came when M8 cried while I held her.  Hearing about the things others don't like about you is hard for anyone but especially for a sensitive 8 year old.  Learning that some of your behaviors aren't charming is a tough lesson but it's a timely one.

Now I won't kid you that I found the process easy or especially pleasant.  It's hard to know that my children aren't blessed by me every minute of every day.  I'd love to be perfect for them.  It is good to know that I have the ability to bless them more often than I do.  It'll be difficult to break the huffy breath, eye roll habit that I have but I'm willing to try.  I'm also going to try to ask for help before I'm at the end of my rope.  And, I'm going to try to make my expectations clear and manageable. 

I think that we were all a little more mindful of our potential for improvement today.  I pray that as we move forward our circle remains unbroken and that we continue to find strength and support in each other.

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