Anchors in the storm

Jan 19, 2019

I posted on social media last week about "anchors" in our rhythms as a family and how they can hold us together. 

What is an anchor? An anchor grounds us to a place we have intentionally chosen; it keeps us there despite how calm or rough the sea may be. Sure, we may bounce around but we stay in our general location.

"Anchors" in our rhythm are things we do consistently, at an expected time, that we come to rely on. The beauty in these is their simplicity. Anchors may be a morning walk before homeschooling or always greeting your children with muffins and tea at the bus stop. Or having read aloud after rest time. Perhaps you say a blessing before your meal and light a candle. It could be Saturday morning pancakes. It could be a bath and foot massage just before bed. Or special celebrations and meals for the change of the seasons. 

These consistent happenings in our daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms are powerful. They foster a deep connection between us as family members. They create an expected pause in life where all else drops away, even if just for a moment, and you sip together from the same cup. 

For your youngest children they are guaranteed times of connection with you. With little bits of expected, reliable connection sprinkled throughout the day, they will be able to play more independently and follow grown up direction more easily.

With older children, even when they might roll their eyes at these silly family rituals, they will benefit from them and miss them if you forget. It's often the teens who we think are sick of our Saturday tea dates who will notice first when we forget.

So, yes, I've been ruminating on this for the past month. That's because my "ship" is currently on wavy waters. Our family is going through a big transition and there can be a feeling of chaos taking over connection. 

Except.
We still go on a walk every morning before homeschooling lessons.
We still light a candle, say a blessing, and share our favorite moment from the day.
We still build a fire on Sundays.
We still hike under the full moon.

It would be easy to let go of these little rituals because we have other things to do or it feels like they might take some amount of energy we don't have. But, truth be told, every time I choose to skip one of our anchors, it makes life harder. I end up doing more work just to keep everyone together. The lack of connection creates an increase in chaos and overwhelm.

I've learned through the years to muster what strength I have to follow through with these consistent times in our family rhythm and to make sure they happen.

From my work with families, as few as 2-3 consistent anchors in your day and week will carve out time for connection and pause your family will learn to expect. 

So what do you do if you aren't sure your family has any consistent anchors? First, don't try to recreate daily life so these fit in. When we try to completely replace the old with new, we often fail. Instead think of a time when you feel you *need* that connection as a family. Is it right before walking out the door to school? Is it between dinner and bedtime? Start with the one place you feel connection is needed. Create ONE, SMALL, DOABLE change. Wait to see if it sticks and then add from there.

Friends, life can be unexpected and full of surprises. Create some anchors in your life so regardless of what comes your way, you already have times of connection and pause built into your life. This way the storms and the waves won't overtake you. You'll return to where you anchored before the storm.

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