Reading a self-help books are real challenge. There is so much build-ups in the books that they become a pain in the ass. And by the time something substantial comes up readers calls for the quit. That is a reason people look for the summaries of such books.
So without much ado or build-up here is the summary of Family Wisdom by Robin Sharma an excellent parenting book.
There are five mastery principles which Julian, the monk from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari series preaches to his sister Catherine to improve her family life and to bring up her children into smart and good human being. This is in nutshell summary of build-up which the author took 59 pages to present.
So the first mastery is about parents being a family leader.
Your first gift to kids must be quality and quantity of time spend with them. So spend generous amount of time with your family.
So how parents especially mothers could be the leader of the family. By setting good examples in front of your kids which they can emulate to become better human being and instill in them leadership quality by always leading from the front.
See your family as a personal community. And strive to have good relation and communication as we always try to do with other people of community. We strike a good rapport with other people but sadly ignores those who lives with us that is our family.
One must have a dream and then a vision to fulfill that dream. For that set goals to meet your vision that will fulfill your dream. Dream what kind of family you want and vision the path which will help to achieve it and set your goals.
Spend time in solitude and introspect. Jot down the Brainstorming ideas which comes to the mind and renew your focus. Even encourage kids to spend time with themselves. It is not necessary to fill all the waking hours of the day with noises. A quite time with oneself is also necessary.
Sometimes let the child within you see the light of the day. Dance, sing do something silly things which makes you feel like a kid, make you feel younger, light and energetic. This in turn will bring your kids more closer to you.
Concentrate on vital few rather than mundane many. Don’t waste the better part of the day in doing some unproductive irrelevant thing. And above all never brush off the kids for your mundane me time like watching TV, gossiping, net surfing and similar things.
Make your home a haven to live in. Instill reading habit in your kids. Read books to them. Flowers are great source of peace and tranquility So let some fresh flowers into your home every day. Sunlight is also a vital source of energy let it come into your home and enlighten your soul. So is some fresh air which will do good for both your lungs and spirit.
Spending some good quality time means shutting off all the unnecessary noises like tv, radio, mobile phones, video games, computers and enjoy an oasis of peace. Have dinner together. Watch a comedy movie together and laugh out loud with your family. Enjoy each other company.
Speak the heartfelt truth. Do not fester on the wounds inflicted by your loved one. Tell them.
So in nutshell parents have to be leader of the family not by giving out orders but by setting examples.
With this finishes the First Mastery lesson. Lets begin with the second one which is Shift from Scolding the Child to Molding the Leader.
Easier said then done. In the heat of the moment parents loose control, yell, shout and even smack their kids but try and try, do introspection, envision your reaction next time when such a situation arises. Not the thoughts of Julian but just sharing my personal experience.
Back to the summary. Well Julian begins telling something which just lift some weight from my heart. Ha says parents sometimes in a day or in week should find time for themselves in order to rejuvenate their energies. Only a happy person can keep others happy. So me-time is a must for every parent and should be enjoyed without feeling guilty. It is also a selfless act according to the Julian.
Never scold your kids but try to mold them by giving them your unconditional love. Touch their hearts with your love and they will comply willingly.
Kids do many things throughout the day. Some are right and many gets on your nerve. Recognize and appreciation and praise them for the right things done but don’t scold them instead reason with them and slowly they will learn to differentiate right from wrong. But sincere praise is a must as it means a world to kids when it comes from parents. Sincere praise is a great motivator.
Julian gave good example. A father instead of yelling at his son misdeeds simply ask him what’s the lesson learned here. A simple question leaves the child in pondering mode. First time is always a learning experience. When done second time it is a mistake.
Don’t look upon failures as a setback. They are also a learning experience. Celebrate failure just like success to boost their confidence to keep trying. Try and try until you succeed. Boost morale instead of being critical.
Strengthen relation with your family with the cement of trust. Be a trust builder. This could be done by keeping up promises and remain committed to the commitments at every cost. So only make promise which you can keep. Also keep the promises made to oneself this will build one’s own self trust and credibility in others eyes.
Be an aggressive listener which means giving the kids full attention to what they are saying. This in turn sends powerful indication of value and respect which builds trust of kids in parents. In this way parents can connect to kid’s heart.
To be utterly and completely honest with your views, opinions and advice helps to increase trust. Words are power. If used with care they are healer and when used casually could hurt profoundly.
Instead of gathering materialistic thing gather human moments. Now what does human moments means. It means those moments where people connects together to spend some quality time, to know each other in better way, shower your loved ones with love and affection . Accumulate lovely memories with your family which will be a treasure all your life. It will help to strengthen relationship.
Kids emulate their parents. They dreams to become like their parents. So it is high time for parents to become responsible adults as they are being watched constantly for inspiration.
Openly express your affection for each other.
So in nutshell smacking kids doesn’t yield desirable results on a long term basis. Instead win the trust of kids, give them your love and affection, listen to them and keep your promises. If done kids will obey you and respect you irrevocably.
Before talking about The Third Mastery there are some traits of happy family. Lets point out them first.
For happiest family, family comes first.
Members spend a lot of time together both quantity and quality. Don’t fail to express their love for each other as often as possible.
Both way communication where a lot of listening is done.
Marital happiness is a big key to the well being of the entire family.
Very true. If there is a good relation between husband and wife then then entire family get along well.
Now coming back to Third Mastery which is named as Focus on Your Child Greatness, Not Weakness
We as human beings are so busy in finding week points in others especially in our children that we ignore their strong points thinking their true talent will find way out anyhow. But this according to Julian doesn’t happen. Person’s real talent is lost in the ocean of criticism and condemning.
Its parents duty to make children aware of their special talent which every child have and to fire it so that they could reach the epitome of their personal talent and live their best lives. There should be competition and comparison not with others but with oneself.
Julian had pointed out four strategies to achieve it envision daily, set goals weekly, walk with giants and give graciously.
First envision daily is all about using our creative imagination to manifest our thoughts into reality“. It is a kind of mental exercise of brain. It is a powerful technique where you imagine doing something which otherwise in reality you are afraid of doing.
So how to do it. Sit in a peaceful place with eyes close. Start imagining and visualizing the difficult situation you are facing and tackling it. This will rewire the brain and fear that is holding you back come to be replaced by the strength that will push them forward.
For example if a child is bullied in school. Let him visualize standing up to the bully. This will rewire the brain and so when faced in reality much to the child’s own surprise his fears are replace with fearlessness and his body and mind will react accordingly.
For adults minimum 20 mins visualizations is fine and for kids 5 mins is suffice. It will eliminate weaknesses, improve behavior , conquer fear and grow into peak performer.
Second is Weekly goals. Goals are so very necessary in life. They give direction to life, a sense of purpose, a feeling of worthiness, productive utilization of time, keep away the distraction, clarity of desires, alert to new opportunities, to make wiser choices, clarity of intentions, burn a fire to achieve the goal.
Another advantage of setting goal as stated by Julian, never leave the site of a goal without taking some action towards its advancement. In other words an idea dies before seeing the light of the day if it is not put into play, if not act up on it. Be it anything. Just don’t sit on the idea and do nothing.
Walking with giant the third among the point which will help achieve personal greatness. How can that be done. By reading books about and books written by great thinkers, personality, philosophers.
Julain says, “By reading you can find out what made these great leaders laugh and cry. You can discover how they handled diversity. You can learn the organizing principles by which they lived their lives. Associating with great minds is definitely one of the best way to improve the quality of your own mind.”
The final strategy to personal greatness is Giving Generously. The hand that gives is the hand that gathers and that giving begins the receiving process. And giving doesn’t necessarily means money. It could be a warm hug, a big smile, food, clothes, flowers, praise. Just help your child to pick up the habit of giving and gifting.
Julian has also added a few thoughts on the word discipline. Never discipline a child when you are angry. It leads to means to de-stress yourself at the cost of child self-esteem. Just mark clear cut boundaries. This marks the end of third mastery.
So in nutshell the four tools or strategies stated by Julian are excellent to mold one’s life and also someone’s life only when they become a habit. A habit to give, a habit to read and follow, a habit meditate daily, a set goals and strive to achieve it. For all this a strong will power is necessary.
To Be An Excellent Parent, Become An Excellent Person is the title of the fourth mastery. Isn’t it an excellent line which the author has come up. It’s like he has filled ocean in the pot with this single line.
In the previous three masteries, Julian kept on speaking about how children emulates parents so become what you want your child to become. But how to become that human being or excellent person whom our children will love to follow.
Like children, parents should also realize their full potential. In all the three ways mentally, physically and spiritually to live their lives fully and become a excellent person who become a light for their children and family and this world.
Why it is so imperative to become an excellent person before becoming an excellent parent. To this Julian replies with a very good example of air hostesses whose one of the instruction to the passenger is to first wear your oxygen mask properly before helping other co-passengers.
In other words before you can help others, you must help yourself. To manage your family in excellent way, you must first manage yourself in excellent way. You can’t do great things for your kids unless you first think great thoughts. You can’t do good in your life unless you feel good. You cannot love your children unless you first love yourself.
So Julian ask to renew oneself which one could easily do by bringing a few changes in one’s lifestyle.
First is to join 5 O’ clock Club. In other words become an early riser. I personally think it is a great idea. Whole day is spend for family and work where is the time for oneself. The answer is to wake up early and use those previous hour or two just for your inner development. Meditate, visualize, reading, listening music, gardening or taking up a new hobby. Just do anything but for yourself.
Next is to look after your body. To be physically fit and healthy especially the woman of the family. If she is healthy than she can take care of the entire family. Body is a temple worship it. It is like a vehicle, when properly cared and honored will give you the best mileage.
Health is wealth is a famous saying. Julian says the person who doesn’t make time for exercise must eventually make time for illness. When we are young we sacrifice our health for wealth but when we grow old and wise we are willing to sacrifice all our wealth for health. Without health we cannot enjoy the wealth.
Another thing which he points out is to always do the right thing or else you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing. For example if you miss one workout then you weaken your resolve to workout daily and strengthen the habit of not working out. Eventually you miss more workout. This further strengthen the negative habit of not working out which very soon will replace the positive habit of working out. Marvelous point isn’t it. I think this is the way people breaks their new year resolutions.
Third is to maintain a journal recording your day’s activities, reflecting on them, writing insights on important issues, lesson drawn from them, note key success strategies, observations and commitments.
According to Julian this single habit will help a person to grow wiser each passing day. It will provide a tool to leverage past experience into future successes. It will also increase self awareness. And above all it gives a chance to have regular one to one conversation with yourself. It will also help you live in a more conscious and intentional way.
Powerful tool indeed but could be misused easily if gets in wrong hands.
In between he quoted Dalai lama’s definition on spirituality. Dalai Lama says when I use the word spiritual I mean basic human good qualities. These are :human affection, a sense of involvement, honesty, discipline, and human intelligence properly guided by good motivation.
I think this is the best definition on spiritualism I have ever read and clears so many things. For many people spirituality is following a guru or following some group like Bhramakumaris or Osho or Art of Living.
Last point towards self renewal is taking weekly sabbatical leave. Be it any day in the week which is spend all alone doing things which you always wanted to do, going to a place where you always wish to go, spending in the way you want. It is a gift you are giving to yourselves.
With this comes to end the fourth mastery. It was short and to the point. I think some more points could be included in this chapter of self-renewal but then Robin Sharma has written a whole book on this topic The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
In nutshell, having an organised daily routine parents set a road for their children to follow. Caring for your body especially what you eat is so very important. Children, whose parents prefer home-made food, ultimately will always prefer the same as they grow up little wiser with age. Exercising and keeping a journal is especially a good idea when the habit of writing faces a slow death after the end of educational life.
The fifth and last mastery is about the Giving Your Child Immortality Through the Gift Of Legacy. It is the smallest lesson in the book. It has a simple lesson to teach. Just don’t live for yourself. But keep doing small small things for others as well that you live in the heart of the people forever.
With this ends the book Family Wisdom. Read my review of Family Wisdom