I’m so grateful for my deliberate parents and all that they’ve taught me through the years.  My favorite “deliberate” video of my Dad is in this post back HERE.  Love that man!

One wonderful thing my Dad did for us growing up was “interviews” that I have tried over the years to replicate.  I talked a little bit about them on my post about “favorite motherhood ideas” over HERE.

And ever since then I’ve had lots of questions come in as to what kind of questions to ask kids in interviews.  Questions are key.  But I believe that listening is even more key.  One of my very favorite books on communication is called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.  It has the best tips ever for listening.  I don’t remember the questions my dad asked…I’m sure different ones each month.  I just remember the feeling of knowing that he was looking out for me.  And he wantedto know the details.

I wanted to do that same thing for my kids, so I’m going to write down what I do.  Note that I don’t do this overly regularly.  It’s a grand idea to do it once a month, and sometimes I’ll go for a stretch of being really on-the-ball about it, and other times I’ll go through a LONG time without touching my “interview” book…like there is one year gap in there…that’s just how life rolls.  And that’s ok by me.

Because I know it’s there and I just try my best.

What book?  You may ask.  Well, years ago my brother gave me a “spiritual creation book” as a gift.  It’s just a large, black book filled with blank paper.  I use it for just that: “spiritual creation.”

Spiritual creation is anything I want to create or nurture with help from Heaven.  Things Dave and I discuss about what we want to do as a family.  Notes on each child.  Notes TO each child.  I have kept some of their “Mother’s Day letters in there (one of those ideas from the “7 motherhood ideas”).  That’s how our “family motto” {here} came to be (I have all my brainstorming doodling of the words we wanted to incorporate into that thing in that book):

 

 

It’s so interesting to me that my “goals” have remained so much the same for so many years:  Be organized.  Be THERE.  Be patient.  Boy, I guess it’s a good thing life is long cause it sure takes a long time to work on those things!

In a way, I kind of want this book to become a family tool kind of like my growing-up family’s “ancestor book”

(I wrote a whole bunch about that gem back HERE.)

But one of my favorite things that book has come to be is a record of the interviews I have with my kids.

At first I tried to do them all on one day once a month, but there was no way that little idea was happening.  Life is too busy.  Sundays aren’t long enough.  So then I decided that since there are four or five Sundays each month, I would have the first be for Max (first child), second Sunday would be Elle’s interview (second child), and so on.  Sure, there aren’t many fifth Sundays but with Lucy’s kind of special needs she seems to get “interviews” much more regularly just because of the way life is with her so she’s good.

…at least for now.

It all works really great when I am conscientious about it.

If it doesn’t work to do the kids on their own “week,” I try to cram in more one Sunday…and again, there are lots of Sundays this doesn’t work out at all.  
It’s just the goal that it’s there which makes me more conscientious.  And I LOVE having one on one time with these kids!

I always start out with these questions:

1)  What are you most excited about in life right now?

2)  What are you most worried about?

Those two often lead into discussions about different things on their minds or they just give me a little peek into how they’re doing if I take the time to really listen.

Then we talk about how they’re doing Physically, Socially, Mentally and Spiritually and make little goals they can work on for the month.

Here are some examples of the notes I took for one of Claire’s interviews.

I love it because on our next interview we can review what the concerns/worries were from the time we had an interview before and it helps us put everything in perspective.

Sometimes I have the kids bring their journals so they can write down the things they want to work on:

But now I just started having them bring their “Dream” binders we made (over HERE),

…and they write down the monthly things they want to accomplish in there.

I love having that framework to go with.

It’s all a work in progress, but it feels good to have a plan.

Back to the “which questions” question one more time, I think a good question to incorporate in would be “who have you noticed that may need your help?” …I want so much for them to be noticing those around them and reach outside of themselves and if we talk about it each month maybe they’ll start being more aware of those needs.

Another question my sister Saydi and I were just talking about is “Is there anything that has happened that has made you feel uncomfortable lately?”  Her wise point is that if kids know there is going to be a safe place to bring anything up (an interview) they will feel so happy to have that opportunity if there’s anything specific they are worrying about.  Sometimes it’s hard for kids to bring up stuff on their own.  Having a safe forum for sharing things can be so helpful.

Anyway, that’s what we do for what it’s worth!  So grateful for the “Interview” idea to get to know these children of mine in a way I wouldn’t otherwise.

Shawni Pothier

Shawni Pothier

Shawni Eyre Pothier is living the life she always dreamed of: the one where she gets to be a wife and a mother. She and her husband live in Phoenix with their five children. Shawni takes her job as a mother very seriously and strives to promote joy in the often treacherous journey of motherhood on her blog. Shawni’s fifth child (a daughter named Lucy) was born with a rare genetic syndrome that causes blindness (amidst a myriad of other health problems). Shawni and her mother, Linda Eyre, started the I Love Lucy Project and have become advocates for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and other organizations that may be able to help Lucy. While serving as Arizona’s Young Mother of the Year, she was named the National Young Mother of the Year by American Mothers for 2011. http://www.71toes.com/
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