The Dalai Lama was once asked, “How would you describe the world if you only had one word.” His reply, “Complicated!” Perhaps that same word can be used to describe “life,” not just for adults, but also for our children. In his book, The On-Purpose Person, Kevin McCarthy suggests we are challenged as we try to grow and balance our life accounts. They’re a lot like checking accounts. We make deposits and withdrawals in the areas of life we manage. Here’s a sample of the life accounts your children are juggling:
Physical Health Family Relationships
Mental Toughness Emotional Maturity
Spiritual Growth Friends/Social
School Performance Sport Skills
The Life Balance Wheel provides kids with an opportunity to rate their level of satisfaction in each category from zero (low) to 10 (high). This visual representation helps them to honestly assess where they are today, and decide in what area they would like to increase their level of satisfaction. It also confirms that the management of these areas is their responsibility, and parents are present as ever-loving supporters during the journey.
After each category of the Life Balance Wheel is scored and the areas are connected, it becomes obvious that some wheels don’t roll very smoothly. You might say, “Life is rough sometimes when we aren’t balanced in our level of satisfaction.”
The next step is to ask five Discovery Questions:
What area is my first priority to improve because it would make the greatest difference in my life?
What are my current obstacles to improvement in this area?
What are my strengths and possible resources for growth? Whose help will I need?
What are my action steps for the next two weeks?
What would success look like?
Some children might be able to handle growth in two areas at one time, but for many kids having one area as a top priority is the best way to make meaningful improvement. Focusing on too many areas at once is a sure way to get discouraged.
Allow your children to rate their levels of satisfaction without your help, regardless of your opinions on the topics. Invite them to choose their area(s) of intended improvement and their course of action. Help them to understand that just like a checking account, these life accounts grow in value when we make deposits of time, effort, and energy. With a little encouragement, children can come to see the full scope of managing life, and also develop strategies for learning and growing in the areas needing attention.