Sometimes you can do “a world of good” right at home! Someone gave us a good idea once and we got stuck on it!
On the first Friday of every month Richard and I had a standing date for what we called a “Five Facet Review”. It meant going out to a restaurant and spending some time talking about our multiple children…as individuals. We talked about each of the five facets of their lives and how we thought they were doing. Now you might thing that with nine children and five facets for each one to talk about we’d have to go to a Chinese restaurant with 45 courses. NOT! We found that most of the kids were doing fine in most categories but every once in a while we would hit a bump! One needed reading help; we later learned that he had some pretty interesting learning disabilities which we may not have noticed had we not zeroed in on how he was doing mentally. Another was socially awkward and we decided to have her invite friends to our house with the specific purpose of watching what happened while she was interacting to see if we could find ways to help.
You get the picture. All in all, although I’m sure we missed some months, we really believe that we caught some little problems before they became big and had a handle on what each of our children was really about. It was fun and a great way to make our marriage feel like a partnership.
Our daughter who has five children ranging in age from 4-14, has a terrific blog here. She posted today about the way this tradition has moved into her family. She and her husband have a little different way of doing this but it works for them. She explains it better than we could so here you go:
FIVE-FACET REVIEWS (from Shawni Eyre Pothier)
I want so much to get this new school year started off on the right track.
Dave had the kids write out their schedules for Family Home Evening minute-by-minute, practice times are all set, jobs are being done and all that jazz, but I need to have my own time lined out and managed well in order to help each of them the best I can.
This means I need to really know exactly what they’re up against with school, friends, etc. I want to get to the bottom of their most desired extracurricular activities and I want to know what they may be worried about, etc.
And with five kids running around sometimes the unique, individual needs of each one of them get lost in the shuffle.
That’s where “Five-Facet Reviews” come in (another great idea from my parents).
The idea is that you sit down with your spouse (or someone else who knows and loves your children) once a month (or whenever is feasible) and talk about how each child is doing in their “five-facets” of life:
I love discussing the specifics of each child with Dave in the light of these particular categories because man alive, there is so much that he notices that I don’t. And there are so many solutions he comes up with that I never in a million years would have. There’s something about having that detailed conversation that puts up red flags in my mind about things we need to work on that I may have never thought of otherwise. It also helps me feel content about the things that are going well. It helps me be deliberate, and that’s my main goal as a mother.
Most of all, Five-Facet Reviews help me see into the personalities of my children in a deeper way.
And I love that.
Now, please don’t picture us doing this like clockwork every month (although I wish we would). In our family it doesn’t work to do some formal deal like my parents did. Sometimes I just make sure we cover these topics casually during a date-night or Dave will bring up something he’s been worried about one particular child as we fall asleep at night. Dave doesn’t clap his hands in glee when I say stuff about five-facet reviews because he doesn’t go for formal stuff like that. But we are both well aware of the “facets” and we make sure we talk them through whenever we can.
Because of these discussions I’ve been prompted to push a little more spirituality with some kids. Dave and I discuss Lucy’s eating habits and how we can guide them. We’ve talked about how Max needs help getting more excited about reading (please send great book suggestions if you have any…), and things like whether or not we should push Elle into trying out for the volleyball team. In our discussions we have realized things like how Grace needs more math help and Claire needs to somehow get more sleep. Then we make a plan and get to work.
It helps us to know our children in a deeper way.
Really know them.
I think parenting has to be made and re-made over and over and over again. It seems like just when we figure out the perfect solution to a particular situation through endless tweaking and prayer and pushing, another child will throw you for a loop and will need parenting from an entirely different ball-field. Each child is so darn unique. That’s why I love this so much. It makes the “re-mix” of parenting for each child that much easier.