In the early phase of my divorce, I was looking for ways to keep my children tightly knit, as I saw a moment where our new family unit could potentially crumble. I would do everything in my power to keep us together so they felt safe and like they belonged. I turned to searching the Internet about how other parents had achieved this and came across many inspiring stories touching on teamwork.
I wanted something stronger than just the word “team” for my children to associate our family with. I was searching and searching and somehow an unrelated image popped onto my screen.
It was an image of a crew rowing a boat. I had an epiphany…we were a Family Crew!
I was in awe of this image because it was exactly how I wanted our family to function. Here’s why: when you are part of a rowing crew, working together is critical and every person puts in the same amount of effort to move the boat towards the finish line. No one gets left behind.
I brought up the concept to the children as we were having our weekly family meeting (in the jacuzzi to make it fun) and they loved the idea. I asked them if they wanted to be part of it and it was unanimously “YES!” We started to brainstorm the rules. Since my children were in middle school and younger, it was fun to hear what being part of The Crew meant to them, but it was also great to see their boost of confidence that they belonged and that they were important. My favorite was when my youngest said, “All for one and one for all!” in his most magnanimous 5-year-old voice.
I highly suggest you create your own Family Crew. Not only did it help us get through the divorce transition, it continues to serve us as we move through life together. It reminds them that they are important on a regular basis. (It even helps them think about who the right fit will be to add to The Crew when I marry again, and creating their own Crews when they grow up.)
6 simple steps to follow to create your own Family Crew:
1. Post a photo of what “The Crew” is to you and your family (even if it is an image like the one in this post.)
2. Talk about the behaviors of this type of crew touching on the sense of belonging and the desire to help others
3. Ask each family member if they want to be part of the crew
4. After everyone has decided they want to be part of it, determine the rules of how you want to operate
5. Create your family manifesto and post it in central location in your home
6. As you live each day, refer back to how to work together as The Crew. When things are tough, be there for one another. When people try to break you apart, draw in closer. When things are great, celebrate together. You’ll see very quickly improved attitude and love abounds when you are unified as one.
I lovingly refer to my children as “The Crew” and I LOVE it when friends and family ask how my Crew is doing and compliment how close we are. It is a cool way to stay close and makes us all happy to be family.