By Tonya D., Construction Manager at Kellogg Canada Inc.
We were touched by this authentic story shared by Tanya on how she used the Homeward Bound Framework to create a stronger relationship with one of her children. If you’re so inspired, please share what resonates for you in the comments below.
When Steve Drury asked us to grab a card off the wall I immediately gravitated to this tool for one reason, because I find this the most challenging tool in the Pathways to Leadership® repertoire. Degrees of Strength –comes to me naturally, 3 S’s of Yes – check, Energy Map – pretty good, Homeward Bound – crap. I had that little white card in the visor of my car for 2 months and the only time I had looked at it was when I went to check and see if I had anything in my teeth and it fell out and hit me in the face at the intersection of Highbury and Hamilton Road. Why was it so hard for me to remember to do this?
1) My drive home from work is usually done on auto pilot. Countless times I have actually pulled into the driveway and I genuinely don’t remember the drive. The result is that when I walk in the front door I am still on auto pilot; enter house, close door, put down bag and keys, say hello to Dave, ask about status of dinner, get mad at dog for barking to get my attention, empty lunch bag, etc.
2) When I leave work I am already so tired mentally and I find questions 1 and 2 take a great deal of thought for me to come up with good answers. What did I learn today that is valuable??? What did I do well today?? Some days it seems impossible to come up with answers to these questions.
That was when I realized that the whole point of this exercise is to get me on the front side of the energy map and give me good momentum and some definitive direction on the way home so that I am recharged by the time I get there and focused on being my best ever with my family. It is the end result that is important, not necessarily how I get there. So I decided to adjust this tool a bit to make it work for me. Instead of doing it in the car ride home, I take that time to listen to some carefree, happy music; puts me in a good mood. Then, when I pull into the driveway, I turn off the car and I pull out the card. I ask myself the first two questions and if I struggle to come up with an answer I don’t dwell on it, I skip to question number 2.5, what did I accomplish today? This is easier for me to answer and it still puts me on the front side of the Energy Map. The answer to question 3 is always the same: my health, my kids, and my husband. Now I’m on the front side and I am focused on my family.
Question 4 (specific direction to accomplish my goals) is perhaps the most important: How can I be the best mom, wife, daughter, friend I’ve ever been tonight? I pick one of the relationships that I have (with more emphasis on the people who are most present in my life) and I come up with one way to make that person feel loved and special to me. Sometimes it is as small as making a point to sing the kids a song before bed, or actively seeking them out the second I get home to give them each a big hug and kiss, or giving Dave a little wink while were making dinner and then following through when the kids fall asleep. Sometimes it’s a little more…
After two weeks of using the Homeward Bound Framework, I decided that I wanted to do something bigger. My son Logan is the oldest child (8 years) and often feels like he gets much less attention than Jack (our youngest and more challenging child). When I got to question 4 I decided that I wanted to do something special for Logan, something he would not soon forget. I went inside the house and told Dave my idea, I had his full support. I spent most of the evening on-line making arrangements and when I was done (at around 10pm) I couldn’t contain my excitement, so I went to Logan’s room and woke him up to tell him. I’m not sure how much he really understood because he had this huge smile come over his face and then he sort of started to snore with his eyes still open.
That weekend we had a weekend of firsts for him an adventure for just the two of us. We boarded a train to Toronto Saturday morning and got off downtown near the Air Canada Center. We walked to our hotel in Maple Leaf Square where we were greeted by the concierge as Ms. and Master Donnelly and when we got to the room Logan was floored by the wall to wall view of the CN Tower from our window. He thought the room itself was “sick” (which I’m not too old to know is a good thing) and he loved the little tiny bathrobe and cookies that they left out just for him. We took the subway, saw the Eaton Center, stood on the glass floor of CN Tower, held hands as we walked together downtown to have dinner and saw an amazing show (Cavalia – Cirque de Soleil meets horses). It was an incredible weekend, an experience I know he will remember for the rest of his life.
That little white card that I so often forget to look at inspired me to be the best mother I can be and gave my son a feeling of worth and importance that he otherwise may not have gotten. It is so easy to leave Pathways to Leadership® at work (with your desk and your computer), but the people in our lives who are most important, who will still be there when we are old, retired or sick, when we don’t have work anymore, are the people who deserve to experience us at our best.
How will you use the Homeward Bound Framework to create the best experience at home tonight? Share your thoughts below.