I am enjoying a new pair of glasses. Not the look of them so much – but looking through them. Suddenly everything is in clear focus. It’s so nice to be able to see again! I can read messages on my phone without reaching for a magnifying glass. Those books I put aside ‘because the print is too small’ are again within my reach. And I can read street signs when I’m driving in my car.
Focus. Such an important thing!
Having a clear focus allows me to enjoy life more – to live effectively, safely, productively. My glasses are multi-focal, providing three levels of focus: a close focus for reading; a mid-range focus for talking to people; and a distance focus for seeing clearly where I’m going.
Reflecting on the value of focus for vision, I began to think about other types of focus in life.
Being a mother of preschoolers is a multi-focal occupation. Mothers focus on many aspects of life, including the needs of their family, their relationship with their partner, the raising of their children, the demands of a career, looking after their own health and energy, and being a positive leader in their sphere of influence.
Having a clear focus in our activities can change our lives from being a series of events that happen to us into a series of opportunities to achieve our more important goals as mothers, women and leaders. Conflict can drain away our energy or it can be turned into opportunity for learning and growth. The tedious tasks in mothering can become strategic and purposeful if we move our focus away from the task and onto the desired outcomes for our children. It is easier to be patient with our children during rebellious phases if we are focused on producing independent and capable adults rather than just restoring ‘peace’ for the moment. Having a clear focus on a lasting marriage that is still good after the children have left home will provide energy and motivation to invest in your relationship now, even in the tired years.
For weeks and months I had been complaining about not being able to see clearly, not able to read street signs, not able to read my phone. I carried a fold-up magnifying glass in my handbag to help me read labels when I was shopping. Then my daughter suggested it might be time to see the optometrist for new glasses. lol! So obvious! But wasn’t it only yesterday I had my last ‘new’ pair of glasses? I was shocked to discover it had been more than seven years between check-ups. So I made the appointment. Now I have new glasses and my world is back in focus.
If your life is feeling a bit blurry; if you feel that your focus is not as precise as it used to be, why not take some time out for evaluation? Try looking at your life ‘with new eyes’. Revisit – or re-establish – your parenting goals. What outcomes to do you desire for your children? How can you use everyday encounters as stepping stones to achieving these goals? How can you be proactive about modelling behaviours and attitudes you would like to see in your children when they are parents? What are your long term goals for your marriage? How can a clear focus on those goals affect your day-to-day interactions? As a mum you are a leader. How often do you review your leadership strategies? Who are you leading? Where are you taking them? How will a clear focus on your destination assist you to be a consistent, patient leader?
The answers to these questions will be different for different people and they will be different in different life stages. But it’s good to review them every now and then, to evaluate where you’ve been and assess where you’re going. And – don’t leave it too long between check-ups!