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Love is a team effort

Celebrating both my anniversary and Valentine’s Day in February reminds me of the different types of love in my own life. I’ve come to realize that love is really about teamwork, whether in marriage, family or friendship. We were made for relating with others. There is a lot of buzz about WIIFM (What’s in it for me?), but I see it differently. As a swimming and diving coach, I borrowed the adage, “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM (time and effort allow for great memories),” and I have stressed that message over and over with my players and within our own family. Being in a relationship with anyone means putting aside yourself, your opinions, and your needs occasionally to allow the other person to have their moment. Maybe the buzz should be WIIFU (What’s in it for us?). When we view life from this perspective, everyone wins and relationships are not only maintained but strengthened. I am not proposing that you totally lose yourself, becoming a “doormat” to those in your circle of friends and family. Here at YouthZone, we coach parents, youth and families to lovingly set limits with one another. Allow me to reminisce (since my husband and I are now “empty nesters”), and offer you a few examples of loving limits at work in our family. Instead of yelling at or even directing my daughter to pick up her room so I could finish my vacuuming, I would say “I will be happy to vacuum your room when you pick up your stuff from the floor.” At one point in my young son’s life, I became distraught at finding worms and various other creatures floating in our family laundry, so I told my son that I would be happy to do his laundry if he would first clean out his pockets. Both of these conversations let my kids know what I was willing to do, and gave them an idea or choice they could do to be part of the team. In both cases, they chose not to do the requested task, and so they both were vacuuming and doing their own laundry before their teen years. I got the results that I needed; they learned some new skills and our relationship was not damaged in the process. Now that’s a win-win situation. This technique works within most relationships. I recognize now that Time and Effort Allowed for great Memories within our family. We were and still are a great TEAM and continue to make great memories.At YouthZone, our tagline is “Connect and Grow.” We value relationships and strive to coach families toward healthier relationships. In the Pals training for mentors, we emphasize relationship, relationship, relationship and train our Pal mentors how to better relate, connect and communicate with the kids they mentor and their parents (the team). Our parenting classes offer suggestions and techniques to maintain and strengthen family relationships. If you would like more TEAM work in your own family give us a call at 945-9300 or 625-3141. Patty Schaffner is the YouthZone PALS mentoring director.


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