I will never forget the day when my family went for a sail around the waters of Sandy Hook, NJ and we got caught in an unexpected storm.  Growing up, my parents were fortunate to have a small sailboat to take us out on little day adventures. 

On this particular day, while we were out, the wind really picked up, creating whitecaps on the water. The weather was too risky to attempt our trip home, so my parents decided to duck into a nearby cove and drop the anchor to ride out the storm. I was a super nervous sailor, so getting stuck in this surprise storm was not ideal for me. But I remember feeling safe and secure once the anchor was nestled deep into the muddy floor of the cove. Once I noticed my parents settled and calm, that was my cue to feel like I could breathe. Even though the wind was whipping around outside, I knew we would be safe because the anchor would hold strong.

An anchor is powerful, heavy, and unbreakable. Blowing wind and crashing waves may push a boat around, but the anchor is strong and unwavering, serving as a reliable source of strength for a sailor. It is what grounds the vessel, allowing it to bob in the water without drifting away. And even in certain weather, when a sailor needs to add more slack on the line to allow more leeway, the anchor’s hold maintains the sailor’s position. The anchor is quite dependable.

In life, we are constantly met and challenged with situations out of our control, especially in our role as parents! When challenges arise in your parenting, what keeps you anchored through the storm? What is connecting your family’s boat to what truly matters? Being anchored to your core values is what will help you feel confident through any patch of rough weather.

Values are the key beliefs that guide your decision making. They define how you chose to live and how you create happiness in your life. When you have clarity on what your values are, the decisions you make around discipline and family time just make sense and feel good. Having clear family values allows you to live authentically, feeling grounded and true to yourself as opposed to feeling lost and misguided. 

When your anchor of family values is set firmly on the ocean floor, it allows your family some movement without getting lost. You will feel secure as you brave the ever-changing winds of raising children. When managing the rough waters of outside influences, your anchor will hold you safe and in place. And even during those moments when you have to give more slack to the line, allowing your children some space to grow, the anchor is still there doing its job.  When your family values are clear, practiced and in place, your house rules and expectations will be more consistent, allowing your children to feel safe and secure with your parenting. Having a solid hold on your family values will even allow you to feel more comfortable with other external viewpoints without compromising yourself and who you truly are.  

Of course, there are times the anchor slips and loses its grip on the earth. The sailor’s awareness of the drifting boat allows her to recast the anchor to set it again. It is not uncommon for any of us to lose our hold sometimes, but it’s the clarity that allows us to reestablish our footing. While we’re navigating through the current storms of raising our children in 2020, allow yourself some time to check-in and be sure you are anchored in your family values. 

Here are a few questions to consider:

  1. What are the basic beliefs that help you decide what is important in life?  What are your family values?

  2. Do you and your partner value the same things?  

  3. Which values would you like to pass on to your children and what steps can you take to encourage them?

  4. How do you honor the values in your life?

  5. How can you realign yourself to be sure you are living true to your beliefs?

A boat without an anchor is forced to keep moving no matter what comes its way. The sailor does her best to navigate through the waters, trying to find a path that will keep her out of harm’s way. The same is true for a family unaligned with its core values. When your values are unclear or not practiced, it can be difficult to be consistent with decision making, disciplining, and just finding an overall direction. Stop drifting through your days. Drop the anchor and become solidified in your family values.


This post originally appeared on Real Life Parent Coaching Blog.