As part of our year-end “Where Are They Now?” fundraising campaign, we are checking in with families who have been utilizing the Connected Families Framework in their homes. What do these families look like 5, 10, or even 15 years later? Meet Mark and Jill Caulfield and see how the habit of connecting first makes the bigger issues of life easier to handle. Enjoy and be encouraged!
We have known Jim and Lynne since Connected Families began in 2002. We actually attended one of their parenting sessions while pregnant with our first son!
One key concept we learned from Connected Families is that Connection needs to be established before any Correction. The Connected Families Framework magnet hung on our fridge for years as a reminder for us to concentrate on connecting with our boys as much (or more!) than correcting them.
It is definitely a paradigm shift to focus more on connection than correction. As our boys grow older, the habit of connecting first makes the bigger issues of life easier to handle. We greatly appreciate being reminded to always look for the “gift gone awry”. What seems like a negative trait actually has a positive side and looking for the positive helps to minimize the fear/anger/frustration that can be stirred up with the “negative” behavior.
One recent Saturday morning, one of our sons called my husband and me into the living room. Already my heart was pounding because this could not mean ANYthing good.
As he spoke, the first thing that came to my mind from Connected Families was “stay calm and just listen”. The news he had to share was definitely not good but I felt peace as I just asked clarifying questions, knowing that I wanted to convey that he is “loved no matter what”.
In that moment, the Connected Families Framework also helped me to not go into “fix-it” mode. I wanted to convey the message that he is “responsible”. In this case that meant me letting him experience the consequences of his choice without rushing in to make it better.
Later, he told us that when he told his friends how calmly we reacted they all said, “Wow! My parents would freak out!!” In my heart I knew that the reason we did not “freak out”, and that he was able to bring this to us, is because we had been implementing what we learned through CF for nearly 20 years.
Our boys are now in their late teens (17 and 19). As we look back, of course there are SO many things we wished we had done differently but I can assure you we are still applying principles learned through Connected Families!
God is faithful and we rest in knowing that He knew what He was doing when He gave us these two precious young men and He will continue to work in them as they mature.