Today we have a powerful video and story from Asif, a father member of the team for the last few years. He wanted to share this video and experience with you at this time of year because it’s a powerful reminder for all of us that what we really value is what money cannot buy…we hope you enjoy it…

Copyright Ikea Spain

By Asif Valiji, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

For me the past 4 years has seen a massive change in myself and the way I relate to others. When I look back at what my relationships were like with my kids it does feel like a different lifetime.

I love this video because it gets to the point of why this time of year is so special for so many of us and really encourages us to challenge our expectations of ourselves and others. Writing this experience has not only helped me appreciate my journey more but it’s also been a chance to share a real story and relate to others in a more meaningful way during a time of year which is mostly filled with routines and assumptions. It’s a chance to talk about what’s really important to me and to help others find, connect and then build on those important things with others.

The Christmas Shark!!

On the last day of school I eagerly picked up my kids with a fun filled weekend of swimming, going out for dinner and activities (drawing/football) planned.

It was shaping up to be a great weekend, however the first obstacle came when we arrived at the pool and the diving boards were closed and the pool was limited to just the training pool. The kids did not look pleased and that weighed on my mind.

It was then that I decided to make the most of it. Regardless of the circumstances we would take the lead and we created the Christmas Shark! You see; with the training pool divided into two sections – shown by two separate colours (dark blue & light blue) on the floor – the aim of the game was to come as far into the sharks side without being eaten (pulled into the sharks side hugging & screaming!) As you can imagine we had a lot of fun!

For me however my expectations were not met and I still felt like I was letting the kids down. In the back of my mind I needed to ‘make up’ for what I could not deliver on, the feeling of things constantly ‘not being good enough’ and having to ‘catch up’

True Value is What You Cannot Buy

One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the last year is just how so many kids don’t feel involved at home through being neglected. It’s something that really impacted me when I was young and is certainly something I did not want to repeat with our kids.

It’s not complicated to turn this around. There are real and powerful ways and it starts with being willing to let go of our assumptions, expectations and judgments and ask questions, genuinely seeking to understand and being willing to empathise with others…

And so I asked the kids, at the end of our weekend together, what was your favorite time over the weekend? Expecting them to say ‘going out’ or the gifts I had brought them. They said at the same time, as if they had rehearsed it “playing the shark game at the pool!!”

I was genuinely surprised and taken aback by how much the little things meant so much more to them than I knew about at the time.

The lesson for me here is a fundamental one at any time of year, especially over Christmas, and refers to the foundation of families and the value we place on them.

My questions to anyone out there with family, friends or kids they are planning to spend time with over Christmas and New Year are these;

“What do you truly value at this time? What do they really value? What will you be giving them in terms of what’s truly important rather than just getting lost in presents as we all can do?”

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to appreciate, to understand and to care. I love being wrong about things like this because it brings me back to reality and helps me see things for what they really are.

This video encourages us to look below the surface. For me I cannot hear this enough because it’s real, practical and we can apply it regardless if we are working parents, carers or even if we aren’t parents at all!

Give it a go and let us know how you get on. Find your own Christmas Shark :))

With love from me and the kids…

asif & the kids

Live with more passion and purpose in 2015…