Written by Laura Franklin

When I was first introduced to the Fishful Thinking program, I instantly felt a connection with the parent-child activities. The five ingredients of Fishful Thinking—Optimism, Resilience, Goal Setting, Empowerment, and Emotional Awareness—fit in perfectly with my parenting style, or at least my parenting goals. I want my kids to grow up happy and confident and capable.

I have always been a hands-on mom. As my kids have gotten older and more involved in school and other activities, however, I have noticed that we were spending less and less time sitting, reading, and playing together. I decided to do something about that. I made it a goal to try out one Fishful Thinking activity each week with my kids. Not only would we be spending quality time together, but we could be learning things as well.

One week we tried Emotion Charades, a fun activity in the Emotional Awareness section. Before we gathered, I had written down a handful of emotions on small strips of paper. Happy. Sad. Scared. Excited. The kids got into the game right away, and each one had fun acting out the different emotions they picked. Something unexpected happened, though. I noticed that the older kids were reacting emotionally to the little kids’ acted-out emotions. It was hard for them to watch their little brother acting sad, even though they knew it was a game.

Another week, we played Mood Music. We turned the music up loud and danced away. I encouraged the kids to listen to the music and dance the way the music was making them feel. I loved watching the expressions on my kids’ faces and noticing their movements get more intense or more relaxed depending on the type of music being played.

Finally, we arrived at a week when we had gone through most of the Fishful Thinking activities. I came up with the idea to write a letter of the alphabet on individual sheets of paper. I passed the papers around and encouraged my kids to write things that they were grateful for that started with each letter.

The first thing my oldest daughter said was, "Is this a fishful thinking activity?" While it was not one of the activities listed in the website, I felt like it fit right in with what Fishful Thinking is all about. Half way through the exercise, my daughter again piped up, "It feels like Fishful Thinking." What a great thing to hear from my 12 year old daughter! I was thrilled that Fishful Thinking had become such a common thing in our home that she was beginning to equate it with doing things together, blessings, and feeling positive. It really DID feel like Fishful Thinking! With all of the negatives bombarding my kids all day, I am grateful to have a resource like Fishful Thinking that helps bring us together and focus on the things that are most important.

Bio: Laura Franklin is a mom to five active children, ages 4 to 13, and wife to a language nut. Now that four of her kids are in school, she spends her free time taking pictures and blogging at Better in Bulk.
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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