The 4 C’s Of A Happy, Mindful & Resilient Family

Over the years parenting techniques will come and go like clouds in a summer sky. But a deep desire and ability to offer your children your wise and whole hearted attention will never go out of style. In fact, this will be the gift that continues to give, long into your child’s adult years. By allowing your children to feel “seen and heard” you will help them to show up in the world with confidence, courage, creativity, and compassion.
Fleur is a mindfulness and meditation teacher, Insight Timer publisher and the Founder of Harvesting Happiness.
Building family resilience and mindfulness
Fleur is a mindfulness and meditation teacher, Insight Timer publisher and the Founder of Harvesting Happiness.

Fleur Chambers shares her ‘4 Cs’ concept which helps to improve family resilience and leads to more mindful moments.

Mindful Presence & Family Resilience

Given the busy nature of family life, distraction is a common experience:

As parents we may be playing with our children, watching them at their extra-curricular activities, or sharing a meal. But in truth, our minds are often elsewhere. We may be thinking about work, our finances or plans for the week ahead.

For parents, we may be ready to fully engage with our children, but they are distracted playing, engrossed in technology or connecting with their friends.

While families spend so much time together, little of it is characterized by whole-hearted presence. We can feel like ships passing in the night, traveling in the same ocean, but each on a different voyage.

The Concept Of The 4 C’s For Stronger Family Resilience

So how do you break the cycle of busyness and distraction and grow a happy, mindful, and resilient family?

The most simple and effective way is to make time each day to cultivate the 4 C’s:

  • curiosity,
  • connection,
  • compassion and
  • courage.

These moments don’t need to be perfect, expensive or overly planned. They don’t need to occur on holidays or in a tidy house.

The beauty of the 4 Cs is that you can cultivate these anywhere, anytime with the right attention and intention. These moments can occur in the morning before school, in conversations before bed, during homework, in the car, in the bath, on a bike or at the park.

Think of the 4 Cs as simple moments of focused and whole-hearted presence, that, when joined together, strengthen your family resilience from the inside out. As they say in Tibetan culture,

take care of the minutes and the years will take care of themselves.

Try this concept and feel peace and presence wash over you and your family. Notice a sense of quiet connection, strength, and vitality that comes from being curious, compassionate, and courageous as individuals and as a family.

Cultivating Moments Of Shared Curiosity

For families, curiosity is like a superpower. It allows us to engage with our external and internal worlds with a sense of openness, warmth, and interest. It fuels learning, growth, and resilience.

When we cultivate curiosity, we also encourage more presence, perspective, creativity, appreciation, awe, and wonder.

In the context of family resilience and life, curiosity can transform a mistake into a learning opportunity. It can transform a normal moment (for example homework or housework) into something interesting and family time into something that feels happy and joyful.

Curiosity feels light, expansive and limitless. It helps us break free from old habits and patterns of behavior. It paves the way for new relationships and opportunities. Curiosity also lays the foundation for the other three qualities of connection, compassion, and courage.

Curiosity transforms any moment into something interesting. It brings us into the present moment.

How To Become More Curious

As parents, we often try and find a solution to our children’s problems, to teach right and wrong or to have all the answers.

But what if instead of providing solutions or trying to fix things, we focused on cultivating curiosity as a way of supporting our children? What if, when our child faced a problem, we asked more questions and offered fewer solutions? What if we encouraged our children to develop an awareness of their physical, emotional, and mental world?

What if in these moments, both parent and child lingered together in the idea that life is full of ups and downs, and that the journey is the part that really matters?

Phrases to cultivate curiosity within your family:

  • What can you see, hear, taste, smell or touch?
  • How does it feel in your body when..?
  • That’s interesting, can you tell me more about that?
  • I’m curious that you think/feel X, Y or Z, can you explain that to me?
  • I wonder what it means when…
  • I wonder how he/she felt when…
  • That looks interesting, I wonder what they are doing…
  • It feels good being interested in other people / the world/nature

Over time, curiosity strengthens families by making the ordinary seem more vibrant, by allowing learning and “getting to know yourself” to be more important than “getting it right”.

Curiosity naturally brings us into the present moment and allows us to respond creatively to the challenges that come our way. Over time, curiosity makes us feel comfortable with the unknown and more able to “go with the flow”. This contributes to our sense of individual and family resilience.

Cultivating Moments Of Shared Connection

For most families, communication occurs amidst the distractions of daily life. Parents are talking to their children but they are busy playing, getting ready for school or distracted by technology. Children are asking questions whilst parents are distracted preparing a meal or sending off that final work email.

We spend so much time communicating whilst also doing something else.

If the most powerful gift we can give our children is the gift of “being seen and heard”, we must intentionally cultivate moments of mindful communication.

6 Tips For Communicating More Mindfully

  1. Stop what you are doing, take a breath and offer yourself over to the moment of communication. Remind yourself that connection is more important than getting things done.
  2. Engage your senses when you are listening, noticing facial expressions, tone of voice, physical gestures.
  3. Be curious about the subtle forms of communication, of what is not being said verbally. Notice body language and emotions. Be empathetic. Try and imagine what it would be like to live in this person’s body, mind, and heart.
  4. Notice the inner chatter that goes on in your mind as you listen. Are you planning your response, are you judging? Try as best you can to quiet your mind and simply listen.
  5. Be genuinely open to learning something new (rather than simply confirming what you already thought).
  6. Use supportive phrases that allow the other person to feel seen, heard and appreciated. Some phrases include: What I am hearing is.., What I am noticing is.., Thanks so much for sharing this with me, I feel so pleased you have.., I enjoyed hearing your opinion/ideas/ perspective.., Thanks so much for taking the time to share these with me…

These mindful conversations don’t take any more time than the distracting conversations we normally have. Their power is in the connection, attention, and intention.

Give it a try and be open to any experience of relaxation, warmth, connection, empathy, love or joy that may sweep over you. This is the power of connection.

Meditate with Fleur: Shift your focus and lay the foundations of mindfulness and resilience with these 5 handpicked meditations led by the author and Insight Timer publisher Fleur Chambers herself:

  1. Exploring & Befriending Your Emotional World Fleur Chambers 24:40
  2. Cultivating Calm & Perspective For A Sense Of Expanded Awareness Fleur Chambers 15:29
  3. Making Wise Decisions For Aligning Daily Actions With Values & Beliefs Fleur Chambers 19:03
  4. Cultivating Greater Connection With Yourself, Others & The World Fleur Chambers 26:13
  5. Get Out Of Your Busy Mind By Engaging Your Senses Fleur Chambers 15:15

Cultivating Moments Of Compassion (Including Self-Compassion)

Compassion brings us into the present moment and broadens our perspective. It softens our body, relaxes our mind, and opens our heart.  Cultivating compassion within your family will help your children grow into independent, socially responsible, and resilient adults.

Children learn by example. So the most effective way you can teach your children to be compassionate (including self-compassion) is to practice it yourself.

When we, as parents, are hard on ourselves for making mistakes and self-critical, when we apologize unnecessarily, push on through physical pain and exhaustion, we are sending negative messages to our children.

3 Tips For Modelling Self-Compassion To Our Children

If you find it hard to be self-compassionate, perhaps you could reframe the practice in your mind as something that will benefit both you and your children?

  1. Teach your children that acts of self-compassion can be small simple gestures. When you are tired, let your children see you taking care of yourself. Teach your children that self-compassion can be as simple as turning off your phone, enjoying a bath or leaving the dishes until tomorrow.
  2. Let your children see you making mistakes, forgiving yourself and moving on. Verbalize this, so it is clear to them and they can learn from this.
  3. Show your kids you listen to your wisdom first and the external environment second. Teach your children to listen to their mind, body, and heart when making decisions.

Read more: You might also enjoy reading this powerful article about the importance of teaching children self-love.

3 Ideas For Everyday Compassion

People often think that compassion needs to be in the form of grand gestures like volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating large amounts of money to charity. In reality, we can cultivate compassion within our families through simple everyday moments:

  1. When in the car with your children, let another car out into traffic and say to your kids, “I’m letting this person out because they have probably had a long day like us and are keen to get home to their family.”
  2. When your children are caught worrying about an upcoming event or situation, gently steer the conversation to other kids who may be feeling the same, “I wonder if any of your classmates would be sitting at home now worrying about the test? How do you think they are feeling right now?” This simple shift in perspective allows your children to expand their awareness, broaden their perspective and experience everyday compassion.
  3. When you see an elderly person in the street, a mother with a crying baby, a teenager who has fallen off their bike, say to your kids, “That person looks like they are having a hard time, let’s wish them well and hope they have a better day tomorrow.” (or words to this effect)

You might also want to use the following phrases to cultivate compassion within your family:

  • Life feels really hard right now, but I know it won’t always be this way. Tomorrow is a new day
  • It’s important to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
  • It’s OK to say No.
  • All your emotions are valid here, you are safe to express your emotions in our family.

Meditate with us: Discover hundreds of free guided compassion meditation practices to foster feelings of kindness and compassion towards yourself and others.

Cultivating Moments Of Courage

For a long time, we, as parents, were told that we must have all the answers, that we cannot let our children see us making mistakes, feeling vulnerable or unsure. We were told that our children need to see us as untouchable, infinitely strong.

Thanks to the ground-breaking research by Dr. Brené Brown, the discourse on what it means to be a strong parent is changing. Her extensive research has revealed that to raise happy, resilient kids, our children need to see us “being human”.

This means that we need to be OK with not having all the answers. We need to believe deeply in the idea that true strength comes from showing up each day, from being courageous, being vulnerable, taking risks, making mistakes, learning and trying again, and again.

As Brené contends, we cannot teach our children what we ourselves do not have.

3 Simple Ways To Model Courage Within Your Family

  1. Explain to your children that you get nervous or feel unsure before a big work meeting, presenting your ideas to people or telling someone how you feel. Let them see that this is a normal part of a purposeful life.
  2. Show your kids that even adults experience the vulnerability that comes with trying new things and being courageous. Show your kids that you are still trying new things, for example, taking a dancing class, joining a running group or choir, writing an article, starting a petition or cooking a new family meal.
  3. Encourage family conversations that normalize the vulnerability that comes with “showing up” for this one precious life. Support your children in developing a level of comfort with the uncertainty that comes with standing up for what you believe in, dreaming big and living with purpose.

Phrases To Cultivate Courage Within Your Family

  • I saw you trying your best and I think that’s awesome.
  • I really admired how you kept on going, even when it felt hard.
  • Mistakes are all part of life.
  • We can always learn something from our mistakes.
  • You have an inner strength that no one can touch.
  • The outside world does not shape who you are, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
  • When we dream big it can feel scary, but that’s all part of life.
  • Our imperfections are also our gifts.
  • It’s OK to be different.
  • Not everyone will like us, and that’s OK.
  • Life is full of ups and downs.

Fill your home with these phrases, have conversations that normalize being courageous, taking risks, standing up for what you believe in, making mistakes and trying again.

Continue to show your children that you are still learning, that you are all in this one precious life together, trying your best each day. This will promote feelings of identity, belonging and security within your children and your family. From here, you can all show up in the world, stand strong, take risks, bounce back, and make a difference.

Read more: Family resilience evolves from every individual family member. Parents need to show their children the importance of mindful moments in the busyness and speed of modern life. Read Fleur’s guide for more mindfulness for moms and how they can become more present and engaged.

How Will You Know If The 4 Cs Are Improving Your Family Resilience?

You will feel it in your mind, body, and heart. You will experience less distraction and more moments of peace and presence.  There will be more moments when you really enjoy your children for who they are at that moment, rather than who you wish they were, or who you hope they will become.

You will notice moments of simple joy, love, gratitude, laughter or connection wash over you like a wave. You will experience more moments that allow you to realize that “right here, right now, you and your family are exactly where you are meant to be”.

When you notice these experiences, pause, enjoy a deep breath and offer yourself a smile for your desire and ability to show up for your family, one moment at a time.

Because in the words of famous mindfulness expert John Kabat-Zinn,

The little things. The little moments, they aren’t little.

Explore guided meditations for parents to foster a sense of calm, confidence, appreciation, and strengthen family resilience.

Fleur Chambers’ “30 Days To A Happier More Fulfilled You” course helps you cultivate a deep and enduring sense of wellbeing that you can carry with you for a lifetime.

Meditation. Free.