Menu

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Miracle Question

Suppose you go to bed tonight as usual, and while you are asleep a miracle happens, and the problems that you have are solved. But you are asleep and do not know that the miracle has happened; what will be the first small signs when you wake up in the morning that the miracle has happened and that the problem is solved?

I am coming to the end of my first year of part-time studies for my Graduate Diploma in Counselling. The past few weeks have been about writing term papers; about transcribing client interviews for analysis and coming up with a personal model of counselling that I could use on myself as a client. It has been hard work. But I feel I have learnt so much; and much of my reflection has been about my own life - how my childhood affects the way I relate to my family, and how it affects the way I relate to my children as their parent.
The Lim Family. My counselling studies have made me think of how I relate to my family,
and I have been very thankful for their role in my life.
My "Introduction to Psychology" module has taken me on a wild ride - the psychodynamic therapy approach has taught me how we need to make conscious the unconscious memories in childhood for us to understand more about ourselves; the Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy approach (REBT) has given me an insight that if we want to change the way we feel and behave, we need to change our belief system from irrational to rational. And then there is the Solution-Focussed Brief Therapy (SFBT).

Unlike traditional counselling approaches which focus on the problems that you face, SFBT considers the solutions we could possibly have, and how we could make these solutions come true. 

This leads to the Miracle Question.

What if life as you know it could change in a miraculous manner overnight? What would your world look like?

For me, I know that when I wake up it would be to two young boys who are so excited to begin their day that they jump into their Daddy and Mummy's bed to wake them up. Then instead of crawling reluctantly out of bed, my miracle day would see me joining my sons at the breakfast table before wishing them a good day at school, making my way quietly to the study to work, as my wife begins her morning homeschooling session with them. And as my hunger pangs start to grow, I would be thankful at the amount of work that I would have accomplished, making my way out to the dining table to join the family for lunch. 

My miracle day would continue after lunch at either a teaching class at the poly, or at a meeting for my store, or at the college for my postgrad studies. Whatever the case, my miracle afternoon would be both fulfilling and satisfying, and I would head back home just in time to take the kids out after their naps. The whole family would then go somewhere for a lovely walk, before we return home after a simple dinner outside; with ample time for an evening storytelling or board game session. And the day would end splendidly with my wife and I sending the kids to bed and retiring to our room for a peaceful time together.
Just another walk in the park?
The picture I have painted regarding my "miracle day" might not be as "concrete", "behavioural" and "specific" as most SFBT therapists would want me to describe, but it is an accurate portrayal of what I deem to be my desired life. And the beauty of SFBT is that I now know what I want in life and I can then make concrete plans to actualise this idealised version of a "perfect" life.

There are three main aspects of my "miracle life". Firstly, it would comprise the financial freedom to work from home and to go for jobs on an ad hoc basis. That was part of the reason why I left my full-time job more than a year ago, and my training company and online store are part of the plan to help me realise this dream. The second aspect of my desired life would be to enjoy a fulfilling time with my children, even as they enjoy a meaningful learning experience in homeschool. We are already beginning to see the fruits of our home education, and this is truly a joy for us. As for the third aspect of my dream, it definitely involves my wife. As we head towards the tail end of our eighth year of marriage, I desire for us to continue loving each other and to grow in deeper romance and intimacy. That, I believe to be the foundation of the entire "miracle".  
When I married Sue almost 8 years ago, I would never have expected that our journey together would
bring us to where we are now. But I am so thankful I made that decision, and she is indeed my
"miracle wife"!
The recent months have not been easy for us; even as we seek to teach our kids and to help them learn. For me, one of the greatest challenges has been to be more as a "playmate" to my sons as opposed to the role of a disciplinarian, which is the side of me that they see most often. As such, the miracle question assumes a deep relationship with the kids that can only be derived from constantly spending time with them and in relating to them in a way that they understand. I can see how this has been improving in recent weeks, even as I spend time playing Froggy Boogie with the older child; and as I engage in extremely physical games with the younger boy (such as determining who can kick each other harder, or finding out how Daddy's shoulders can function as the perfect balance beam).
Our older son has a love for puzzles and games. Our favourite moments have been spent playing
blocks or board games or jigsaw puzzles.
Learning that the way to this little boy's heart is to be as physical as I can be.
That's totally out of my comfort zone; but nonetheless crucial towards
building our relationship.
As I shared with Sue my answer to the miracle question, we discussed that we are currently living out a part of our desired life. There have definitely been moments of difficulty, even as we try to establish a new business. However, there has been much joy on the homeschooling front recently, and we have learnt that the boys are like untapped knowledge mines, storing up the voluminous information that they learn, knowledge that they will someday use in ways that we do not yet have an inkling of.

The miracle question, for all its promises of hope, is after all merely a tool to help us to realise what we want in life and to attempt a solution to our current situation. However in reality there are very few miracles in life; and sometimes the deepest dreams that we desire are actually right in front of our eyes. What we need to do is to hold on tight to our goals, and to constantly make conscious choices in order to obtain the desires of our hearts.