My Wholehearted Family


Brené Brown is my “hero crush,” a term used by my spouse for those I fall in love with because of their minds, contributions, leadership, or other characteristics that somehow enhance our collective lives.  Brené  advocates living our lives with ordinary courage, she exposes the devastating impact of shame, and she encourages us all to live authentically, with the whole of our hearts, even though it’s scary and feels vulnerable.  I love her, and I’ve never met her.  I hope that changes some day.

Recently, Brené Brown teamed up with Oprah to develop an e-course on Wholehearted living, which you can find here.  Oprah is one of my spouse’s hero crushes, and so this did seem a match made in heaven.  My spouse signed up to take the course, and when the instructions for Day 1 came out, she challenged the family to do the activity together.  The instructions will be oversimplified here, but essentially Brené  asked us to write things we give ourselves permission to do if/when we feel scared, asked us to admit and proclaim that we are both imperfect and enough, and asked us to remember that courage is a word of the heart.  Then we had to translate the instructions to the children.

My daughter is one of few words, yet if you miss them, you’ve truly missed something.   My spouse refers to my son as “prolific.”  If you miss my son’s point, wait for it, it’ll come around again (and again, and again).  Both are profound and I consider both my gurus, just very different.  My five-year old immersed herself in the project with both hands (literally).

She loves to paint, and was most intrigued by the directions of writing “I am imperfect, I am enough” on our hands and taking pictures.  For her, however, plain paint was simply enough, but she was determined take the picture of me.



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She was delighted to continue to paint hands, but then quickly moved on to playing the cups (most recently in “When I’m Gone“).  Not before, however, my spouse pauses to say “this is my favorite family activity EVER.”  Her courageous work, beside the ordinary courage required to whip out the paints on a school night, looks like this.

Have I mentioned I married her 3 times?
Have I mentioned I married her 3 times?

My prolific one, 6, got into it!  My son listens to and takes in everything, which is both a gift and a curse.  The curse is that we can no longer S-P-E-L-L out conversations, nor speak in code.  He, both of them really, are too on-to-us for that. It also means that when he produces something like this, we must be doing something right.  What he aspires to give himself permission to do when he feels scared rocked my world.

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Hart = Harte = Heart

If you didn’t get his message the first time (I did mention he’s prolific):

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100_1437Well, then the normal 6-year-old came out.  This one includes things like “I have the right (rite) to… get new tows (toys).”  I have a feeling that may be his suggestion to us moms the next time he feels scared.  But it also includes exercise (exirsis), having a run, playing outside, and singing his favorite (favrt) songs.

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It was a great moment when he noticed some of his spelling mistakes and laughed out loud, as he’d already given himself permission to do just that.

I don’t know how many of Brené’s and Oprah’s projects my spouse will have the courage or inclination to bring us all into, but I owe her thanks for bringing us all into this one.  We may be imperfect.  Yet, as this whole-hearted project showed us by further revealing the cool human beings growing up in front of our eyes, we are enough.  I wish you all that knowing, even if just for a moment.  I’m sure I’ll need a thousand reminders, just like the rest of us.  Yet I am grateful that after tonight, I have one more place to look for that reminder when it’s needed.

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 P.s. – As Brené Brown is quite liberally quoted and referenced throughout, please give her full credit!

4 comments on “My Wholehearted Family”

  1. Lovely. I hope you get the chance to meet your hero crush someday. I was fortunate to be in the same room with mine (Maya Angelou) many years ago and it was life changing.

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