Month: August 2019

My Family Lines Intro

Hello! I am James Sarvis, the founder of the Leaning Institute, and I am excited about introducing you to a powerful tool that I created called “My family lines.”

For you to understand it and make it meaningful to you, I suggest you get a piece of paper and a pen and be ready to draw your Family Lines. Your Family Lines will influence what you and your children’s path in life will be like, your success in life, and your development. And everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is affected positively or negatively by Family Lines. So, to help you understand it, I’m going to explain my Family Lines. As I go along, I’m going to explain to you each of the 3 stages of Family Lines, which stage I am in, and how knowing about Family Lines has helped bring peace and understanding to me and my family.

The first stage is your home stage, with your parents and siblings. First draw a long horizontal line across the paper. Than draw a circle with a line (like a stick figure) and write D above it for dad, draw another next to it and write M for mom. Next, you are going to put you and each of your siblings on the line, starting with who is “closest” to mom or dad. Not necessarily the birth order, but who is closer as far as relationship. Every child is born on a parents line, and it never changes. In my situation the first child born was a girl.  As soon as she was born my mom and dad got a new title, ONLINE parent and OFFLINE parent. My sister was on dads line, making Dad her online parent, and mom her offline parent. Then the second child was born, and she was on dads line also. Then the 3rd child was born and she was also on dads line! The first 3 children born were on dads line. You may ask, how does that work? I do not know. But, I have seen cases where all children were on one parent’s line, and none were on the others. It seems cruel that a parent with multiple children may never get to experience the feeling of being an online parent. Again, I don’t know why it happens that way.  Back to my Family Lines. A fourth child was born and my mom finally gets a child on her line, another little girl. Then finally, I came along, the baby. The first boy, and I became number one on my moms line. I was my mom’s little buddy and nothing could come between her and I. My mom was my online parent, my dad was my offline parent.

At first it may be difficult to decide who’s on whose line, but as time goes by, it gets easier to see. I’m able to see my Family Lines clearly, looking back through time.

Although I felt lucky to have that closeness with my mom, this stage was difficult for me. I didn’t have the terminology at the time to understand why I couldn’t have the same closeness with my dad that I had with my mom. I would see other boys or cousins who seemed to be so close to their dads, but that wasn’t the case for me. The frustration came in because I didn’t have to work for the relationship with my mom, I was on her line. There was some kind of magnetic pull that brought us together, but no matter what I did, I could not have that with my dad. My dad was a good dad, who provided for me, but because of my dad’s path he didn’t feel comfortable creating Leaning Moments with me. My dad’s dad died when he was a baby, and he was not on his mom’s line, therefore he never experienced what it was like to be on a parent’s line and have that close relationship. Naturally there are more, what I call Leaning Moments, with the parent whose line you are on. The offline parent will have to be proactive in creating those Leaning Moments. If my dad and I would have known what to do, I’m confident we could of created a closer relationship.

Everyone’s path is as unique as their fingerprints. But everyone is still affected by Family Lines.

Let’s go back to your lines on your piece of paper. Take a minute if you have brothers and sisters and decide where each of you are on that line. If you are having trouble deciding whether you are on mom or dad’s line, ask someone who knows you well. Other people can usually see it much better than we can. Or maybe you are one of the lucky ones. I have seen that usually when people can’t decide whose line they are on, they have parents who are close, and who rarely argue. If you have siblings who you are extremely close to,  you are also going to be “close” on the line, being on the same parents line. If you and your siblings are not very close, you will find that you are not close on the line either. You are most likely on different parents lines.

You may still be at this stage in life and do not have children yet, but regardless of where you are, I hope that accepting Family Lines can bring you and your family peace through understanding. The most important thing to remember is to be proactive in creating Leaning Moments, especially with whom it comes less naturally.

In my next article I will write about stage 2, which is the marriage or couple stage, when you have children of your own. Stay tuned. 

Would you love for your child?

Do you believe that it’s possible for families to become closer while going through divorce and child custody matters? I would say yes! And here’s why:
I have been an attorney for 30 years and have dealt with many custody matters. The most valuable tool that I had the last few years of practicing was by far Leaning Moments and My Family Lines. I created these tools and used them to allay the fears of those going through a custody matter and expecting it to be a long, drawn out, and uncivil process. And I was able to assure them that their story doesn’t have to be that way.
Knowing what I know, and the power of these tools, I believe that every family court guardian ad litem, judge, and attorney should focus on whose line the child is on, and be able to determine who the Leaners or non-Leaner’s are in a child’s life. Without this, how could the best interest of a child be properly determined? Only Leaners can produce Leaner Kids.
I have coached families that have actually grown stronger during the proceedings and post divorce. I have coached parents whose child was drawn to the other parent whose Family Line they were on, and they feared that the divorce would put an even bigger wedge between them. Instead, they developed a close relationship with that child.
I’ve followed some of the families I coached and have seen the whole family growing, rather than being devastated by divorce, which often causes irreparable damage.
Often I have asked my clients these questions to help them see a different perspective; Are you willing to fight for your children? The answer is always “yes.” Would you fight a big, scary, strong man for your children? And the answer is always, “yes.” Would you fight a bear, a tiger, or a lion for your children? And the answer is always, “yes.” So you would be willing to risk life and limb to fight for your children? “Yes.” I knew they were giving me rote answers. Then I would ask, would you be willing to love anyone and seek peace for your children? And this question always left them stopped in their tracks. Then I would narrow in on the most important question. Would you be willing to love or have peace with your children’s mom, dad, or grandparents, for the children? There are some that answered this question, “yes I am.” And the people who honestly gave that answer were the strong ones, that made a positive outcome predictable. Weak people need all the strength they can muster, and are consequently in fights often, in one way or another. Strong people rarely need their strength.
“In family court, there are way too many parents who are weak enough to fight for their children, and far too few who are strong enough to love for their children.” I can assure you that fighting parents will bring out a family courts disdain, but peace in the court brings out their admiration. It’s a wonderful feeling to leave with the courts blessing.
Tony Danza, American actor on his mother’s line, said that he used to get into street fights often, but once he took up boxing and became stronger, he no longer had the need to fight. The stronger a person is, the less they need their strength.
I believe that when people know better, they will do better, especially for their families. This is a critical juncture for your family. Who your children become depends on you. Like boxing did for Danza, my simple tools have helped parents to become stronger immediately.
Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
If you need help contact us, or have your attorney or guardian ad litem contact us


All article’s are co-written by James and Elisha

My Family Lines and Grandparents

In the introductory video to My Family Lines,, we talked about the parent stage, and being an online parent or an offline parent. I spoke about the 3 different stages of life that are impacted by My Family Lines. We have stage 1: Home Life with mom and dad, 2: When you’re the parent, and finally stage 3: the grandparent or great-grandparent stage.
I am so thankful that by the time I got to the grandparent stage I had already discovered the power of Leaning Moments. All of my grandchildren, whether on my line or not, have positive predictability for Leaning moments. It’s almost impossible for me to describe the wonderful relationship I have with my grandchildren. This morning I got a phone call from my daughter, and I could hear my 1 year old grandson in the background saying, “pop-pop, pop-pop, pop-pop.” Even though they live a few hours away, and visits can often be infrequent, my baby grandson still feels that closeness between him and me. Positive predictability for Leaning Moments can be established even in long distance relationships. It’s about the quality of time, not the quantity.
Dr. Paul Ekman, American psychologist and professor, is known as the world’s most famous face reader. And, he states that you cannot control the small muscles in your face, they will always show the true emotions of your mind. He said that the voice is just as revealing. I believe that children are sensitive to this, too. You can’t fool a child. They can see the emotions reflected in your face, and feel the energy in your voice.
There was man who served on the board at the Institute, who for the sake of this article, we’ll call John. He held a Phd, and was a very smart and kind man. I sat across from him one day, and he told me about his family. He had custody of his two children, and I knew right away his son, 12 was on his line, his daughter, 10 was on her mother’s line. His face lit up with joy as he mentioned his son, but went down when he mentioned his daughter. Like Paul Ekman stated, you can’t control those small muscles in your face. He eventually opened up to me and said that his daughter was becoming quiet and drifting away from him. After explaining My Family Lines, he understood, and he really wanted to make things better for him and his daughter. I told him that the face that I saw when he talked about her is the same face that she sees, and she would feel that energy as well. I coached him and told him that before he went to her he needed to get himself in gear, and be ready to lean to her like he does his son. When I spoke with him later on he told me that he did as I suggested, and that he was enjoying a closeness with her that wasn’t there before. He said that now she was initiating the Leaning Moments, and this time his face lit up as he spoke about her. I knew that this would impact the direction of her life in a positive way.
As grandparents our roles are extremely important. Just as John learned, we too need to be proactive and intentional about the emotions we are emitting to our grandchildren. Their foundation is greatly influenced by us as grandparents, and our health is greatly influenced by the relationship we build with them.
Many people in history attribute their success to their grandparents. Carol Burnett, who praises her grandmother for not only being her rock, but inspiring her whole career. Oprah Winfrey, who states that, “I am where I am today because my grandmother gave me the foundation for success. Barack Obama, said about his grandparents, “they gave me love, a thirst for education, and a belief that we’re all apart of something larger than ourselves.” Eric Clapton said that his grandparents bought him his first electric guitar. Jamie Foxx dedicated his 2005 Academy Award to his grandmother for the impact she had on his life. Maya Angelou states that her grandmother is the greatest person she ever met. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and the world’s richest man said, he picked up his most crucial business skills from his grandfather, how to be resourceful, and self-reliant. He said that his grandfather also taught him that kindness often trumps intelligence.
To me it sounds like these people were all fortunate to have, what I call, Leaners as Grandparents. And how you treat your grandchildren, whether you are an online grandparent, or an offline grandparent, is a personal investment into your future, and into theirs. We see these stories as history, but what those grandparents had to do was to look into the future for their grandchildren. Each time they leaned, each time they encouraged, every lesson they taught, was an investment into their future.



All articles are co- written by James and Elisha