When I talk about my belief in the “Family” as a “Team” people are often intrigued about my ideas. I’ve been asked to write an article of the subject; so let me tell you straight what a “Family Team” is in my mind and how they need to operate to be a “Family Team”.
What I mean by a “Family Team” is that if you perceive yourselves as a “Team”, you’re most likely to operate like one! – All working towards #holistic #success both individually and for the “Whole Team”. What I mean by “Holistic Success” is success in all areas of #life; Work, Love and Play – your Social Life.
Ok, the five key components of a “Family Team” are; #Respect, #Gratitude, being “for” each other (as opposed to being “against”!) – all for one and one for all! Plus, everyone needs to feel “taken care of” and “Listened too” – Good Communication!! All these can be actively encouraged and should be to keep the whole “Family Team” operating at optimum level!
The way you encourage Respect is first by role-modelling and showing it. Second, is to ensure you’re wearing the “in-charge badge” and take full responsibility for your role as the “Team Leader”. – Trust me, without making them feel as if they don’t have a choice, I make sure the children I work with know that ultimately “I” am in charge and they need to listen to me. I also respect their needs/ desires and help them understand why, at times when they can’t have things the way they want them. I’ve noticed that making children feel more “grown-up” by respecting their ability to actually be able to understand what you’re telling and listen makes it far more likely that they’ll co-operate.
The way you encourage Gratitude within the “Family Team” I learnt from Tony Robbins! It’s very beneficial to the whole “Family Team” to actively encourage everyone to show gratitude for something/ someone every day! During the time you are all together as a Family, even if’s it’s brief, do a family exercise is showing gratitude toward each other. The best way to do this is get each member of the Team saying something they appreciate about each other member of the Team. The reason it’s important to do it like this is because when you get everyone thinking about what they appreciate about the other members of the Team, they are far less likely to focus on the things that annoy/irritate them and thus there is less cause for any arguing. It’s great if you can do this once a day, or every other day; I would say aim for once a week minimum. I would also definitely encourage you to once a week also get every Team Member to additionally say something they think each other Team member needs to work on! This provides opportunity for every member to constructively put forward something that they are finding difficult to “deal with” about another member without it getting to the stage where it escalates out of control. So, “Mum and Dad”, this means you need to accept a bit of constructive criticism from your children! – It’s better to know so you can choose a different approach. You may well also need to help your children word things constructively, rather than critically. This way very early on they are learning how to put forward their feelings positively. Also, the whole “Family Team” can discuss the best solutions that work for everyone!
All for one and one for all basically helps your children to realise how important each member of the “Family Team” is, including themselves. Whether it’s one member providing support for the rest of the Team, or everyone supporting one member, you’re all there for each other and this needs to be “felt” by each member of the Team. It doesn’t just have to be “support for the big things”; such as exams, an operation etc. Support in little ways really can make a huge difference! A child bringing some flowers they picked from the garden can really brighten a parent’s day. So encourage your children and each other to think of little things that show support for all other members of the Team.
When you feel supported, you also feel “taken care of”! I feel that being “taken care of” goes one step further than purely just supporting someone. When you make someone feel “taken care of” you are essentially “nourishing their self-esteem and well-being” that lifts them up to really feel they can achieve anything. Again in addition to any “big projects” that may be happening where everyone is far more likely to be helping ensure it goes well; it’s the little things that can really show someone they’ve been truly thought of and cared about by another. The best way of showing this is through thoughtfulness. Pay attention to the needs and desires of the other Team members, even down to noticing the times someone appreciates a cup of tea! When other people are noticing your needs and desires and actively doing something to show their support you really feel fully "taken care of”. So Pay Attention – Observation is key here!
“Listened too”, basically refers to general good communication. The reason I phased it, “Listened too”, is because real listening is often the part of the conversation that most of us are not so good. Often, instead of listening, we’re actually waiting for our turn to speak to put across our own view point, sometimes despite of what’s being said to us; when you’re listening to someone what you say should be in response to what is being said. Hands up, I’ve been guilty of this in the past; thank-goodness I became aware of it and changed my habit. Marie Forleo has also talked about this point too with regards to #relationships. Sometimes listening can involve hearing something we don’t want to hear, and I know from personal experience that’s a difficult thing to do; wouldn’t you like to know? – My reasoning is; “if I try and pretend it’s not true then I’m going to continue doing it and this isn’t going to make me come across like the intelligent, mature, successful and observant person that I aspire to be”. Growing up, because I was made so aware of what I shouldn’t be doing, I wasn’t always focused on what I should be doing and sometimes the truth was put to me in a way that was difficult to take; being almost stubbornly determined I wanted to be the person able to take it!! Making a lot of mistakes in life led me to a lot of wisdom and I’m so please I was able to listen. What I’m saying is I know it’s really hard to hear something you don’t want to, especially if it’s critical of something/ someone you really value; when you step outside your comfort zone and really listen the discomfort you feel doesn’t last for long and as a result of listening you’re now a more expanded person and able to move forward and make better choices. You’ll also find that people who have “given you a tough truth” become far more impressed with you as a person because you’ve demonstrated the ability to “accept truth” that most people really struggle with.
When you role-model the ability to accept and give truth to your children it means that you are always “living with honesty”. There is a real comfort in living with complete honesty because it means that you are not trying to deceive yourself about anything and you also never need to be concerned about “putting on an act” because there is nothing to hide. The ability to be fully honest naturally commands respect because it first demonstrates the ability to move past any “fears” and second, it shows you’re comfortable at being “fully seen” by others, that is you have no insecurities and that’s attractive! Thus your children will automatically respect you and they’ll also learn to gain respect from others which is a really valuable “tool” to have when you’re growing up.
I would really like to emphasise the importance of Actively Showing Love, Respect Gratitude etc. It’s not enough to just feel it; you Need to Demonstrate it in your Actions every day. Think about it; do you think if you spent more quality time together as a Family and actively demonstrated the above feelings that there would be far less cause for arguments and insecurities?? It is equally important to do this for each other as well as the children. When you actively show love and support for your partner/ child, especially at times they really need a bit of extra support; it “puffs them up” to achieve things as opposed to dragging them down. The families who realise the importance of what their actions communicate are the families who achieve the most holistic success for each other.
Ok “Mum” and “Dad” you are the “Family Team Leaders” and the Drivers of your “Family Team”. This is an extremely important role as you are head of the most important Team in the World – Your “Family Team”! That for me is Motivation!! This role basically means that you are the ones making everything happen! This is why, in my mind, it’s also crucially important for you both to have your holistic needs met and to feel “taken care of”. Remember, the more “taken care of” that you feel, the better you’ll be able to take care of the needs of your children.
One easy way of making it happen and keep a strong bond between all the “Family Team” members is to actively spend time together as a “Family Team”. This again is a Choice. I know 21st Century Life is very busy, what I want to put to you is; “where there is a will there’s a way”! – Remember that expression?! If you have the “will”, you will find a way, trust me!! I would highly recommend that have a least one family holiday a year, two to three weekends away – one just with each other (if possible) and one with the children. Plus, spend time as a family together every week, have days out together, spend an afternoon together and do different things that the whole Team enjoy including board games! The more time you’re able to spend together the better – another great way of doing this is to have meals together. Also, endeavour to spend, even a small amount of time, with each individual member of the Team every week. The more time you spend as a Family, the more positive influence you can ensure to have and the less likely needs are going to sort by anyone in an “unhealthy” way. I was actually discussing this point with one of my closest friends who has definitely created holistic success for her “Family Team”. People who really value success for their “Family Team” invest Time, over money in their partner/ children.
As you can imagine this all takes organisation and planning! First you need to compartmentalise the possibility of making it work. Second, to ensure that the “needs” of everyone, including you (!), are met; I would highly recommend to plan them in advance as much as possible – even the little things because they are of as much importance to “make it all happen” as the “bigger things”. This may sound a bit as if it takes the spontaneity out of life; you can still be spontaneous on weekends that through planning you notice are free .– It just takes vision to realise that two contrasting components can co-exist at the same time. Vision is observing future possibilities before they happen. Planning your “Family Team’s future success” helps you do this. The vital thing about planning is that it sets you all up to WIN! – Always keep in mind this expression; “fail to plan and you plan to fail”.
I hope it’s becoming clear how the benefits gained are at least 100 times greater than the extra effort you needed to put in to achieve holistic success for the whole “Family Team”. Achieving holist success for the whole “Family Team” really is a Choice. First, you need to Visualise that it’s possible and you have the power to choose to create. Sometimes you have to choose to want to visualise it; the effort required to achieve this and the need to get outside your comfort zone can make this a daunting choice. Second, you need to choose to “stick with it” and continue working with your partner and putting in that extra effort and trust in your ability to make it work. I’m going to say something that may be difficult to listen to; if you’re not doing the things necessary for “Holist Family Team Success”, you’re not making the Choice for it to happen. J
I feel it’s important to mention now that if you’re in a situation where one members of the Team (usually a child) is going through a phase where a lot of their behaviour choices are undesirable; remember to stay grounded about the situation and look at it from this perspective:
It’s the behaviour choices, Not the child that’s undesirable. Also, remember that it’s a temporary phase that will pass. If you’re really feeling that the issues are affecting your relationship with that child first remember that in life there are some people you naturally bond with better than others; it’s how we choose our friends; so it’s definitely Not a preference for once child over the other. The key is to show understanding, and also be firm about what’s acceptable and what’s not. This is a time you need to put in extra effort as a “Team Leader” to hold the Team together. Seek any extra help you may feel you need – we’re not meant to be “islands”; the outside community is also important to your family’s holistic success. I have a great story that illustrates this:
At the beginning of my career as a Montessori Teacher when I worked in a purpose-build Montessori classroom setting there was one child in particular who was very indifferent. I found this characteristic difficult because it basically means you don’t care either way. Determined not to be like a lot of other Teachers and show favouritism to the more likable children I really put effort in first by noticing the activities he enjoyed and getting him more involved in doing them. It turned out that he loved sweeping and mopping – so every time there was something to be cleared up – I would most often ask him to do it. This gave him a sense of responsibility and actively encouraged him to have a more active role within the “class team”. I was also kindly firm in situations where his behaviour was unacceptable. Due to my efforts he became an active and likable member of his class and other teacher noticed it too. So I became a better Teacher and he became a far more likable child and the indifference completely disappeared all because I chose to put in the extra effort to helping him. Plus, I was “honest” about his behaviour, as opposed to glossing over, or excusing certain things. I’ve noticed that some parents can find this difficult; it subconsciously lets him know that I believed he was capable of better behaviour and as a result, he flourished. So work with honesty!
I’ve mention the whole “Family Team” and how important it is for “Mum” and “Dad” as the drivers to keep things moving. I definitely feel that it’s very important also to touch on how you can still create holistic success for your “Family Team” even in a situation where you’re divorced and a single parent. The most crucial piece of advice I can give you hear is that it’s of vital importance that you remain on amicable terms. I know a lot of divorcees do this; there are some cases where there is a lot of animosity and it can turn very sour. I really implore that in these situations you don’t allow your distain for your ex-partner to be stronger than your love for your children; in situations where you make things difficult for each other and even use the children to “get” at each other – that’s exactly what you’re doing. So let your love be louder; it takes real strength of personality, especially when you’re feeling hurt – as I’ve put forward, it’s a choice that you have the power to make, you need to also have the maturity to make it too.
Even after a divorce, you can still work as a “Team” by remaining in good communication and really do your best to work out how to share the up-bringing of the children in a way that benefits everyone. This again takes maturity, especially when it comes to deciding what values you want to instil in the children.
I’d really like to expand a little on the fact that in every moment, you really do have a choice. It’s a concept that I learnt from one of the programmes of Relationship Expert Christian Carter. He also inspired a lot of my ideas about honesty. You really do have the power to choose to get on throughout a divorce and afterwards. This requires honesty with yourself and fairness towards your ex-partner – you did love each other at one time, so focus on that and chose mature, adult choices (as opposed to childish ones). You don’t have to like someone to choose to get on with them; you just have to ensure that reason to get on with them – the children plus your own sense of honour (right?) – is stronger than your reason not to.
I’d like to share with you another story that taught me that “getting on with people” really is a Choice. Another situation that I experienced at the beginning of my career taught me this:
There were a couple of children that would frequently choose what can only be described as “mean choices” towards the other children. Please note here that they were pre-school age and it’s their previous life experiences that lead them to make these kinds of choices. Everyone has to learn. I was still training at the time and I remember briefly wondering why some of the other children like them when they were often upset by their “mean choices”. Then it dawned on me that they could also make very pleasant choices that still made them likable when and to whom they chose to be. Then I suddenly realised that it really IS a Choice whether you get on with someone, or not. This can be applied in every situation; with your partner, your work colleagues, it’s a Choice how well You decide to get on with them.
I feel, seeing as “work” and “school” is a big part of “Family Team” life; that it’s also relevant to mention that you can choose to get on with your work colleagues and encourage your children to get on with everyone at school regardless of whether they like them. The important thing here is to realise how this actually benefits You. – It’s very motivating when you know what’s in it for you!! Your work life is easier if you get on with everyone. Plus, someone with characteristics that really “bug” you, You can choose to help them, which is better than the choice a lot of people make – to gossip about them. I’m a big fan of Walt Disney’s expression; “Observe the crowd and do the opposite.” Why be like everyone else? Be your own person and choose to use the power of choice that’s in your hands. Help your children make the same type of constructive choices at school. It’s things like this that can make a real difference and even prevent bullying from happening. The workplace will be more productive as a result and that’s a “pat on the back” for you! Imagine how good that would make you feel, especially if someone confessed to you that they’ve been bullied in a previous workplace and thanks to your kindness they now thriving and loving their job!
In conclusion I would say that the key pointers are it takes honesty and maturity to achieve this that requires really “Expanded Awareness” first to visualise success and second to actively take steps to plan and achieve it. For more information please contact me at; firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Twitter/ Instagram @FamilyTeamCoach, or on Facebook/ Twitter at Paula-Elizabeth Jordan, thank-you.