I was at the library recently to pick out some books for the girls and as I was passing by rows and rows of books, this one particular book jumped into my view. I hesitated for I already have a dozen or so books on the go but I thought it got my attention for a reason. I am only 1/3 of the way through and want to spread the word that this book should be read by anyone who has a family.
Given my career background as a Business Analyst, Change Agent, process improvement, etc. this book totally appealed to me for it talks about taking these business skills, approaches, methodologies into the family environment. Why not? It makes perfect sense. Families face the same things as businesses do with respect to needing to be adaptable and agile to the constant changes that we face in this high tech global world. Just think of the other important skills in today’s workforce, such as excellent communication and negotiation skills, continual process improvement, quality control, etc. How many of us really spend time teaching these skills within the context of the family???
One concept/exercise that has been introduced early in the book which is totally not new in parenting literature is the value of having a weekly family meeting. When I was a manager I had regular department meetings with my team to discuss our successes, challenges, and the plan for either the next day/week/month or quarter depending on the situation. So why wouldn’t we do this as a family? So this past Sunday we had our first Harris family meeting just after dinner. So I borrowed the questions from the book to use at our first meeting; which were:
1) What worked well in our family this week?
2) What didn’t work well in our family this week?
3) What will we work on this coming week?
I had no idea how this would go, especially since I didn’t prep my husband, one child is non-verbal and can’t participate at all and in fact can sabotage such an attempt if she is bored, and a 6 year old who might need some prodding and coaching. To my surprise and delight we had a successful meeting. Aside from Reilly, the three of us all gave input as well as listened to each and shared in some good laughter. I wrote out the main points that we talked about for each question to serve as reference guide as we move forward with this exercise. And even though Reilly couldn’t contribute in the traditional way, she was at the table and I believe enjoyed being part of this family affair.
One of the issues that Mike and I struggle with is how grumpy London is in the morning and this was certainly one issue we put out on the table in our discussions. We were very good though in trying not to make it an issue specific to London but rather a family issue that we need to work together to solve. She didn’t get defensive when we brought up and even said “I know, it is just the way I am”. We talked about how we can help each other in the morning and came up with several different suggestions and ideas. In the end we settled on a couple and moved on. Well two days later and we have had two much better mornings.
I am looking forward to our next meeting!