Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with the amazing parents and teachers in the Big Life Journal – Raising Kids with a Growth Mindset Facebook group. Their dedication to raising their children in a prosocial collaborative manner with a positive mindset was inspiring. We spoke of the inherent value in writing a Family Manifesto to guide the values, joy, and actions within the family. Here are a few of the takeaways. We hope they inspire you.
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A Growth Mindset is about developing the internal dialogue to live a life that healthfully serves self and others.
As a parent, teacher, or community leader, you know mindset is important, it guides how we think and behave. Yet, before the mindset, comes the reflection of who you are, what you value and how you communicate and live those values with those you work and love.
Every family is built on a foundation of what they value most. Some families value kindness and respect, others value acceptance and celebration of individual differences. The range of what individuals in a family values can be broad. The important thing is that your family participates in an exploratory conversation about what each person values. Speaking aloud about what you value is powerful, because values drive mission and mission drives behavior.
If you would like to begin having the “Cognitive Conversation” about what your family values, simply gather together to talk about what each family member cares about. Listen intently with an open mind. Express genuine interest in what matters most to each person.
Here are a few conversation starters.
“What do you like to do?”
“What makes you happy?”
“What do you care about deeply?”
“How do you want others to treat you?”
“How do you want to treat others?”
“What would you like our daily life as a family to look like.”
When you sit down and talk about what matters most, you are getting to the heart of what each person values.
Our values are a reflection of what matters most to us.
Once you have had a conversation about what you value now you can translate that into a Family Mission Statement statement. Your Family Mission Statement combines your values with your expectations and agreements about how you will talk, think and behave with one another.
- “The mission of our family is to provide a home environment that encourages honesty, fairness, respect, and love. We work together to ensure that each member of our family feels important and has the support and the tools they need to reach their higher goals.”
- “In our family, we treat one another respectfully in our words and actions.”
- “We reach out to others to promote respect for all people in our daily life.”
- “We are a family that regards education as the foundation of success. Having reached our educational goals, we will give back to others in order to share our success.”
- “We are a family who has fun. We live for joy and spending time together.”
- “In our family, we respect individual differences and lift one another up.”
- “In our family, we respect personal confidences so family members feel free to share who they really are.”
Now that you have communicated as a family about what you value and how your family members will “be” with one another… you are on to better behavior management. Surprised? Read on.
Your values, drive your mission that then, leads to agreements you make about behavioral expectations.
We all have different views on how we expect our children to behave.
What I’d like to introduce is the idea that in order for our children to do as expected they need:
To clearly understand the expectation.
To have the skill sets to exhibit the behavior.
This is where your Family Mission Statement helps. It steers you away from punishment and negativity and into thoughtful caring and collaboration. Working with your child, together, you talk about what the behavioral expectations are, what agreements you have made regarding how you will behave as human beings within your relationships at home, in school and in the community.
Let’s talk about how. If you have a family mission statement, you have all discussed, written out, drawn and posted, now you have a clear foundation to fall back on when the going gets tough.
So let’s say you have agreed to speak respectfully and someone uses language or a tone that is not respectful. Instead of a consequence, now you have a conversation…
“Remember when we talked about what we all cared about and what kind of family we wanted to live in?”
“Do you hear the challenge here? When you (name the behavior) it’s not consistent with our agreement to (name the agreement).”
“So let’s talk about what might be going on for you. Something seems to be getting in the way of you speaking respectfully.”
This conversation is kind and calm. You are collaborating to solve a problem in service of helping your child find new thoughts, words, and actions.
Now you can move on to more agreements…. “Oh, I see when X happens, that makes you feel Y.”
“How can we help you when this happens?”
“How can you help yourself?”
“Let’s build your toolbox with strategies, so you have go-to solutions when you experience BIG feelings. This will help us cope better.”