March 03, 2013

How to improve the relations within our family and contribute to the development of our children using agile?

@Agile family & Kids : it’s all in the agile kids Book.

It’s a modern world, we are living in a modern family; we have tons of tasks to complete, parents working long hours, and we don’t have as much time to talk to one another as we used to. We find ourselves using our most valuable time with our kids an family nagging over tasks, and actually that almost all we talk about. In nearly every family it exists in one way or another and every family chooses their way to deal with the issue. Anger, punishments, benefits, and performing our children tasks ourselves just to avoid that annoying tension of arguing with the kids over that.

What happened to a healthy dialog with my kids?  Will he ever tell me what bother him when all we do is talking about un finished tasks and chores? What happened to help him grow up as self organized healthy individuals?
Focusing on chores and on what went wrong, distract us from the really important issues. Our children .

So how agile can help us with that?

Operating agile practices with your family at home, is not just another neat and practical way of getting our family and kids tasks done. It is most about creating a healthy family dialog hart bit in an easy, practical and intuitive way. And it’s a great and easy way for learning and reaching kids empowerment.

The family state of mind affect your children outside world  as well. We believe that the family is a micro social environment of the outside world, through which we learn behavioral patterns. So by learning some agile techniques at home with our family we get to acquire important and vital tools to later use in “the outside world”.

So , use Agile at home as a mean to:

·         Teach healthy communication

·         Clean out all the tasks noise, and start getting things done

·         Elevate self-motivation  and Reach empowerment

·         Elevate improvement culture and learning

How do we do all of that?
Create  visibility. Visibility in turn creates security and control.
When we place our daily tasks on the board, we create visibility, that enables us to relate to each and every task. This creates balance. We don’t just relate to the problematic tasks that are stressing us out at that very instant, we relate to all of them.  For example, we need to brush our teeth NOW!, so that’s the only task we’ll talk and think about. 
Of course we use the task board at home as a way of managing the family tasks (which need to be done) , but it is not only about managing our daily tasks and chores as a family. It is also a good incentive for a family to start discussing those annoying tasks you never get around to doing, and more. The task board is just a tool, a tool that sets the discussion context.

Initiate the family dialog: We gather every day to talk about those tasks
We use a daily family gathering when we talk about tasks to create a period of quality time, where we can talk and be heard.
Talking about the tasks has a magical effect on the kids, sometimes just due to the fact that we dedicated time to talk about what’s going on with them at home, most importantly, because we, the parents, set aside time just to talk to them. Listening to the children is vital to succeed. Listening to what they have to say about their tasks during the daily meetings, giving them a place to be heard and to express them. When I speak, I’m learning and developing. When people listen to me and react to what I say, that strengthens the learning a thousand fold.
Even if it’s just 10 minutes, they are very efficient 10 minutes.

The daily meetings and the order they bring to the house, send out a message. A message of doing, of support from others when I get stuck. A message of ‘getting things done’.

Easy way to clearly set challenges and get things done.
It’s not the delivery of the house chores and kids tasks that matter (well, OK, they do, but they are not the goal), it is the ability of the child and family to understand the goals, to get feedback, to make mistakes and correct.
Our children put up everything on the board. They see what they are up against. It isn’t a vague in their heads. It is there, and belongs to them. They can see what is more and less important, it gives them a sense of control, reduces the confusion and leads them to succeed on doing. They can also see their progress.
Each child chooses their own tasks, and moves forwards at their own pace. The board belongs to the family, and each has his own tasks. We can also see where we can move forwards. We see others’ successes and failures, and the children talk to the parents during the daily or weekly meetings, and they learn from their experiences. When things are clear, it’s easier to improve. When we and our child know what’s expected from us, we will be able to complete the tasks and track our results. Defining the tasks with the child and placing them on the task board in plain sight will do the trick.
We are training our children to divide our tasks into doable actions. We are showing them the way. How a task is created, what happens during the progression, and how it ends? We experience successes (because we completed tasks), we saw the way, and we learned how to accomplish this.

We Focus on the important & Challenges . This way, instead of dealing with things that aren’t getting done, we focus on what’s really important, and have time to learn new skills.
We lead the way towards continues improvement mindset
By gathering every day and talk about our tasks we get to learn from our experience. In addition, the family will gather at the end of each week to retrospect over the last week performance. They will also plan the next week ahead and will be proud of what they achieved. I don’t have the space here to present all the details, but this cycle of communication that includes plan ahead ; look at yourself every day ; show your outcome ; retrospect and learn , it’s a significant  heartbeat  encourage feedback and lead to growth.
We help increase the Feeling of Success
Children don’t always know how to divide their assignments into tasks, and some learn slower and some learn faster. What’s important is the feeling of success. They don’t need large rewards to feel they were successful - all they need is a smile and to succeed at a small task. That’s enough for them.
The children aren’t just following instructions; they are also active participants, so it’s much easier to improve.  They don’t just talk about it, or are told that they have succeeded - they have tasks in front of their eyes that moved from one side of the board (‘To do’) to the other (‘Done’). And they were the ones doing the moving. It’s amazing how much this visible evidence of success delights them.
The more colorful and full the board is, the more they feel successful. Add to this the fact that we, the parents, are also there, seeing the effort and results, talking about it, showing our children how proud we are.
The task board creates a feeling of involvement. We are the ones building the board, and we are the ones using the tool to bring about change. Sometimes this is exactly why we recommend that you start by putting tasks on the board that are likely to be completed successfully. If your child is having a hard time at math, don’t start with that task. Start with something simple, like brushing their teeth every night. Build on that success, so that you can deal with the harder tasks later on.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Learn what did and didn’t work. Appreciate the effort and communication what you gain on your journey. The fact that it didn’t work the first time isn’t a reason not to try again.

We lead to Empowerment – Now this is a big issue and a very important one…
In one sentence, we can define empowerment as a process where the one with power (that’ll be you, the parent) gives up some of his power for another (your children), and at the same time he also maintains his limits and authority. This way BOTH sides grow and gain in strength. In fact, we change from a position of no control, to a position of relative control.
The empowerment process strengthens the self-confidence of the one being empowered, in his ability to function, make decisions and complete tasks. We will gain empowerment when the individual feels he can make his own mind, be part of something important, and gain the autonomy to choose, get healthy feedback and change accordingly.
And how do we do it?
Sometimes it’s much easier for us to tell our kids what to do, rather than let them decide for themselves. When to tidy their room, what’s wrong - instead of telling them how fantastic they are. Instead of feeling success, they just feel failure. When you come home, and just complain about the tasks they didn’t do, you don’t compliment them on the tasks they DID do.
Sometimes, it’s enough to strengthen the feeling of success to create the seeds of empowerment. In fact, from all the components of empowerment, the feeling of success is in my opinion the most important.
Setting these small goals, even from a young age, and enabling the child to see and choose their own tasks, is a big step towards empowerment. The ability, to place his own tasks and make his own decisions, is very important, and contributes a lot to his sense of ability and worth. It’s true that we, as parents, will place the limits, and ensure that tasks such as ‘only eat candy’ won’t be on the board, but within those limits - the child makes all the choices. The task board visibility enables control. Control strengthens our feeling of being capable. When we feel in control, even of something small, with time we can leverage that feeling to our weaker areas as well.

The family retrospective session enables forwards visibility, which gives children and us parents, a sense of security. The situation becomes less vague and enables the children to function and make decisions with more certainty. When I know that Daddy will be coming home late all next week, I can plan tasks just for us, or with Mummy, or understand why Daddy isn’t reading me a bedtime story.
It’s very important to use the board to create options to choose from, and discuss those options. There are many tasks on the board, and I can choose what to do. I am with my parents, and I discuss my choices with them. Standing in front of the board and telling your children what they are going to do next miss the whole point of Agile! You need to ask and guide your children. The task board is an excellent tool for this, as it focuses the conversation, and places all open issues in front of everybody, without singling out a specific family member or task as problematic.

We leads to better learning:
People learn best when they participate in activities that are perceived to be useful in real life and are culturally relevant. Practicing Agile at home, going over relevant day to day tasks, like the Morning Routine, or the Evening Routine, makes a good base from which to build other learning activities. These are highly relevant to the child’s day to day life and can be a good infrastructure to other learning activities along the way, which is also one of the reasons that it works so well at home.
The whole family takes part in the daily meetings. Experience the decision-taking process together. Learning is primarily a social activity.  Agile is primarily a social and team activity. The children have a chance to practice their social skills in safety before they go out into the real word. The family acts as a safe zone where kids can learn social activities and then to "try" them on in the real world.
We gather as a family, we learn to talk, to present ourselves, we learn to retrospect and we learn to interact with dignity and empowerment. The children learn very fast to introduce themselves, talk about what they did the day before, what they did today, and what they intend to do. They learn to focus on what’s important, and make decisions accordingly . And … The discussion itself enables growth.
Learning requires the active and constructive involvement of the learner. And we do just that in agile.We encourage the active participation of your kid in the daily gathering. They are the ones actively assigning, moving and taking ownership over tasks.
No one can stay passive.
The state of mind and messages that come from the family and the house affect your children outside world  as well
We believe that the family is a micro social environment of the outside world, through which we learn behavioral patterns.
For example, a singer’s son can become a singer with less effort than others. It’s not just the voice - you have to think like an artist as well, to know how to express your feelings, create, and so on, which is something that the child is immersed in at home every day. The same goes for doctors, or business people.
Now, just imagine that you immerse your children in empowerment. Every day, things that come naturally to them, will affect them in the future. Everyone agrees that it doesn’t matter HOW you raise your kids, it affects them a whole lot more than any courses they might take in the future. So isn’t it in our best interests to make sure they get confidence, empowerment, and the ability to follow tasks through?
Hugging and kissing ARE important. Without that, any improvement that you achieve will be temporary. This is not agile, this is parenting.
And … Agile is fun! Don’t forget to have fun along the way! Fun is always the best way leads to empowerment, learning and capability feeling.

Read more :
Blanchard, Kenneth H., John P. Carlos, and Alan Randolph. Empowerment Takes More than a Minute. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1996. Print.
Stewart, Aileen Mitchell. Empowering People (Institute of Management). Pitman. London: Financial Times Management, 1994. Print.
Thomas, K. W. and Velthouse, B. A. (1990) Cognitive Elements of Empowerment: An 'Interpretive' Model of Intrinsic Task Motivation. Academy of Management Review, Vol 15, No. 4, 666-681.
Wilkinson, A. 1998. Empowermenttheory and practicePersonnel Review. [online]. Vol. 27, No. 1, 40-56. Accessed February 16, 2004.
Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-scale Production, Taiichi Ohno



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