Bruce Feiler’s TED Talk “Agile Programming – For Your Family” gives suggestions, practical tips, and real life examples of how Agile tools and practices can help create a happy home life. Many of our ALFs are aware of this TED talk, and we use it to inspire how we can use Agile Programming to create a happy and healthy school culture.
I watched Feiler’s TED Talk with the Mosaic staff and one of our students before school opened this year, and was recently reminded of his talk when someone shared an article on Facebook that expanded on Feiler’s TED talk, “6 Things the Happiest Families Have in Common.”
I couldn’t have been reminded of this article at any better time! I read it right before our holiday break, and was able to have his ideas and suggestions fresh in my mind upon returning to school in January. This week, I asked the kids to help me with Feiler’s first suggestion to families: “Create a family mission statement.” Below is an excerpt from the article mentioned above where the author asks Feiler to expand on how to do this:
1) Create a family mission statement
I asked Bruce what he would recommend if he could only give one piece of advice.
He said: “Set aside time to talk about what it means to be a part of your family.”
Ask: “What are your family values?” In business-speak: Develop a mission statement for your family.
Initiate a conversation about what it means to be a part of your family. Sit down with them and say “Okay, these are our ten central values.”
“This is the family we want to be. We want to be a family that doesn’t fight all the time.” or “We want to be a family that goes camping or sailing” or whatever it might be.
When my family did it, it was literally a transforming experience. We ended up printing it and it hangs now in our dining room.
Does “defining values” seem too big and intimidating? It’s really nothing more than setting goals.
Did we do every one of those things every day, every week, every month? No, that’s not that point. But the point is, when it goes wrong, you have that goal out there. “We want to be a family that has fun together. Have we made time to play recently? No, we don’t. So let’s make time to play. Let’s go bowling or hiking or roller skating.”
You have goals at work. You have personal goals. Why wouldn’t you have goals as a family?
(For more on the science of happy families, click here.)
This week at school, I asked the kids to help me come up with some declarations about what kind of school we want to be. Below you’ll see our list – the only statement I added to the list as an example I gave to the students was, “We are the kind of school that goes on fieldtrips.” The rest are all from the kids!
Each week, during our Change Up meetings – I’ll ask someone to read over our declarations and then we can do a quick check-in on how we are doing on as a community to be the kind of school we say we want to be.
If we feel like we are not reaching these goals, we can create a plan for the next week to do so. We can also add new statements to the list as well.
The beautiful part is that the kids are involved in the creation of what it is they want to be as a community. We support each other and remind each other of what we want to be like together.