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A family is a team

March 17, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

I read the “Eleven Commandments of an Enthusiastic Team” a short while ago. It was posted in a classroom and I thought it fitting even for families. A family unit is certainly a team, or maybe it should be viewed that way.

Every team has to have a team leader to keep things going in the right direction (parents) but each member of the team (family) should be viewed as a contributing member with worthwhile things to say and do to add to the team unit. And each team member should be valued and heard.

Here are these commandments:

1. Help each other be right, rather than wrong.

2. Look for ways to make new ideas work, rather than for reasons they won’t.

3. If in doubt, check it out, rather than making negative assumptions.

4. Help each other win and take pride in each other’s victories. (I like this one.)

5. Speak positively about each other and about your school (work setting, family, etc.) at every opportunity.

6. Maintain a positive mental attitude no matter what the circumstances.

7. Act with initiative and courage as if all depends on you.

8. Do everything with enthusiasm – it’s contagious (we know that’s true.)

9. Believe in what you are doing, never give up (we can’t - it’s our family).

10. Whatever you want – give it away (so to say).

11. Have fun!

Source: Inservice Alternatives newsletter, Bay City Mich.

So many of these commandments fit a family unit. Treating our children with respect as individuals with needs, wants and as contributing members is important. If children are heard and really listened to, they are more likely to also listen to you and others as well.

Often as parents we have a tendency to sometimes make negative assumptions about certain things our children have done, or we jump to conclusions before we really know what is going on.

It is important to “check it out” rather than making negative assumptions. There are always reasons behind behavior.

Of course, we want each member to win. Each person needs their own things to be proud of, and we need to support our children and take pride in family victories, whatever they may be.

Sometimes when the going gets rough or we’ve had a long day, and the day only gets longer (chores, homework, etc.), it is hard to always maintain a positive mental attitude.

If someone needs a break, including us as parents, we need to take those breaks some time, alone (if possible, with kids that need to be supervised), a bath, listening to some soothing music. Or how about a hug?

Family units do depend on the adults involved. Our children do depend on us and must be foremost in our lives.

Does that mean we give up everything, our hobbies, etc? Of course not. In fact when we are happy individuals, we are happy people. And it is good for our children to view their parents engaging in healthy hobbies. We want our children to have hobbies that they enjoy as well.

Having a positive attitude is important. As they say, “look at the glass half full rather than half empty.” We role model for our children in everything we do, say and act. Having fun with our children and playing with them at their levels is important for them as well as for us.

“The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come,” said Sandra Day O’Connor (first American woman Supreme Court Justice).