Thursday, January 2, 2014

the big disconnect - sustainable family

the last chapter of catherine steiner-adair's book with teresa barker has a list of traits that a strong family nurtures.  these help us endure and adapt.  

for more information about the big disconnect, click here.

here's the to-do list:

1.  The sustainable family recognizes the pervasive presence of tech in today's world and develops a family philosophy about using it that reflects and supports the family's values and well-being.  The family has its own ways - tech and non tech - of hanging out, messing around, and geeking out.  steiner-adair encourages parents to write a contract for technology use in the family. 

2.  The sustainable family encourages play and plays together.  kids need to use their imaginations, and they need to know how to solve "being bored" without tech.

3.  A sustainable family nourishes meaningful connection and thoughtful conversation that shares feelings, values, expectations, and optimism.  this section has a plan for mediating children's arguments.  one suggestion i loved - at some point each day everyone shares something that went well.  then, be curious.  ask, "how did you do that?"  …invite them to let you walk with them on their path to success.  as teachers, we do this, because it helps kids feel competent, and reminds them that work brought success.  

4.  In the sustainable family, members understand the uniqueness of each person, encourage independence and individual interests, and foster their independence in the context of family.  we're all different, and our children need to be accepted for who they are.  

5.  A sustainable family has built-in mechanisms for healthy disagreement.  Parents set limits, act thoughtfully with parental authority, and do the hard parenting work of demonstrating accountability, authority, openness, transparency, and not "just trust me", but "here's why".  parents are not just their child's friend.

6. The sustainable family has values, wisdom, a link to the past and future, and some common language that they share with family and friends.  here's to multigenerational support and love.

7.  Sustainable families provide experiences off-line in which children can experience and cultivate an inner life, solitude, and connection to nature.  as we know from The Last Child in the Woods, we need to get our kids outside.  

it's a long list, but worth the effort.  
a peaceful thursday to you. 

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