What do software design and parenting have in common? Nope, it’s not a new family organization app. Instead, by opting away from a “waterfall” family organization system, otherwise known as an authoritative top-down system, New York Times columnist Bruce Feiler explores the notion of bringing agile organization to the family.
The idea is this: In the workplace, the agile approach organizes workers into small groups who carry out projects in short spans of times. There is constant feedback and, as a result, constant adjustments, pivots, and change to adapt and address that feedback.
So how does Feiler apply that structure to the family? Like this:
Idea #1: Adapt all the time: Forget the hard-and-fast rules. Kids changes; parents change. There is no ultimate solution. Raising kids is a moving target like no other so stay focused, flexible and open.
Idea #2: Empower your kids. (No, this is not code for “Let them run the show.”) In Feiler’s words, “Enlist kids in their own upbringing.” Hold weekly family meetings where everyone can discuss their goals, challenges, hopes and dreams. And get this: Feiler suggests letting kids decide on their own punishments during family meetings. (And we especially love this: He suggests doling out weekly allowance after the meeting.)
Idea #3: Tell your story. The research is there: Parents who share their family history raise more resilient kids. And these don’t need to be tales of glory. Rather, it’s the mix of good, bad, ups and downs that’s important. In fact, in one study, kids who new the most about their family history had the highest sense of self-esteem and a greater sense they could control their lives, says Feiler.
Want to know more? Watch the TED Talk here. (It’s worth it!)