Certain national and global trends have grown in the last 40 years to challenge millions of parents into making unprecedented choices. From under-performing K-12 education systems, the declining prestige of a college diploma, to the dangers of excessive social media exposure, determining how to successfully navigate the rapidly changing environment in which children are raised can dominate the lives of families.
To help parents meet this challenge head on, Birth2Work has identified four key components that comprise an integrated systems approach toward family leadership.
Each component has as its foundation that genuine, human interactions - not those mediated by a machine - are the surest way to instill meaning, purpose and significance in children. We also believe that as parents, retired professionals and community leaders we can value technology, but we cannot let technology replace our role in establishing and reinforcing the values, beliefs and culture that are core to who we are and what we want to become.
Component One: The 5 DREAMS for our children are grounded in the belief that as leaders, we are responsible for ensuring they are mature when they transition to adulthood. They need a sense of values, an accurate perception of their personal capabilities, and a purpose in life. To be successful in doing so, they must:
1. Be economically self-sufficient with knowledge and skills to be personally accountable and responsive to what ever happens;
2. Be able to communicate and interact with others both orally and in writing to develop friendships and relationships, communicate effectively, cooperate, negotiate, share, empathize and listen;
3. Participate in the governance process using wisdom learned from personal experience to evaluate options and make judgments according to values appropriate in their environment.
4. Learn, unlearn and relearn every day. That’s life. As new information comes available, responding to limits and consequences with adaptability, flexibility and integrity is the goal. Experience is the backbone.
5. Focus on the future with certainty that they can contribute in meaningful ways because they know they are needed. They have self-control and self-discipline, and have learned from experiences.
Component Two: The Readiness Profile of developmental milestones gives our parents a peek at the full spectrum of physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and life skills development that a child will go through from birth through 18 years old. This one-of-a-kind document was not drafted from a medical perspective. Instead it's a composite summary of what human development looks like on paper as a human being grows through his/her life phases.
The layer unique to each family, of course, is the voice of the adult(s), family, friends, and community people in the life of the child who will shape him/her with their ideas, beliefs and actions. One of our favorite expressions of this idea is the Chinese proverb, “A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.”
Component Three: The 3Es of Learning - Environment, Experiences, Engagement. For many, learning is taken for granted as something that just happens. There is a common belief that a child will know or will be able to do things simply because they have reached a certain age. Experience and science show that’s not how learning works, however. All children’s capacities and capabilities are in direct relationship to the 3Es - the environment they are in, the experiences they have and the conversations (engagement) they have with adults around them.
Whatever environment we are in (i.e., park, school, home), the experiences we make available to our children, such as climbing monkey bars, watching a fish swim, or baking a cake, are enhanced or dismissed by the child depending on how we talk about the experience with him or her. What stays with a child in their hearts and minds is dependent on what the adult said and the tone of voice used in the moment of learning. And whatever it is the child learns first about a person, place, or thing, is the memory and feeling that will stay with him the longest.
Learning opportunities are everywhere; in every breath we take, until our last. The challenge is whether or not we, the leaders of our children, take advantage of opportunities to share our knowledge, our wisdom and our joy with them.
"You can teach a baby absolutely anything that you can present in an honest, factual and joyous way.”
–Glenn Doman, the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential
Component Four: The Functional Family Portfolio. Thirty years in development, the Portfolio is a collection of materials not just about strategizing your money allocations, but strategizing how to invest your time, energy, and resources for the good of your family over the long term.
It looks at every broad system that demands attention from family leaders, such as developing a vision for the family, and developing the action plan to get there. Parents must identify their values around emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual behaviors for the family. They have to give thought to doing business with people who then become part of their support team, and decide what it is worth to give time to the community they live in.
Discussions and understanding about who is responsible for home and family life, education for all children, and engaging with the community are all part of the bigger picture we explore with participants in our classes. We work through building the scaffolding for achieving and sustaining the quality of life that each parent wants for their family. It doesn’t happen without a plan.
Join us for this fun, exciting and challenging opportunity. We look forward to meeting you.