As we have come to the end of the month and our discussions on Teamwork it was gratifying to see the use of teamwork in the families here at our school. Our students really got a special opportunity to display teamwork this week with our brush with Irene, the hurricane.
Some of the parents in the school started using the term Team “Last Name” as they told the stories of their family cleaning up after the storm or dealing in their own way with the inconveniences or even emergencies that they faced in the wake of the storm.
When the students returned to class we gave all the students the opportunity to tell their hurricane story, and reminded them that when they helped with work that needed to be done in or around the house they were practicing teamwork. We also reminded them that every team member has a special skill and or responsibility to fulfill on the team, and how thankful they could be that their parents had kept them safe during this emergency. They could rely on the team, just as the team relied on them.
While having an earthquake and hurricane in the same week was a bit disconcerting, we did get to practice teamwork – and even some of our word of the month in September; Self Reliance.
Each one of us bring something special to the team that we are on. Even on our most important team, the family, not all of us are going to be good at all things. On every team there will those who play the role of encourager, compromiser, leader, clarifier, idea person, evaluator and recorder.
On small teams like your family, some may take on several roles as the team works towards a goal. But the point is that one person should not need to take on all of the roles, because everyone can contribute something. As a brief review let’s look at the different roles that can be played out on a team.
Encourager is the person who cheers the group on and finds ways to energize the group when motivation gets low. Compromiser works on keeping the group harmonized. They make sure that many in the group are heard and understood. Leaders who must be careful not to dominate the group, while at the same time keeping them focused and on track to reach the goals of the group. Clarifier is the person who can summarize where the group is at this time and looks to make sure the group reaches a consensus. Idea person sees the big picture and is full of creative ways of getting there, while they may not be too good on the details. Evaluator is the person who likes to think things over and does not reach a quick decision. They will suggest and encourage looking at goals and solutions from different viewpoints. Recorder is the person who loves to take the notes at a meeting and helps keep things moving, on time and schedule.
How can you contribute with your best? Can you take on greater responsibility on a team? In the family we can train our children to take on different roles as they work on seeing what they are the best at and how to use all of these skills. It may start with simple day to day plans and later as they get older, having them help with vacation plans and other family goals.
Being on a team is important to our children feeling like they belong. Belonging to a group is key to building their confidence which in turn will affect their ability to lead. They will be less likely to succumb to bullying behavior and to stand up for others who are being picked on. Teaching teamwork at home builds happy family units, stronger students and future adults.
“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” –Norman Shidle
I thought this was an interesting quote, especially when dealing with the family unit. If we want our family to work as a team, there are steps to take first to ensure that everyone can be sure of themselves and the role that they play in the task at hand.
First, all members of the family need to have a clear vision of the end result and to see how it will benefit them and the rest of the ‘team’. Then they must realize that the part they have been asked to perform or they have accepted to do is an integral part of the whole picture. Helping them to believe that they are important and responsible for a key part of the big picture.
Being sure that each team member is capable of or been trained for their task will help to keep them focused and not get discouraged prior to the completion of the task. Especially with children, we may believe that they know something that they have not mastered yet, and they may get discouraged.
Make sure the whole team knows what the end results will look like and keep them on track by developing a spirit of cooperation. It may be that you will work together on a portion of the project – and be willing to praise the younger member for the contribution they are making. If there are any complaints, be sure to address them quickly and work to keep the mood light and encouraging the entire time. In the end reward your ‘team’ with praise for a job well done and with a special treat of something that they consider ‘great’.
These steps will help us for work that needs to be done in the garden or in the house. They will help the entire family focus on what is important to your family in education, spirituality, vacations or work in the community.
Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
When we work together our team is strong, we accomplish much more, and the team is successful. Our most important team we are on is our family. How can we practice teamwork at home? Working together to clean up, do the dishes, work in the yard. Almost every activity around the house can include the whole family. Think about how each member of the family will feel when everyone chips in to help. It certainly is not up to just one person in the family to be responsible for all the cleaning.
Children can also be included as they get older in planning outings for the family. This feeling of belonging and being a part of a team will help them withstand peer pressure in school and in life, as well as be willing to include others in their activities.
When teamwork is learned at home, children will be more willing to assist teachers and other students in school. It may be helping to clean the classroom, or helping other students learn the lesson of the day. In fact as children develop teamwork they are also developing empathy. They will be more willing to stand up to anyone who may bully another student or to welcome a new student into the school. Sometimes new students can have a hard time feeling like they fit in and those who practice teamwork can be of great assistance.
Finally in the community, teamwork is so important to accomplish goals that none of us could do on our own. It is this type of teamwork that Balanced Life Skills is hoping to find in our Bully Prevention Partners website. It will only be all of us working together that we can accomplish the our goal of a culture of peace in the classroom for all students.
In our society even our youngest of children end up on teams involving sports or other activity. Too often the question we ask is, “How did you do?” or we say, “You did really well today!” If we want to teach our children about teamwork though we may want to change the words we use, and start very early teaching them about teams and how we can accomplish much bigger goals together than we can as just one person.
All of us including children have been on teams. Our most important team is our family. When we teach our children that the family is the most important team we are on, we will be helping them to see things from others point of view, empathy. When they go to school they will start to see relationships as not just about themselves, but also get to feel what others might be feeling. When we take them into the community and there are cleanup projects or feeding the less fortunate, they will begin to understand how together we can make a difference far beyond what we can do as individuals.
What would happen if at home we all made a mess? Do we expect that one person would be responsible for picking up and cleaning the mess? If we as a family work together to get things cleaned up, we are teaching our children that teamwork is an important characteristic to our family. Yes sometimes it takes more time than doing it ourselves, but the lesson of teamwork, empathy, fairness and learning how to share responsibility is a valuable lesson for later in life.
Our children, just like ourselves, find that we are on a variety of teams. It may be a school, sports, service project, or for adults we may be on multiple teams at work. Whenever we find that we are with a group of people trying to achieve a common goal, it requires that we have teamwork.
While all of these outside activities are important to demonstrate the qualities of good teamwork, our inner circle of our family is the most important. In fact it is here in the family that we first lay the groundwork for teamwork, and this is where we should have our foundation and strongest ties.
Teaching the quality of teamwork to our children with our example and words have a far reaching affect on their relationships later when they get in school and have to deal with social issues and behaviors of classmates, teachers and teams that they may be taking part in. During this month we will look at what it means to be a teammate, why some teams are successful and others not, how we can contribute to teams we are on and how and why we should speak up as an individual on a team.
Finally I will be tying all of this in to how teaching teamwork to our children has an affect on bullying in school. Follow us here or come in to the school and enjoy taking classes with our team of dedicated instructors.