Teamwork: We're in this together
Posted: November 26, 2018
Although I wasn’t a fan of group projects during my school years, I now wish we would have done more of them. I’ve found that learning to work with others is one of the more important skills used once you graduate. Think about all the teams you’re on, conventional or non: a team at work trying to accomplish a goal, a volunteer group in the community or at a church, our team we’re on together as Americans, maybe you’re on a recreational sports team or you serve as a member on a board. The list may look different for each of us, but I would argue one of the most important teams is our family.
When you think of the teams you’ve been on, which ones did you enjoy? Why were they enjoyable? Was it because you won the championship game or more because you enjoyed your coach, your teammates, and the process of growing as a person while creating fun memories with other people? My guess is any team that’s memorable to you (positive memories, that is!) is because of how the other team members made you feel. And in my opinion, that experience is more of a win than any goal or championship.
Sadly, many of us know through experience, that there aren’t many things that are more UNmotivating than being constantly criticized, and no one wants to be on a team like that. The opposite is true as well. So if our family is a team, and we define winning as the process of improving, creating fun memories, and being mindful of how we feel and are making others feel- then let’s start by motivating the members of our team to WANT to play with us. One of the teaching strategies that the instructors employ at Star Martial Arts is being a good finder. This means we practice looking at the students through a positive lens and catch them doing something right. It’s like magic! Once students get a small taste of praise, they crave it and become motivated to please. It’s like a spark that turns into a raging fire.
This confidence sets the foundation for kids to feel safe to explore their unique contribution to the team. One of the great benefits of being on a team is accomplishing something bigger than you. Nothing in this world can be accomplished alone and each member has a unique contribution not only to the family, but also to other teams as they grow and mature. It’s important for kids to see how they are unique, significant, and needed in the family, but just as important also how each of the other members also bring something different, and just as significant to the family.
Begin highlighting different ways each family member contributes that benefits the whole team (working, cooking, cleaning, helping with homework). Start giving your children responsibilities and discuss how it’s their way of contributing to the team as well. For younger children, basic chores is a popular starting point, but also consider good habits like listening the first time, brushing their teeth without complaining, and putting away their toys without being told. These can be great ways that they can contribute in their own way to making less work for mom and dad on top of all the work they already do for the family. Some ideas for older kids and teens include more responsibility and contribution since their ability is higher such as cooking for the family one day a week, lawn chores, and helping younger siblings. One of our favorite quotes at Star Martial Arts is “if everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot.” Taking on a single project for the entire family to work together makes opportunity for a teaching time of the concept of teamwork.
At Star Martial Arts, we believe in the importance of providing opportunities that create experiential learning. This is when lessons truly stick with students for the long-term, and hopefully a lifetime. We would love for your team to join our team to demonstrate teamwork at its best through our Blessing Bag Project this season. Beginning Monday, November 26 all families are encouraged to buy and donate toiletry products (a list of frequently needed items will be provided) for the homeless. On December 15th, the leadership team will assemble the products into “blessing bags” which will be hand-delivered directly to the homeless by the UMA team the next day.
Teamwork shows itself in so many shapes and sizes. Whether you take one of these ideas for your small team at home or use it on a large-scale by helping the cause of homelessness, our hope for your family is that we are all reminded that “It’s not about me; it’s about ‘we!’ ”