From the Deputy Head of Primary
Seven Habits of Successful Families
On Monday evening, Tany Milner, Kim Slender and I had the privilege of presenting the second of our two-part series on Seven Habits of Successful Families. During the workshop we looked at the transition from independence to interdependence using the Emotional Bank Account. We then unpacked Habits 4-6, which are about effective relationships. We concluded by looking at Habit 7, which is about personal renewal. The key messages of the presentations are outlined below:
Transition from Independence to Interdependence:
When moving from the private to public victory, we need to explore the foundation of an effective relationship. All relationships are built on trust. In an effective relationship there is a high level of trust. We build trust in relationships by making deposits in the Emotional Bank Account. Deposits in the Emotional Bank Account may include keeping promises, acts of kindness, being loyal, listening or saying you’re sorry. Withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account may include breaking promises, putting people down, gossiping, lying or setting false expectations. A withdrawal from the Emotional Bank Account requires two to five deposits to rebuild the trust that has been lost in the relationship. For the years K-2 students we use the language of ‘Bucket Filling’ and for the Years 3-6 students we use the language of ‘Emotional Bank Account’.
Habit 4: Think Win Win
Habit 4 is about mutual benefit. The principle of this habit is to have an abundance mentality, knowing that there is plenty for everyone to share. To quote Stephen Covey: Think Win-Win is a frame of mind and heart that seeks mutual benefit and mutual respect. It’s not thinking selfishly (win-lose) or like a victim (lose-win). It’s thinking in terms of “we, not me.” There are four options we can consider when working with others, these are displayed in the matrix below.
I get the remote and you get nothing.
We don’t have enough for both of us.
You get the remote and I get nothing.
If you win, I am a loser.
We argue and I throw the remote against the wall.
If I’m going down, you’re going down with me.
You and I decide together to turn off the TV and play cards.
It’s not you or me, it’s about both of us.
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood
Habit 5 is about empathic communication. The principles of this habit are respect, mutual understanding, empathy and courage. As Stephen Covey says: The only reality I can possibly know is the world as I perceive it…and the only reality you can possibly know is the world as you perceive it…and the only certainty is that these worlds are different. There are as many “real worlds” as there are people.
Listening to others also helps to create feelings of being valued, validated, affirmed and understood. Often when we listen we use autobiographical responses. An autobiographical response is focused on self rather than the other person. Probe, evaluate, advise and interpret are four ways in which we can listen to others that lead to an autobiographical response.
An alternative to autobiographical listening is empathic listening. Empathic listening is rooted purely in our intent to understand the other person. If we continually seek first to understand and listen empathically, we will make deposits in the Emotional Bank Account of that relationship. With a high level of trust, people are more willing to speak openly and honestly about how they feel. There are three steps to empathic listening:
- Take Time: This doesn’t necessarily mean setting aside long periods of time to listen and talk. It is about making the most of each conversation and actively listening.
- Avoid ‘door slammers’: This can involve criticising, talking about yourself or giving advice. In highly emotional conversations, empathic listening is far more effective to get to the heart of the issue. Some helpful phrases for keeping the door open for empathic listening may include ‘Tell me about it’, ‘You’re saying’, ‘As you see it’, ‘So you feel…’
- Listen first, talk second: When we respond in a conversation it is important to control our body language, use appropriate words and speak in a soft voice. When we use our words to listen empathically it is like giving air to the body because it provides understanding to the heart.
Habit 6: Synergise
Habit 6 is the result of thinking win win (Habit 4) and seeking first to understand (Habit 5). It is based on the principles of effectiveness, co-operation, diversity and humility. When we synergise we need to consider how to come up with a solution that is better than could be devised as an individual. Synergy in the family is celebrating differences, being open minded, working as a team and finding new and better ways. Synergy is not tolerating differences, working independently, thinking you are always right and compromising. The first rule of synergy is to value one another. The second rule of synergy is to recognise strengths. A helpful tool to identify individual strengths is the VIA survey of character strengths, developed by Penn University. This survey tool is free and has a questionnaire for adults and children.
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw
Habit 7 is about daily self renewal, it is the habit that makes all the others possible. Sharpening the saw in the family context has four domains. First is the physical. This may include exercising or doing physical activities together, collaborative family work, getting enough sleep and eating healthily. Second is the mental. This is to learn new things together, share and discuss ideas, watch good movies or educational TV programs and develop talents. Third is the emotional. This involves loving and affirming one another, laughing and relaxing together and building relationships of trust and unconditional love. Fourth is the spiritual. This is spending time together in prayer or worship, mindfulness, meditation or reading inspirational literature as a family.
On Tuesday Emanuel School hosted the IPSHA Deputies’ Umbrella Group with about 20 Primary School Deputies from other IPSHA schools. At this meeting we showcased innovative practices in our Primary School. Firstly Tany Milner spoke about our Year 6 trip to Jilkminggan with student presentations from Sasha Goldman, Amanda Bozic, Kai Biton and Zachary Gothelf. Helen Maynard and Adam Majsay spoke about our Cultures of Thinking practices and Instructional Rounds professional development scheme. Kim Slender discussed our PAWS and .b Mindfuless programs, with student presentations from Ashley Cohn and Max Salamon. Finally I spoke about The Leader In Me program using Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, with student presentations from Ezra Glovers Sanders, Violet Nathanson and Remy Waller. It was wonderful to showcase some of the exciting initiatives taking place at Emanuel School to the deputies of other independent schools across NSW. Thank you to the staff and students who presented at the meeting and also to Holly Dillon for her assistance in organising and setting up the event.
On Tuesday the Primary School chess teams competed at the Jewish Schools Primary Chess Competition hosted at Mount Sinai. The students played incredibly well and won the overall school trophy. Team A won all of their games. Teams B, C and D also played at a very high standard which contributed to this outstanding whole school result. Thank you to Colleen Elkins for her ongoing commitment and support of the chess teams and for organising Emanuel students to attend the event.
- 12 September: Parent Teacher Night, 4:00pm-9:00pm MPH
- 13-14 September: School Photos – Music, Sport and Extra-curricular
- 14 September: Parent Teacher Night: 4:00pm-6:30pm
- 14 September: CIS Athletics
- 15 September: Year 3 Great Mates Day
- 16 September: Project Heritage, 11:15am-1:10pm MPH
- 16 September: 1 Be’er Sheva Assembly Class Item (Talia Hynek’s Class)
- 18-26 September: Year 6 Northern Territory Trip
- 19 September: Year 2 Science Incursion
- 20 September: Year 4 Guest Speaker James Roy
- 21 September: Year 6 Make A Difference (MAD) Excursion, Monte, Hunters Hill
- 22 September: Years K-2 Gala Day, Centennial Park
- 23 September: Rosh Hashanah and Grandparents and Friends Day, 9:30am-11:45am MPH