Like many parents, the Starrs were trapped between the smooth-running household they aspired to have and the exhausting, earsplitting one they actually lived in. “I was trying the whole ‘love them and everything will work out’ philosophy,” she said, “but it wasn’t working. ‘For the love of God,’ I finally said, ‘I can’t take this any more.’ ”
What the Starrs did next was surprising. Instead of consulting relatives or friends, they looked to David’s workplace. They turned to a cutting-edge program called agile development that has rapidly spread from manufacturers in Japan to startups in Silicon Valley. It’s a system of group dynamics in which workers are organized into small teams, hold daily progress sessions and weekly reviews.
As David explained, “Having weekly family meetings increased communication, improved productivity, lowered stress and made everyone much happier to be part of the family team.”
When my wife and I adopted the agile blueprint in our own home, weekly family meetings with our then-5-year-old twin daughters quickly became the centerpiece around which we organized our family. The meetings transformed our relationships with our kids—and each other. And they took up less than 20 minutes a week.
What kind of disorganization and anomie are people living in these days that having a weekly family meeting seems like some kind of brilliant breakthrough? (And, wow: I guess the author of this article should get Dad of the Year for spending 20 minutes a week talking to his twins.) Don’t miss the part in the article when the author discusses writing a “family mission statement.” Hint: these mission statements are just as full of business-speak flatulence as most business mission statements.
I don’t mean to brag, but we have a nightly family meeting we like to call dinner. Continue Reading »