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Empowering Paradigm Changes in the Family

We are all living our lives according to the way we see things—according to our own paradigms.

Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, writes, “If you want to make minor, incremental changes and improvements, work on practices, behavior, or attitude. But if you want to make significant, quantum improvement, work on paradigms.”

One of my favorite tools to use to create an inspiring culture in our homes is the See-Do-Get Cycle—what we SEE (our paradigms), impacts what we DO (our actions), and what we DO impacts what we GET (our results).

As you consider the paradigms of the Leader in Me, how might you choose to apply them at home? Becoming self-aware that our paradigms are impacting what we see, what we do, and what we get provides an opportunity for us to know that we can change our results in our lives and in our family culture if our results are not what we would love them to be. This is empowering!

The Leader in Me Paradigms

The Leader in Me process is based on five core leadership paradigms:

Leader in Me Framework

If you choose to bring the Leader in Me home we can adapt the wording to apply to our family cultures. What’s your view on the following paradigms as applied to your family?

How could we provide opportunities for our children to have a voice and a choice in the decisions for our family? Shared leadership can be fostered when we create an environment where we listen and value our children’s opinions and trust them with responsibilities. Think about the many decisions we make in our homes every day. What is on the dinner menu? What kind of project would we like to work on together as a family? The list goes on and on.

Cleaning Day

For example, I was creating a system for cleaning day at our house. One of the decisions to be made was which day would be cleaning day. Rather than deciding myself, I asked my kids which day they would like to do it. Of course, their first answer was “Never,” but as we discussed the different options they shared their opinion that they didn’t want Saturday to be our cleaning day. And I listened. They wanted to look forward to spending the weekends doing something besides cleaning. We talked about our weekly schedules and found a time we could all be available to get our cleaning done. So every week we clean on Thursday afternoon, and that works for all of us.

My paradigm of leadership in our home impacted how I saw the situation and what I did, and, ultimately, the result. An additional benefit for my children is that they are experiencing what it feels like to be responsible by having opportunities to practice sharing their opinions and making decisions. It helps them know how it feels to experience results based on choices and decisions they make.

John and Jane Covey have presented The 7 Habits of Successful Families program for over 18 years. John shared in a presentation, “I have my wife’s strengths written on a piece of paper and posted on my mirror, so every morning the first thing I see are Jane’s strengths. This sets the course of my day to have the mindset to focus on her strengths and this creates a positive environment for our family.” What would we SEE differently if we started each day focusing on strengths of our family members?

How many times have we heard (or maybe said ourselves), “I’ll change when he or she does,” or “I’ll do that when he or she does this”? What could happen if we opened our minds to the possibility of SEEING that we could take the initiative? This would impact our DO and our GET. This could help us effect change in our family situations.

Sometimes it seems like it is just easier to tell children how to do something rather than letting them figure it out themselves, right? It usually takes time and patience and a release of control to create the space for growth and becoming. Also, the process most likely involves failing, which is really just a step along the way to success, but nevertheless could be hard to let happen. However, think of the development and confidence that could be gained if we let our children have an opportunity to lead their own learning.

The Science Fair And Empowerment

science fair poster

When my daughter was in second grade, she came home from school and announced she would be participating in the school science fair. It was not a required project for her class, she just wanted to do it. She was excited. She started researching and cutting and pasting and coloring intently. Every day she would come home and continue to work on her project. I decided to SEE this as an opportunity for her to lead her own learning. I stifled all my urges to “help,” also known as making it look perfect.

Instead, I just watched her work. Her eyes sparkled with satisfaction as her project came together. And when she completed it, it was genuinely all her own work and effort. I could see her approval of her personal accomplishment. She had put her heart and soul into her project and she loved it. She was so pleased to take it to school and present it to the judges. They saw the opportunity too and complimented her on her efforts. Watching her confidence in her own abilities grow throughout this process was worth more than a first-place ribbon could ever be. I loved the result of the SEE and the DO, and so did she.

working on science fair poster at home

As parents, we are our children’s first teachers. Whether we like it or not, we are always modeling, always being an example. We have the opportunity to nurture our children not only academically, but also emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

I invite you to become self-aware about what you are SEEING. Take time today to stop and identify what is influencing the way you are seeing things. How is what you are seeing impacting what you are doing and saying and thinking? Do you like the results you are getting? If you don’t love your results, I invite you to open your mind to the possibility of changing your view so you can end up getting the results you would love. Remember, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.

In conclusion, there are three basic things that will influence and shape our families. First, our values, which are the things that are most important to us. Values give our families a compass. Second, our views, also known as our paradigms. Third, our habits, which are the things we do over and over again. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing what we do just because it’s what we’ve always done! We can build successful families based on identifying and aligning our values, views, and habits with what is most important to our own unique families. This will help us create an inspiring leadership culture in our homes.

As we continue our “Leadership at Home” series, we will explore what the 7 Habits, as taught in Leader in Me, look like when implemented in our homes.

Together we can inspire greatness.

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Written by Kalli Sampson
Kalli’s vision is to strengthen individuals, families, schools, and communities through the transformational paradigms and effective practices in Leader in Me. Kalli strives to strengthen the connection between home and school cultures. Having the 7 Habits language and effective practices in home and school environments will create long-term, sustainable success for families and school communities. Kalli graduated from University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in communication. Kalli is grateful to be enjoying this journey called life with her husband and three children.  

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