Increment Happiness in your Family.
Let us picture this. A family life consisting of busy parents handling demanding jobs with career aspirations of their own, a home to be maintained, a dog, and kids to take care of and finish it off with the pandemic where no outside help can be hired. It is the sad truth of many working parents in this pandemic.
But how do we still make this lifestyle fun with the kids and connect with them before they grow and fly out on their own? Introducing the WWW game.
It all started with this TED talk by Bruce Feiler who talks about the Agile framework which is all about delivering small incremental values which slowly build up into something big and of significant value. I was so inspired by it.
Of the many things he talked about, few things I wanted to adapt for my own family were:
- Tell the kids about the family history and who they are as part of the ancestry they were born into. I believe this is also where we can positively influence the future generation to have an open mind about different people's cultures and ways of life while establishing their own.
- Develop the prefrontal cortex of the kids aka self-control. Is this not the most essential skill/tool that usually determines when people build a great life for themselves or have trouble with it.
- Cherish the positive in family life and Adapt to the chaos. When we are adapting to anything in life we are in the opposite gear of reacting as we have not reached the mental place yet to look back and think. No presumptions on what was or would have been.
So I started experimenting with various plans and ideas to get the whole family involved. But this did not go as smooth or as I had hoped. Everyone wanted to be heard and discuss their agenda ahead of the others and things were derailing at the family meetings.
The light bulb moment was when I saw the scrum master in my work navigate my team to keep their daily status update(aka Scrum) short and precise. These meetings which were supposed to be 15 -20 min would spiral into a two-hour discussion with no conclusion. so when we adapted the WWW approach strictly and got it under control, I immediately adopted the mantra WWW and modified this to my family. I tried to play around with various times of the day and finally added to the before bedtime routine.
What I did today.
What I am proud or happy about.
What am I excited about or plan to accomplish tomorrow.
This is when the magic started to happen. As days went by it was something we all started to look forward to. We started with 5 min and soon it was getting to the point where we had to limit the amount of time we spent talking to meet the bedtime structure. I was smiling one night to myself and made me realize, Is this not why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media is captivating. Every human needs validation of his/her existence and life.
The WWW ceremony of the night has evolved into a lot more than just talking. We came up with schedules to checklist off for most days and we hold each other accountable. Kids make up their own schedule and so less resistance to follow through. (objective #2 above is met). We adapt better as we are more planned and organized. Unplanned events or activities happen but there is more structure overall(Objective #3 above is met). With more sharing of their world, we get to tell the kids more stories and anecdotes of what was our childhood and upbringing. (objective #1 above is met).
Turns out there are many others who have adapted something similar with their own families too. Check this out about running scrum for families.
Make family time a priority and come up with what works for your family. There is no such thing as a perfect family or a perfect plan for the family. Work with small changes to increase family happiness. Let us all build memories that carry on as our legacy to future generations.