Our brains are efficient machines. In order to survive our complex environments, they tend to see things as a whole. It takes turning something upside down – or in a completely foreign context – to see new details. Betty Edwards taught us this technique in her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. With an upside down view, your brain shifts and your eyes become open to new details. You are then free to create something fresh…even beautiful.
We applied this artistic and scientific technique to the concept of “school;” hence, the title of the book, Courage to Grow – How Acton Academy Turns Learning Upside Down.
We did the same thing with our idea of “family.” Why not see “family” upside down? Why not rewrite the script of how a family lives together?
The result? A family life with low stress, lots of fun, deep engagement and purpose. Not perfect people…just people willing to change and grow together.
Because summer is an ideal time to try new things, why not turn things upside down and reap a fresh perspective on your wonderful family life?
Here are ideas to get you thinking:
- Instead of parents answering questions, start asking them.
- Instead of parents making the rules, let the children .
- Instead of parents planning a mini vacation or day together, let the children.
- Instead of pancakes for breakfast, have pancakes for dinner.
- Instead of going to bed on time, stay up late reading a book aloud with a flashlight.
- Instead of cleaning the house with a list of chores, make it into a game, competing against a timer to finish the challenges with popsicles as the prize.
- Instead of saying, “you’re so smart!” and “that’s awesome!” say, “Tell me what strategies you used to figure that out” and “I can tell you worked so very hard on that! It must feel good!” (Or in technical terms: Instead of using Fixed Mindset language, use Growth Mindset language.)
- Instead of getting mad, say you need a dance break and you’ll come back when you are calm.
- Instead of having family dinner at the table, have a picnic on the floor.
Upside down. Fresh. Surprising. Out-of-the-rut family living. Because “you think you have more time.”
[Blogs or portion of blogs may be adapted from the blog of our partner school founder and advisor, Laura Sandefer.]