One of the best professional development sessions I went to started out with the presenter saying (~), “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be spending the next two days together in this room, so we should establish some ground rules, some norms if you will. At your tables are markers and large stickies, take a few moments to write down what will help facilitate a great session.”
We were encouraged to write our norms with a positive spin – instead of “No phones” we could have written “We will focus our energy on the people with us.” After we wrote our norms, we posted them around the room, reviewed each other’s lists and then began. Those norms helped shape our approach to working during the session and helped bring us together. It became our mantra, in a way.
Recently, while at an aunt and uncle’s house, I noticed they had a list of about ten or so family rules that was typed and placed on their refrigerator. Chouchou, MC and I always love going to their house – they are always so positive and have a great family vibe. We always leave their house feeling refreshed and more positive.
When we returned this past trip, I told Chouchou we should do make a list of norms. It took some negotiating, but we brainstormed a list of a few things to make our norms, and recently I was able to type and print a few copies of our list:
- Family first
- Stay positive
- Say it with a smile!
- Everyday is a FUNday
- Always look forward
- Forgive & forget
- Say what’s on your mind
- There’s always room to improve
I decided to post them in prominent places because for me, these aren’t just norms, these are things I aspire to do daily. I am still working on saying it with a smile! Baby steps.
The house is already sprinkled with positive quotes, notes from one another and pictures to help bring a nostalgic sparkle to our eye, and this list of norms just added to the homey hodgepodge around the house.
Having these visuals around, however cluttering it may seem, is a nice reminder to us every day and especially helpful to me on days when I am feeling less stellar. Reading a short note from Chouchou about how he is grateful for me or seeing a picture of us on the refrigerator or a drawing that he and MC did for me helps to really lift my spirits.
By surrounding myself with these reminders, it helps me to mentally “marinade” in the healthy stuff that keeps me happy instead of stewing in the stuff that can keep me in a negative and unproductive state of mind. One of my article clippings from Family Circle that focused on the pursuit of happiness notes “Quit complaining” as one of the things to do to be happier.
I’m sure the positive vibes rub off on others that visit, as I’ve received a compliments for the positive quotes I have sprinkled around the house. My favorite?
Nothing is impossible – the word itself says, “I’m possible!”Audrey Hepburn
Posted right on the cabinet where we grab our coffee mugs every day – it’s a good thing be reminded of every morning.
While I am far from perfect and every day isn’t always happy, keeping these family norms, articles, and momentos in conspicuous places help to remind me of all that I have to be grateful and happy.