Parenting Toolbox

Asset Building While Increasing Productivity


By Jeeryn D., Parent of Rockin’ Redwood Annalee and future Villager Nolan
I took my first Project Cornerstone “Take it Personally” class in the fall last year and since then have co-facilitated and facilitated the classes at Village School. It has been a wonderful experience to learn from other community members as well as learn more about myself each time.

I’ve had a little over a year now to think about the ‘41 Developmental Assets‘. For those who have not taken the class yet and aren’t familiar with them, the 41 Developmental Assets are essentially the skills, values, experiences, and positive relationships that help children and teens make healthy choices. Youth with a higher number of assets are more likely to make positive choices and avoid negative behaviors like getting in trouble, using drugs and alcohol, and violence, just to name a few. After five weeks of the classes, we learn that we are all asset builders for our kids and the young people who surround us.

Needless to say, we are all busy. A list of all of the things we do as parents, employees, business owners, homemakers, volunteers and so forth would be endless. How can we do it all and also add asset building to our line-up of things to do? At first, wrapping my mind around this was a bit of a struggle. Like many of you, I already have a whole lot on my plate. Time management is tough and there are too few hours in the day. We have a hard enough time just getting to school on time. But I have since learned that family productivity and asset building can go hand in hand with many things we may already be doing.

Here are a few ideas for ways to incorporate asset building into your family’s routine while becoming more productive at the same time:

Family Meetings
Use family meeting time to get everyone involved in setting and maintaining schedules. By regularly having family meetings, not only are we making sure our family members are on the same page, but we are also working on at least three assets: positive family communication, building family support, and planning and decision making.

Allowing our kids the opportunity to contribute to household tasks not only distributes the workload, but wonderful life skills are also being learned at the same time. We are empowering our kids and showing them that they are valued and have useful roles in our family community. Two more assets—check!

Problem Solving
This one is huge! No wonder it is part of the Village School mantra (Model respect, Make good choices, and Solve problems). By teaching and allowing our kids to be good problem solvers, we are working on at least 10 assets—cha ching! In most cases, our kids can work out their own problems. By giving them the opportunity to practice their problem solving skills, not only does it allow us parents to stay out of it (for the most part), but they also learn the “Positive Values” assets and the “Social Competencies” assets.

Make Use of Unproductive Time
Running errands, driving to and from activities, and sitting around at home can all be made more productive by using the time to check in with your children. These are some things you might talk about:

  • Ask them how they are doing. This builds family support and communication.
  • Listen to your kids. This builds empathy and interpersonal competence.
  • Ask your child what they liked and didn’t like about their day at school. This builds parent involvement at school.
  • Tell your child one thing that you love or appreciate about him or her, which helps build
  • self-esteem.
  • Tell your child about your day. This builds on family communication and perhaps can also teach how to be a positive role model.

We can incorporate asset building into just about everything we do. The nice part is that we can asset-build and become even more productive while doing it. That sounds like a win-win situation to me.


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