The Power of Invitation

A shift from suggesting to leading the way. A dōjō Practice with Rebecca Phillips.

Me: "Hey, kids do you want to learn how to paint?"

The kids: "Nah, I am ok." (back to their devices) How many of you can relate to this?

We are so grateful we spoke with Rebecca Phillips, an Elementary school guide (teacher) at Acton Academy. Becca has a way of sharing experiences that become so easy to understand and apply. She provides clarity via stories and visual representations.


In this dōjō Practice, Becca shares a mental model so simple and powerful that we have begun applying it right away. She provokes our thinking to shift from suggesting or asking kids to join us to do something to actually leading an invitation by doing something soon the whole family will want to join.

An invitation rather than a suggestion.


Here is an excerpt from an article Becca wrote bringing this concept to life:

"My children say yes far more often to invitations than they do to my self serving suggestions.  I almost made a suggestion in my kitchen yesterday but caught myself.  Without saying a word I pulled out some coloring pages and laid out every colored pencil I have across the counter.  Silently I sat down and started coloring.  One kid and then another and then another slowly made their way over to me.  First with curiosity, then interest, and then engagement.  The noise level immediately went down.  The heightened emotions were calmed.  As if a spell had been cast, I got the quiet and calm I was craving while my children got the connection and closeness they wanted." 

Thank you, Becca!


IDEAS TO APPLY THIS MENTAL MODEL

Suggested Time
Depends on the invitation 

Who
Everyone in your family

Level of expertise
Show up as you are <3

Materials Needed
Depends on the invitation

Invitation ideas (thank you Becca for laying these out)

Invitations of Availability:  
Some of my invitations will be through simply laying something out and making it available.   The suggestion to have veggies for a snack is not nearly as appealing as a platter of veggies all cut up with some hummus on the counter.  Keeping a bucket of colored pencils and paper out on the table invites creativity and drawing or coloring.   A bin full of rice with small figures hidden within it invites exploration and sensory engagement.   A water table with pitchers full of colored water set outside.  

Invitations to Activity: 
As I lace up my shoes to go on a walk I casually say, “It’s so beautiful. A walk sounds so nice.  I’m heading out.” It’s not long before someone joins in!  Pulling out a ball of yarn and beginning to finger weave led to an hour of family finger weaving and a challenge to see how long of a strand we could create if we combine forces. Reaching for a board game rather than my phone invites connection with one another. Pull out a recipe and start baking. Someone will find their way to your side. (Bonus: This is math and chemistry! You are a master teacher!)   

Invitations to Explore:  Grab an empty journal or a piece of paper.  Sit in the window with your child and draw something that you see.   Create a scavenger hunt or Bingo board to do at home or better yet have your child make it with you!  Watch one of the many zoo, museums, or aquarium tours and do a deep dive together on an animal or a new place.   

Invitations to Create: Grab an Amazon box, markers, stickers, paint, egg crates, and whatever else you have laying around.  Start taping things together, painting, building.  See what you can create!  Create a race car road made from tape to the floor of your living room.  Set another roll of tape out and just see who joins in.  

Invitation to Connect: Invite someone to have coffee with you on Zoom or Google Hangouts. Invite someone to read the same book you’re reading and reflect together on it.

Learnings
Lead by example
Let them choose and define their own passions

Pro-tip
Partner up with your spouse to alternate being the "inviters" 

dōjō STREAM lessons related to this post:  
How do I work from home, with kids? with Iñaki and Hazel
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