Updated: Mar 15
Getting along is an art! It’s a balance between good clear systems and strong relationship tools. And I would like to propose here that how well everyone is getting along may be one of the best ways to measure success in your co-op or New Commonwealth School.
Good, clear systems and strong relationship tools can be acquired, but first, you must understand the reasons behind them.
Systems are also a part of The ART of Getting along. Good systems give boundaries that are clear and help everyone understand what the group is there for, what they do, and what they don’t do. Those boundaries and systems help curb dissatisfaction and create consistency.
Good clear written systems can communicate to members so you don’t have to. For instance, if you have a system for how you do registration, writing that down and passing that on from year to year will help you keep consistency in your school. It also saves you the time and effort of having to reinvent the wheel each year or semester. It allows you to repeat the good parts and yet still make changes as you find improvements. And if anyone has questions you can simply refer them to the written document.
If you have a policy that states parents must be on campus with their children, writing it down in your policies and distributing those policies makes sure that everyone is clear and on the same page. It means less headache for you as the leader. You communicate it clearly, one time, and then send it out in the Policies and then you should be done. It minimizes your efforts and minimizes the time you spend policing it as well as the time it would take you if you had to make that decision each time someone asked (or didn’t ask) if they could leave their kids “for just a few minutes while they….”
I for one, hate to be the bad guy. I would rather make a principle-based decision that is going to be best for the whole co-op/school and then clearly communicate that to everyone rather than have to make those decisions one at a time and say no to people over and over again. There is also less chance of offending anyone because the decision stands for everyone. No one is given preferential treatment.
Let’s face it: The ART of Getting Along is really a beautiful balance of these two things. On one side you have relationships and all of the beauty and challenges of building those. On the other side, you have great systems that are built on true principles. Systems that delineate boundaries and allow freedom within those boundaries at the same time.