7400.362 - Family Life
Introductions & Overview of Course
This course is about Family Life Management in both theory and practice. By discussing the concepts of Family, Life and Management, as separate ideas, then as a combined kind of hybrid topic, we will begin to see obvious reasons why the three should be integrated. Together they form a way forward, a method for identifying then achieving our goals while trying to live a rewarding and full life. In this class we will talk about ways to better ‘manage’ our life - in the short run and over time.
Life can either happen all by itself, or it can be managed.
is to stop existing and start living.
This idea of perfecting your management skills is important now, and will only become increasingly important as you grow into an active professional and engage in bringing up your children in a bewildering society. We now know that little in life is definite, and the person who does not organize their life in order to "roll with the punches" it brings will quickly find they're in resource trouble. Like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, who has to keep running to stay in the same place - the treadmill phenomenon. Those who do not step to the beat will get thrown off course!
In social scienc we have theories that define all this.
According to Erikson's Epigenetic
Principle, the last stage of life - Late Life - is when a person
Why manage? Elizabeth Goldsmith, the author of your textbook, asserts that there are quite severe consequences for most people who ignore even simple management. She notes that the basic principles of management are applicable at every stage and segment of our lives - day in and day out. Far from just a set of business best practices, management is the core concept of the disciplinary principles of Family and Consumer Sciences. By learning about management, we gain insight into processes such as decision making, problem solving, economic and social challenges, teamwork and planning. If these processes work in the world of business and finance, it certainly is applicable to our personal lives as well.
Who manages? And how? Everybody must manage - bosses manage workers, workers manage their time and performance, parents manage children, children manage their school work and chores. And the best part is that learning management skills and applying them early in our lives will result in increased savings in terms of time, money, energy and emotional resources. The best managers may be the ones that have had training, or have learned to manage through their personal experience. Obviously a balance between training and learning by doing is optimal. How people manage – a person's management style – depends on many factors, including the richness of their personal experience, their biology, cultural elements, their unique individual personality, and the efficient use of burgeoning technology.
While the specific management process may differ somewhat from one person to the next, their is a consistent, general pattern at work among successful managers, and it involes the following steps, in a feedback loop:
Each of these aspects of the management process will be covered over the course of the semester, but for now, let us clarify steps involving:
Identification of Problems, the Difference between Needs
and Wants, and the Development of Goals.
To differentiate between the things that might start off the process, remember:
RESOURCES refer to whatever one has to work with - to
use to manage their lives or solve their problems.
Money can mean success, freedom, or power to control our own destiny to some extent. People who live beyond their financial means tend to worry more, experience more stress and more illness, have less perceived/real security, more tension and more conflict inside and outside the family. The term “DINKS” got famous a few years back – it stands for “Double Income No Kids”. It was a status many young and ambitious couples embraced, only to regret their lifelong emphasis on self and career as they moved into later life. As it turns out, money is a fickle resource unless it is tempered with balance. It may make more sense investing in a more dependable resource like your spouse, children, and your material wealth contained in your home, while paying attention to the family's bottom line. Put another way - money problems cause a lot of other problems and tend to get in the way of assessing our real progress toward our goals. However, used well, and invested carefully, money can assure a comfortable life that has also allowed a person to spend time and effort doing the things they love with people they love.
Time is a resource that is probably more precious than money. For example, how would you like to have one hour a day that is completely and totally yours? No interruptions, just your personal private time. College students may appear to older people to be free of commitments, but in reality most have already climbed on that treadmill referred to earlier. We've all seen more than one movie telling the story of the man or woman who worked very hard, all their lives, only to find that their children are grown and their life is almost over, and they haven't enjoyed themselves and they have few memories of the time they had with others.
We see this in real life as well. It is difficult to understand parents who couldn't wait to have children, had them without planning for their future, and almost immediately begin searching for someone to take care of their children. They feel they are overwhelmed with their lives which consists mostly of working to make ends meet. Had they spent more time with their children and family - thinking, talking, creating, loving, teaching their children, they would be happier. And they'd likely not have incurred the debt they are working so hard to pay off.
Information - In an increasingly complex world, one of the best ways to stay on top of changes is to "learn how to learn". This isn't as simple as it sounds. Many college students go to class, memorize what they need to score passing grades, and accumulate a list of courses constituting a course of study. This doesn't mean they've learned anything. That's because the process of actually learning new material is a personal, intimate journey. And the factor that influences how we learn, almost more than native intelligence or aptitude, is personal motivaton.
Information is the currency of learning, but the mastering the process of finding, assessing and using information is the real trick. Further, once a person develops their learning style and method, it can be transferred to others, such as the next generation of learners. We get information from people, books, television, the World Wide Web, newspapers, and so on. We don't treat all information equally, nor do we ever make the attempt to read and understand everything. Waht we do is develop a way to shift through the mountains of facts, to find the information we think we can use. It can be overwhelming.
We know where the information resides - in our class we'll talk about methods for accessing, analyzing and acting on it.
People in our lives are resources - family, friends, co-workers, even the bank clerk and the people at the local grocery store are resources for various things in life. The focus in the class is on family, but others certainly are important to us. In fact, it could be a valuable approach to this resource to see ourselves as part of a larger collectivity of interacting people, as if building a community for ourselves would include family and friends, co-workers, an auto mechanic, dentist, family practitioner, a banker, and so on, until you have someone at the end of the phone who knows your name and is willing to be part of your life. For example, while at college each student should be developing a professional student/mentor relationship with one or more of their favorite professors. These are people who can advise outside of class on matters of further education, next steps after college, your future.
In terms of family, the Census Bureau defines family as a group of two or more persons related by birth, marriage or adoption and residing together in a household. This limited definition is useful to the Census Bureau, but doesn't quite work in reality, Family members vary in terms of their age, gender, energy levels, experience and wisdom. Older family members may have less energy and acuity than younger ones, but they have enormous experience on which to draw and asvise.
For Family Life Management, family composition and dynamics are changing rapidly all over the world, and this calls for special care to see that this valued institution does not rot away. As Goldsmith puts it, “Life Management encompasses all the decisions a person or family will make and the way their values, goals and resource use affect their decision making.”
Our own Skills and Interests are
In conclusion, we need to use all our resources in a way that
a life of well-being and satisfaction, with enough challenge to keep us
interested, and enough organization to keep us comfortable.
So Management is the process of using what we have to get what
Using resources to achieve goals.