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What is Really Happening Here?

A little bit about Project Cornerstone at Los Gatos High School and the importance of Asset #2: Positive Family Communication.

Los Gatos High School is using Project Cornerstone and the 41 assets as one of many tools to help our students succeed.

Project Cornerstone is a Santa Clara County nonprofit providing resources for our local communities in helping our youth build positive relationships, opportunities, values, and skills.

Each school year, LGHS Principal Markus Autrey works collaboratively with his staff to identify five out of the 41 assets they would like to strengthen. This school year, they are

  • #12: School Boundaries
  • #14: Adult Role Models
  • #22: School Engagement
  • #24: Caring
  • #34: Cultural Competence

To learn more about the 41 assets, please visit:  http://www.projectcornerstone.org/html/developmentalassets.html.

Project Cornerstone recognizes individuals and organizations that show an ongoing commitment to building positive relationships with young people. For the 2011-12 school year, LGHS received an Asset Champion award for Asset #5, Caring School Climate.

You can watch a video about how LGHS earned this award here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Jnhkwr9qEDk&feature=endscreen.

The asset for the month of October is Asset #2, Positive Family Communication, defined like this: “Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s).” Communication within the family is really the fundamental skill to be happy and to keep our families working together. This link gives you some ideas on how you, as a parent, can build positive communication skills.  You can learn about the importance of this along with some activities and resources to help you boost this asset here: http://www.projectcornerstone.org/pdfs/October_PositiveFamilyCommunication_ResourceKit.pdf

I believe if humans can communicate more effectively, with the intent to understand and not just to get our point across, we will have fewer disagreements, less crime, and fewer wars. It’s well established that the home environment we provide is critical to the future our children. Positive communication with ourselves and within the home will ripple out to benefit our communities as a whole.

I have been focused on finding positive ways to communicate with my kids because I wanted more peace in my home.  Through my exploration, I realize it is my perceptions, my stories, my assumptions, and my wanting them to do a certain thing or achieve a certain goal that gets in the way of our communication and connection.

Last year, my son had a math class with loads of homework. About once a week, he would work till midnight and then set the alarm for 5:30 the next morning so he could finish. I was very unhappy about this. Sleep is very important to be having at any age; especially when you are 13! I got pretty mad at him for not organizing his time “better” because I was so focused on the sleep he was not getting.

A few weeks of this pattern went on and it wasn’t until the morning after one of these late nights that this realization suddenly dawned on me: "Hey, he finished his homework! He stuck at it, he took responsibility, and he wasn't going to give up until the job was done. WOW, did I miss all this?" These are all characteristics that are going to serve him really well now and later on in life.

When I picked him up from school the next day, I said, “Hey, there is one very important thing I forgot to tell you last night.  ... You stuck with your homework and you didn't give up until you finished it all!"

While nodding his head, my son said “Uh Huh.” 

We get all wound up when we focus on what isn't working. When we talk with our kids in this state, the disapproval shows through our communication even if we are not expressing disapproval. If we choose to focus on what is working, it opens our eyes to some precious moments we may have missed. These moments fill us up with gratitude and joy. When we can speak from this place, we have a much better chance of connecting with our kids and building trust, which is the foundation of a solid relationship.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marina Barnes October 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Hi Karyn, Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Marina
Marina Barnes October 23, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Hi Dyan, Thank you for your comment. Yes, it's nice to have the consistency from K-12. We are lucky to have administrators who cares about the students so much and are continually finding ways to empower them and us, as parents. Marina
Marina Barnes October 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Hi Karla, Thank you for your comment. I am hoping that our community will get to know all the good work that is being done at LGHS. Marina
Deborah Johnson October 31, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Hi Marina- I am involved in the project cornerstone effort at Lexington elementary and am trying to work on building more awareness among our parent community of what cornerstone is really about. Having an article about the cornerstone effort at LGHS is so helpful as it shows elementary parents that building assets is a long term commitment! I plan to forward ur article to our community via our website. Your reminder to NOT overlook the positive stuff in our lives (especially as parents) is much needed and appreciated. Thank you for sharing.
Marina Barnes November 01, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Hi Deborah, Thank you so much for your feedback. My son says "I am so privileged to be able to go to Los Gatos High School." I have been blown away by all the good work that is being done at LGHS and how much the administration and staff care about the students. I am grateful for your support in helping to bring awareness to Project Cornerstone by forwarding this article to your community. Thank you! As for focusing on the positive stuff, I feel really lucky I'm s-l-o-w-l-y getting this because it has made me a much nicer person to be around. Marina

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