As parents, it’s essential we find common ground with our teenagers. Without that connection, none of the life lessons we have to offer will be heeded, or even heard. So looking for ways to encourage that bond is something I’ve become passionate about. I’ve also discovered there’s no magic bullet for connecting with kids—so it helps if you can think outside the box.
Some people work from home. This family does "home" from work.
I came across a blog post that offers an unconventional suggestion for staying connected as a family. The post, titled: “My family uses Slack. It’s pretty interesting,” is about how a tool we all use to communicate and stay up-to-date with our work teams is also potentially a great app for parents and teens.
Part of the reason I find the idea of using a work tool at home so appealing, is that I’ve spent years of my life working on raising my children. For some of those years I was a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom), and for others I had another job in addition to mothering. Either way, the part of my life spent being a dedicated parent was work. I appreciate that someone has taken the leap to suggest the work of being a parent could be taken as seriously as “real” work. And that it could be accomplished using some of the same tools.
The article’s author, Peder Fjällström (yeah, I had to cut and paste that), is the CEO of a Swedish company called Earth People—and he appears to be part of a typical harried family with wired kids. He and his wife have decided to use Slack to take care of some of those pesky parenting tasks.
For example, Peder has wired Slack so that with a single command he can utilize the Find My iPhone feature on his son’s phone to find out his location. That way he’s never waiting in the school carpool line when his son is actually at a friend’s house.
He and his wife have also integrated their respective calendars into Slack, so that’s where they’re reminded about upcoming events. The Fjällströms live in Sweden, and the school their kids attend has an RSS feed (like a news feed) for each child. So they’ve set up Slack to get those updates, as well.
I know families who use Power Point to screen their vacation photos, and Excel spreadsheets to work out their household budgets. It's not too much of a stretch to suggest using Trello or Basecamp to plan a family vacation. If everyone took their home and family responsibilities as seriously as we all take our work obligations, our balancing acts might be more effective. And, frankly, more fun.