The skills we need to build supportive, connected relationships are learned over time. One way to do that is to ask questions about ourselves and about others.
The following are some frequently asked questions about our project. If you have a question that isn’t posted here, send an email to [email protected]
What is Bringing Yourself to Work?
Bringing Yourself to Work is a new training model for after-school caregivers with a basic premise: having better relationships with others starts by having a better understanding of yourself. That means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, what pushes your buttons, what makes you defensive or joyous, anxious or depressed.
Why is knowing this important?
Because we don’t exist in this world alone. Our day is made up of countless interactions – at home, at work, at the grocery store. We send thousands of signals to hundreds of people everyday. And for caregivers in after-school centers, the messages they send are particularly important.
Children are watching us and, more importantly, they’re learning from us. Our behavior matters. Knowing ourselves matters. Understanding that caregivers are role models matters. Because we owe it to the children in our care to be the best people we can be.
How can I tell if I’m bringing myself to work?
As part of our research, we’ve developed a number of indicators that reflect how much an individual understands him or herself. It’s important to remember that this is not an “all or nothing” situation. Some people know themselves better and understand their experiences more than others, but everyone has the capacity to increase their self-awareness.
More information on our Bringing Yourself to Work Quiz will be posted to the site in the coming weeks.
How is understanding myself going to improve my relationships with co-workers or with children?
We’ve all been there. A situation arises at work or home and we react strongly, perhaps stronger than we would have thought. Something has set us off – and we may not know what that “something” is.
Many times, our reactions have less to do with our immediate circumstances and more to do with how we interpret those circumstances. Say, for example, a child refuses to participate in a game of soccer with the other children. Different caregivers might deal with the same situation in different ways, depending on their past experiences.
It might make a difference whether the caregiver was always the first – or the last – person picked to play team sports as a child. It might also make a difference if the caregiver is feeling patient (she’s just eaten lunch) or anxious (his unfinished reports are due at the end of the day). The bottom line is that different people will react differently to the same situation – a child who doesn’t want to play with the other children.
Understanding why we act the way we do will help caregivers identify the best ways to handle challenging situations as they arise and to set examples of positive, consistent behavior for the children in their care.
How can I get involved?
Toward the end of 2001, Bringing Yourself to Work will offer training sessions in selected after-school care facilities. The training will provide center staff with the basic tools to improve their self-knowledge and to integrate this awareness into their program.
The results? Relationships between staff will improve; staff will feel valued and understood; children will learn in an emotionally healthy environment, where they’re given the tools to better understand themselves and to positively interact with others.
|If you’re interested in nominating your center or program for training, email
|If you’re interested in becoming a trainer, email
Is this all touchy-feely or will I actually learn something?
Although we have no doubt that you’ll feel better after the training, this isn’t touchy-feely. This is about giving caregivers practical skills and tools to bring about change in their after-school care center and in their lives.
Why should I care about this?
The research shows it, and intuitively we know it’s true: the most important thing we can do for children is to connect with them. To build meaningful, honest relationships where both caregivers and children feel safe to share their experiences and be themselves.
In this country, we talk a lot about giving children “quality care”, but many of us aren’t sure exactly what that means. Does that mean better facilities, more activities, more toys?
We believe that the key to any successful after-school program is the quality of relationships among children and caregivers. And understanding ourselves is the first step to making those relationships better.
What do I need to know about myself?
Think about all the things that make up who you are: what makes you tick, what shaped you as a child, what tools you use to care for children in your care, when you’re most productive, tired or patient during the day, how you talk to others, how you learn and how you feel about authority, leadership and compromise.
Each one of us is unique, with different answers to those and countless other questions.
I already know myself – what’s the point?
Imagine there’s a scale of self-awareness, where people understand themselves in degrees. Some would rank higher on the scale than others and vice versa.
While it’s true that everyone knows at least something about themselves, it’s also true that some people understand themselves better than others. In other words, while we all have the capacity to relate to each other, some people are more successful at developing and maintaining healthy, fulfilling relationships than others.
Our goal is to improve people’s capacity, to teach them the skills they need to become aware, caring participants in the world. And that means there’s always room for improvement.