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Whether working with professional colleagues on a work project, teammates on an athletic team, or classmates in school it is important to establish expectations for how the group is going to do its best work and what each person will do in order to ensure everyone in the group is treated with respect and care.

The same is true for families. In order to ensure that everyone in your family can do their best work and everyone is treated with respect and care, establish a Compact for Excellence using the directions below. A sample Compact is included to help get you started, but each family should tailor their Compact to the specific needs of their family.

  1. Create a list of agreements for what your family must do in order to do your best work and treat each other well. Ask each family member to contribute to the list.
  2. Once your list of agreements is complete, shape that list into simple, relevant statements.
  3. Ask each family member if 1) they feel like any other agreements need to be added, 2) any agreement needs clarification, and 3) there is anything on the list they cannot or will not do.
  4. Once all family members have agreed to the Compact, each person should sign the agreement and the Compact should be posted somewhere prominent in the household (like on the refrigerator).
  5. Review the Compact every 1-2 weeks to praise what is going well, polish what could be better, and add or clarify anything as needed.

This activity is one of several extension activities in the Growth Mindset module of The ESSENTIALS, a new resource from CHARACTER COUNTS! for middle and high school students. The ESSENTIALS modules draw upon nearly 25 years of applied research and development in various K-16 education settings, the workplace, and diverse athletic environments. Each module is a blueprint of research-based best practices for developing an essential character and culture skill needed for success in school, work, and beyond. Click here to order these new resources for your students.

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Creating a Compact for Excellence for families
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