I was recently reading about a study of what makes a great coach. I was struck by the similarity in the characteristics to what makes a great leader or for that matter what makes a great parent.
It begins with realizing that there are really only two ways to influence behavior. You can either manipulate it or you can inspire it. We sometimes choose to manipulate behavior, because we don't think we can successfully inspire it. Other times we choose to manipulate behavior, because we don't want to take the time required to inspire it.
The following principles help us better understand how to inspire rather than manipulate.
The why must precede what. People are far more ready to do what you want, if they understand why. Just telling someone what to do does not create understanding. In addition they will be better able to act according to your beliefs on their own without you present, if you have taken the time to teach them the why.
Belief must precede belonging. Most people, including children, will follow and associate with others who believe in them. How do you demonstrate that you believe in your children? Do you listen to them? Do you trust them? How do you show you trust them? Believe in them and they will believe in you and belong to you.
Equipping must precede expecting. Inspiring leaders don't just tell people what they expect. They actually take the time to train followers to do each step of the expected action. They break it down and show them how to go about accomplishing the desired skills. What applies to football, applies to parenting here as well.
I hope you agree with me that these principles will work as well for parents as they do for leaders. After all you are your children's leaders.
Blessing on your parenting,
I'm sure you have thought about the future careers of your children. Most of us have. But the times, they are a-changing. As you may know, we are in one of the largest employment shifts in history. We have been rapidly moving into a "gig economy" over the last few years. Far more people now work as independent contractors than a decade ago. When I graduated from college most of my friends assumed they would take a job and stay in that career for the rest of their work life. Nothing could be further from the truth in today's economy.
Increasingly, each person is his or her own small business. Each person must sell his or her ability to perform a job, even a short term one. Each of these jobs (gigs) has a finite life after which you are selling the next one. Some of these individuals will start their own company, however, in the gig economy they will not hire employees. Each of these contractors is performing a gig for this new company.
So how do we prepare our children for this economy? First, they each need to have very well-rounded education, healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Fortunately that's exactly what we emphasize at Epiphany. The second skill they will need is the ability to get along with others. Again, this is something on which we work very hard.
Take some time to talk to your children about this economic shift. Give them the opportunity to look around your home and see what needs to be done. Encourage them to describe what they can do to help around the house, their gig. You may even want to give them some incentives. I used to have my three children bid on the jobs around the house as if they were contracts to be issued. That's how the business world works, and I wanted them to be ready. These are the skills that will be needed in the new economy.
Blessings on your parenting,
Psychologist Diana Baumrind writes in her research about two vital qualities for parenting. Good parenting, and for that matter good leadership, is improved by a balance of these two vital qualities. The first is responsiveness - to display acceptance, support, and belief; to be attentive. The second is demanding - to establish standards and hold people accountable to them. The combinations look like this:
Permissive - too much responsiveness with too few demands.
Authoritarian - too many demands with too little responsiveness.
Uninvolved - virtually no responsiveness or any demands.
Authoritative - responsiveness matched with appropriate demands.
So how do we achieve the balance? Ask yourself, do I totally pay attention to my child when he or she is speaking? Am I checking my email while he or she is still talking? Do I listen carefully and understand exactly what he or she is trying to communicate? Likewise ask yourself these questions. Have I established appropriate rules and procedures in our home that require children to pitch in and do work? Are these rules too lenient or too much? Do I enforce them consistently?
A balance of the above will lead to that authoritative style. That's the sweet spot where responsiveness is matched with appropriate demands. It's hard to do, but the house is blessed where parents give work toward that goal.
Blessings on your parenting,
I'm sure you have seen in the news recently the attorney who attempted the "affluenza defense". In essence his defense was that his client's parents where too wealthy. Their son had not been forced to learn the lessons of the real world. While most of us would never consider such a defense, there are things we can learn from the "affluenza boy". Why did he not understand the consequences of his actions? Why had he not experienced normal maturity?
Dr. Tim Elmore (who as you may know is my favorite author on relationships) says the single biggest missing ingredient for maturity is ownership. Ownership means that my life is my own and therefore it gives me both freedom and responsibility.
Usually our kids want the freedom but not the responsibility. Maturity is realizing those two go together. As parents our job is to link the two. When a child asks for freedom, take the time to explain the responsibility that goes along with it. In this way they will grow to understand that relationship.
Of course in our own lives we need to ensure that we are also taking responsibility for our actions as well. As adults, that's something we have learned along the way and need to demonstrate for them.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal