As a parent might, my fiancé subscribes to the age old adage “pick and choose your battles.” To my detriment, perhaps, it seems to me that every battle is the one I choose. And while I do love to have a good heated discussion about right and wrong, today it occurred to me why I am constantly on the battlefield with my kids.
When you pick a battle to fight, you are picking a teaching opportunity. (Un?)fortunately for my kids, I think that everything is a learning experience. And I want to teach them.
This morning I found my kids arguing over a book, at the top of their lungs. Normally that may not be worth a conversation, but the fact that the dogs hadn’t been outside for their second morning walk, which is the responsibility of the kids, made me feel as though a lesson in time management was necessary and perhaps I would sprinkle in a dash of “priorities” for good measure. It turns out, being trained in project management makes me qualified to talk about those two things pretty clearly. As it also turns out, it gave me a moment to think about priorities for myself.
Of course, my number one priority is my family. Sorry work– I love you– but no. And today at work, I realized that if you have expertise and opinions to share, you will almost certainly encourage a better outcome and product when you communicate openly and honestly. It’s true, adults of all ages, stages, and stations have trouble with communication, I see it daily. My hope is that as adults, as parents, as teachers, we can put our egos and anxieties aside and TEACH those around us.
So anyway, this morning after I asked my kids why they felt that arguing over a book took priority over a puppy potty break, and after some stomping, attitude, and a few hugs goodbye– I was greeted this afternoon by one child who told me how much she missed me today. And another who apologized for being “rude” this morning. I would call that a teaching opportunity success.
Perhaps as adults we can take a hint from kids. The things that seem like a disaster in the moment, aren’t. Mistakes can be corrected through attention, patience, and kindness, and the most successful folks in our midst all had great teachers. We are all good at something– start teaching others about it.