While having dinner last night with my kiddo, we talked about how things were going.
Me: “How are you doing?”
Kiddo: “Pretty good. But, I could be better.”
M: “What do you mean? How could you be better?”
K: “If I could go back to being a baby, things would be better. More people would want to be with me. More people would come up and say, ‘Hi.’”
Me, heartbroken: “How do you know that?”
K: “People are always coming up to babies, but not to me.”
Me: “It’s not you, it’s them. Babies bring out something in people, a newness, hope, awe of discovering new things. If you went back, you wouldn’t have been able to tell me this awesome discovery you just had.”
I then went on to tell kiddo how I had done the exact thing he complained about that day. While at the library, there were at least 10 kids there. I paid particular attention to a baby, listening to the coo’s, gurgles, and fussing. I did watch a few kids give an impromptu puppet show, but otherwise the other kids were just there, like books on the shelves.
I wanted to solve these feelings of inadequacy and inattention for my kiddo. I started focusing on reasons…some people are baby people, some are not…some people stay away from kids to avoid sending the wrong message…etc. Pulling myself out of my reasons and justifications, I was able to make the parallel between material from The Arbinger Institute. Their books, “Leadership and Self-Deception” and “The Anatomy of Peace” discuss how mindset drives behavior. These books talk about how we see others: as people like us versus objects. It’s a deeper sense that refers to our “way of being.” (For more info, seek out the books and visit https://arbingerinstitute.com)
I was definitely seeing most of these children at the library as objects, not as people who have hopes and dreams as valid as mine. After all, I was there with a list of things to accomplish…hello, awareness!
I get it. I get that he feels ignored and invisible: object-like.
I get that our behaviors are an outward extension of what’s going on for us, including how we view the world and the nouns—people, places, and things in it. Today, be mindful of how you’re engaging with your surroundings…because a 6 ½ year old can pick up on it and it’s leaving an impact!
Attempting to work from home while sharing the same space with my kiddo—who began Summer break.
Day one began with sadness that there was no school. What?! I have spent 75% of school mornings:
1. Convincing said kiddo about the value found at school when, "I don't want to go to school!!!" is uttered.
2. Nagging kiddo to get ready in a timely fashion.
3. Lecturing about the importance of being on-time.
4. Teaching about responsibility & the privilege of obtaining an education.
I'm guessing this may be familiar territory for other parents...And...I feel frustrated that this small human did a 180° turn on me today!
Sound familiar? Even if you don't have any children, perhaps you've experienced this behavioral switcheroo from what you’ve established as the norm between you and another human.
What I didn’t account for was the change itself. Consider organizations. Change projects come and go, with varying degrees of success. Search on-line and you’ll find a popular 70% failure rate of change projects in organizations. You’ll also find best strategies to make change successful. Good on paper. In action?
Let’s review my situation.
Did leadership communicate the vision? I told my kiddo what the expectations were for Summer. This is okay…but is it compelling?
Did leadership communicate the expectations and how the change would impact kid’s daily work? I stated there were continued school learning objectives, life goals, and exercise. I did not state how the daily impact would look.
Did leadership ask for buy-in and support? Uh-oh, this was a top-down initiative. I did not include kiddo in creation of the vision, nor did I ask for kiddo’s commitment.
These are only a few questions to ask of yourself when involved in change projects. To summarize, I created a vague vision with no structure or buy-in. What’s fascinating is I thought I was preparing kiddo for the change while giving the freedom to select when to do the daily expectations. It backfired. I took the kid from clearly structured time intervals to open-ended days without providing the skills needed or executive function to be successful.
Essentially, I went from a micro-managing leader who instructs at every turn to getting out of the vehicle entirely with little direction to continue.
Small wonder I’m seeing erratic behavior from change whiplash.
I am fascinated by pictures and happenings in our world and nature.
I choose brick pattern photos to illuminate the pathways in which we, humans, organize. They tend to be bottom-up, hopefully rooted in strength. They tend to display pathways on how they were built and how they interact. They tend to crack & discolor, with the mortar and brick chipping away. Yet, they stand. Until some wonderous form of nature-human or Mother-brings them down.
All of this reminds me of organizations. Humans build them, they get weathered, and maybe someone tends to them until it's time for a renovation or vintage becomes cool again. Or, worse, they stand vacant.
I feel sad looking at abandoned buildings. I think of the promise they once held, the energy from the people who inhabited them, and the work discontinued.
Nature is my hope. I enjoy watching ants organize, plants expand, and lifecycles emerge. They are successful at being & doing which reminds me of the simplicity of being alive. They also recognize the strength of interdependency. I am in awe when I see natural "foes" working together in nature (see plover bird & crocodile). They persevere.
We create. Do we maintain or innovate? Stand vacant? How are your pathways working for you? Is your view of a "foe" getting in your way of a mutually exclusive benefit?
Time to check-in. Hope these questions help.