Room for a View

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Much has been written about the title “parent”. Many great and wonderful things. As any of you who are parents know, there are many surprises about that role that are not as widely discussed. One such thing is the awareness of our own faults that are revealed as we progress through life’s stages.

Here’s an example: When a child challenges you, and after some mild verbal volleying, your response might be “just because”. There is always a residual introspective moment of discovery.

A situation that is fertile ground for such a discussion is how clean or organized their room should be. One theory about raising a happy child is to create an environment for their personality to safely flourish. To construct a safe, emotional space for them to express their own interests and to allow their personality to be witnessed.

As parents, we can find ourselves puzzled by the difference of opinion, say…regarding how organized a desk top, book shelf or whole bedroom might be…even after “cleaning up”. Do we force our own perspective or make room for theirs?

Even though it might drive us crazy, research indicates that kids love to see their things on display. Interestingly enough, when we as adults episodically revert to childhood, we do the same thing. I’ve spent time at cabins in Northern Michigan where fly rods are displayed like freshly crafted Lego structures at a day care center. I’ve taken golf trips when the evening is spent preciously cleaning clubs and swapping tales of lust over the latest composite driver. Weekends boating with countless hours polishing topsides or meticulously folding head sails.

The vehicle of this discussion is “parenting”, but all of the above is equally true for anyone who is a team member, a leader or a peer. As long as the established goals are met, we need to make room for other perspectives. Even if we are present in the dialogue as a hired consultant. I suspect it is through the cross pollination of ideas and approaches that we learn the most, and thus are able to grow and give back more.

What are your thoughts?

Jon

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