By Tom Webb, VP Strategic Initiatives and Customer Solutions
I remember often thinking when my kids were young, “Are they even listening to me?” It was usually as I was trying to teach them something important.
At times I questioned whether or not to spend the extra time explaining why something was important or why something works a certain way or why character matters, etc. If they weren’t listening, what was the point?
If you are in the middle of that of life raising young kids, then I hope this story is an encouragement to you.
You see, my “kids” are now 21-year-old twin college students, so I have the advantage of a different perspective. I can see what stuck and what things became important to them as they grew up.
An example: I was constantly on my sons about being on the lookout for kids who needed a friend, like someone eating lunch by themselves at school, someone being picked on — situations like that. Over and over again, I’d tell them they had a responsibility to help.
As they got older, I felt like I was talking to a wall. However, I recently found out that some of their closest friends, including ones they have met in college, have been people they’ve met in situations like those I had repeatedly described to them.
And now that they are working real jobs, I recognize that they were also listening when I prodded them to seek to understand what someone wants to accomplish by a request or demand, instead of just doing what they ask you to do when they ask you to do it. I’ve seen them both succeed at work by concentrating on that idea.
As proud as I am of my sons, I don’t tell this to brag on them, but instead to try to give you some motivation to keep your own conversations going with your children. Even if they seem to fall on deaf ears, they likely are having some impact.
I wish I had discovered some formula to help determine what will stick, but unfortunately I have not. I just know I’m glad I spent the time I did, and I hope you will be also!