Monday Morning Coffee
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.”
~ American book title (Robert Fulghum, author)
“The children are watching us.”
~ Italian film title (Vittorio De Sica, director)
BACK TO SCHOOL!
Turns out the children are listening, too. The question is, what are they learning and what are we teaching?
No matter whom we interact with, we should all take some time to reflect upon how our practices are matching up to our ethics and beliefs. We all have the potential to produce a profound effect on the people in our lives, both directly and indirectly. How we choose to act in our encounters helps define who we are: are we good stewards, good managers, good parents?
Consider the language we use when we deal with other people. Those who value power over action will use the language of judgment and superiority: “That idea is doomed..." or "You will never succeed..." or "That project is a waste of time.” Such language only serves to predict its own end and unfortunately, that end is often failure.
Now consider language that recognizes individuality while setting us up as collaborators: “I understand what you want..." or "I can only imagine how hard this is for you..." or "I'd like to help.” As we acknowledge the needs and feelings of others, we have better opportunities to show the same respect we’d expect in return. The encounter becomes a win-win situation.
As we interact with others, a good yardstick by which to measure our actions is to imagine how children would perceive them. Do we play by the rules? Are we being fair? Do we share? Are we doing unto others as we would have done to ourselves? During your next meeting, imagine a seven year old is watching the proceedings. Would you conduct yourself any differently?
Before children start to learn the later lessons of failure and success associated with competition, they first learn to “play well with others.” The politics of the playground still hold some powerful lessons for us, too!