About a year and a half ago I got a new store director. We have a white board upstairs where the department manager’s offices are and one day this was written on it.
Now, you have to understand something about my store director. He’s definitely not a “cheerleader”. You know the type: so busy being positive that they refuses to acknowledge problems. He’s also not the type to spout platitudes. So when he writes something like this I pay attention.
Take another look at that list – it appears that being a good store director or manager is an awful lot like being a good parent.
Do you look for the good in things? Well, I’m trying, do I get points for that? I’m focusing on the good in J’s day -he got to play with his best friend at recess, he finished another extra credit reading log and so got another “bug” on his reading log frog. Yesterday he was really happy that although he got sent to the principal’s office earlier in the day, he was able to earn his bears back because he helped the teacher by reading to the other kids. And that made him smile. I told him I was proud that he was able to turn his day around by doing something good for other people. My boss likes to tease me because my catchphrase is “well, on the bright side”. On the bright side, son J is learning that you can turn a bad day into a good day just by helping other people, and there’s no point where that can’t happen, where it’s too late and you’ve screwed up too badly.
Do you use positive language and avoid can’t/won’t? This is hard for me! I’ve seen a picture on Pinterest where the parent had positive words on post-it notes on their fridge to remind them of the language to use. It’s wasn’t just for the kids. I’ve said it before, being a parent means saying no a lot. Sometimes you have to for safety’s sake (“no, those wings will not enable you to actually fly”). But I tend to use negative language more than I need to. J says “I’m not happy” whenever he’s upset and I realized yesterday that he got it from me. No, I don’t want to teach him to hide his feelings, but he lets little things get to him (honestly, I don’t know WHERE he got that from) and then lets everyone know about it.
Do you have a positive self-image? Well, really? No. And for the life of me I can’t understand why son J doesn’t have more confidence when he is so clearly awesome. I actually go between outstanding arrogance and a mind-numbing lack of faith in myself. Apparently son J does the same.
Are you grateful and gracious? Ooohhh…this is a hard one. I know I am…and I know that with a little time and effort son J will be too. This is going to be a long-term project though. Again, being positive is going to have to come in to play.
Are you an enthusiastic person who believes in you and your team? Enthusiastic, yes. Does son J know how much I believe in him? How much faith I have that he is a good person who will do the right thing? Do I tell him that enough? Do I set good boundaries for him and not let him get away with misbehavior?
I pinned this yesterday because it hit home.
Yes son J is going to be influenced by his friends and the people around him at school, but the fact remains that his two biggest influences, positive and negative are the two people who love him the most. If we want to positively influence him then we need to be people he’d choose to be with. Don’t bother to tell me that providing boundaries will make him not want to be with us because I won’t believe you – after a battle royale of wills yesterday I got a card announcing that to him I was a “presint”. It comes down to this: if we want son J to change, then we’re going to have to change. There’s no magic bullet and contrary to what we’d like to believe it’s not going to happen overnight.
On the bright side, it’s going to be a hell of a trip.