Don’t Be Right?!

This has been an incredible challenge for me! The right/wrong dilemma. There are a billion decisions that have to be made raising kids, opinions will vary just like colors in the rainbow. As a family unit we need to establish a way of doing things. We have, and you too are sure to run into some hurdles along the way.

My wife and I haven't always agreed on how to do things. So in most cases one of us will have the solution that is the one that works. Guys, if your method happens to be the one that makes the most sense, for the love of Gawd, don't say you were right. There is no glory in this road.  There isn't much worse than having there mother of your child pissed at you. This is a game of solutions, and you and mom are on the same team. It sometimes feels that you are playing against each other. But it's just not the case.

It’s crazy, somewhere deep down inside us, there is this little piece of something that likes to be right. There seems to be some justification, or some badge of honor in being right. If we can steer this driving force into something that is more team or purpose oriented, I think we can find much more success. It may be a bit cliché, but the working/not working reference gets a lot of traction with me. You try something, and it either works or doesn’t. There is no ownership, no shame, no personal accountability, no badge of honor. There are only solutions. We as a team are getting closer to where we want to be, or we are not.
Next time shit hits the fan, or the diaper, and everyone is screaming. Think about solutions, think about what is working, and what is not working. Not whose idea it was. I think we will all be much happier if this is the case.


2 Years Later Commentary

Working and not working moves directly towards a conversation of mindset. There are those with that operate from a fixed mindset in which our worth and our abilities and intellect are fixed. It creates the need to prove yourself over and over again. Hence being right. The growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure as launching pad for learning and improvement. These mindset differences are formed at a very early age and very much affect how we live our lives. If you would like further resources on this, look up Carol Dweck. She is the one who championed these, and the book Mindset will change your life.

I personally grew up feeling like I was always wrong, so my direct tendency is to push to be right. I came from a very fixed mindset place in my life. So this feels like home to me, although it is not a very constructive place to live my life from, nor parent my children. Having a growth mindset to me is very learned and most of the time a conscious work in progress. But for all the difficulty it is, it friggin works. I am happy to take the toil of rewiring my self and my mind, if it means that my girls can see that failure is ok, and we better ourselves constantly by learning.

I never appreciated the beauty of learning in my life. I learned to an end. I learned for the grade, and I got very good grades. I graduated from a Big 12 university with a business degree, and I never really appreciated learning. It wasn't for my own betterment, it wasn't for improving my mind, it wasn't for giving myself more tools in this life. It was for the grade. Dammit. Ya wanna hear something funny. My diploma is still at the university. Don't get me wrong college was amazing, but it was more of a social experiment for me, than it was a scholarly journey. I look back now as I see kids at school, and I am so envious of their position in life, and their opportunity. I am so curious as to what they are thinking about learning.

You see, I was so stuck in this fixed, prove yourself or your worthless mentality that I could only focus on the next instance where I could prove myself. I couldn't see and appreciate expanding myself by reading books, and studying. It was just a necessary chore. I wasn't allowing myself to go there. I couldn't see the 10,000 foot view and concentrate on moving the needle for myself. I was so concerned on what those around me were thinking. Now I became very adept with people during these years, because it seemed to end up as a huge experiment on interaction with others, which I am forever thankful for.

Now I look back, and think about how this mentality works in parenting. Parenting is about the 10,000 foot view all the time, with very loving attention to the moment you are in. You can't ride the roller coaster of emotion with kids, and if you do, crazy is far short of the sensations going through your body and mind. I trained myself for so long to operate in the moment and not really worry about tomorrow. I wasn't concerned with taking the time to learn and get better. And this has run me into the ground countless times. Relationships are about learning and supporting others. You can't be in a constant state of this is right and this is wrong. There is too much gray area. There is too much need for forgiveness and grace. When co-parenting, you are a team, and what you are doing is working or its not. Very simple. I gently urge you to employ a growth mindset, and lovingly move the needle in your lives. Teach your children to appreciate their ability to learn and create anything they wish. Devalue accolades and praise curiosity and hard work. 

Danny Lesslie