Today is Father’s day. My husband of course is a wonderful model of father. I could spend a whole blog writing about he has made sure that our kids understand their English culture. Our kids say things like “That would be lovely.” or “Can I go play in the garden (yard)?” Also I could write about how he is creating readers or that my daughter calls him her baby school teacher.
Instead I am going to write how he inspired me this year. Amazingly only one year ago, I was accepting a new job in Iowa and was going to change our world so completely. My husband, at the time, worked as a technical writer with an hour (on a good day) commute each way. I did most of the cooking and childcare and we had a cleaning lady.
Now our family life looks completely differently. He is a work at home dad. Every morning, he wakes up the kids, makes them breakfast and takes Little Man to school. He plans fun adventures for Little Bit. He cooks dinner most nights and keeps the house clean. In his spare time, he writes for a website, blogs on Tumblr and writes science fiction short stories. (If you want to follow him, you can @cultTVmike)
Mike has done a wonderful job of modeling how to handle big transitions:
- He asked important questions. Where do I find the recipe for…? Is this the best for Little Man? Why do you do it this way?
- He admitted mistakes. I should have read the menu plan so we need to plan something different. I should have brought the diaper bag.
- He set goals. I will take Little Bit to the library in time for story time. I will finish this short story before I go to bed.
- He smiled and laughed. He had the right to pout and refuse to change as I changed our lives. Instead, he laughed and smiled with our kids.
It is easy to dismiss this as not as important but a family is just like any other organization. Changes occur and how you handle transitions determines how successful the organization is.
So, Thank you Mike for making this organization-Team Morgan-happy and joyful. Success in my book.
Last night, I had a moment that I knew would come. I just didn’t want it to come this soon. My son has been playing little league T-ball for several weeks. It has been running smoothly. Everyone got on base. Everyone hit and nobody got out. Little Man understood the rules and played hard.
Yesterday, the rules changed. The team we were playing against wanted to call outs. Mind you this is an five and under league. So my son made it to first base on his hit. He knew he needed to run to second base. He started before the ball was hit so he was sent back to first base. The ball was hit and he didn’t run. The other team threw the ball to second base before Little Man made it there. The other team’s coach told him he was out and had to get off the field. He pulled his hat over his face and slowly walked off the field. He was crying.
Good, bad or ugly. I got out of my seat and scooped my son up and held him. We talked that he could still play and that things like this happen. My son got back out there when it was his turn to take the field and finished the game strong. On the way home, he continued to ask why he had to get off of the field. As we ate our second supper, little man and I worked through the new rules of T-ball.
Here’s what I learned:
- Rules change. As parents, coaches and teachers, we need to make sure every kid knows the rules. I spent most of this past school year working with students, who did not know the rules or knew the rules, but lacked the skills necessary to follow them. I came to realize kids want to join the game called school, but don’t know enough to be successful. I hope the tools I equipped my kids with this year will allow them to be more successful. When the rules suddenly change, then it is our job as parents, teachers and coaches to teach them how to handle changes.
- Be aware of what your language actually says not what you think says. This mamma bear did go talk to the coach of the other team. I stayed calm, but asked her to realize that she greatly upset my son. She apologized. I believe that she was not trying to be mean to my son, but my son heard that he could not play anymore. So often when we talk at children, they do not understand what was being said. Connection is key. I don’t believe my son would have lost it if his coaches would have told him.
- Spend the time to talk. Yes my son went to bed late because of our conversation. It was so worth it. The time we talked will make him know that I value and love him. This also has to happen in school as well. It becomes so easy not to have the conversation about what happened and the next steps. When we do this, it pays dividends.
Hopefully, the next time the rules change he will not cry, but instead look to a trusted adult to ask why.
“So now I know everything anyone know
“From beginning to end. From the start to the close.
“Because Z is as far as the alphabet goes.”
….And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z
“Because most people stop with the Z
“But not me!
Most every night I read to my son. The one I read last was somewhat lost on him. We read On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss. The story is about a boy who thinks he is done learning because he knows his letters to Z. The narrator talks about the alphabet past Z and how much he would miss if stopped at Z. Like some of my favorite Dr. Suess books, it had another message.
So often we stop when we reach what we think is the end. When we do that we lose the chance for so much more. How often do we stop when we hear the answer instead of following it up with a why? What happens to that relationship when we go farther than he expected? What happens when don’t stop because we had a success?
The people who are willing to go beyond the accepted endpoint change the world. I am proud to call so many of them friends. They go the extra mile professionally and personally. The world is better because they do not choose to stop at Zebra.