So there’s an organization out there called the Army. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. But here in the states, it’s a factory where people go in one end and come out the other end molded into leaders (sometimes).
So what can the Army teach me about parenting? Well you’re leader of a little army of your own. And when you think about it that way. You can cherry pick the best parts. When I say ‘Army’ some people conjur positive images of respect and discipline, others may think, yea, the Army is not my model on raising kids. I don’t think that’s really relevant. The point is that there are good people in every organization and the Army is one that focuses really on leadership – and have a thing or two to learn from. Again – parenting is leadership, so hear me out.
Their definition of leadership is really simple:
Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization
And purpose, direction, and motivation is what we all do as parents. Even without consciously trying – that’s what we do.
Again, relating them to parenting: (purpose, direction, motivation)
- Leaders need to have a destination. This is the purpose that the Army talks about. My parenting purpose is that they grow into big people who make good decisions. (and that takes practice)
- Direction: Well a destination implies an ethic. Those you have to come up with yourself – so next time your kids get mad about something – think of it from a “belief” point of view. Hard to visualize so here’s an example
- My kid wanted something else to eat after he finished dinner. I thought about what I believed (and there is no one answer – there are many here). I believe kids can be self sufficient (or at least learning to) – so I said “sure, go ahead and get some more from the kitchen. Now that would be a parenting success except he said, “I want you to get it.” I didn’t know what to say. – so part 3 (and then we’ll finish that story).
- And you communicate that with a story. –Motivation. You should be telling stories to your kids.
- So in that instance (with the food) – I eventually said, “If you get your own food, you can get however much you’ll eat. If I get it for you, I may not give you enough”. –Motivation. Boom! Consider yourself parented kid!