Today I have to circle back on the parenting piece.
My wife says often that I'm too hard on my son vs. my daughter. There is no empathy based on his feelings and it is having a negative impact. Usually I just digest and move on with my current parenting style. There is a lot I rationalize when it comes to raising this young prince.
First, as previously stated. "I have high expectations for both my kids, and I know they can achieve them." My delivery of those expectations are definitely off balance, and something that I will have to continually work on. The princess of the castle is as most are viewed, somewhat delicate and respond better with a different approach. Not saying this is the way to it, but it's how I've been parenting. However, the demand for output is the same.
Second, my son is 4years away from being considered an adult black male in the eyes of the world. More importantly, the law. I don't want to rathole down a path of race, but there is no misconception of how history is continually repeating itself. It's my responsibility as his father to teach him how to navigate this confused society successfully. This doesn't necessarily mean "tough love" it mean realism. And only I can do that. His failures are my failures. Period.
Education is the highest priority for my children. We are all aware that knowledge is the only thing that can't be taken away from a human. The more educated you are, the better you can process situations, and the easier life can be for you. Based on choice of course. You can be very educated and still make bad decisions.
Now education isn't just about being a student of books, it is also a student of life. Do you have awareness of your current environment? How do you deal with conflict? How do you handle rejection? How do you manage finances? All of these things tie in the education fundamentals.
We just started school today after fall break, and my son is currently dealing with the consequences of his actions with approach to his freshman year. Needless to say he's had a lot of time to read, write, and study.
I provided him with the opportunity to navigate the virtual system per his request, and stay merely as a resource for advice if needed. The caveat was if he didn't achieve expectations then I would step in and create more stringent boundaries. How we completed work, and tools to create better study habits would be assessed and improved as necessary.
Today was a bit of a challenge for him and after another chirp in the ear from my Mrs.'s I needed to come up with a new system. Lucky for me I had just completed The Ideal Team Player" by Patrick Lencioni. I was now figuring out that we both had to maneuver as one unit, with me as the leader.
The basis of the book was looking for individuals that had 3 simple characteristics Humility, Hunger, and Smarts (people awareness). If you could find people with these traits and/or develop these in people who didn't already possess them, you have the recipe for a successful team.
I asked my son to come in my office and do the following for the remainder of 2020:
- Write your top 3 personal goals
- Write your top 3 educational goals
- Establish the ownership for his part
- Establish the ownership for my part
- Establish a realistic, but challenging timeline to achieve said goals
I did this to provide him with full control of the process. I didn't have input on what he wrote down, I was there to provide space for what was important to him. He was able to provide clarity on what was specifically needed from me (emotional, financial, and/or guidance). At the completion of this exercise I committed to making time weekly to check-in on progression and optimize where needed. I also committed to working on my humility and smarts (specifically in regards to our relationship), and he committed to staying hungry and developing humility towards these goals just created.
If we can stay this course, a very successful team will continue to grow. (which I have no doubt it will!) :)
The outcome can always change, if we choose to...