Lessons from Brushing Teeth… with a 3 year old
As I sat in my daughter’s, bedroom and listened to my husband and her begin the nightly teeth brushing routine, I waited… would it be a good listening night? Or would it be a cacophony of tears, tiredness, and frustration – on both parts (okay, maybe not the tears on both parts, but definitely the frustration!)?
In that moment, of being on the outside and listening in, I had a realization – it’s much easier to have these realizations when you’re not in the thick of it, and believe me, sometimes I am.
I realized, that often, the success or more importantly the failure of teeth brushing, or nose blowing, or any other number of things really, can be directly influenced by 2 things that are within my control:
Demeanor – How am I showing up? Am I present in this moment? Am I bringing a long, tired day into the moment? Or was I able to check some of those feelings at the door and come in ready to snuggle and giggle and be silly?
Am I using a Script or a Framework? – While routine is of utmost importance to both myself and my kids, I have found that there is a stark difference in the success of using a script vs a framework. To me, when I follow the script, there is no room for improvising or tweaking the process to meet the situation or mood of the day. If I’m using a framework, then there are goals along the way, but there are a number of ways to achieve each goal and the tactic taken to achieve it all depends on the situation of the day. To me, a script is more dictatorial and expects more of a robot response, rather than a collaborative framework in which we can see ‘how fast, or slow, or far’ etc. that we can do something to incentivize and make the end goal into a game.
If I can come with an open mind that is focused on getting to the end goal, and strategies to get there that are frameworks and not scripts, we are so much more successful.
These two principles are so applicable to work as well. Whether it’s within the office or collaborating with consultants and clients – How we show up matters. Our process and style of work – script or framework – matters.
Kids’ unfiltered reactions to every situation have a way of shining a light on our own successes and failures of process and attitude, if you’re willing to look and listen.