Manic: That time of day every day when school lets out and I rush to pick my teen girl up and get her to the next thing on the schedule….a rehearsal, dentist appointment, voice lesson or whatever that day brings.
Managed: Really listening to her and honoring her frustration that I was typically 5 to 10 minutes late…and then doing something about it. Apologizing, being accountable and being on time, consistently.
The funny thing is that I was usually late because I was caught up at home doing something for my kids, like the mountain pile of laundry that contains the needed clean PE clothes for the very next school day.
Or I may have been in line at the grocery store with an overflowing cart so that I can continue to cook more from scratch and to make her school lunches instead of buying the unhealthy cafeteria fare.
But that doesn’t let me off the hook. The fact is that I would expect her to be on time for me so my actions must reflect my words. And I want her to be an accountable human who apologizes and accepts responsibility when she makes mistakes, so the apology had to be my first step in righting my bad habit of being late to her school pickup.
I would also like her to be a person who is punctual and an employee that her boss will know is reliable with a strong on time record, both on the clock and with her assigned projects. So again I must walk the talk if I expect her to be all of these things. Being a parent is an honor and a big responsibility and I believe that our kids also teach us lessons as we take this journey of raising people to be caring and responsible adults who give back and then raise their own future humans.
So I have not been late since I looked her in the eye and gave her my word that her expectations of me matter to me. That it is important to show respect to someone by being on time. That I will model the behavior that I expect from her.
The next day when I was on time, she greeted me with a big smile and told me thank you. And one more thing to note….since I have now been on time for three consecutive weeks, she makes her way to my car faster. Mutual respect! It is so true that you have to give it to get it whether you are the parent or the child.