Letting Go

Saturday morning. “Keira, you need to do your homework”. “Awww, not now, I’m watching a new episode of Wizards of Waverley Place”. We could have nagged Keira to do the work, and we didn’t. And she (and I) forgot…

Monday night. An hour after going to bed we’ve begun to relax into a quiet evening then the next thing, Keira is back downstairs dissolving in tears. She has remembered that the homework has not been done and is terrified at the thought of her name going on the board tomorrow (for someone who enjoys trying hard and keeping on the right side of the school tracks this is a biiiig deal). And from where I’m sitting, the Wizards of Waverley Place ain’t gonna be much help now. I knew that damn time freeze spell was duff.

I asked Keira to have a seat so we could chat about the problem. And as we talked – it turned out she could see the problem wasn’t so big after all. Keira reckoned:

  • She could probably get an extra day to complete her homework
  • There is a good chance that teacher can be persuaded not to write Keira’s name on the board
  • Next time the wizards may just have to wait a while.

And so to bed. Calmer now, and a lesson thought through and realised by Keira.

As a parent it is difficult not to intervene, to steer and direct the course. And I’m learning to let go, sometimes.

As an HR and communications consultant and practitioner I often see people in the workplace being nagged about stuff, and being subjected to the humiliation of “I told you so”. Maybe we should try and stop “telling you so”. The chances are we already know so, and though we may not show it in the same way Keira did, we’re feeling bad enough already without further reminder. It’s not exactly a motivating way to deal with a problem is it? The next time you see someone fluff their lines, miss a deadline, or drop a clanger, why not offer them a seat and just talk it through. They might just appreciate the chance to talk.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

4 thoughts on “Letting Go”

  1. Love the story Doug! It’s funny how we (kids & adults) tend to see our own problems and failings through a microscope, in impossible and sometimes disabling detail. Yet a simple conversation with care and sincerity can help us see the whole panorama for what it is and refocus accordingly.

    1. Hi David – very good point about the microscope – and yes that applies to kids and adults alike. I peer down it too often myself 🙂

      I enjoy learning with and from Keira very much, long may it continue. I’ve had a number of people approach me on Twitter asking if Keira might write a blog or two for me. I will ask her and see if she would like to share some learning directly. Watch this space…

  2. Great story and a great parallel to some of the stuff I do helping companies deliver their strategy and one of my favourite quotes from Dr Stephen Covey -The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. We all procrastinate because we don’t want to do something, we don’t know how to start, we don’t have the skills, it’s easier and nicer to do something else. We all need breaks and on Saturday morning Keira wanted a break from school work. You’ve both learned some valuable lessons about how to resolve what you thought was a problem. Next weekend’s challenge is how to remember to get the homework done!

    1. We’re up for the challenge! Thanks Sarah and the quote is useful too, your comments always appreciated.

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