Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Day 23: #SOL16- Control vs Influence
The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers. Each March, they invite people to join them in a commitment to write every day. Here's to another year of daily slicing!
Last night was not my finest hour of parenting. I have one daughter who especially knows, finds, and pushes my buttons as a mother and as a person. I work hard to balance what I control and what I influence with her. I try to stay within the realm of influence, but sometimes it's hard. Last night she was pushing, and in the land of controlling and influencing, I ventured far into control territory.
It was after nine when we got home from her concert. In between a meeting, tennis practice, and a workout session, she dashed in, took a shower, raided my closet for a white shirt, grabbed a plate of food, and headed to the high school. From downstairs, I heard her yell at my younger daughter to help her with her hair.
I could go on, but I'll summarize: It got ugly when she got home because I brought up her lack of kindness with her family. "You're crazy," she said. "I have homework, and you always do this. You never focus on anything I do right." It went on. I went from calm to mad, but a quieter mad than usual. However, a mad that walked out of her room with her cell phone and her computer.
"Fine Mom," she called. "I just won't do my homework."
She did do her homework on the family computer, and I did try to go back and fix things, but she wouldn't do any sort of reflection. I'll never force my girls to apologize, but I do expect them to be able to process a situation. Not happening. At least not last night. Her cell phone still sits beside me as I write this post.
Recently, I had a conversation with one of our principals about leadership and the balance of control and influence. I don't think there's a balance, actually. It's all about influence, or it's not leading. But sometimes, when we are stressed, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the task on hand is hard, we revert to practices we might not like, the ones that are more about control than about influence--like taking a daughter's phone or telling a colleague to just do something, or taking away recess or free time. These practices might work at that moment in time, but in the long run, probably not so much.
So what to do about this phone? It's 6:25 am. I have about a half hour to figure that out...