[January 13, 2020] A few nights ago, I had an interesting conversation with a young man about his philosophy on raising kids. Below is part of the conversation (as best as I can remember it) that is at the heart what he thinks best for his children. I liked Bob M’s story1 enough that the ideas he expressed are worth retelling here on my blog.
Sitting down at our Thursday night Boy Scout meeting, Bob began by telling me about his 7-year-old son, Bobby. It turns out that Bob M. was called to the school to discuss a discipline problem that involved Bobby and some of Bobby’s friends. They were throwing rocks at passing cars and were caught red-handed.
Bob M. – “I as called to the school because Bobby had gotten into some trouble. Bobby, unlike me, has no filter. I only wish I was that way; no inhibitions or regrets. I took time off work and drove to the Elementary School. Upon arrival, the school Principle sat me down and said that Bobby and six other kids in his class were throwing rocks at passing vehicles. When caught, they all admitted to the rock-throwing incident.”
I will assume for the moment that anyone with boys has likely been called to the school for some problem with them at one time or another. Usually, it’s a fight that got out of control, a broken window, pulling a girl’s hair, and so on. Our first response often is something about how we’ll take care of it and we will make sure it never happens again. Once home, we lecture our kids about behaving correctly. That’s not what occurred in Bobby’s case.
Bob M. – “I asked the principal if there was one of the boys who was the ringleader of this group. He said, ‘yes, there was.’ I asked if it were Bobby. Again, he said, ‘yes.’ Good, I said, I’m raising my boys to be independent, thinkers, and leaders. Bobby was a leader and for that, I’m proud of him. Knowing my son Bobby, he needs his energy focused in a specific direction and when left alone, he might come up with the idea that doesn’t sit well with the rest of us.”
When Bob M. told me this, I cracked a big smile because, I thought, this man is definitely on the right track with his kids. He’s teaching the value of leading and the methods that work best. The school Principle must have sat there stunned for a moment before she had a mental conniption. Such behavior runs directly counter to what schools are taught how to control their pupils.
Bob M. – “I’m proud of Bobby because he showed that he was able to lead others in an activity that required guts. Despite being wrong about his actions, he still did what I told him to do. He’s learning, and that’s great. Bobby and I discussed the rock-throwing and I explained the destructive results. He understood and said he wouldn’t do it again. Bobby was happy that I wasn’t mad at him, unlike the school Principle who was very upset. Bobby’s a good boy and he will be able to take control of situations in the future that the majority of the kids around him will run away from.”
I’ve met Bobby, who usually sits in the backseat of their truck next to his sister. He’s a little guy with a big smile. Someday we’ll be hearing more about Bobby and the great things he’s done in life. I look forward to that time.
- Tell a story, and people will listen; give them a bunch of facts, and they will run away. Good stories are worth telling. Here is one I think you will like. https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-storytelling/