Navigating using the 10 Priorities

“Any time we tackle a complicated challenge, we often need to be reminded to ‘get our priorities straight.’“ Malcolm Gauld

And what can be more complicated, more challenging, more worrisome than the job of parenting? After all, it’s the biggest job we’ll ever have.

When we hit a challenging part of parenting, most of us want answers: “What should I do? What should I say? What’s going to happen?” At least that’s the way I was, and still am, sometimes! I want control of the situation, know just what to do and say so that things will turn out just right.

But parenting is not meant to be that way. Starting with a vision, we have to learn to take the long view in parenting. (You’ve heard this from us before…) And taking the long view means that in the day-to-day challenges, we need to be familiar with the 10 Priorities and use them as our guide.

Recently I coached a parent who was trying to explain to her teenager that the most important thing for her, beyond grades, was the effort that her teen was putting into her schoolwork. The teen wasn’t getting it, because this was a new approach by the mom; the teen thought getting an A was all that mattered, and she had plagiarized something and been caught. After several discussions and lectures, the mom was at the end of her rope trying to get her daughter to trust that effort was more important than ability, or the grade.

“Which of the 10 Priorities would you use to help you with this?” I asked.

“Attitude over Aptitude,” she quickly replied. “I want her to understand that her attitude and effort are more important than her talent or her achievement.”

“Yes, that’s the Priority your belief is based on,” I answered. “But there’s another Priority that YOU need to use to help yourself let go of whether your daughter tries to cheat again to get a good grade, and that’s Priority #4: Set High Expectations; Let Go of Outcomes. Your daughter may not trust this new approach to her character education that you have recently realized is important, and it may be a long time before she internalizes it. In the meantime, you’ll have to let go of how soon it happens. You’ve told her what you expect, now let go, and let her learn, in her own time, that effort matters. Take hold of something in your own life that will keep you occupied and growing.”

Yes, I invoked Priority #7 (Take Hold and Let Go) also; you see, the Priorities work together, but they work for US, the parents, not as a means to get our kids to see it or do it our way. They help us, the parents, get our priorities straight when we tackle a complicated challenge.

Would love to hear from you, about this, or any parenting matter!