Imagine a car dealership where a man named Martin works in the showroom. Martin sells cars to prospective customers. When he sees a car without a door, he’s surprised and upset. He doesn’t expect to see defects. Cars in the showroom are supposed to be finished.
Bill, on the other hand, works in the factory and inspects cars for flaws and missing parts. It’s his job to find problems and fix them. In fact, Bill is prepared with a number of routines depending on the nature of the problem. If a door is missing, Bill doesn’t get upset; he just goes through his routine of obtaining a door and putting it on. Bill knows that when a car is on the production line, it requires continual work. Doors are added, pieces are put together, and workers are continually looking for ways to improve the product.
Martin and Bill are both dads, too, and view their kids the same way they view cars at work. When Martin sees flaws in his children, he’s continually surprised and upset. “Kids shouldn’t be this way,” he demands. Bill, on the other hand, sees similar weaknesses in his children but takes it in stride. He goes into one of his routines for helping his kids grow and develop.
Parents are often frustrated by the continual need for correction and the endless number of mistakes that kids make. If you can remember that your children are on the production line instead of in the showroom, your expectations will lead you to solutions instead of angry outbursts.