I always try to keep my eyes open for ways to improve. At least this way it will hopefully offset the times when I slip. I’ve always appreciated when someone can convey a useful strategy that is specific and simple for me to use. We can all benefit from general motivation at times, but something tangible to take away and quick to implement has always been attractive to me. It’s value goes up, when I try it and see immediate improvement. It becomes invaluable when I realize that has taken root and becomes an involuntary reflex.
I have countless people and stories and things they’ve taught me that I’d love to get to share them all and plan to, but this one was one was from me and to me. I was reminded of it because I saw it happen today.
I’ve tried to teach my kids to have a “you go first” mentality. When I say teach, in this instance, I mean I talked to them about it often. Stories occasionally were told, ways for them to use given out, a few times getting them to practice at home showed temporary results. I could share, but will get to one simple strategy that came to me randomly, stuck around, and has been really sweet to see work.
Last school year one day picking up my daughter and a friend from school, my daughter automatically came to the front seat while the friend went to get in the back. I said, “Wait, stop”, to both of them. I told my daughter to offer up the front seat to her friend. She did. I am thinking it wasn’t wholehearted, but she obliged. Her friend declined the offer and they both started back to their original destinations. I said again, “no, hang on”. I tried again. I told my daughter to offer the front seat genuinely. She offered again and her friend declined again. For a second time, they probably thought they were going to get to their attempted destinations.
For the last try, I knew I had to think of a different strategy to make this lesson work. After the third time telling them to freeze, this time I told my daughter to insist to her friend that she take the front seat and not to take no. I told her to insist on taking the back. They both got tickled. I may have even given exact words out to use, but they both thought it was funny. I’m sure we laughed a little about it and I’m sure I preached a little more about it to them after they had finally gotten admission into the car, into the seats I had assigned. I don’t really know if that day, I thought about it being a big life lesson or if it would have any longevity. It was just a silly way I was trying teach the “you go first” approach to combat the selfishness that will always be a human nature slip.
The best part of this day to me actually happened on a day that came a couple weeks later. I was picking up my daughter and the same friend from school and when they got to the car, my daughter offered her friend the front seat saying I insist. We all got a little kick out of knowing where it had originated. An even better part of the original day for me came on a day weeks later when I picked up my daughter and a different friend and she insisted that friend sit in the front and just going for the backseat. I didn’t have to teach her that part, but if she picked up naturally that it worked quicker if you position yourself there so they know you mean it. That time no one laughed. The next friend thought it was a nice gesture and I thought, wow, something little that I taught her is becoming part of her nature. That was pretty neat to see. She’s insisted to anyone getting in the car with her many times since.
Tonight, which has been close to a year later. I took my daughter and a friend to another friends’ house for a surprise birthday party. She offered the front seat up leaving the house and after a stop at Walgreens for of course, a gift card for the birthday party. I need a strategy for not buying birthday gifts on the way to parties.