I went to college…. but it was a long time ago..like over 10 years ago…you know you have been out of college a long time when you get your school’s alumni magazine and there is a picture of the theater department performing “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” that you acted in your freshmen year of college…this brought 2 things to mind:
- Enough time has passed that my brilliant performance of Helena has *gasp* been forgotten.
- I hope if they cast a brunette in the role of Helena again that they gave her a blonde wig instead of leaving her and a dorm floor of 18 year old girls to their own devices to turn dark brown into ash blonde…because well…that ended in an impulsive midnight decision to try to dye my hair blonde…which actually turned out orange…and that turned into tears…many tears..and a 1 am trip to walgreens to buy dark brown hair dye…which only created brown streaks over the orange…and that turned into 2 different salons attempting to strip the orange, and eventually some sort of blonde emerged…but let’s just say it wasn’t my best look….so suffice it to say…let’s hope they went with a wig this time…
I was also thinking about other notable things I learned during my collegiate career…besides brunettes shouldn’t attempt becoming blonde at home….
There was a business professor who I loved and I remember the most from his courses. I also remember a lot from my theater courses…but since its been a while never since a Hollywood agent came calling lets just say I have found my business course take aways to be a bit more relevant. The awesome thing about this business prof is that he had spent most of his career in the business world and then retired to become a business professor – so even though I was basically clueless about life in the real world I had a feeling what he was saying was relevant because it came from the wisdom of experience and not just theory. And I was right.
One thing I clearly remember him teaching us was the Theory of X and Y management. Here’s the simple version:
Theory X Managers: Use fear, control and manipulation to get results and loyalty from employees…Just imagine yourself being suffocated while a giant eye watches you…yeah that’s what working for these managers feels like.
Theory Y Managers: Involve employees in decision making process, empower and encourage their employees to work diligently and produce quality ideas and perform with excellence.
We have all probably worked for both types of managers and I think its pretty obvious who we would most like to work for…Y !!!
Now I used to think about these management theories a lot when I was in supervisory roles…and hopefully I was a Theory Y manager and not a Theory X manager.
Recently these 2 theories have sprung to mind again as I enter year 4 of my greatest managerial challenge of all time: raising my sweet boys =) i.e. training my boys to be mighty men of God, men of righteousness, holiness, perseverance, character, integrity…basically awesome! Whew…its hard…If I am honest there are so many days when I am the mean suffocating Theory X manager barking out orders, walking around with my mental check list of whose obeying and dis-obeying, who seems a little rebellious that day and is bound to cause problems and need discipline ect…
My three year old has recently started asking the question “but why?” when we ask him to do something…now my natural inclination is to shut him down with a gruff “because I said so!”….and demand instant obedience without explanation.
But more and more the Holy Spirit has been convicting me and teaching me the importance of being a Manager of my household who uses the theory Y as I teach, instruct and train.
For example, one of the biggest things I want my boys to learn is to be good leaders. I mean who doesn’t want their kids to be incredible leaders? When I think about leaders who I want them to emulate, first and foremost its Jesus. He is the greatest leader who has and will ever walk this planet.
Caden has a built in opportunity everyday to practice being a Christ like leader to his younger brother Finn. And soon Finn will be able to practice when little brother Ezekiel arrives. Regardless of your child’s birth order, whether they have many siblings or are an only child every person has someone else that is watching them.
Leadership Principle: A leader helps others obey!
How this is like Jesus: Jesus obeyed His Father. Jesus, although perfect and completely God, still submitted Himself to the authority of His Father. “So Jesus explained , I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 5:19 (NIV)
What this looks like everyday with my 3 year old and 2 year old:
Finn (2 year old) starts to do something that Caden knows is wrong, like getting up from the table to dance around on the hot wheels cars (yes this is a daily battle). Caden has a choice get up and join in the shenanigans or stay in his seat until being excused from the table and also encourage his brother to obey and come back to the table.
Theory X Manager: “Caden get back to the table you know the rules!”
Theory Y Manager: “Caden God has made you a leader, your brother is watching you. A leader helps others obey, so you can choose to obey and stay in your seat and also encourage Finn to obey by saying ‘ Come on Finn, let’s obey, come back to the table’ But if you choose to disobey and get out of your seat you will get discipline. Then I will usually repeat the main point a few times, “Remember a leader helps others obey.” And have Caden say it with me.
Does Caden choose the right thing everytime..no, of course not – he’s three and he’s in a season of needing much instruction, training, disicipline and accountability…anyone who has a toddler can understand this…
But you know what else he needs…VISION! He needs vision
“Without vision the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
That’s why I love the Theory of Y management so much and can apply it to parenting my toddlers…because it is saying…don’t just bark out orders and use control, fear and manipulation to get your kids to do what you want.
Tell them what the standard is and then share vision for why there is that standard.
Yes, there will be times, where our children have to instantly obey….i.e. “Car is coming….you yell get out of the way” But what I have found is that when I take every opportunity I can to explain why we have a rule or boundary or expectation…if I call them up to something greater than just “do this now because I say so” they will build more trust with us…and they will be more likely to obey us in those moments when instant obedience is essential. It also will foster health in our relationship. They will see that I am a leader worthy of trust and that I am a safe place to come with their questions and frustrations. Ultimately this will help them connect in a healthier way to God, because I am showing them that God as a parent sets and upholds boundaries and standards and rules for a healthy and joyful life, and is also a safe place to come with our questions, hurt and concerns.
Next week, I am going to share 3 other ways I help my boys develop leadership qualities.
Until then, I would LOVE to hear YOUR ideas! I am learning more and more everyday about how to do this and by no means feel like I have it all figured out. Parents of toddlers, older kiddos, and empty nesters, how do you develop your kids into leaders?