Examining Motives

The ”Inside-Out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness means to start first with self; even more fundamentally, to start with the most inside part of self / with your paradigms, your character, and your motives. The inside-out approach says that private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves recedes making and keeping promises to
others. It says it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves. –Stephen R. Covey

The main topic that came out of my meeting this morning was about denial.  Here’s why that is interesting…

Last night, as I was going through my son’s backpack, I found a letter to me that I have a parent-teacher conference scheduled for next week.  These conferences have taken place every year that I have been involved in this school (8 years now), but I have never had to attend one, because they are only scheduled on an as-needed basis.  So, bottom line: trouble’s a-brewing in the 4th grade.

My first reaction was a blinding fury towards my son, who was, thankfully, already asleep by the time I found this letter.  Within the first 60 seconds of reading the note, I had punishments lined up for him until he was off to college.  Directly behind this fury came the second, and just as powerful, rage, towards the teacher herself… how dare this woman schedule this kind of conference for my son?  I have been hearing a litany of complaints about this woman for months, and at the moment I believed all of them, and more.  So within the next 60 seconds I had a series of punishments lined up for her… scathing emails, refusal to attend the conference, and other ways to dress her down.

So at some point I have had to honestly examine the true source of my angst, because none of my elaborate revenge schemes are going to get the problem solved.  As I worked through the emotions, I realized that I was frustrated that my extremely intelligent child repeatedly makes poor choices, and now we are both paying the price (I know, I know… Karma’s a bitch).  And when I look further into the frustration, it is not with a 10 year-old boy, it is with myself.  As far as he goes, the buck stops here, with me.  If he his not grasping that his bad choices are leading to bad consequences, then I am not doing my job effectively.

So here’s the good news:  the tools I have gained in my recovery will help me solve this problem.  First, I can hit the reset button.  Today is a new day, and a new chance to figure out how to make my son understand the consequences of his daily choices.  Second, I can better understand what is in my control, and what is not.  If this teacher is the type to nit-pick, or she has some vendetta against my son… well, that’s not in my power to change.  What is in my power is how I handle the problem, first with my son, and by extension, how my son learns by my example.  Finally, and as I have written about numerous times before, if something isn’t working, time to try something new.  Clearly, something isn’t working, so time to change it up!

To be continued, the conference is on Valentine’s Day…

Today’s Miracle:

That I am able to tackle this problem clean and sober.

Posted on February 4, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A good read for me today. I just spoke of this same topic with my husband this morning. (coincidence?) … Both he and I say, “wished I’d learned this when I was younger.” yet when our kids are young (now) we don’t seem to have the patience to walk through the situation with them. I’ve really been working on being present with my son (13) and teaching rather than telling. Letting him experience the natural consequences of his behavior rather than doling out punishment. I love this post.


  1. Pingback: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey | Job Cafe Inc

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