Lessons from Childhood


Were you shaped by your childhood, or early years?  Of course you were, even if you don’t realize how. 

As my children grow and move through different phases of their lives, I am seeing more and more how my experiences at their age shaped not only who I am, but how I am trying to help them navigate through the early stages of their lives.  It’s an amazing journey.  And every step of the way I wonder if I am doing the right thing, saying the right thing, feeling the right thing, or reacting the right way.  At the end of the day, I think we will figure it out and end up in a great place.  I hope that someday they realize I wasn’t just being “Dad” when I said or did certain things.  I actually had a reason or a method to my madness and it was always with their best interest at heart. 

It’s funny how your perspective on things changes as you age.  And how what you think you know now, isn’t really what you will know 10 years from now.  I think that is true at ANY age.  A little over 10 years ago, for example, I didn’t really know what an incentive was.  And when it was described to me, I actually thought it was the dumbest idea I had ever heard of.  You see, I owned a trucking company at the time and I was of the school of thought that I shouldn’t give someone something for doing the job I was already paying them to do.  Well, I was educated by a couple of very smart men, in that, we weren’t giving anyone anything.  We paid them a salary to do their job; plain and simple.  But if we wanted the best out of our employees, we would need to incent them to go above and beyond what their salary was motivating them to do.  It all made sense and I have seen it work time and time again.  As a matter of fact I have seen how effectively using different kinds of incentives will get you a greater return on your investment than if you had simply increased an employee’s salary by that same amount. 

The first step though, was getting past those "old school" values and realizing, as well as admitting to myself, that I was wrong, so that I could move forward.  I’ve tried those same philosophies with my children as well, and let me tell you, it works!!!  A little positive reinforcement, coupled with the negative reinforcement that fathers sometimes have to employ, has helped shape and mold a family that my wife and I can be proud of.  My 17 year old and I don’t always see eye to eye, but the reality of the matter is that she makes me proud to be her father.  I hope someday she sees why I am the way I am.  I hope that she can someday be to her children what I have tried to be for her and her brothers, whether I am successful in her eyes right now or not.  I realize that I am not always right.  Lord knows my daughter Brooke would agree with that statement as well.  But I have learned to be the kind of person who can admit when I am wrong and learn to move forward. 

So if you are from the "old school" and think that incentives are a waste of time and or money, give me a call.  I would be happy to let you in on a few secrets.  It will vastly improve your life, and the lives of those around you.

Have a great day, and go see the world.


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