So, after reflecting on my need to set more family time aside, I made every effort yesterday to come home, take care of a few small things, and then play with my kids before dinnertime.
And, I was successful in doing this.
However, my kids didn’t want to play together. For some reason, they only wanted to play with me, and didn’t want to play as a group. At one point, I walked into the kitchen where my wife was making dinner, and mouthed, “What is going on?” She simply shook her head as if saying, “This is ridiculous.”
So, I walked back into the room, and while they were arguing over who got to push the baby carriage, I picked up one of their toy babies, brought it into the living room, and started pretending to feed it.
Both girls came over to ask what I was doing, and then everything was good, at least for the next ten minutes.
Sometimes we make changes to accommodate others. And sometimes, what we envision to be a positive switch and change ends up having consequences we didn’t anticipate. I was not expecting my kids to be fighting over who was playing with me. Instead, I thought we would all play together.
My realization here is that when we encounter those situations, whether at home or at work, where we alter our work in order to attempt to accommodate others and we get unexpected results, we have to first stay calm, and then consider what is happening and how we can move past it.
Sometimes, that means separating ourselves from the situation and approaching it in a different way (as with feeding the baby). In other cases we have to nudge or push people to see through the lens that we’re hoping they will see through. And in still other cases, we have to abandon our change, knowing that at that moment, it might not yet be the right time.
I’ll continue to work towards setting aside my playtime, and I’ll continue to work towards playing with both kids at the same time. Life, leadership, and learning, are always works in progress!