February 10, 2019

Why Raising Teenagers Is Good For Business

He looked at me quizzically.
And then smiled that lopsided smile.

The morning’s church service had just concluded.
Here we were, doing what we always do…
Standing in little bunches of friendships, sharing our week with each other.

I had approached David, who – like me – was navigating the experience of raising teenagers.

You know those alarming creatures.

Last night, your little Princess went happily upstairs to her bedroom.
“Night Daddy. Love You.”

This morning, a ranting alien – possessed with powers to tear your heart completely in two – launched themselves at you.
Pointing out what a complete out-of-touch moron you are.
Before slamming the front door, cracking the patterned glass, on the way to school.

Still reeling from a couple of such days from one of our five children…
I had said, in response to the usual greeting, “Well, I’m fine David. But raising children. It’s a complicated businesses isn’t it?”

To which he responded,
“Raising children? Raising children?
Hmmm. I thought the whole point was that they’re here to raise us.”

He looked straight into my eyes.
Smiled again.
Touched my arm.
And turned to continue a conversation with his wife, Evita.

I was left standing there. Speechless.

I’d never seriously considered that possibility.
The complexity, the frustrations, the tears and the roller coaster ride of parenthood.
Well, they all combine to raise us.

To lift us from the self-centred being we would naturally become.
To stretch our capacity for patience, understanding, compassion.
To teach us how to love the seemingly unlovable.

We’re changed.

I think running a business or leading a team does that to us.

Things will constantly go terribly, horribly wrong.
We’ll regularly be wrong-footed, side-swiped, frustrated, knocked off balance.
People will test our patience, and make us wonder if we’re living on the right planet.

What’s really happening, of course, is that our own capacity to change and grow is being tested.

I believe we’re constantly being asked:
“Do You Understand The Lesson That You Still Need To Learn Here?”

Teenagers invariably surprise us, when we observe the astoundingly capable, talented and wise adults they become.
Given the chance, our team and our clients can surprise us too.

The question remains…
Was The Problem Really Me All The Time?
And Did I Grow Up In The Process?