I've figured out something about how I communicate with my children. I figured it out pretty much by accident, but I'm really surprised that it took me this long.
I worked this evening. I work in a customer service field, and anyone who works in a customer service field knows that it can pretty much suck on a regular basis. I'm convinced that it is because people in general suck...but that might just be because I'm feeling grumpy and cynical at the moment. We were told by the owner of my place of employment that there was too much negativity among the employees and that from now on we were going to be positive and happy.
It immediately made me feel more negative and less happy.
I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to be told what to do. I'm also the kind of person who will do the exact opposite of what I'm told to do especially if you don't give me a convincing reason to do otherwise. Call me a rebel.
I suppose there are probably plenty of ways to foster a positive attitude among employees...this one might even be effective for some...all I know is that it did nothing to improve my attitude. In fact, the bottom just fell out from underneath my generally decent outlook on life.
But I am regularly guilty of attempting to motivate the spawn by doing just what this employer did to me. I often tell my kidlets when their attitude is less than stellar to "check their attitude". "You are not going to behave this way, Mister." "We are all going to get along and be happy."
Yeah right, mom.
If my kids are anything like me (and believe in some ways they are entirely too much like me) that is an entirely ineffective approach to improving group morale. In fact, I'm pretty much sure I'm just perpetually shooting myself in the foot.
So pointing out their bad attitude, just draws attention to the bad attitude, and as long as we are focusing on the bad attitude....well, we're just going to get more of it. (I think I've heard this concept somewhere before...could it be the Law of Attraction? Why yes. I think it could be.)
What's the answer? I'm really not sure what the question is...but I know I'll be trying to stop telling the kids to check their attitudes. Instead I'll try to find something more positive about the situation. Wish me luck on that one, folks. I'm pretty sure I'll need all the help I can get.