Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 7)

A few weeks ago a friend told me that the only thing he can do as a parent is to stand behind his kids – both hands open – saying: “I will catch you if you fall”. Here’s another great lesson one can only learn by being home early enough.

He continued:

For example: a three year old carrying a big bottle from the kitchen to the dinner table is a breathtaking sight for most parents. We are tempted to say ‘careful’, ‘don’t let it fall’, ‘hold it with both hands’, etc. Now, if the bottle arrives at the dinner table unharmed, is that THANKS TO our verbal support or is it NOTWITHSTANDING our comment?”.

How would our children grow and learn if we would be more at ease with the circumstances they are in? Whenever we comment / advise / suggest our children with all of our hearts, our support and the lessons learned from our own from bruises and breakdowns; aren’t we just pushing them into learned helplessness?

In my opinion, this is the very point where the skill of education stops and the art of parenting starts. Like a balancing act, both empowerment and protection are necessary for a healthy development.

As the above drawing indicates, the development of children (and grown-ups) needs a perfect mix of nudging and nurturing; a balance between empowerment and protection. It is exactly at that same point where the skill of management stops and the art of leadership starts.

To your opinion, where is the best place to learn that art? At Harvard or at home?

Related articles:
Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 6) – September 21st, 2009
Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 5) – May 24th, 2009
Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 4) – March 1st, 2009
Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 3) – February 21st, 2009
Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 2) – February 16th, 2009
Parenting as a Management Skill … Huh? (part 1) – February 9th, 2009

  • http://www.tomspencer.com.au/ Tom Spencer

    Luc,

    Good question.

    My position would be that management skills are learnt in various places (including the classroom) but might only be perfected through dedicated practice (e.g. by being a parent).

    People learn in different ways. According to a talk I just watched by Victor Cheng, one third of people learn abstractly (i.e. by thinking), one third learn visually (i.e. by seeing) and the other third learn by getting their hands dirty (i.e. by doing). Based on this breakdown, we might conclude that Harvard is a good place for most people to learn about management.

    That said, management is a skill that involves interacting with groups of people, and there is only so much you can learn about people from reading books.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  • http://www.tomspencer.com.au Tom Spencer

    Luc,

    Good question.

    My position would be that management skills are learnt in various places (including the classroom) but might only be perfected through dedicated practice (e.g. by being a parent).

    People learn in different ways. According to a talk I just watched by Victor Cheng, one third of people learn abstractly (i.e. by thinking), one third learn visually (i.e. by seeing) and the other third learn by getting their hands dirty (i.e. by doing). Based on this breakdown, we might conclude that Harvard is a good place for most people to learn about management.

    That said, management is a skill that involves interacting with groups of people, and there is only so much you can learn about people from reading books.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  • Luc Galoppin

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your comment.

    I agree to the extent that the skills part can be / should be learned at business schools. That is “intelligence” in the strict sense of the word: “the ability to know”.

    However, when we look at intelligence as “the ability to interact” – which is increasingly more important nowadays – getting our hands dirty is the only way.

    Best regards,
    Luc.

  • Luc Galoppin

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your comment.

    I agree to the extent that the skills part can be / should be learned at business schools. That is “intelligence” in the strict sense of the word: “the ability to know”.

    However, when we look at intelligence as “the ability to interact” – which is increasingly more important nowadays – getting our hands dirty is the only way.

    Best regards,
    Luc.