When our kids were in elementary school I would have the privilege of dropping them off and picking them up and, each day, I would experience organized chaos. For those of you who do a little dropping off and picking up yourself, you know what I am talking about.
From my general observation of all the parents who pick up their kids, myself included, I find that the parents fall into one of three types: Parents who watch life happen, parents who let life happen, and parents who make life happen. To be honest, no one type is better than the others––there isn’t a right or a wrong way to respond, we’re all just different. Let me explain.
1. Parents Who Watch Life Happen
These parents pick up their kids and pull over. They sit, watch and wait until all traffic has cleared. It’s not that they don’t have a desire to move; they just don’t have a desire to move now. They wait until it’s less congested. They are polite and usually courteous. They don’t hold up the line, they’re simply not in a rush. They are content to sit and watch life happen.
2. Parents Who Let Life Happen
These parents get their kids in the car and then let circumstances dictate their position. They stay in line but make no effort to inch out into traffic. They make no attempt to create a small opportunity for someone to “wave them in.” They will sit with their foot on the brake until the right time comes. They simply let life happen.
3. Parents Who Make Life Happen
These parents are assertive but not aggressive; they are aware but not obsessed. They understand that if they don’t take a small opportunity to inch forward into traffic, they will never get into the flow. They take initiative. they make life happen.
Depending on your personality, I’m sure you have already identified with one of the above parking-lot parents. As a higher strung parent, I immediately gravitate to the group of parents who make life happen, but the reality is that all three types of these parenting personalities are important in your parenting style depending on the time and circumstance. In fact, you need to be all three styles when it comes to scheduling uninterrupted time together with your family.
Why You Need All 3
To schedule uninterrupted time with your family, you will need to start as a parent who makes life happen, especially if you have more than one child and they are all teenagers. It will take some assertiveness to get something on the calendar.
Spending uninterrupted time together will also involve your watching life happen. Sitting by once you are all together and hearing those first few words from your beautiful children, “This is boring . . . why are we doing this . . . why can’t we have our phones” or anything else that may verbally roll down the hill will be an exercise in patience and waiting for the congestion to move.
Finally, you will need to exhibit that let-it-happen component. You can’t force it. You can’t inch out into family traffic. You must sit with your foot on the verbal brake and see what happens. Even those parents who “let it happen” in the parking lot eventually start moving after everyone has left. You may just need to wait it out and let a little traffic clear.
Now, stay tuned, in the next post I will give a play by play example of how each of these parenting types play a key roll in spending uninterrupted time together as a family.
- What type of parent do you most associate with?
- What is the hardest personality for you understand?
- How do you spend uninterrupted time together?