Reflections H-P

Health living – is a series of choices. Unhealthy dying is a consequence of not making the right choices. You may not care what others think, but ultimately, your body will care.

Hope – is like gravity. It anchors us to a great planet, surrounded by people we can help. And those who will reach out to us, if we let them.

Human creativity – a lucky dip inside your head, planting an action point in someone else’s head. Mentally reaching for the sky, flying solo with eagles and rainbows, then making a perfect landing. Problems in our neighbourhoods cry out for design ideas in our heads and courage in our hearts. The creative process is more Picasso, Dali and Pollock. The dependency process is more still life and pointillist.

Management – bountiful control over scarce resources needs to become scarce control over bountiful resources.

Parenthood – a mission to the outer limits of your character. To boldly go where you never thought you would go before. Starring as the support actors in your own long-playing, family adventure movie. Becoming a parent is like being a fashion photographer. You get to help the subject on their own road to success, yet they think they alone have all the talent!

Personal growth – life isn’t about finding Nemo. It’s about creating yourself. Making progress depends both on finding truths and accepting them as friends. Look on the bright side – the winds of change take us through some pretty amazing scenery.

Politicians – some politicians hope to use politics to achieve a beautiful result. Some supermodels use beauty to achieve a political result.

If you like these posts, feel free to follow my blog for future posts.

Simon

Human Relationships and Personal Flexibility

man and woman boat rowing in sea during golden hour
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Flexibility and friendships

One form of personal flexibility (PFL) is in the crossover between personal friendships & workplace relationships. This blogger has first-hand experience of several professional relationships developing into personal friendships, forged from helping a friend-in-need, or through shared-conflict experienced. In this blogger’s view, the relationship combination works better where both parties are evenly matched.  Or think alike. And if the relations aren’t complicated by romantic love or lust.

Ideally, someone’s romantic partner should also be their best friend. It helps if they don’t work in the same professional team.  Especially if at different levels in the hierarchy.

Strong professional working relationships and strong personal friendships have some similarities:

  • mutual trust and mutual respect is high in both.
  • both have been tested and ‘weathered the storm’.
  • both have a high degree of openness.
  • both retain a foundation of shared experiences. And perhaps a shared triumph of beating the odds.

In fairness to the employer, two friends who work together, need to put their work relationship first. And make sure there is no perceived bias in the workplace.  But that merit prevails. Otherwise there is likely to be a perceived conflict of interest.

The trust in one domain (personal or professional) should carry into the other, speeding up some actions. However, for the parties concerned, try and avoid calling in favours in the workplace, from any favours previously done in a personal capacity. It doesn’t seem to be such a problem when the reverse situation happens. In fact, speaking from experience several times over, that approach can launch a solid, personal friendship.

Flexibility and romantic relationships

adult blur bouquet boy
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There are two phases to this – a relationship-building phase and a relationship-nurturing phase. Initially, the people involved should use flexibility to break convention and create ‘wow’. And be flexible enough to handle love & lust together.

It’s important to be flexible (FL) about pace – sometimes ‘still waters run deep’ and first impressions aren’t necessarily reliable. People should strive to be the best they can be.  But even more importantly, be authentic. In fact, be FL-authentic!

In the subsequent relationship-nurturing phase, the people involved should try to oscillate between honeymoon period and enduring partnership as often as they can. Happiness comes partly from magic.  And magic comes from unpredictability & mystery.

Both partners should realise that what they start out loving about a person, may not be what they end up loving about them. This is true of general friendships also.

Relationships are a journey, not a status. For love to develop, it takes an FL-mindset. Otherwise it’s just endurance.

Case study: In the 1997/98 Hollywood movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, directed by James Brooks, starring Jack Nicolson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear, against extraordinary odds, the characters show enough personal flexibility to grow and improve their life situations. Interestingly, although each character has a very different situational struggle and a different mindset, their personal flexibility created enough of a relationship, for love and friendship to eventually blossom.

Flexibility and parenthood

Firstly, parenthood is simultaneously a marathon, a relay race, a hurdles race & a sprint. Arguably, the price of sanity & safety is eternal vigilance. No parent is born an expert. Fortunately, the person gets to learn and practise every day that they show up for parenting duty. No one expects them to do parenting completely alone. Therefore, they need to be flexible and reach out to friends and family for help, as necessary.

Secondly, a person arguably stops being a child when they become a parent. That said, plenty of childless adults make very good grown-ups. Role models, babysitters, mentors, aunties and uncles too!  Having one child will utterly transform someone’s life. Having more than one child will transform their bank balance. Either way, roll with it!

Thirdly, parenthood, like falling in love with someone – an act of supreme flexibility. In both cases, the person just knows it will be a life-changing experience, testing their boundaries, their patience and their self-view. There will be apologising.  And learning from mistakes made along the way. That’s all personal flexibility at its best.

As a parent how can you use PFL to be more effective at parenting?  One approach is to promote FL in the things that you are a parental stakeholder in. To elaborate, none of the following things are set in stone. Every day brings a fresh opportunity to alter those things for more positive outcomes. On striving for more positive outcomes, this blogger has figurative scars and skin in the parenting game, having been a step parent to two children for 13 years, as well as the parent of a trans-gender child.

affection beach care caucasian
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Things you are a parental stakeholder in:

  • Your child’s school. Try to become engaged in the parent-teacher association (PTA) at the school, even if for just a few hours a year. If the school is not be catering for the learning and social development needs of children like yours, use the PTA as a platform for change.
  • Your child’s health.
  • Your child’s future career and leadership opportunities. More about this in a future blog on career’s advice and career management.
  • Your child’s confidence level. This needs parental PFL to create a dynamic mix of; realism, successes, structure, authority, grief, love and setbacks. It hopefully involves your child improvising and ‘winging it’ when they have to.
  • Your child’s relations with wider family members. Them learning to interact with a variety of family ages and personalities will help their PFL and confidence develop.
  • Your child’s memories of growing up. A parent’s job is arguably to balance any bad memories with some good ones too.
  • Your child’s inheritance.

If you found this blog helpful, feel free to tell others. Constructive comments are also welcome.

Simon

Parenting and Personal Flexibility

Parenting is both complex and practical. Having raised two step children from the ages of 8 and 10 years onwards (now aged 21 and 23 respectively) and with the benefit of hindsight, I’d like to share some insights about how personal flexibility (PFL) can help people become better parents.

Like many parents, I’ve said things in the heat of the moment, that I wish I hadn’t said to my children. It’s a testament to their character that they saw the bigger picture. And thankfully saw me as a flawed human being, trying to become a better person and a better parent over time. It’s still a work in progress!

I’ve said to various people that the life change from not being a parent, to suddenly becoming a parent is huge, compared to the change from moving say from the parent of two children to three.

Becoming a parent is like a marathon. But with random sprints inserted into the event as well. The sprints arise if the parent suffers a momentary loss of focus on a young child and it gets into trouble. For example, at the top of some stairs. Or following a stranger away from a playground setting.

What kind of PFL helps for the parents of very young children?

The child’s needs are initially quite physical. Sleep deprivation for one or both parents is a problem, as the baby’s sleeping patterns and feeding cycles are short. And very different from those of the parents. The parents feel an enormous sense of responsibility for a tiny, defenceless individual, who is totally reliant on them.

Over time, the child’s awareness builds. It bonds with the parent(s), as the centre of its world. Progressively, the child becomes more active in exploring its world. It makes its wishes known. And more of its personality becomes obvious to onlookers.

Taking shared parental leave from the workplace (extra parental capacity) increases the PFL to cope with the initial demands of parenthood. Rooms at home have to be modified, medical checkups arranged, baby clothes, cribs, high chairs, car seats and baby strollers bought. in a PFL sense, these things help to build capacity, create options and manage uncertainty.

Part of the PFL challenge for the parents is not to overwhelm the young child. To create some structure, some reassurance and to set limits. To not be overly protective in shielding their child from exploring the world.

Probably, the parents are constantly adjusting their parenting approach to help support the child, as best they can. They are still discovering their child’s personality and its preferences – the things it likes and hates. The beauty of parenthood is that although no one is born an expert, you get to practise being a better parent every day (patience and endurance). A key message is that being a better parent comes from exercising some PFL along the way.

What kind of PFL helps for the parents of pre-teen children?

The child’s identity, passions, talents and abilities become clearer in pre-teen children Their friendship group develops beyond family members. School education becomes a feature of their lives. Their parents aren’t always present when they suffer mishap or injury.

Part of the PFL challenge for the parents is again, not to overwhelm the child with things it can’t handle. To create structure, reassurance and some kind of limits. To not be overly protective in shielding their child from exploring the world.

Parental PFL involves oscillating between support & stepping back to watch your child progressively forge its own path in the world.

What kind of PFL helps for the parents of teenagers?

Puberty kicks in, hormones fluctuate. And there is a constant tension between the teen wanting more freedom. But not being able to be fully independent. Progressively, the teen’s identity shifts to become not only a family member, but a member of its own social tribe of friends. Dating and relationships become a feature in teenagers lives. Social pressure to conform becomes intense.

For the parents, there is frequent and unpredictable challenge to their authority in many cases. The parents may feel underappreciated or unappreciated. The dialogue they used to have with their pre-teen child, may have become replaced by a sullen, tense battle of wills & values.

For the parents, PFL is aided by wider family support to both teens & their parents. Parents need to decide which battles to fight. And which ‘stylistic differences’ to concede. Another expression of PFL for the parents is in keeping an open-door policy to be there when the teen wants to talk. Somehow the parent has to keep an eye on the family ‘light at the far end of the tunnel’. While providing logistical support to the teen. And periodic emotional support too.

What kind of PFL helps for the parents of adult children?

Once into their twenties, perhaps graduating from university and/or becoming establishing in their first or subsequent jobs, the child has become a fully-fledged adult.

The biggest PFL issue for the parent is probably to re-establish a positive relationship with their child, on an adult-to-adult basis.

In summary, PFL is valuable at all stages of the parent ‘journey’.

If you find these blogs useful, please spread the word for others to read them and comment too.

Simon