What Our Son Taught Me

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

written by: Philip Warren AKA Dad

Because we homeschool our children, I have the great privilege of being able to take my son with me on business trips. It is a great opportunity as we get to spend “windshield time” discussing what’s going on with him and a time for him to ask questions. I have found that I often learn more from him than he does from these experiences; the key is to pay attention and I’m sometimes amazed at what I see.

I do a lot of training in my job and one of the things we talk about the most in the sales process is good listening. A great technique is to practice “golden silence” which is essentially waiting a full two seconds after someone is done speaking before you respond. Many times my wife and I tend to talk over my son or not allow him to finish expressing his thoughts. This often leads to significant frustration on his part and sometimes arguments erupt as a result. When on these trips, I try to practice this technique and noticed that when I do so, he continues to talk before the two second window is over. Instead of anxiously trying to get words in, he takes his time to truly express how he feels and talks about his ambitions, what he wants to be when he grows up and events in the world that he thinks deeply about. I have recommended this technique to my wife when they are having a disagreement and she noted that the arguments lose steam quickly if he feels like he’s truly being heard.

I also noticed that he is far more mature than we give him credit for. Sometimes in social situations, a parent tends to jump in to conversations with their children and other adults to explain what he is trying to convey (children can say some strange things). He has been on enough trips with me that I let him go to have unfettered conversations with clients. He often has them in stitches laughing at jokes or they become involved in conversations that only adults typically have with one-another. In addition, I give him an option to go to the car and watch movies while I am in meetings but he always chooses to stay and listen to the business conversations. He never interrupts during these sessions and only speaks when spoken to. Invariably, after completing these trips, I always get a call from someone we visited complimenting me on him, his behavior, attitude and maturity which is always refreshing. Sometimes as a parent you wonder if they are talking about the same little terrors you have at home.

I think he gets a lot out of these trips with understanding business, etiquette and manners but it’s really incredible how my interactions with him help ingrain lessons that I teach every day. For some reason, you don’t think of business lessons applying to children, but in many cases our children are better teachers than we are.




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