Thursday, June 26, 2008

This week we were on holiday. Family camp. This meant no-camera-dad-please. Or so I think. So, I packed them away. On Tuesday morning I went fishing with my son. Long walk. No fish.

Bonding time...
And I learnt the value of an empty frame...

After an hour I realised that we had to go back. We had prior arrangements. When I told him, he was angry, really angry. So, here we were. Finding time together to have fun and now, suddenly, I was on the verge of family war.

Then I remembered what Stephen Covey teaches.

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

So I kept quiet. Long. Just walking in the water with him. Present and supportive but waiting. You cannot peacefully negotiate with a six-year old.
Then he turned.

"Let's go, dad, nothing here."

We walked back together. In peace. Father and son. No cameras, no business. Just us.

That matters.

And yes, there will be conflict. People are complicated, but I hope that I will remember to keep listening without any presuppositions or argument. (You know, just listening, not re-loading :-)).

Yes, sometimes it helps to have nothing in the frame...

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