Life lessons can come from anywhere. I tend to gather quite a few from helping my children to grow. Today’s lesson is something I repeatedly tell my daughter, “What is good today will be good tomorrow and what is bad today will be bad tomorrow.” If we break it down to the simplest form, we are talking about consistency.
Life is not always black and white, there are many shades of grey and every situation is different. However, that’s not going to translate into an effective lesson while you’re telling someone what they should and should not do. What will stick is laying out the directions and expectations very clearly and judging against those benchmarks.
At the top of my “rules of the house” list is this: Listen and follow directions, otherwise you’re not going to have a good time. While that may sound like an extremely simple rule, and it’s not meant to be confusing or difficult, there are many times this rule has been broken. I will provide instructions to my daughter, have her repeat them back to me, and then she fails to follow the instructions.
The fact that a child, and even adults, will fail to listen and follow directions is not uncommon or even surprising. But with that failed expectation the stated rule also lays out the consequence for not following through. This is where consistency MUST be adhered to. If there is no consequence for breaking the rule, then there is no benefit to following the rules in the future.
Likewise, we cannot change the rule or only apply parts of it. The message and delivery must always be consistent. Furthermore, we must SHOW that the rule applies to everyone. If we only apply the rule when my daughter doesn’t follow directions and not when I mess up it gives an inconsistent message. It takes time and a lot of effort, but the results are outstanding. This isn’t just a rule for our children, it’s a very valuable lesson for our personal and professional lives.