Dealing with broken promises
I came across a situation at the end of last week with regards to something that happened at school…
… let me just say, I find it very difficult to tell a story WITHOUT putting in all the details! I’m going to try to be circumspect but I may fail miserably J. I have no real interest in being circumspect so I’m not likely to be any good at it!
Anyway, something had been promised and it wasn’t being given. There were all sorts of reasons and excuses but Kira was left feeling like what she’d done – and she’d put herself out a lot to make things easier on others – wasn’t being recognised or acknowledged.
I try very hard to hear what is ACTUALLY going on and not get involved in the story behind it. I’ve put a lot of effort into training my children to tell me the “what’s so”, the facts, and not give me a long, detailed story about how people felt or what they thought.
We make all that up and it just clouds the situation.
When you listen to all the “I felt…”, “he thought…” kind of things, it’s near impossible to take action from an objective perspective.
Before I had kids I worked as a swimming teacher. I got to see first hand just how weird some parents go where their children are involved. I fully understand it, it’s instinctive to protect our children, to the death if necessary.
But honestly, get the facts before you start going off about something.
Find out what really happened.
I’ve turned into one of those mothers a few times over the years and I’ve regretted it every time. I’ve ended up feeling stupid because I’ve grasped either the wrong end of the stick completely or else I didn’t know all the facts when I stormed in there, claws and teeth bared.
Some people can just carry on even when they know they’re in the wrong by simply refusing to admit they’re wrong.
I’ve done that one, too.
And I feel even worse when I do that. It’s just not worth it.
So over the years, I’ve trained my kids to tell me the “what’s so”.
What actually happened, JUST what actually happened. I don’t want to know what you thought, what you felt, what anyone else felt or thought just yet. Just tell me what happened.
And don’t embellish.
Don’t tell me what you think or what your opinion is, we can talk about that later.
So it’s very unusual now for me to have to get involved in anything because the kids can handle themselves, the situation and other people very well. They’ve learned how to over the years.
But just occasionally, things go too far.
In this case, a teacher who left Kira feeling unacknowledged and her efforts unrecognised.
Kira had done her best to have a conversation with the teacher about it to no avail.
The teacher had made promises and then was trying to go back on them without taking any responsibility and without any acknowledgement that the girls were promised one thing and are now being told they’re getting something else.
When the girls got upset about the goalposts being moved, the teacher tried to guilt them into stopping complaining by saying that they should be grateful for what they’ve got, which they should but that’s avoiding the fact that the girls were upset because of the broken promise.
The girl who OFFERED to do what Kira’s been doing for a term was rewarded for simply making the offer. No acknowledgement was made for what Kira’s already done.
This whole thing could be avoided by taking a few simple steps and acknowledging a few things:
You’re responsible for the situation, you need to BE responsible and take ownership.
Getting upset, blaming, making people feel guilty, getting angry, all of those things only make things worse
And they make you look powerless and small.
It is actually as simple as that. If you think about someone powerful and how they’d handle the situation, it’s not by blaming, avoiding responsibility and making wrong.
You’re the one who has to live with yourself after this, so deal with it in a way that’s not going to leave you feeling bad about yourself and the situation.
Act powerfully and act in alignment with what’s important to you.
It’s as easy as that.