Friday, April 30, 2010

Poker & Excuses

P was frustrated because a friend didn't invite him to his birthday party. Apparently other kids convinced the birthday boy not to invite P because P is the best poker player in his class and he would win the top price from the party's poker tournament. This statement from P prompted a bunch of feedback from me:

1) Don't say "I am the best poker player in the grade". Even if it is true, it comes across as arrogant. You can say you are a good poker player, or maybe one of the best.

2) Don't believe the reasons people give you for why they did something. Often people don't know themselves why the did something, yet when asked why they rationalize it and make up a reason that they often believe to be the truth - but it was conceived after the fact. And when people do know why they did something, they often rather give a more "comfortable" explanation than the truth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back Up Plans

Last week A was stranded in Italy on a study trip with his school - thanks to the Iceland volcano. His flights got canceled and they got rebooked for a few days later. A couple of days before the new flights it was still uncertain whether they would be canceled or not. I asked the school administration what their back-up plan was in case one of the new flights got canceled. They didn't have one. They were hoping the new flights would not get canceled and would work on a new plan if they were.

I discussed with the kids the value of having a "Plan B" in place ahead of time. A great example of when that might have helped was our trip to St Lucia over Spring Break. There was a storm in Atlanta where we had to change planes and as we waited for our flight to Atlanta and Delta said the flight was on time we were skeptical. Yet we didn't do anything about it. When half an hour before the departure time they all of a sudden told us the flight had been canceled we had to scramble to find an alternative. Fortunately we quickly found a Virgin America flight online and ran (literally) to their terminal to barely make the flight. Yet, we could have been looking at flight alternatives while waiting for the Delta flight and would have been in much better shape - and not have to run.

Hope for the best... But prepare for the worst!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It is not worth the risk...

During the weekend there were a couple of things that we told A he had to do that he clearly thought were silly: do his homework by the unfair deadline his teacher had given him and don't play games on his ipad during the week. Rather than trying to convince him that these were good ideas, or, I should really say, in addition to, I made the point that if he didn't do these things and we caught him, the consequences were very serious. It is not worth the risk for him. I used the analogy of driving where the speed limit seems ridiculously low. Great straight highways. No cars. Perfect weather. Yet the speed limit is 65 MPH. I might feel that I can safely drive at 90 MPH, but, it is not worth the risk. If I get caught not only will I waste tons of time, I will get a ticket and points of my license. I might disagree with the rule/law, and I might be willing to break it if I was certain I wouldn't get caught, but it is just not worth the risk...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The No Contact Rule

N & P got into one of their typical arguments this morning. Each one convinced the other had started it and was primarily at fault. It made me think of the "no contact" rule in sailboat racing: regardless of what other boats do in a race, each boat has to do everything within its power to avoid contact. Even if another boat breaks the rules and gets in their way, if there is a collision that was avoidable, the boats that could have avoided the collision are disqualified - even if they did nothing else wrong. A boat that has to change its course to avoid contact with a boat that is fouling them can later ask the race committee for a redress, i.e., compensation for the time they lost avoiding the other boat.

I told the kids I would apply the same "no contact" rule to them: no matter what one of their brothers do, they must avoid a fight at all costs. They can come to me or C for "redress", but if they get dragged into a fight, they will be at fault too.

I love sailing analogies! I hope this made sense to non sailors...