The Design Inside
It was Christmas Eve and we were taking turns opening presents, as is the tradition in our house. My daughter handed me a present saying, “Open this one, Dad.” It was a present she had purchased, and by the smile on her face, she was excited about what she had selected. It was a book entitled, The Story. While I like the book, what was most precious was the inscription she’d written inside the cover, “Thank you for helping me understand how my story fits in with His Story.”
My daughter is 21, but the story began many hers earlier, around age three. At the time my work as a consultant was helping me understand that there is a ‘design’ in each of us. This Design reflects the way we see the world, how we take in information, how we process it - in short, how we behave. I witnessed the evidence of this in hundreds of people I work with. I’d begun to believe that there is a script or design already written in each one of us, evident from an early age. We often just need someone to help us read it.
As she grew from babyhood to a young child, I began to try to read the script my daughter began to reveal. That script was evident in the words she used repeatedly and in how she played. The pieces of her design began to show a definite pattern. One word consistently stood out in her dialogue - PLAN. Her questions almost always centered around that word. “Where are we going to sit at the restaurant, what is the plan, what will we do? In primary grades she loved school but didn’t like recess and lunch - no plan. She was obsessed with knowing the plan, understanding the plan, or being in charge of the plan. It became very obvious to us that we had a planner on our hands. ‘Plan’ or ‘planning’ were her words and when we used them when talking with her; she had the ears to hear us.
It became apparent to us that our job as parents was to affirm what we saw in her. She was testing out who she was and we helped her to see it and believe that what she was doing was good. Helping her to understand the “way she should go” became our plan. Giving her responsibilities to help at an early age proved to be successful and gave her confidence. When we saw our daughter not as a blank slate to write on, but a script to be read, parenting took on a whole new dimension.
My professional work places me in a position to help leaders with the same thing - what is their Design, their script? It is just as important in raising our children, to give them permission to be themselves.
To be a good leader as well as a good parent we need to make an emotional connection with our followers including our children. What better way to do that than to know their internal design and help them become confident and self aware and live their design out in a positive way. In short, help them know their story and how it fits into His Story.