When you think of Japanese products today, what’s your overall impression? For me, reliability, quality and innovation come to mind. Japan is definitely a leader, and no stranger to finding room for improvement.
But do you remember that back in the 50s and 60s, ‘Made in Japan’ meant cheap, poor quality, and bound to break quickly? “What do you expect? It’s made in Japan.” Not anymore. What happened?
I can’t cite facts and figures. but here’s what I think. These were the post-WWII years and Japan was rebuilding itself after devastating destruction of their country and morale. Somewhere along the line, leaders and businesses decided they wanted quality products and a respected reputation in the world. They wanted to be proud of their products and of themselves. It took several decades, and they did it.
That kind of transformation doesn’t come quickly or easily. It takes vision and commitment; a change in management style, employee relations and compensation; creativity and innovation; and courage to take some risks. Even then, there are no guarantees of success; however, nothing changes if nothing changes.
Enough about Japan. Where are we going with this? To parenting and family, of course.
There’s always room for improvement. For those of you doing battle with your kids, it can feel like your family is falling apart; that the vision of a bright future is disintegrating. Relationships are strained and trust is eroded.
This is the time to take a deeper look at who you want you and your children to be, how you want everyone to show up in the family and in the world. This is where you strengthen or rebuild the foundation and infrastructure of your family (just as the Japanese rebuilt their country and their dignity, after the losses and indignity of WWII, and the bad reputation of ‘Made in Japan’). As always, it begins with you.
Room for improvement begins with a willingness to consider a new way of doing and being:
- Will you be flexible, creative, and a learner, or will you stick to an ineffective way of parenting (which may leave your children less-than-prepared for life)?
- Will you be courageous and consistent, giving your children what they need to thrive (rather than what feels easier for you)?
- How will you nurture collaboration, responsibility and relationships built on trust?
- What are the things that trigger you and motivate you? How are they working for or against you?
Small steps. Forward and backward steps. This will take time and patience. It can be done.
Room for improvement doesn’t mean you have failed; on the contrary, it means you are working toward excellence. The only failure is to recognize that what you’re doing isn’t working and to do nothing about it. But that’s not you. You ask for help when you’re stuck. You try, and try again and you persist. Change will come when you make room for improvement.
What will your legacy be?