Often we have choices in our life in how we spend our time. The choice to be efficient and busy and the choice to help other share, grow, and learn. Today I spent 90 minutes of my life helping someone I care about grow and learn and didn’t realize until after the choice I had made.
JoJo is 17 now and, as he tells it to his friends, “We are really adults now”. And as an adult he now has adult worries and adult responsibilities. Today the battery died on his car and this is an event he had never handled before. His car is the only way he can get to college! He needed to get to school.
For me, changing a battery and purchasing a new one is a simple affair. A quick twist of my wrist, a jaunt to the auto parts store and I am done. For him: this was a big deal to which he has never managed before and he wanted me to do it. No, he didn’t say that, he used his body language to imply it and he also used his body language to imply that as an adult he should not have to rely on me. And thus we had a choice in our relationship: 1) I could do the job for him and save us both time, or 2) I could be with him every step of the way. The decision was 90 minutes of our life and 90 minutes that could not have been spared if I were focused on being busy or efficient.
It was fun watching him pour through the socket sets lamenting that none of the sockets fit. Watching him work through that fact that Japanese Cars use Metric and not standard was entertaining and important. Being there was even more: he could have given up if he was alone.
Getting to the auto part store, learning to interact with the service people to get help in finding the right battery. Watching sparks fly when he accidentally shorted positive to ground. All big steps for a young adult and all steps that I could have circumvented and saved us both the effort for.
There is a philosophy in management. Imagine your work as flexible balloons. When you master a task a giant balloon shrinks to a small size. When our balloons are all small it is better to pass the balloons down and help the people in our lives learn new, hard tasks, and for ourselves to take on ever larger balloons.
I could fill my day with a lot of small balloons. Instead I helped Jojo make a large balloon small and they were the best 90 minutes of my day.