As parents, if we are not guided by a desired vision of our parenting journey and its outcomes, we may unknowingly get trapped in a situation where we are continuously on a treadmill but not getting anywhere, or moving towards a goal that is not really a focus but a sub-optimal side effect of our parenting treadmill run.
From our personal experience of being parents to a teenage daughter, what has helped my husband and I is to have a desired vision of our parenting outcome for 5 years at a time, starting from the day she was born.
This vision is the best version for a desired outcome, based on what we know today; we treat it as more of a guiding north star than of something cast in stone. The vision is adaptable and could change based on the changing world, with our daughter’s input as she grows, our own evolved understanding and our own retrospection as parents to ensure the best outcome at the given point in time.
This proactive inspection and adaption for the right focus and commitment towards the intended goals in a collaborative manner characterises our parenting agility. Of course, as parents we may not agree on everything but what helps us is our conscious effort to leverage the diverse thinking for synergy, rather than conflicting over it. The diverse thinking synergy helps us to evaluate benefits and risks associated with each approach and allows for a richer understanding to make informed decisions in the interest of our child.
Once we have our vision as our guiding north star, we collectively define what the parenting milestones should be leading up to that vision. These milestones could be time-based or based on key transition events - for example, our daughter going to pre-school, primary school, high school college etc. Every milestone has given us the guidance for the immediate focus areas that will lead us to that milestone, which is aligned with the bigger vision.
Periodic collective inspection (where we involve our daughter) and necessary adaption based on informed decisions based on our collective wisdom have introduced changes and / or validated that we are heading in the right direction. The beauty of this collaboration and collective wisdom between us and our daughter is:
- more empathy and understanding of each other’s point of view, considering that the “WHY” of the guiding milestone and the vision is the key focus
- the learning we get from each other - especially as parents when our daughter sees the same things that we do, with a different lens
- that our daughter is exposed to skills like working as a team, respecting differences in views and opinions and contributing to finding a common path, problem solving, needing to test assumptions in a minimalistic manner to avoid costly failures, understanding an importance of having a vision and translating day to day activities into a guiding plan that helps us move closer towards achieving the vision, the art of inspecting and adapting, etc.
- our daughter is involved in mature discussions where she is empowered with a say at the table, instilling a different level of confidence in her
Though definitely not desired to be prescriptive, such an approach allows insights for parents to cope with the challenges of new age parenting and allows more opportunity to bond with their children by aligning the parenting vision outcomes to the child’s life vision and embarking on a collective supportive journey.
As we have understood in part one, agility is the focus and commitment to achieve the right outcomes in a timely manner despite the impact of situations that are unpredictable, uncertain, ambiguous, complex etc. through timely inspection and adaption, leveraging the collaboration, collective wisdom, innovative and creative potential of people involved.
On an ending note, I would like to highlight that there is intrinsic agility (inbuilt qualities and behaviors related to agility) that present in every individual. For some people it is a part of their day-to-day natural behavior focused on getting the best value for their commitment and investment, and for some their agility lies dormant due to various factors. This article is an attempt to reconnect parents with their intrinsic agility to help them embrace, survive and thrive in their parenting journey as they proudly realize the outcomes of their parenting and how they have helped their children evolve in life - especially in today’s world.
Written by Dipti Batta
This article focused on only some of the aspects related to agile parenting. Connect with us if there are any other parenting aspects that you would like to explore from an agile lens. We would love to explore these with you.