Friday, July 22, 2011

Protect or propagate?

The tiny child (aka my 5 month old daughter Milla) is having her first bout of illness right now with a painful and red throat. She’s only comforted in my
arms or her Dad’s and is clearly in quite a lot of pain.

Right now, every maternal instinct in my body wishes that it were I who was sick and not she. It’s a natural desire for a mother to want to take away her
child’s pain.

Let’s pretend for a moment it was possible for me to take away her pain for me to “fix her” with a blink of an eye. If I could help to be immediately well
right now with some made up superpower, would it be the best thing for her? While it would yield a short term gain to both her mood and my ears, she’d miss out on developing antibodies that her little body is making right now and it’s unsustainable and impractical for me to be able take away every ache and pain for the rest of her life.

I once worked with an amazingly talented senior staff member who was a master at “fixing problems” in her workplace. If you had a problem you took it to this staff member and they’d “fix” it. Only problem was, the team around the senior staff member didn’t develop their own “problem-solving-antibodies” – they didn’t learn the skills needed to fix their own problems. If that senior staff member were ever on leave people weren’t equipped to deal with the problems that crop up (anywhere) on a day- to-day basis.

So the solution – at home, comfort the tiny child, look after her medically, but don’t look for a magic wand. And at work – teach the skills by working with my team in problem solving, not trying to magic wand a solution there either.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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