Want to Stop Reacting to Your Conclusions? Seek to Understand.

He did it. The coach told my son to leave the club sport. The story according to my six-year-old son was that he was hanging out, playing on the mats (not playing basketball,) and the coach asked him to leave. The school then called to pick him up early.

Proverbs 4:7 says to get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding.

Well, in this case I understood that I had a problem with my son, and that he wasn’t respecting the coach who was teaching him basketball.

Stephen Covey also mentions understanding in his famous The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleHabit five is to seek first to understand, then be understood.

Well, my first reaction is always from the seat of understanding. I understand this situation is not going the way I want, so I’m irritated by it. Or I at least think I understand what is going on in the minds of others.

After discussing it with my wife and deciding on what next steps to take, I decided to email the coach and get his perspective. Turns out my son wasn’t disrespecting or misbehaving. He simply wasn’t a fan of the micromanaged drills being conducted, sat out and asked if he could go home.

The next day I went to meet the coach in person, and see he is hovering around these first and second grade students practically holding their hands to show them the exact form they should use for a free-throw. Where’s creative empowerment and love for the sport? Or maybe his love is just different than what I envision should be a coaches love.

Either way, turns out there was a big difference between what I perceive and what is the actual story, and as long as I can perceive to understand first, I can examine the situation from a higher level.

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