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I Got Put In Time Out Yesterday (New Year’s Insight 1 of 5)

Happy New Years Everyone!

As most do, I took the last few days to reflect and set my intentions for the future, bla, bla bla.

I came to a simple revelation – having a phenomenal year is a choice, not chance…even more, it’s a DAILY choice. The things we chose to think, do and be (on a daily basis) dictates how our year, and sequentially, our lives will be.

5 things came up for me. Over the next few posts, I’ll share them with you…but here’s the first – I can do anything I want, I just need help

I got put in time out yesterday

Some may feel this is a little ‘harsh’, but it’s what I’ve chosen for my children and I stand behind my choice.

I don’t allow them to use the phrase “I can’t” – even to the point of putting them in time out when they do. The other option they have is to say, “I need help”.

My belief is that with the right tools, information, resources, man power, etc (i.e. help), we can do anything we want – ANYTHING.

Well, as with any 3-year-old, my daughter Aria regurgitates everything she hears. Yesterday I said I couldn’t do something….and you guessed it, she put me in time out.

And I went!

And I stayed there.

I stood in the corner and had to face the harsh reality that I hold my children to a standard that I don’t even hold myself.

I was forced to think of all the things I’ve convinced myself that I “couldn’t” do…all the things I’ve made excuses for, all the times I’ve rationalized why I accepted less for myself.

How could I ask them to live powerfully when I was living from ‘excuses’ and ‘self-imposed limitations’?

In my ‘adult mind’, I had come up with every reason to justify why I’m no doing what I ‘want’ to do…don’t have what I want to have and not living how I want to live.

Oh….I came up with so many reasons.

I don’t have a high school diploma, I’m Black, I’m short, I’m not smart enough…the list goes on.

I had gotten so good at convincing myself of the BS that I had start convincing other people of the same so I could get them to participate in justifying why I’m not doing what I need to be doing.

Fortunately, I have friends that “don’t believe the hype” and see right through my crap.  They constantly remind me of how great I am and don’t allow me to participate in such ridiculous conversations.

Problem solved right?

Wrong.

I was “smart” enough to just stop calling them…so I could be ‘right’ about why I can’t do what I want to do.

I was able to continue convincing myself without their ‘interruptions’ – Ha, Ha, Haaaa! I had them fooled!

But I didn’t have one person fooled – Aria.  And I’m sure if Avery was old enough, he would have done the same.  Obviously, I’m with my kids every day.  I couldn’t ‘hide’ from them and thankfully my smart-mouthed daughter had enough sense to kick me in the butt and force me to see who I was being.  Thank you

So, where does this leave me?

Recognizing that I have an obligation to be 100% of who I say I am if I intend my children to do the same.  But even more so, for myself.

Knowing that I can do anything I want…

I CAN do anything I want

I can do ANYTHING I want – I just need help.

Asking for help

Asking for help can be challenging at times. Especially for a man… even more so for a Black man.  We are not taught how to ask for help.  Partially because there weren’t many options for getting it, but I don’t ever remember anyone telling me it’s okay to ask for help.

Intellectually I know I should ask for assistance, but I haven’t taken it on as a part of my reality.

I’ve only asked for help when it I was in dire straits…and even then, it was practically forced on me.

Which in hindsight is pretty ridiculous.  I can imagine all the self-limiting emotions like pride and self-righteousness, etc were impacting my choices, but that’s for another story.

The bottom line is that I realize how ridiculous it is now and I’m choosing to do something different.

The key to asking for help is  knowing what you need help with and being free enough (confident in yourself) to ask for help….and asking until you get the help you need.  With Facebook, LinkedIn and a host of other social networks, we live in a world of 1 degree of separation….I like what a woman said recently, 1 degree of closeness….we have access to an entire world of resources.  If for some really weird reason I wanted to get in touch with Lady Gaga this week, I’m sure I could.

With this access to resources, there’s no reason any one of us wouldn’t be able to do absolutely anything.

Today, in this moment, I’m choosing to live with no limits, no excuses…and ask for help when I need it.

 

11 Comments
  1. Antonio! What a cute story with a powerful message!! I love that you got put in “time out” by your daughter, and you had the integrity to let her catch you and hold you to your standards! Asking for help is difficult for a LOT of us, and I’ve only come to understand how important it is that we DO reach out and ask for what we need, and it is a positive thing. I was taught growing up that I should NOT ask anyone for help until I had tried on my own and was absolutely sure I couldn’t do something by myself. In other words, I was should only ask for help if I had already FAILED! It took me years and years before I identified that belief, where it came from, and that it was certainly not serving me! Learning to “Ask for what you need” is a good thing we ALL need to feel comfortable with – the giving and receiving of life! Happy New Year – and by the way – you ARE amazing!!!

  2. I think you have to be a very patient parent to be able to use this technique successfully, but seeing what you have done so far, I think you are doing a decently good job. By putting yourself in a timeout when you are at fault, you are being equally fair, and not many parents actually have the guts or courage to do something like that. In fact many parents dare not admit when they themselves are at fault, which is a really disheartening scene… I really admire your effort!

    I also strongly suggest that you explain your rationale behind this whole strategy to your children once he or she have completed his or her punishment. You can never know what really goes on in their minds when they are just staring at that corner. Kids are really smart these days. They can find flaws and loopholes in your punishment, and rendering it ineffective instead. So you really would want to make sure they are doing the right thing!

  3. Bethany, I totally agree with you on explaining the rationale to your children for his or her punishment, but we must not forcefully insist that we are definitely right and must do things our way. Although no solution is perfect, I think we should let our children exercise their freedom of speech by allowing them to voice their opinions out. If there is a flaw in your punishment, the only person that can best understand it is the one actually doing it, which is mostly our children. Whatever you do, you must let them have their equal say in the issue, which we otherwise may not be able to see it ourselves. If the technique is really ineffective, what is the point of carrying on?

    Of course, their views need to be rational and founded, not merely insulting and throwing tantrums. Have a nice conversation with them each time after their punishment, and try to reason things out. If they are unable to argue back, it means that we’ve reached a consensus, and we will carry on our way.

  4. That’s quite a strict, but effective way to set things right!
    As a kid, I personally don’t enjoy being put in a timeout because I always think it is a complete waste of time. I’d rather spend the time doing something more practical and productive. Now I can understand that being in a timeout is not just a way to toss your precious time in vain, but rather to CLEARLY think about some things in life, which would have been otherwise impossible to focus in depth without forcing yourself to do nothing and stare in a corner. I wished my parents had implemented something like this on me instead, so I would have set my thoughts right without having to fall into the destructive path of oblivion to learn things the hard way. Seeing what you are doing here, I know I’ll never let myself live in regret or in vain again.

    I agree with what Edward says though. It will take quite a long time to really set your thoughts right since they are already in built into our minds through the years. But when you are in a timeout, you will have to stop whatever you are doing, and force to think things straight. This mind-changing process can probably be accelerated if you keep this up.

    Can’t wait to see your subsequent New Year insights!

  5. Well Bethany, you and Antonio have been setting good examples for your kids, and I’m really glad they are picking your good points! As for nurturing them not to be too submissive, I think your suggestion of asking them to voice out their opinions is a pretty good influence, especially to be coupled with punishments like Antonio’s timeout.

    That’s because this is what I personally do! I myself am a good debater, so I allow my children to have their say in every issue in the house, but they must be reasonable. And when they fail outtalk me, they will have to agree to follow my way. I usually reward them for being courageous enough to voice out all of their conflicting views and reasoning out nicely with me, and still willing to accept my way if they are unable to debate it out.

    Antonio, I think you can try out my method since you have no trouble controlling your kids. You should let them have their say, and reward them for following your way. This way, you build a healthy, and engaging relationship with your children. Both parties can understand each other, and form strong bonds as a family!

  6. Hi Antonio!!!
    Good to see you are doing fine. I just got in touch with Lesia!! I’m glad you all remained friends through the years. It hurt me back then when we stopped communicating. However, life has a way of taking care of stuff, and here it is I am able to see you again. Hope you and your family are doing fine!! Much love,
    Shanna

  7. Great article!!

  8. Very well-said Wilbur! Well, my kids are naturally not that rebellious, so they follow my way of doing things after I’ve explained my rationale behind whatever I do. However, they usually do not have that many opinions to voice out, so sometimes I can’t really figure what they are thinking even though they appear to be obedient! This is probably due to the fact that I myself am a rather quiet person, and do not have much opinions to say myself either lol… They’re probably following my submissive behavorial ways, which is actually starting to worry me… Although being obedient is a good thing, they might just get “eaten up” in society…

    I’m very sure Antonio has a good parent since his children obediently follow his orders. You see, even he himself follows his own punishments, so there’s practically no reason for his children to stir any trouble. But Antonio, I think we should starting asking our children for their opinions on our punishments. We wouldn’t want our kids to grow up to be overly submissive and suffer under the cruel hands of society.

  9. Heys Wilbur, my kids aren’t really rational when it comes to reasoning things out. They start throwing tantrums and basically we can’t communicate properly… That is why in my case, I’d have to insist on my way. I’ve already tried out the timeout strategy like Antonio, but it isn’t quite working for me. Even after I explain my whole rationale behind their punishments, they won’t even bother to listen. I let them voice out their opinions, but they hurl nonsense. I really want to resort to violence to physically restrain them, but I know that is just being inhumane. What do you think I should do? 

  10. Greetings Antonio! I like your rational and fair approach that you take towards your children. It is great to have people like you, Wilbur, Bethany to share the methods to positively influence our children. Parental guidance is not an easy thing. It’s a long term commitment, and often takes a toll on the parents, who usually end up resorting to violence to coerce their children to submit to them. My parents used to cane me for every little mistake that I make (sometimes it’s not even my fault), and this has built a lot of misunderstandings and strained my family bonds through the years. I’d prefer to have you as my good parent haha. Nevertheless, I still love my parents, and I try to be understanding many a times now that I’m grown, but I do hope you can remain as this positive influence no matter what obstacles challenge you. Good luck on building your blog!

  11. Heys Antonio. I can totally understand how you feel. It’s all about the mindset, which is not an easy thing to change as it is a long term process. Our views and perceptions are built through our life experiences and growing environments which is something we cannot change. They say it takes at least 21 to change or kick a habit, which I believe is quite true. If changing a mindset doesn’t take up so much time, then the world would be perfectly peaceful because everyone can simply understand and agree with each other. In reality, there’re rebellions and protests everyday in the world because of differences in perceptions from our separate mindsets, especially when they conflict. It is a sad yet unchangeable fact.

    I’m glad you are seriously enforcing this positive mindset on your children and even on yourself. Kudos to you! Yes, it is going to take quite a while to mould your mindset (probably at least 21 days? lols), and it will be a gruelling and challenging route to strive on, but it is worth every ounce of your dear effort. Keep this positive influence up, and I’m sure you and your children will find your success in life!

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