Forgot Rocks Daddy – Trust Lessons from a 4-Year Old

This morning I was sharing a story with my 7-year old. This was a story of when he was 4-years old. It was unlike any other morning – Daddy (I) was home and so was Mommy. I was going to be dropping off my 4-year old at the daycare. It also meant we slept in a bit more than usual and still ended-up scrambling to drop my fella at the daycare just-in-time for his Circle time.

“We forgot rocks daddy” – whispered my 4-year old. I said “What?” trying to understand what he was saying amidst the din. “Rocks, Rocks – we forgot”. I just looked up all the kids huddling around a circular table and placing the rocks on them.

The fact that Mommy and Daddy were home meant the my 4-year old was already not feeling too good about why he was at school. This just added to it. Almost on the verge of crying, he wasn’t sure who was going to resurrect his day. In his head, he went from having to go to school, not having a rock, unable to complete the activity, being a bystander to his friends’ activities, explaining everything about the rock, unable to paint the rock, and then bring it home to surprise Mommy and Daddy.

Well Daddy was simply feeling terrible at missing out on the note from the Teacher. “I will be back with the rocks” – I told him and jetted out the door. In my quest for rocks, I noticed things that otherwise I would simply take for granted – clearly landscaped gardens, concrete roads that were newly laid out and didn’t allow for easy sighting of a rock.

I drove to a construction site which was yet to open. There was just enough space to park my car and walk in the site. As I parked the car and got out, I sighted it. In all its abandoned glory lay two rocks dry on one end, dirt and moist on the other end. I quickly wiped it and drove back to the school. I picked 2 of them (just-in-case).

My boy had a glow in his face. “Did you bring this? Where did you find it?”. The glee was a moment of someone literally resurrecting his day. A kiss on the cheek and a spring in his feet meant Daddy could walk away in peace. Later in the evening, he told me that he even shared the second rock with his another friend at school. I didn’t make too much of it until much later. I felt like it was a trust building and a teaching moment on many fronts.

A few things happened in that split moment:

  1. We took Accountability: “We” is what we used in the moment. All of us were taking accountability for forgetting it. At 4 years, he could forget but mommy and daddy couldn’t simply miss a note. It was a collective miss. Have you in your career’s been in situations where a “we” suddenly changed into an “I”? Try sticking to “we” it shows you are a leader with a back-bone.

  2. We took Action: I did my part, which was to run out and find a rock. I over compensated with two rocks. He did his part which was to do what is teacher asked him to do and come home and surprise us.

  3. We Accomplished together: Both of us played our parts in this and we accomplished something together. At the end of this experience, we both were stronger together. He knew I had his back and I knew what mattered to him. Guess what it was a trust building moment.

So what is a trust building moment? One of the very easy definition could be – It is about collectively taking Accountability, executing a series of Actions, and Accomplishing something together. The most important thing to keep the trust is not break away from accountability if your accomplishment is not exactly what you set out to achieve!

Are you stuck in an environment of mistrust? Simply break down your situations into the outcome you are seeking to get to and write down the three A’s together as a team and commit to it!

#Leadership #Trust

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