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The Logic of Parenting

posted 13 Jul 2015, 00:36 by Carol Conway

Let me start by saying that parenting and logic are not words that usually occur in the same sentence in my experience.  That said, I have become quite enamoured of Logic Models as a process for project planning in my professional life and, as I cycled the coast path recently with the toddler strapped into his seat and giving a running commentary on all the passing traffic, my mind wandered to the question of what a Logic Model for parenting would look like?  What are the Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes and Impact?  Most importantly, do I stay focused on Outcome and Impact in my family?  


I am certainly emphatic with the teams and organisations I work with how important it is to have a clear vision and work relentlessly towards achieving Outcomes and Impact rather than just Outputs.  What would happen if I reviewed and restructured my leadership role at home through this lens?


So, here’s the rough Logic Model that emerged in answer to that question:



Inputs

Outputs

Outcomes

Impact

Food

Clothing

Shelter

Love

Care

Attention

Refereeing

Hugs

Kisses

Education

Calpol

Nappies

Patience

Positivity

Weight gain

Height gain

Language acquired

Years of education attained

Social skills acquired

Relative familial calm

Positive thinking skills acquired

Healthy children

Articulate children

Emotionally mature children

Sustained friendships

Good family dynamics

Positive outlook

Society improves from successive generations of balanced, mature, educated, motivated and positive adults



On first review, not so earth shattering I suppose. It’s not at the level or standard that would win any funding for this little project, that’s for sure.  However, on second thought, I had a eureka moment as I reviewed the model from left to right and realised that I DO in fact spend my day to day much too focused on the inputs and outputs of my role as parent rather than keeping an eye on the bigger picture impact that my healthy, mature, positive children can have on the world.

Perhaps if I keep this in mind, it will help me to reduce the amount of micro-management I apply and increase my coaching, trusting, supportive strategies...exactly as I would propose to any client struggling to manage and develop their team effectively.


This reminds me again how much easier it is to see the answer to issues from which you are one step remove.  While that is the natural condition for me when I am working with another individual or organisation, it is one I need to deliberately create when I am in the trenches of day to day parenting and breaking all my own rules (to be restorative, positive, even just a little bit less nutsy!).  


This, in the end, is the real value of applying something as alien as a Logic Model to my role as parent - it gives me the tool to step back, see the big picture and be re-inspired. Perspective that is invaluable on a rainy Summer’s morning with all three kids starting week three of the holidays and prone to cabin fever once the clouds break!


So I don’t promise to be logical today, I do intend to keep in mind the bigger end goal of these precious days spent in close proximity with my lovely offspring and - to borrow a phrase - not sweat the small stuff!
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