As a young man recently out of college, I (John) began an exciting adventure.
Three days after our honeymoon, Kendra and I packed our bags and headed for Texas, where I was enrolled in pilot training for the United States Air Force. I soon discovered that this training was, in a word, intense. For one year our instructors taught us and trained us and tested us—just to be sure. To be sure that we were capable of flying the aircraft and accomplishing the tasks we were assigned.
Before each training flight my instructor challenged my ability to recite quickly and accurately one or more of the critical emergency procedures. This was part of the preparation. These emergency procedures had to be memorized verbatim. We could not use the manual. We had to know the information perfectly before we ever needed to use it. The steps for each procedure had a specific order and the order was extremely important. The priority was crucial. It was often a matter of life or death.
The emergency procedure for “bail out” comes to my mind immediately. It was simple, only two steps. But the order of the steps was vital. #1—Lift handles, #2—Squeeze triggers. Lifting the handles blew the jet’s canopy from the aircraft. Squeezing the triggers ejected the pilot’s seat from the plane. The importance of the proper sequence, the priority, is very obvious in this example.
Setting priorities and living those out in your daily life is also important. In fact, I believe it is essential for effective parenting for your strong-willed child or any other child for that matter. Unlike an emergency procedure in a high-speed aircraft, failure to prioritize will probably not cost anyone his life.
But our children are depending on us to do the best job we can do. Getting first things first will help you and your spouse work together to raise your kids. Maybe you will even be able to avoid some of the unwanted “family emergencies” that can too often plague the home of a strong-willed child.
Have you taken the time to list your priorities and more importantly to implement that order of importance into your life?