Parenting and Business Relationships
Our society is afflicted by the loss of true parenthood. The trust that we feel and owe towards a true father and a true mother leads to confidence in the information that they provide. By extension, the child trusts others whom the parents have commissioned to provide an aspect of his care, whether that aspect is mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual.
Without the positive influence of this experience, it becomes more and more difficult for the child to grow in maturity. Given the extreme problems in our society, with the breakdown of marriage (etc.), we necessarily come into contact with a certain portion of our adult workforce that has not “grown up” in some respect. This leads to a natural failure to recognize goods/qualities as well as to a disordered ranking of those qualities.
Therefore, it becomes difficult to understand, appreciate, and respect the fundamental underpinnings of solid human relationships. The idea of objective truth is lost, along with the “freedoms of the law” associated with the truth.
For example, the idea that proper boundaries can be both protecting and liberating is foreign. In truth, all human (and therefore business) relationships boundaries should be created in a manner where the good of each participating party is fully taken into consideration. Yet without this sense, it becomes nearly impossible to create the “win/win” consultant/client relationship.
I believe, from reading and observation, that many people who are deprived of good parenting develop a picture, either consciously or subconsciously, of those characteristics proper to the role by virtue of the absence of these characteristics in their own parents. “My Dad wasn’t home enough. My Mom failed to discipline.” In other words, the picture of a good parent is present in some way. However, this “goal image” often seems to be something that cannot be reached.
At the forefront of the characteristics composing this positive image is how the parents communicated in both their words and their actions. Often what I find is that, in the mind of the child-now-adult, the parents were (or should have been): physically present; focused on the child, communicating with a calm consistency and clarity; creating healthy boundaries; and most importantly, demonstrating love through word and action. For many persons, this is summed up as “presence, love, and proper discipline”—the three things needed by the child that either were or were not properly and consistently implemented by the parent.
The extent to which we trust others, and feel confident in the information that they provide, is the extent to which they resemble the qualities that we have observed in our parents (or others that have shared in the parenting role). Without such positive relationships, one lives in the state of habituated skepticism, and “trust relationships” become difficult. Indeed, through some client relationships at my company we see clients start to trust, and then suddenly inexplicably pull back – as if they have gotten out of their comfort zone—as if once the trust begins, the betrayal can only be a few steps behind.
This societal issue creates challenges for any company seeking to have healthy, truth-based relationships. And yet, here is where well-formed Catholic businesspeople should find themselves at the greatest advantage. They have the formation and discipline necessary to take the care to be present, charitable, and disciplined with our employees, coworkers, customers and clients. To not only provide good and services, but to bring a personal desire for well-founded relationships.
As Advent draws to a close and we welcome the Prince of Peace into our lives, let’s take some time to be mindful of those things that we have learned through our good parents, teachers, priests, and others who have shared in the role of parents. Most of all, we should evaluate what we have learned from God our Father and our Mother Mary—and how we have applied that knowledge in our business lives.
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