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Often times I see the worst of me through the actions of my children. It has been that way for many years. The things that frustrate me the most about my three boys are often the behaviors I like least about myself. Many times, when I am angry with them I am really angry at myself for showing them the behavior enough times that they adopted it for themselves. In all fairness there are also qualities that I love about my children and when I stop and think about it, they are also the qualities that I like about myself. I am always role modeling. The question is what I am role modeling.

I was reminded of this recently when on a business trip with a colleague. While in a diner we witnessed a customer become very angry with a server and begin to display very aggressive verbal behavior. She left the diner and came back again, this time displaying the same behavior to the manager. Finally, a third time came in and talked to my friend and I in a way that put the server down once again. All of this while being witness by what I assume to be her daughter of approximately 12.

It struck me that she was training up the next generation of poorly self-managed conflict managers. She was displaying all the wrong ways to address a conflict. We say in our training that good conflict management is not a natural skill but one that is learned and needs to be practiced. However, it dawned on me that poor conflict management is also learned…often by watching those we respect.

I want the next generation to understand affirming their feelings and then choosing their behaviors. I desire for my children to deal with conflicts in a way that build others up while not tearing people down. I desire my boys to someday role model healthy relationships to my future grandchildren. In order for my wants and desires to occur, I must first role model.

Tim Geels – Senior Vice President of Corporate Instruction and Implementation

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