It Doesn’t Hurt to be Understanding.
Last week on Monday, a friend of mine called me and she sounded distressed. She had taken one of her siblings, a cousin I suppose, to school. It’s one of those schools that have a policy which requires that the parent or guardian takes the student to school on opening day. Compliance with this is a must as I was told.
And so as good parents, my friend who happens to be a guardian to this young form one student decided to honor the school policy and dropped the student to school as per the order in which they were supposed to report albeit the fact that they were about two minutes late.
Funny enough, the students and their parents were locked outside the gate because they were late. I found it funny for a school to punish the parent as well as the students as though the choices for lateness are a deliberate one. For instance my friend had a massive jam from town as she headed to South B, where the school is located.
It is a fact that for the recent past, we have seen a lot of jams on our roads. I remember staying in jam for long hours on Kiambu road in the mornings and evenings. Then there are other jams when entering town from all points; Globe Cinema, Mombasa road, Jogoo road, Pangani, Park road, Limuru road name them.
In this school reporting was from 8 a.m. all the way to 4 p.m. but according to classes. You realize the morning folks and the evening folks get disadvantaged because of traffic jam now that this is Nairobi and those are peak hours. Then the administration of the school goes an extra mile to lock the parents and their children out because they are late.
They couldn’t imagine for a minute that some parents had hustled hard to find enough money up to that reporting day and perhaps went to bank the school fees before reporting to school with their kids. I remember back in the day we were not supposed to report to school late. And if we came late, we were supposed to report with parents to justify the reason for late reporting.
Now imagine cutting the communication, which is supposed to exercise the justification of reporting late, and locking the parents out without reason or even for a minute asking them what happened is aptly wrong. Communication is very important and any time the channel is broken, everybody loses.
These parents lost a lot of precious time they could have taken to be productive and work their dreams out. The students lost time they could have taken to catch up and adjust to the school environment as soon as possible. The school created another problem when I think at 4 p.m., they decided to open the gates for all late comers to be admitted.
The greatest problem in this whole fiasco is an administration that is not willing to listen. It beats logic how one expects to know if they don’t listen. Listening is a great act especially when everybody else is quick to talk. Silence itself means something for fact, but it is senseless if you don’t speak or listen to the other side to know the root cause of any conflict between the parties.
In a movie I watched last week by Will Smith titled ‘Pursuit of Happiness,’ Will reports for an interview indecently. The simple fact that the panel gives him an opportunity to explain himself and he honestly explains his misery fully levels the ground. The only magic bullet was an opportunity for him to explain himself and the panel to listen.
I expected the school to provide the parents with an opportunity to explain their cases and they take that opportunity to listen. In the process they could end up pinpointing the pain spots in their policies for continuous improvement. The term Kaizen used in industry as well as offices aims at pinpointing waste as well as inefficiencies and then eliminating them. They need to employ it a lot.
It is high time we decided to embrace Kaizen in all our various parts of life. For the school, trying to be understanding will become the way to mine data from the students and parents so that their data bank will be full for future policy reviews. It gives the school an opportunity to also get a personalized knowledge of their students and parents.
In trying to be understanding we also appreciate the fact that we are deficient in one way or the other. Being strongly tyrannical doesn’t give us the opportunity to show our vulnerability which brings us out as human beings.
I strongly believe that being understanding is what develops patience. Talk and let the other person know why you are doing what you are doing and then they can be willing to wait if it calls that. As an understanding person, the world will always know about you and even talk about you because understanding people are few around us.
Let us be understanding always, after all it doesn’t hurt or take anything from us. Instead it develops our human persona as well as our other virtues and improves our human associations with other people.
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