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Finding the Right Ratio

June 28, 2022

We are in a fun, but challenging season of raising our young children. Our son is almost four years old, and our daughter is 18 months old.

There are some days where I feel like every. single. word. that comes out of my mouth is a correction for my son. Don’t throw that ball in the house. Stop hitting your sister. Sit down. Stop running in the kitchen. Now, to be clear, I think discipline and correction is good and important. Children need boundaries and thrive under parents who lovingly show them the right way to live. However, I don’t think it’s good when my son receives more words of correction than words of encouragement from me.

Stephen Covey talks about how our children have emotional bank accounts. It’s important we are making regular deposits by reminding them that they are loved and by encouraging the good we see in them. This way, when we need to make a deposit, a correction or criticism, our children are confident it’s coming from a place of deep care.

I’m learning that finding the right ratio of encouragement and correction is vitally important to successful parenting.

Ok, you didn’t come here for parenting advice, (and even if you did, I’m not sure I’m most qualified to give it!).

But here’s a business application: Finding the right ratio applies to more than just our kids’ emotional bank accounts. When applied, this communication concept can greatly impact organizational health.

At ADDO, there have been seasons where we needed to focus more on profit. We are a business, and we can’t survive without profit. The more money we make, the more lives we can inspire today to impact tomorrow. Profit fuels purpose. 

But if we spend more time talking about money than our mission, we are sending a message that making money is the primary goal. And not surprisingly, people feel less inspired and less happy with the actual work they are doing. The work becomes a means to a paycheck, instead of an important part of the purpose. We need to find the balance of preaching about profit and emphasizing our purpose. The right ratio leads to the right results.

Here’s another example: If the pastor of a church is asking for volunteers, he should remind his congregation of the purpose behind what they are doing. Those who serve in the children’s ministry are planting seeds in little hearts, while those serving on the hospitality team are making visitors and members feel more comfortable. If he is only focused on communicating the number of volunteers they need, it will feel more like a burden to serve than an opportunity to join the church’s mission.

Or if the president of the PTA  is looking for volunteers for Teacher Appreciation Week, they should remind the parents of why it’s important to encourage their child’s teachers. The teachers need to be filled up with encouragement and reminded that their work matters and has a huge impact on the children they serve. If the PTA president only focuses on what they need to accomplish to make it through the week, the parents involved will feel stressed, and the teachers won’t feel as appreciated as they should!

When we don’t have our ratios right, our communication is unbalanced and falls flat.
If we only focus on correcting our kids, they might be well-behaved, but they won’t feel very loved.
When we only focus on profit, our businesses may make a lot of money, but our teams won’t be engaged.
If we only focus on the number of volunteers we need, they might miss the joy of being a part of the mission.

Evaluate your ratios this week. If you find yourself focusing too much in one area, use language to intentionally bring balance.


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