If such a class exists (which I’m most certain it does) I hope a tiny little five-year-old is teaching it. They have the sales gig down.
At some stage we have all had a sales job and what many of us don’t realize, is that, we are always selling ourselves. This is especially true if you have kids. The thing is, for as much as we are trying to “sell them” on the virtues of manners, discipline, listening etc, kids are the ones making the major deals.
Let me give you an example. The setting: My mother’s pool. I have just plucked my three out of the water. I feel that, after three hours of swimming, a break is needed. I told them we were going inside for lunch. Here is the ensuing conversation.
Malone: Mom, after lunch can we go back out?
Me: No, I want you guys to stay inside for a little bit.
Malone: Oh, is a little bit like just ’til we’re done lunch?
Me: No. I don’t know. Just eat.
I make myself a salad and sit down. Barely five minutes has gone by, there is peace.
Malone: I hammered my lunch. I’m so hot, I wish I could go swim right now. Can I go down by the pool, just put my feet in? Uncle Funk is out there, he’ll watch me. Swimming is good for you, right mom? It’s exercise. I love exercising in the pool.
Me: No. I want you guys to stay inside for a bit.
Malone: Can I have a bath? I just want to get my body wet, I’ll be inside too, which is what you want.
Me: I’m eating, just stop right now. Put on Max and Ruby.
Malone: Max and Ruby are swimming! Oh look mom, it looks like so much fun. I can’t wait to be back in the pool. Mom, are you going to swim today?
Me: Yeah, I’ll go in later.
Malone: Mom, do you love having a pool? I love it. I wish I could go outside and just look at it.
Me: Malone stop talking.
Malone: Oh, mom the boys are here! They must be here to swim. Can I go swimming?
I gave up. I relented. Sold. I bought something I didn’t want to. I got pressured into doing something I didn’t want to do, mainly because it just doesn’t stop.
I have these kinds of conversations all the time. Maybe my biggest problem is that I engage in these exchanges. I believe kids are the best salespeople. They are unrelenting, they can quickly find a new angle to try and “get you,” and they’re unabashed. They don’t care if you say no, they will keep coming at you and coming at you until you say yes. Their persistence is amazing.
I’m sick of being pressured by my kids. My new tactic, say “no” once and then drop the hammer on them if they don’t clue in. My problem is, usually when I give them a consequence it’s something stupid like “Malone, if you ask to go outside one more time we are leaving.” I don’t want to leave, though. We are not going to leave. So what I have done is put myself in a little bit of a pickle. Malone knows it too. Then I have to come up with some “reason” as to why we actually aren’t leaving and give her the “you got lucky” speech. Then she runs away from the conversation cheering “yeah, I got lucky AGAIN.” Shit.
I think what I need to do is when I am presented with these situations I literally have to stop everything I’m doing – no distractions. I think if I enter into the sales pitch with my total focus I can come out on top. Surely, a five-year-old can not still win a battle when we go toe to toe?