What We Permit We Promote

Our neighbors from way back when had an interesting parenting technique. It failed. A lot.

I want to be careful here as this is a very common technique.  It may be that others have found a way to make it work. Just not us. And definitely not our neighbor.

You might have guessed it.  It’s the 1, 2, 3 technique. You remember, “That’s one. That’s two. And that’s 3.”  Only 3 never came for her. Our kids knew it, and so did hers. And so do most.

She’d count them out when they were in trouble, and they’d just wait it out.  She’d count off 1 and 2, then hesitate, sometimes going for 2 and a half (I’m not kidding!), then in more desperation, she’d go for “I mean it,” continuing with various other threats. This rarely stopped the behavior and never accomplished the real goal. Teaching.

Always remember:  What we permit we promote.

She counted – temporarily permitting the bad behavior until the dreaded “3” count, which often didn’t occur – and by default promoted the bad behavior by permitting it.

I know parenting is far more complex than this. Yet maybe it’s not, at least in this context. It’s pretty clear: what we permit we promote.

And it’s not just parenting. It's life.

If we permit interruptions we promote interruptions.

If we permit quitting we promote quitting.

If we permit negativity we promote negativity.

If we permit cruelty we promote cruelty.

In other words – at home, at work, in life, with ourselves, as well as others – only permit behaviors that we want more of: those we want to promote!