Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Negotiations

Another strike averted the negotiations between union and management have had a successful outcome. This was the news that I awoke to this morning. The possible closure of six of the UKs largest airports has been avoided. Tomorrow somewhere another set of negotiations will begin.

I suppose it is better that people get round tables and speak to one another rather than the alternative. This was always a line I took with my children. They wanted something I in return wanted something, it was amazing how often we could find common ground.

There were of course times when negotiations hit a wall and I had to draw the line in the sand. “While you are living under my roof, eating my food, and are under 16/18 that is a decision I have made. Maybe I was fortunate in that I had two children who were sensible enough to realise when they had reached that line.

This tact fortunately was not used often, and I never really felt comfortable when I had been forced to resolve to this method.

MY neighbour’s daughter has reached the age of learning to drive. Negotiations loom on the near horizon, about the use of family vehicles.

Reminds me of the story of the father and son and the outcome of their negotiations on this very topic.

The son had gone through the process of learning to drive and had sat and passed his driving test. The son approached the father to ask about the use of the family car. The father responded by saying that this would require some negotiation, and invited him to sit down and they would discuss.

The father opened the discussion, and pretty well closed it, by setting down the terms under which the son would be allowed to have use of the car. They were as follows:-

1. First you have to raise your grades at school from C to B.

2. Second you must, like the rest of the family be more diligent in Bible study.

3. Lastly you have to get your hair cut.

Some weeks later the son requested that the negotiations resume. The pair sat down and began to talk. The father noted that the son had raised his grades from Cs to Bs and in some cases even better, to As.

He also noted that he had seen the son regularly doing his daily Bible study.

At this point the son interrupted. He informed his father that during the said study he had learned that Samson had long hair. He had also learned that John the Baptist had long hair. What he thought was his winning comment was that he had very good evidence to believe that Jesus had long hair.

His father interrupted at this point with the words, “Sis you notice they walked everywhere they travelled?”

I am sure there was a riposte, but the son was seen leaving the hairdressers the next day.

I am off to read your blogs.

This blog is linked to my other where I will explain the picture on this blog; Natures Chair


  1. Some parents just have so much wisdom when dealing with kids. I never did.

  2. Arriving home from work one evening I spied a library book in the living room titled "How To Leave Home...and make your parents like it". After dinner I asked my 16 year old son if he had something he wished to discuss. He picked up the book and handed it to me.
    He said he had now graduated high school and it was time he set out on his own. Oh, and do you have somewhere specific in mind, I asked.
    Yes he said...I'll go to grandma's.
    And he did. He found a room in a home close to grandmas and a job on the town crew thawing frozen earth with steam to dig trenches; plus a parttime job shovelling snow by hand in a car dealership. It was one of the snowiest winters on record in grandmas northern town.
    One winter in Ontario's north, working in -40F temperatures and living on moose meat and he returned.
    That proved to be a worthwhile negotiation.

  3. Good Morning Ralph, I am alive and well and so very lucky with my daughters! Mostly luck was involved but from birth they were read to and developed a love of literature. They had "bedtimes" but could always read until they fell asleep. I do remember "negotiations" but I never did this from a position of strength or power or that I was right and they were wrong. In fact they were told that not much was "wrong" but that there were consequences to every decision. If they chose "this" road it prevented exploration of another road and were they prepared for that? I guess discussions is more what I did than negotiations. You must have a dream before you can follow it.

  4. Reminds me that when' there's a will, there's a way. I've been very lucky with my three boys. Good thing because I'm not much for putting my foot down...

  5. Ha, I am reminded that Italian girls have to be in bed by eight o'clock because they have to be home by ten!

  6. You sound like a wonderful Father! You are very skilled in the art of negotiation and it is the parent's duty to set the hard limits when necessary. Another lovely post!

  7. I never had a chance to negotiate! My kid was born mature..wish he acted childish:-)

  8. I would love to have had a Dad like you!