The Dalai Lama recently visited San Diego, and he impressed every reporter who wrote about him.
And yet, when I read what the reporters admired, I couldn’t help but think . . . those very same actions are truly within reach of every parent.
So what did reporters note, and what can we glean from that?
1. After every speech, the Dalai Lama took time to pay his respects to the security guards, ushers, and hotel doormen.
For parents: We can take time to acknowledge people who have helped our child in different ways.
2. He was fully present while engaged with others.
For parents: We can set aside specific time each day to interact with our kids without any technological device in sight (let alone on).
3. He respected his nailed-down precise schedule, yet he also understood the need to sometimes change plans. For example, when the Dalai Lama heard a donor who had helped to underwrite his visit was too ill to attend the panel discussion, he went to the donor’s side for a brief conversation and prayer.
For parents: We can respect family schedules, but also trust our intuition to know when changes are warranted.
4. He was never more than about 10 minutes late to an appointment the entire three, whirlwind days he was scheduled for events in San Diego.
For parents: We can model being on time, underscoring that we respect the time of others.
5. He talked about his temper (yes, the Dalai Lama says he has a temper).
For parents: We can be honest about our own short-comings and negate illusions that suggest we’re perfect.
6. He was affable, open, and spontaneous (everyone noted that is was fun to be around the Dalai Lama).
For parents: We don’t have to take everything so seriously. We, too, can be joyful!
But here’s what seemed to impress everyone the most about the Dalai Lama. He didn’t just act a certain way in front of the cameras. He was the “real deal.”
The truth is . . . our kids are kinda like our own personal reporters. They observe what we do behind the scenes and form their own conclusions.
So, here’s what could happen if we did all of the above.
The Dalai Lama makes a return visit, and reporters once again portray traits such as paying respects, adhering to schedules (while also being flexible), being forthright about shortcomings, and acting cheerful as incredible, surprising ways to act.
Yet, as the rest of the world continues to be amazed by such poise and grace, our kids scratch their heads and go, “Huh? That just sounds like how everyone acts in our house.”
And from what I’ve read about the Dalai Lama, I think that response would make him smile.