Discipline Leadership

Don’t “Stick to the Plan”

Fathers can stubborn. If they have a plan for what they think works, they can stick with it despite evidence to the contrary. This can happen most often with multiple children. We assume what worked with one kid will work with another and try to fit a younger child into the same mold.

But parenting requires tactical flexibility. Your children are little humans, individuals in their own right. Some kids will respond to different types of discipline. Some kids require more attention in order to learn how to read. Some need a softer hand. Some need a firmer hand.

This doesn’t mean you need to cater to their every whim and preference. Never do that. But you need to understand them.

Take a lesson from Thebes and Sparta. Sparta was the dominant military force in Greece but was eventually defeated by the greater tactical flexibility of Thebes.

At Leuctra, Epaminondas and the Thebans threw all the conventional wisdom out the window.

Instead of a balanced, rectangular formation, the Thebans assembled in a lopsided, weighted formation, with their left wing packed, both with far deeper ranks and their best troops. While the Spartans followed the conventional wisdom and lined up at a consistent depth all across the line, the Thebans assembled a massive package, fifty ranks deep, on the left (facing the Spartan right).

While the 50-deep left-hand mass smashed into the Spartan right, the Theban center and right lagged far behind. As a result, the mass of the overweight Theban left broke through the Spartan right wing and began to roll up the rear before the rest of the Spartan line even engaged in battle. Most of the Spartan army never got to join the battle before their formation was shattered from the rear.

If you remain stubborn, you might find yourself outflanked. Except there will be no winner in this fight.

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