Real Life Leading 76
Scheduling Flexibility Is A Must
It’s summertime here in the USA, and one of my family’s favorite activities is to go to our local swimming pool and cool off. This summer, my wife is managing the pool, and our older daughter is in her first year as a lifeguard there. One of the extra services that the pool provides is swim lessons to local families, and it is from this that I was reminded of a valuable lesson: when you’re part of a blended family or co-parenting situation, scheduling flexibility is a must.
There’s a young boy who has been taking swim lessons from my wife for a few weeks now. The boy’s parents recently divorced, and they are sharing custody with each parent having the child one week at a time. The parents’ work schedules are very different, and so the boy is only able to have the swim lessons on the weeks he is with his dad. He’s enjoyed his lessons and has made great progress so far, and because of the schedule, the dad wants him to take lessons each day (Monday-Friday) that he can.
Earlier this week, due to the pending 4th of July holiday (Happy Independence Day, by the way!!!), my wife and I were excited to see that she had a whole day this week without any swim lessons. This surprised us because often she has two to three lessons per day, multiple days per week. However, the morning of her full day with no lessons, she received a text from this man, asking if his son could squeeze in a lesson that day since they had some unexpected free time.
At first, my wife was hesitant simply because we were excited to have a chance to get more errands done and tasks accomplished without any swim lessons. But then, as we were driving through town, she said, “You know, if his dad can bring him, I really should make time to teach this lesson.” And so she did. I was impressed but not surprised at her decision to make time in her schedule, because she knows the reality of blended family life from our experiences. She ended up teaching multiple lessons this week, including one on the morning of the 4th.
In our world, with four parents and two houses, flexibility is a must. Regardless of your specific blended family or co-parenting situation, I encourage you to be flexible with your scheduling. Yes, it’s great to have a plan and stick to it if possible. However, as we all know, life happens; plans change; things come up; appointments run long; cars break down; and many other things happen outside of our control. What’s important is how we respond. Do we demand that we stick to a plan, even though circumstances have changed, or are we willing to amicably reschedule things as necessary when that works out better for many (if not all) of the people involved?
Again, I encourage you to be flexible as much as possible. It’s a loving action, it helps create better long-term relationships, and it also builds up credibility in terms of showing all involved in your situation that you are committed to doing what’s best overall even if it’s not the most convenient for yourself. Be flexible, and be friendly about it, and you’ll be amazed at how much it can help!
Action Step: This week, look for opportunities to be flexible with your scheduling, and be sure to show appreciation if you’re the one asking for flexibility from others.