My son isn’t normally a big talker (his sisters more than make up for it… ha!) so we were engaged in some small talk while listening to the radio.
Then, out of the blue, my son says to me, “I wish I was more like Nick.” Nick is his good friend. I asked why this was.
He then explained how Nick and his sisters never seem to fight or argue. And, my son went on, it just seems like they have a much happier life than he and his sisters do.
I quickly explained that, first of all, I’m quite sure Nick and his sisters have their share of tussles. I also explained that we really shouldn’t compare our lives to others or covet what others have.
After a few moments of silence I decided to share Walt Kelly’s famous quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Not, to be accurate, Kelly first used this quote to encourage others to treat the environment better… and to realize that change begins with each person.
But, I couldn’t help but realize how incredibly relevant the quote was to the situation my son was describing. So he and I talked about what it meant and how my son plays a major role in the happiness and harmony of our family.
So, when we got home, I decided to call a family meeting. We talked about Mr. Kelly’s quote and once I explained what it meant to all my children my wife and I asked each of them if they thought they had opportunity for improvement as it pertains to interacting with one another.
With some grins and chuckles all agreed that, yes, they could each improve. Each of them could be more kind. Each could be more obedient. Each, in short, could be better boys and girls.
My wife and I quickly reminded our children that Mommy and Daddy are far from perfect and that we can also improve.
So, the meeting wrapped up with all of us committing to be more kind and loving to one another.
What About Us?
After the meeting I realized that this quote also pertains to each and every person that practices continuous improvement.
You see, chances are excellent we will meet resistance to change along the way. We’ll also, no doubt, become frustrated with others who we don’t feel support us like they should.
But, in end, I firmly believe the way we react to these situations will ultimately decide our fate as it pertains to long term lean thinking success.
Put another way, if we only see the flaws in others without understanding how we must also change, adapt, and constantly improve ourselves… failure is almost certain.
So, yes, we have indeed met the enemy. And he/she is us.
Do you agree?