Feb 042014 1 Response

Sometimes You Can Only Wear One Hat

Every day we wear multiple hats. We are employees, spouses, parents, citizens, cheerleaders, taxi cab drivers, counselors, teachers, advocates, and hundreds of other things.

On the average day we can wear every hat necessary to make sure our marriage functions, our kids thrive, and every responsibility is met.

But sometimes we can’t. (See: Love Doesn’t Always Feel Loving)

There are moments in which it is impossible to wear multiple hats. Sometimes we can only wear just one.

As parents age, children often wear the hat of child and caregiver. It’s an honor to return the care which our parents have given us. Yet a time comes in which the ailing parent needs more than a part-time caregiver. In that moment, the faithful son or daughter must choose which hat to wear.

As kids play, Dads often wear the hat of father and coach. It’s great fun to be on the field while our kids compete. Yet a time comes in which the role of a Dad requires love and support while the role of a coach requires commands and demands. In that moment, the dad must choose which hat to wear. (See: Sometimes It’s Better Not to Play)

There are two primary reasons why sometimes we can only wear one hat:

1. Conflict of interests. At times the two responsibilities are at odds. This is often the case when coaching our children. What’s good for the team and what’s good for the child are not always the same thing. The legal and medical professions have clear guidelines about avoiding conflicts of interest. They know that relationships can cloud our judgment and extreme caution should be used when mixing professional relationships with private ones.

2. Amount of available energy. We can only do so much. Our resources are not unlimited. Whenever we are wearing multiple hats, we must frequently determine if we are doing each one justice. In the midst of the chaos of life, it is easy to give a second rate effort to our most important tasks because we are expending our energy in other places.

Some Hats We Should Refuse…

Sometimes we don’t have to choose which hat to wear, because one of the hats is one we should never wear.

We should never wear the hats of spouse and spouse’s parent. It happens far too often. Do not try to be your spouse’s parent. You don’t want to be that and they don’t need you to be that. Be the spouse. Do the things which spouses should do. Do not be the parent. (See: Marry a Partner Not a Child)

We should never wear the hat of enabler. We can, and should, be loving and kind, but it is never our responsibility to take away the natural consequences of the bad decisions of others. (See: How to Respond to Others When They Make Bad Decisions)

We should never wear the hat of Savior. There is a God and we are not it. We can assist others, but we cannot play the role of God for others.

The Most Important Rule of Hats…

When you have to choose, ALWAYS choose the most important hat. It sounds simple, but it’s often not accomplished.

The easiest way to determine which hat to choose is to ask the question: are there any hats which only I can wear?

After my grandmother died and my grandfather was sick, my mom was his primary caregiver. As his health declined, it became a full-time job. She struggled with whether or not to put him in the nursing home despite his clear wishes of never going to a nursing home. Being one generation removed from the situation, it was an obvious choice to me. I told my mom, “There are a thousand people who can be his caregiver, but only you can be his daughter.”

He needed both people and neither would be a part-time job. We could find someone to be his caregiver, but only she could be his daughter.

When life forces us to choose roles, always choose the role which is the most important.

Many people could coach your kid, but only you can be their Dad.

Many people can counsel your child, but only you can be their Mom.

Most often, we can wear multiple hats on a daily basis and the world keeps moving, but there are times in life in which we have to choose. We can’t do both. When you can only wear one hat, make sure you pick the most important one.

For More, See:

You Won’t Change Until…

One Response to Sometimes You Can Only Wear One Hat
  1. […] 1. Character. The character development of an organization cannot be delegated. It must be the focus... kevinathompson.com/care

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