Self assessment is not new to us. We are asked to do it every year in the workplace. We turn to our bathroom scales when we want to measure weight loss goals. Bank statements reveal how well we reach our financial goals. But what about our performance as a parent? A spouse? What performance indicators do we turn to assess effectiveness in these areas?
I read a blog recently in which the writer described her father as an “OK father.” I couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of being a mediocre father or husband. I certainly do not aim for such distinction and so I asked myself, “How Am I Doing?” After significant contemplation (approximately 2 minutes) the answer was. “I’m doing a fantastic job”. That is generally how the self-assessment of annual performance in the workplace goes, right? Until the boss comes in with a different perspective. The disconnect becomes apparent and we are left wondering WTF!
It is those to whom we are responsible whose perspectives matter most. After all, their perception is their reality. So to effectively measure my performance as a father and a husband, I should definitely turn turn to my customer group — the wife and kids. Gulp!
I will need some assessment tools. A set of agreed upon criteria by which to measure my effectiveness. The results should give me an idea of “strengths” and “areas for improvement”.
In his book, The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Laurence Steinberg, PhD provides guidelines based on some of the top social science research which neatly serves as the criteria for my performance evaluation . I Gave the criteria to my daughters and asked them to score me on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being a “deadbeat” and 10 being worthy of “father of the year.” Here’s how I scored:
- Am I a good role model? Average score – 10
- Do I show enough love and affection? Average score – 9
- Am I involved in your life? Average score – 9.5
- Does my parenting keep pace with your development? Average score – 9
- Do I establish and set rules? Average score – 9
- Do I foster your independence? Average score – 8 [verbatim: “Not very independent. I’m spoiled.”]
- Am I consistent? Average score – 9.5
- Do I avoid harsh discipline? Average score – 10
- Do I explain my rules and decisions? Average score – 9.5
- Do I treat you with respect? Average score – 10 [verbatim: “A 10 even though you call me rude names”]
Not bad scores overall, but there is clear opportunity for me to help my girls become more independent…and avoid calling them rude names. That last one is going to be tough I will admit.
Now on to husbandry. I found a few articles after conducting a basic search, combined several attributes into one evaluation form, and delivered said form to Angela Lee:
- Do I display trust? Score – 10
- Do I show you that I love you? Score – 10
- Do I communicate openly? Score – 8
- Do I recognize your sacrifices for the relationship? Score – 10
- Do I help provide for the family? Score – 10
- Do I strive to be more human and magnanimous? Score – 10
- Do I meet your needs? Score – 10
- Do I provide adventure? Score – 10
- Do I tell you that I love you? Score – 10
- Do I respect your opinions? Score – 9
The take-away here is 1) I am a slightly better husband than I am a father and 2) I have some work to do respecting her opinions and practicing more open communication. To that I say, she’s wrong and I don’t care to discuss it further.
While this was a fun, cheeky exercise, going through it facilitated good discussion with those whose perceptions of my performance matter most. The follow up discussion on how I can be a better dad and how to improve my already formidable husband skills will aid in my desire to be the best that I can be in all areas of my life. So, how am I doing? Practitioner seems to be the grade…for the moment.