Parents: You Are Your Reputation

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.  — Jeff Bezos

The story starts out the same way every time.  Something happens at school and your child is upset.  You don’t have all the information.  You’re concerned, upset, maybe angry.  This is where you, the parent, have the choice as to what direction to take the story.

Before you make that choice, remember, your reputation is your brand.  It’s how the school community knows you, and it is based largely on the behaviors you decide to go with next.  Let’s break that down.

Branding is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Companies large and small spend enormous sums to perfect their messaging to win over and keep as many customers and clients as possible.  Fortunately, you don’t need to spend tons of money.  You simply have to make a decision.  You can decide to smile or scream, be responsive or reactionary, reflect for a time or rush to judgment.  Whatever your decision, your reputation—brand—will be affected.

Your child’s problem needs a resolution, no doubt.  You, perhaps, are going to be instrumental in how it gets resolved.  Guaranteed, the school will want to work with you if you are the parent whose brand is patience, sincerity, and collaboration.  Equally guaranteed, they will want to ignore you if you push, dominate, or use sarcasm and venom.

In the moment, this can seem like a tremendously difficult choice.  Your child is distressed: the target of teasing, the one who didn’t get the part, the unintended victim of a teacher’s unfair comment.  It’s still a choice.

Choose wisely, thinking of your reputation and your brand, and you become that parent who makes your school community work more effectively, who increases the level of positive parent engagement, sho helps build a solid foundation of support underneath the students.

Choose unwisely, and your school founders in cliques, an us-versus-them paradigm, and a community of distrust.

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