The Nag Shield

As London and I were headed to school one Monday morning I started asking him about his homework, study plans, and some test prep – he looked over and asked me – “Mom, do you know what this is?”

He was miming a box around his seat in the car.

“No, London, what is that?” I asked.

“It’s a nag shield,” he replied, “and once it goes up, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

As you might imagine, the first thought that crossed my mind was – “I’ll pull this car over and you’ll see just how fast I can come crashing through that shield.” But then – another voice popped into my head – I heard it as clear as a bell and I can still hear it today, it said “wait a minute, you’re getting some valuable information here.”

What London was actually saying was – “If you’re going to nag at me, not only am I not going to listen, I will become deaf to your voice.” 

(Download the full podcast to listen later.)

Remember how we talked about responsibility during the podcast titled – “If you don’t choose, life will choose for you?”  This was my opportunity to take responsibility for how I was communicating. To reconsider my method, sacrificing my ego and changing my approach.

As parents, bosses, or teachers, it’s easy for us to just say – “You are going to listen!” But, as we all know that doesn’t always, or even usually work.  What it does, in most cases, is foster resentment between both parties.

Assuming responsibility for your communication style is not an admission that you’re wrong, or that the other person is wrong. It’s a thoughtful process that will improve your relationships and your life.

So often when we’re communicating there’s a breakdown that we’re unaware of, a misunderstanding in perception and intention. London’s perception was that I was “nagging“. My intention was to help him get his week planned so he could be successful academically.

The Nag Shield exchange was a life changing experience for me.  It gave me pause to think, and that in and of itself is HUGE!

Now, I try to pause to think that everyone I’m having a conversation with has a “nag shield” of some sort.  I don’t want to find a way around the shield, what I really want is to find a way to prevent the shield from going up.

To continue the story…

Rather than pulling over an attempting to beat down the shield, the pause in thought gave me just enough time to rethink my response.

“My intention is to see if there is anything I can do to help you plan your academic week so you can be successful on Friday (test day.)”

Is there anything you need from me?”  I asked.

“Oh, yeah, actually there is…would it be possible for you to drive Hunt and I to study group on Wednesday? Hunt’s mom will pick me up after and bring me home.”

The conversation went on from there.

I’ve relived that moment, the moment that voice popped into my head and said – “wait a minute…” over and over again. 

The teenage years were mostly peaceful and raising London and Max was mostly fun and pretty easy.

Watch the video or download the podcast to hear more about The Nag Shield.

Have you had a Nag Shield moment?

Please take a moment to share it in the comment section.

What happened? What did you learn? How did it change you/your life?

Thanks for reading, watching and/or listening.

I’ll see you next week on “Life in the Wick.”

Life is a choice, choose wisely,

Download a PDF of this post.

One of the things I mentioned in today’s podcast was a verse from Proverbs.  I wanted to get it correct, so I did a little research, and I came across this post on the HUM Blog.  I’m sharing it here because I think the author did a really great job, asking the reader to take responsibility. Excerpt from the HUM Blog

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