Long ago in China, there was an old monk going on a pilgrimage to Mount Wutai, the abode of Manjusri, the seat of wisdom.
Aged and weak, he was travelling the long dusty road alone, seeking alms along the way. After many long months, one morning he gazed upward and saw the majestic mountain in the distance.
By the roadside, there was an old woman working in the field. `Please tell me, he asked, how much longer I must proceed before reaching Mount Wutai.`
The woman just looked at him, and didn`t respond, and continued with her work. He repeated the question the second time and then the third time, but of no avail, the woman didn`t respond.
Thinking that the woman must be deaf, he decided to move on.
After he had taken a few dozen steps, he heard the woman call out to him. `Two more days, it will take you two more days.`
Somewhat annoyed, the monk responded, `I thought you were deaf. Why didn`t you answer my question earlier``
The woman replied, `You asked the question while you were standing put, dear monk, I had to see how fast your pace was, how determined your walk, before I could answer to your question.` The monk bowed his head in agreement and walked on.
Similarly in life, as a parent, unless we are in tune with our children or as a leader with our followers, how can we guide them. Very often as parents, many of us are too distracted in things such as Television, or other activities that we are not observing our children, because of which we are not in a position to guide them. Once I was in Singapore, during discussions with a professor of child psychology, he mentioned the importance of celebrating birthdays of young children, and to invite the close friends of the child, and then to observe attentively the behaviour of the friends and then ascertain whether the friends are being raised well or not, and to intervene if we were to observe undesirable behaviour of any of the `friend.` Similarly, my wife has ensured that she is a friend on my children`s facebook, so she can observe the kind of postings our children and their friends are posting on facebook. Being in tune with our children is a very essential for us to be effective parents.
As leaders, we need to invest time with our followers, while they are in action so we are in a better position to guide them. It is futile to guide others sitting in our ivory towers.
A good coach has to be watching his or her players while they are playing matches to be able to guide them towards improvement.
As parents and elders in our families, and leaders in our businesses and organistaions, we need to become actively engaged in observing, in-order to ensure that our guidance is appropriate and accurate.