The “Double Barrel Principle” A Parable for Homeschool Dads!

by Oliver DeMille

Looking for Answers

Minute_Man_Statue_Lexington_MassachusettsIf you’re an outdoor sportsman, this is one of the things that drives you crazy! At least at first, until you figure it out. And even if you’re not all that in to high-country sports, you can probably relate to this situation. Here’s how it goes:

You go to Cabela’s, or your other favorite sporting goods store, and you peruse new and used shotguns for sale. But you keep running into something weird.

Rifles, pistols, pump shotguns, semi-automatic shotguns—you can get any one of them for a reasonable price. But a double barrel shotgun costs 5-10 times as much as the others!

5-10 times! Why? It doesn’t make much sense. What’s so great about a double barrel shotgun that it’s worth so much more? After all, it only holds 2 loads—while the other guns typically hold a lot more. With this in mind, it seems like a double barrel shotgun should cost a lot less than the others. Right?

So you ask around, and nobody seems to know. “That’s just the way it is,” one store clerk tells you. “A lot of rich guys use these guns, and it drives up prices.” Another customer at the store counter adds his opinion: “It’s all supply and demand.”

“Probably true,” you tell yourself, but you’re not very satisfied with these answers. You keep asking, and nobody seems to know much about it. “One of those strange realities in life,” you decide.

Then, one day, you come across someone who is clearly an expert in the field. And even though you’re talking to him about something else, you think to ask him your frustrating question: “Hey, why do double barrel shotguns, and other double barrel guns for that matter, cost so much more—when they actually have a lower capacity? It’s crazy, right?”

“No,” he says. “There’s a very important reason for the higher price.”

The Why

“What is it?” you ask, incredulously.

He responds: “It takes a lot of workmanship and precision to get both barrels to line up and hit the same place. It’s quite a feat of engineering, actually.”

Wow! It’s like the clouds part and the sun shines through. Suddenly you understand. It’s one thing, you realize, for a craftsman or engineer to get a gun to shoot straight. But it’s a much higher level of difficulty to get two barrels to both shoot straight at complementary angles. Big difference!

This not only takes synergy (where 2 + 2 = more than 4), it’s actually even more complex than that. Getting two processes to consistently perform, and also to do them the same as each other—in opposite directions even—now that’s big. “No wonder…” you find yourself saying.

But what does this have to do with homeschooling dads?

Actually, everything.

Because if there’s one thing you can do to incredibly, powerfully, synergistically improve the quality of your homeschool—and of your family life, as well—it’s to get on the same page with your wife.

Building or Breaking

This is huge. Think about it: If you as parents are at odds about how you raise, teach, discipline, motivate, guide, talk to, or lead your kids, your results are going to suffer. You’ll be inconsistent. And the kids will realize it and bring even more chaos into the mix.

finger-gun_canstockphoto15677802On the other hand, if you’re both aiming for the same thing—if you’re truly together—nothing can stop you from achieving a great family environment. Together you’re incredibly strong. Immovable. Powerful. Amazing.

Together…well, the results are going to be downright outstanding. Show me a couple who is fully together on the details of parenting, and I’ll show you an effective family. Show me a husband-wife team who is truly in concert on their goals and actions and I’ll show you a little bit of heaven, along with a lot of consistency, enthusiasm, laughter, fun, work, achievement, and excellence.

In contrast, show me a couple going different directions in their home and homeschool, and, well…it’s usually not very pretty…

If you will forgive the expression, you’ve got to be like two barrels truly working together. That’s the path to great homeschooling.

Oh, and there’s an easy way to start: just get on the same page with her. Since Mom is the one doing much of the day-to-day work in most homeschools, she’s the first barrel. Support her. Get on board with what she’s trying to do. Find out exactly what she’s aiming for and help her. Ask how you can best support her. Ask what she needs from you.

Then do what she asks.

Steps to Greatness

Once you’re doing this, you can take the time to talk things out—discuss different views or goals, and possible changes, etc. But there’s a world of difference between

  1. Having such important discussions and planning once you’re already supporting her and working together, versus
  2. Trying to make such plans when you’re both pulling in different directions—even unintentionally.

Support her first, then work together to improve.

That’s the way to hit the target, over and over. It’s much better than aiming at different goals or bickering over which is best.

It’s the “Double Barrel Principle”, and it really works:

  1. Support her first. Find out what she’s trying to do and help her do it. Whatever it is. Because the most important key is to be on the same page together. Everything else is secondary.
  2. Then, and only then, work together to improve. Discuss how to make things better. Brainstorm, dream, and plan. But do this once you’re working in tandem, not instead of it. Make supporting her priority one. Get the barrels pointed in the same direction first—then adjust details later as needed.

Do it this way, in this order, and you’ll get 10 times or more the positive results.

(Note: If you are an outdoor sportsman, this is how to get a Kreighoff K80 Trap or even a Browning Citori 725 level homeschool rather than an old Kmart Boito 151. Seriously. Your choice.)

Want help to get on the same page? We’ve got you covered:

 

About the Author:

Rachel is the co-author of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning and the audio series Core and Love of Learning: A Recipe for Success, and the author of the award-winning educational resource, This Week in History. She is an accomplished musician, writer, literary editor, public speaker, consultant and momschool organizer.

One Comment

  1. Janet July 31, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

    So on the money! This addresses the very point that everything seems to unhinge on in our family… Two strong personalities, both with great motive, purposes aligned, but not working in harmony. I was just starting to talk myself out of a parenting retreat to help get us on the same page. (It is tempting to think it is easier to just do it my way myself.) Thank you, Oliver. The “manly” analogy is something my wonderful partner will understand.

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