The Negotiator

For many of you I am sure that most parts of the holiday season add up to be your favorite time of the year. Mine, too. However, as I write this, at the last possible minute, of course, the first of the season and one of the potentially biggest winter storms of the decade is heading to our fair city, leaving perhaps many rethinking “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

This now leaves me surmising that early June on the Gulf Coast or Kentucky Lake isn’t so bad either.

A true art in the business world is definitely the art and nuance of negotiating — a kids’ tradition. Along with the weather brings the many traditions of the recent Thanksgiving holiday and upcoming Christmas. And, oh, man, has my 12-year-old Jackson learned to work the traditions to a proverbial “T.” Example A would be as recent as last night. His school’s K-8 advent program is a time-honored tradition for the school children, siblings, parents, and especially grandparents who certainly seem to have mastered handheld video recording. Prior to the program coming home from swim practice, I was asked where we were going for dessert after the program.

“I don’t believe anywhere, buddy,” I said.

“But Dad, it’s a tradition to go out for dessert … we do it every year.”

I calculated we had done that maybe … once. And yes, you just know we ended up having the biggest slab of chocolate lava cake you have ever seen at 9 p.m. It is a tradition.

His negotiation skills had begun running amok hours earlier and he skillfully used his enthusiasm to sell me on how much fun our family would have eating dessert at the end of a 14-hour day.

Example B: Both of my boys are awakened each school day morning at 6 a.m.

“Just five more minutes, Dad,” my 15-year-old, Maxwell, will say literally every morning.

“Get up now,” is what always comes next, followed by the dreaded undoing of parental authority of, “Why, Dad? I can be ready if I get up at 6:15.”

His little brother has the same wake up time, but always thinks “no” to the same question of “five more minutes?” means “maybe,” as far as getting out of bed.

When I recently told Jackson that I was no longer going to tolerate this morning routine, he told me in regards to working me to stay in bed, “It’s a Tucker boy family tradition, Pop.”

Jackson’s main negotiating skillset is one of incredible persistence. The spring break trip to Seaside, Fla., in March, which we do sporadically? His negotiations have already started and he is persistent and creative in his endeavors, bringing this up weekly, beginning in October.

“Why haven’t you said ‘yes’ yet, Pop? It is our family’s spring break tradition to go every year.”

One of my earliest political memories is of the Paris Peace Accord talks to end the Vietnam War. I could not understand why the political entities could not agree on the shape of the negotiation table. Kids would have destroyed those diplomatic arguments — could they have negotiated peace quicker? Absolutely. (The talks began in 1968 and ended in 1973.)

As my boys grow older, I know they are not unique in their mastery of the fine art of negotiating. After all, it’s … tradition.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker

Previous article
Next article

Related Articles

Latest Articles