The Power of Persuasion
Over the years, I’ve learned to be assertive when I'm absolutely certain of something. As you mature, you find that convincing the other side that you’re right is at least half about your performance in the moment. The rest of it is stuff like facts.
For example, my first grade son recently transferred to his pre-K sister’s Boston public school, and we thought, the little one can’t ride the bus alone, but now that they’re together, let’s put them on. We were going to ease them into it over the course of a few weeks, but they seemed ready, so the other day I said, “You guys take the bus and I’ll meet you there on my bike.”
When we got outside, the bus was already rounding the corner at the stop a block away. I flagged down the driver as the bus approached, and he reluctantly stopped. I asked if he was going to my kids’ school, and he said yes. Good, I said. These kids are meant to be on this bus. He was doubtful. “Do you have the paper?” Of course not, no, because my son, see, my son just transferred into this school. The system doesn’t work that fast to get us the letter or whatever. But he is meant to be on this bus! I wasn’t angry or anything, but I made sure he understood: they are going to be picked up, by you, one block up the road starting next week.
Of course, if he wished, he could take them now, right there in the middle of the street. “Uh, sure.” It was very reasonable. He is taking kids to the same school that my two youngsters attended, and I, the father of these children, am there to assert that this is indeed their bus.
At this point, as my little 4-year old daughter started climbing the stairs confidently, 3 girls around 10 years of age gathered at the front of the bus after hearing the commotion, and begin babbling. I can’t understand babble because I’m rock-deaf, but eventually came to understand that this bus was going to the “upper school” for the 4th through 8th graders, not the “lower school” where my kids went. The two "sites" of this one school are about a mile and a half apart.
This is an excellent example of how persuasion can overpower careful thinking.