Saturday, March 1, 2014

What Do Other People Say Are Your Positive Personality Traits? by Kenda Horst

International Nanny Association Scholarship Essay by Kenda Horst

What Do Other People Say Are Your Positive Personality Traits?

Thank you for creating this scholarship opportunity for Nannies to attend the International Nanny Association conference. This will be my second time participating at the Conference. For me, these gatherings provide a way to inform and enliven the career that has become my life’swork. It is a great joy to meet and talk with other Nannies from across the country and aroundthe world. These conversations, together with the presentations and workshops, help equip me in new ways as I grow with my children and families in this ever-changing field of work. I recently read the book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook. In the book, she cites a study that women are more likely to affirm another person’s accomplishments than they are to affirm their own. To say this another way, the study says many women find it easier to brag about what other people do than to toot their own horn. This is part of why I particularly appreciate the essay question, “What do other people say are your positive personality traits?” I happen to be one of the people who find it challenging to identify or to affirm my own accomplishments. That said, I have been told by past employers, and by others who know my skills, gifts, and abilities, that I am highly dependable, constant, and predictable. This essay is my attempt to toot my own horn about how these three personality traits play out in my day-to-day work life.

Dependable: to be counted on in various areas of your life.

Constant: to be reliable and predictable over a long period of time.

Predictable: to perform and to do things in a way that is reliable and constant in a daily routine.

When I think of these three words, I am reminded of the kind of Nanny I am, and the kind of Nanny I continually strive to be. The three words can be interchangeable, but they also each stand on their own. Parents find me dependable in that they can ask me to step in and do almost anything in their home and it will be done. I am constant in the ways that I interact with the children and the adults in their lives. The families that I have worked with talk about how I am faithful in providing and supporting a regular, daily routine for their children. I am also consistent with discipline, setting clear limits for children and supporting good boundaries for them as they grow and learn. Parents find these three personality traits in me to be a comfort in how I interact, not only with their children, but also with them. My dependability or reliability is found in the fact that I can be counted on to show up for work each and every day. Parents discover that their children will be cared for in a way that is consistent with their own model as parents. For example, I try to hold the same rules with the children that their parents maintain. Parents also find me dependable in that I will work to make their home and family life as smooth and efficient as possible. I work to ensure that the time I spend with their children is the kind of time they would like. I will also take on additional tasks around the house as needed, to help parents optimize their time with the children when they are home.In my experience, children also find these traits as a source of comfort. I believe that children will thrive when they can explore in a safe space. When I give children consistent boundaries it allows them to extend their roots and spread their wings. When I establish and maintain a regular routine for specific tasks and responsibilities, including meal times, bath times, getting dressed, and picking up toys, children learn a sense of self as well as independence. The constancy and familiarity helps provide a center or a foundation for children as they grow and learn and The question that came to me after reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is, “How as a professional Nanny might I be an even better support to the parents and families I work for? I believe that the three traits listed above will help in a significant way. I would like to see the conversation move to an even deeper place, to a discussion of what families as a whole need in order to thrive, to help provide opportunities for more women to move into more leadership roles in more fields. This is one of the conversations that I would like to have with other Nannies, with my professional colleagues at the INA conference.