Editor’s note: During this winter class session PEP Leader Paige Trevor is writing weekly about her PEP I class, which meets Wednesday mornings at Temple Micah in Northwest DC. This is the second post in this series about the eight-week class.
A nice, full class of parents filled Temple Micah’s cozy and book-lined library. It’s a morning class, and for years I’ve been teaching Thursday night classes. There are pros and cons to teaching a morning class. Pro: No one falls asleep. Con: After class I felt like I deserved to go home, watch “The Office” and have a beer. Um, it was 11:52 a.m. Sigh.
Looking around at these parents, who each have committed eight weeks, two hours a week, to their relationship with their kids, I had the urge to go meet EVERY child of those parents. I would greet them, smile, lean down, look in their eyes and, while I held on gently to their hands, I would say, “Do you know how lucky you are to have such caring and loving parents? Do you know how much they adore you? Do you realize the effort, thought, wisdom and patience they are using to raise you, to give you the best shot at a full and fulfilling life? Be grateful, small child, be so, so grateful.”
Then I would stand up and declare that these “parenting problems” PEP addresses should be renamed, the reality of living with people. Problems are things you can fix, solve, they go away, forever. Reality has to be accepted, learned from, endured and enjoyed. Experienced parents (meaning your kids are older) know that through a devious trick of the universe we somehow manage to find ourselves in the same place, AGAIN (and again, and sometimes again, again!).
“Hello teeth brushing, I’m surprised to see you again, but come on in. How you doing, getting out of the house in the morning, I wonder what new thing you have teach us? Hey, food issues—it’s been a few years, we’ve missed you at dinner. Eye rolling and sassy backtalk, it hasn’t been the same around here without you.” Hilarious!
I know, some of you are devastated, hurt and you want your money back, but it really is the reality of living with people. Imagine, if you will, that we felt mortally wounded when the sun set each night because we really preferred living in the afternoon. A waste of emotion, don’t you think?
And that doesn’t mean we give up, throw in the parenting towel, turn on “Game of Thrones,” binge-watch “Friends” because it’s now on Netflix. No, it means there is room for levity and humor, we learn to love the game and not act like there is a better game (or kid, or parent, or family) in town. If the sun has set on a topic, well, we know it will eventually come up again.
Together, our little gang of Wednesday morning PEP One-ers will spend the next eight weeks teaching each other new things, having Aha! moments, not believing it will work, assuming we are the only one with this particular problem, learning we are good at some stuff and not good at other stuff, that our perfectly imperfect kid is a Buddha master, here to teach us all sorts of things we didn’t even know we didn’t know. So fun, I wish it was Wednesday morning again!
Paige Trevor is a certified parent educator, writer, public speaker and founder of Balancing Act, LLC, an organizing consultancy providing tried-and-true methods for establishing efficient routines and a peaceful household. She is the mother of two teenagers.