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This week I listened to my new favorite podcast, Kelly Corrigan Wonders. She was joined by Wanda Holland Greene to talk about agency, the thoughts and actions we take that express our personal power. The circumstances of these past 8 months may have left many of us feeling as if we have less control, less agency. As Wanda Holland Greene points out, “there’s a lot we can’t control; one thing we can control is the quality of our relationships.”

Kelly Corrigan talks about her own family having dinner together more frequently during the quarantine. She shared how the small act of putting on music or lighting candles at dinner created an environment where people lingered longer, enjoying slower and more meaningful conversations. Of course, this is an age-old PEP strategy when mealtimes become challenging with kids. Try moving dinner to the dining room table, use the fine china, get dressed up for dinner, light the candles, queue the music — use your agency.

Wanda Holland Greene credits the quarantine with saving her family. Before the quarantine, with her husband traveling and kids in 4 different schools, they skipped family dinners. These days she notes, dinner time is the event. At Thanksgiving, we often talk about gratitude. This year, I wonder if we could tweak that conversation a bit to talk about silver linings — or as PEP Founder Linda Jessup would say the golden nuggets — of this tumultuous year. In my own family, I watched the relationship between my college-aged kids (finally) blossom, and my neighbors have become more of an extended family. These are gifts that I might not have known without this pause. To be sure, there is a lot of grief and sadness around the world right now, but you can either curse the darkness or light a candle. 

If you’re one of the thousands of families who have joined us over the past year, thank you! We hope that our programs have improved the quality of your relationships in some way, big or small.

Wishing you kindness and peace this Thanksgiving,

The PEP Staff