I've received an unconventional education. I don't so much mean school. Though my school education was a bit unconventional-- jam packed with various "inhibitors" hardwired into my brain at a wee age. That aside;
The unconventional education I'm referring to: "Addiction 101" and "Depression/Anxiety 101." I failed much of 2 decades worth of classes. And then...A bit over 4 years ago, I started passing these classes and actually learning something, retaining a few things, and applying a few whatnots to some whathaveyous. For this education, now I am eternally grateful. I know for fact I wouldn't be a parent or wife or friend or student or dog-owner (etc) were it not for this unconventional education. Because i was originally a runner (not the cardio kind), a non-forgiver, a non-asker-of-forgiveness, a know-it-all though i acted like i didn't know it all, a doubter of hope, a victim of loss, a confused little girl unable to grow up. In other words, really needed to figure out how to pass some classes or else i was going to flunk out of life completely... and almost did. And then a couple of rather brilliant, humble teachers (the first of many) encouraged me as good teachers do-- that i had some potential if i would just take a look at some things (refer here to "I was originally a...") and be willing to do something different and admit I wasn't so original but simply human, like all humans, and thus the pressure off having to prove my originality over and over i could finally admit and see-- I'm selfish (check). I'm addicted (check). I'm ready for something different (check). Hence, admittance into school of hard knocks round 2, now armed with a study guide or 2.
I'm in no way a 4 point student. There's certain pop quizzes, especially when it comes to anxiety or fear, that i still barely scrape by. There's moments in being a parent especially that i fail and then realize a make-up quiz is immediately available, i just have to be willing to take it. Which usually entails an "I'm sorry". Which as a parent is humbling. But I've seen make an impact far greater than what i used to think parenting naturally entailed: Act always like you have it together. Especially when you don't. Pretend like everything's peachy, don't admit your wrong because the wee ones might smell weakness; lecture and spoonfeed, brainwash if needed, be in control.
Yep, i said it, hogwash.
This line of thinking kept me drunk and depressed and emotionally eating my way into bed.
This line of thinking kept my wee ones at a distance, and established a "do as i say, not as i do, why? because i said so." kind of relationship.
This line of thinking is not in my new study guide. And thank goodness. thank all that is thank-able.
Pretense teaches how to pretend. So if I strive to 'pretend' like everything is ok, and then expect my wee ones to take responsibility, act humbly, be honest, any number of lecture points we carry in our parent arsenal-- well, simply put, fail. It will fail. It's like the law of gravity. It's no fun. It wastes precious time that could be spent connecting and dealing with our own poop instead of incessantly covering over our poop only then to start teaching others how to cover their poop. I apologize for the uncouth comparison. But this is an important, no vital, lesson to me constantly. A lesson i have to keep learning or i try again to live to cover up poop instead of live to learn. And in effort to learn, I find that teaching (especially wee ones) NATURALLY and organically occurs. Our learning process with all our A's and D's and every grade in between can be a classroom in and of itself to our wee ones (referring to all ages of course). It's not about trying to convince others we are straight A students when really we are struggling to even pass, it's about getting extra help when we need it, a tutor for some of our questions perhaps, being open to see new formulas or strategies to help work out the problem.
Lecturing usually entails a whole lot of words and a teensy weensy bit of listening (and comes from our own foibles usually, as i've revealed in earlier posts- oh the lecture i hastily give wee one when meant for me to change so that i could learn and then show instead of tell. Why this compulsion with words with so little behind sometimes? ah, I'm chief amongst. education continues forth...)
But the key now is that i know there is hope. I know that i don't have the answers inside my own mind to my problems and that's half the battle right there. I know that life is one big classroom with learning and experiments and opportunities to grow and... so many lessons that i can't wait to keep learning from.
Random as they are, Dr. Ginott's thoughts teach me constantly to look at how my words and intentions so directly affect the wee ones (though not so wee anymore):“
"If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others."”
“"Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.”"
(Dr. Haim Ginott)