I Wont' Give Up On Us
Welcome to my brand new blog!
If you’ve wondered what it’s like to live with a parenting instructor; or you’ve taken (or are taking) my class and would like to see how P.E.T. works (and flops) in families other than your own; or you’re curious how there can be so much “synergy” in a home where there used to be A LOT of pain, you are exactly on the right page of the Internet.
It’s good I have my own blog now because I think about parenting issues ALL the time:
my course participants’ problems
how Thomas Gordon’s concepts apply to something I just read on Facebook (and sometimes simply must respond to)
my upcoming info session and how best to convince people that, honestly, 24 hours of training for the hardest job in the world will give them the greatest return ever
the conversation I overheard in which a dad mentioned he was holding off on upgrading his son’s cell phone until he "shows the behavior he needs to be showing”
Finally, I have an outlet that is WAY more dependably welcoming of my reflections and Eureka! moments than my sometimes harried husband (bless him, I just heard him heave a huge sigh of relief).
I’ve named this debut post after a song that was my anchor through many, many hard and tearful moments raising my three children.
One especially hellish incident happened on the highway driving home from school in North Point all the way to Tai Po where we rent a lovely, spacious (by Hong Kong standards) house. The backseat of the car was too small to contain the anger and vitriol of my two younger children -- Jake and Claudia who were then 11 and 8. (I've changed my kids' names here so their online history remains substantially of their own making.) The car was a moving battlefield as Jake and Claudia started to attack each other physically.
I don’t remember what they were arguing about, but it was likely a continuation of their conflict that morning. Back then, they were in a tough place in their relationship. There was hardly ever closeness between them, unlike when they were little and Claudia would toddle after “Jakey” who paid her much more attention than the older "Hawee" (Harrison was 13 and in the front seat during this fight).
My blood was in my ears and I was having a hard time seeing the exits. I tried my fledgling attempts at Active Listening (I had recently enrolled in the Effective Parenting course at the American Club) but it all spiraled out of control.
I screamed for them to stop, then threatened, then followed through by taking the next exit and skidding to a stop somewhere who the heck knows where in the New Territories. All that mattered was that they got my message loud and clear -- I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!
I got out and slammed the door and paced and paced along the deserted road (deserted in Hong Kong, really? what had I done?). I tried calling my husband but, as it happens, he wasn’t available at his first job as bond trader to answer a call for his second job as untrained sounding board to out-of-control wife and mother of his children. Darn!!! I would have to find release some other way. (And, truth be told, ranting to a distracted other parent who had trades under way did not always get me the relief I wanted.)
I thought of this new song I had been listening to on my iPhone. It had already proven itself as “make Catherine cry” material and I decided the kids needed to hear it. Looking back, I realize I was sending them an I-Message the only way I could. I blasted it on repeat and that’s how we finally found our way home.
"I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz (excerpted)
. . . . .
I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am
. . . . .
Well, I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)
I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
(For full lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jasonmraz/iwontgiveup.html)
Though this story happened just a couple of years ago, our family has turned itself around. My intention never to give up has paid off. Skies no longer rough, they smile down on our family every single minute. Of course, we still have conflict; it's what we do with that conflict that is so different and feels so good (yes, you just read "conflict" and " feels so good" in the same sentence). Several times a day, something happens that takes my breath away and I am filled with gratitude.
The words “I won’t give up” resonate, I know, with the many parents I have come across (in real life and in books) who want to find the right way, another way, a way that leads to certain closeness and influence with their beloved children.
But becoming the parent you want to be takes practice, modeling and support! I still need all that myself. Whether your children are little or pretty much grown, I hope this blog can help you with the very difficult job of raising happy kids and maintaining warm relationships with them (even into their twenties, thirties, forties -- a big shout out to my mother who just took my course! -- and beyond).
This blog can be a place for you to share your comments, experiences and questions too -- let's help each other enjoy bigger "No Problem" zones in our families. Like Mraz sings, we’re all worth it.