Dad loved to joke, to dance, to party. To have a good time. To bring home treats.
Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, the Twist.
My math brain comes from him.
Sadness and loss.
But of course, there’s more to it.
Good memories and also plenty of hard ones.
Today’s grayness and rain today echo my melancholy mood and set the perfect stage for curling up with a cup of coffee to reflect.
If I’m honest, I’ve been weepy and out of sorts for the past week and a half.
There are regrets.
I start to write then fidget. My brain wants to run from the discomfort. I get up and start to clean. Flip on the radio and hear,
And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain
Rachel Patten, pre-chorus Fight Song
Then I turn the radio off and sit silent again. Sometimes it was things I said, or that were said, which caused regrets and hurt.
Even more that what others did, intentionally or unknowingly to me, it’s so much harder for me to forgive all the things I’ve done or should have done.
How do I forgive my judgements of other people and myself –for making mistakes, not being perfect, being human and not being able to live up to my own standards, or follow my own advice?
And perhaps trying always to look on the bright side doesn’t work if you deny that there are things that hurt. There are things I thought I “dealt with”, understood and didn’t need to forgive from long ago that are still swirling inside, and are part of feeling stuck and the unexpected tears.
So what’s the formula for forgiveness?
Here is the formula I’m trying: Acceptance + Gratitude = Forgiveness.
There was hurt; there are regrets. I feel them. Dad was doing the best he could at the time. Things I wish I could do over. I was doing my best at that moment, too.
Our parents are not perfect.
Our children are not perfect.
We are not perfect.
How can I be thankful for the experience?
What were the strengths?
Joie de vivre, laughter, joking, how to get along with people, time with friends, giving presents, hosting parties, unconditional love.
The opportunities for learning?
being happy with what you do have
how to cope with stress and disappointment
how to deal with sorrows instead of drowning them
how to reach out
choosing a new perspective
staying true under pressure to conform to medical decisions
feeling instead of denial.
Acceptance + Gratitude = Forgiveness
Does that equation work? I can think it. I can do the math.
Now, to work on feeling it, and proving a new equation.
Forgiveness – Shame = Peace + Moving Forward
Minus the shame: I’m human and make mistakes, even though I don’t want to.
As a kid.
And as a parent.
I am learning all the time.
Now it is time to breathe in peace and take the next step.
I wasn’t sure about sharing these raw, first-draft thoughts with you today since forgiveness is not what pops to mind when thinking about self-directed learning and helping our kids grow and learn.
But then I thought, maybe it would help if we did pay attention to forgiveness.
Maybe it is some of those hidden unforgiven hurts that interfere with how we help ourselves and our kids move forward.
And maybe I’m not the only one struggling with forgiving myself, maybe I’m not alone?
So, over to you.
How do you think forgiveness, or lack of forgiveness, impacts your parenting? Your learning?
What is your formula for forgiveness?
Do you find it harder to forgive others or yourself?
Here is a very simple framework I use to help me live according to my values and goals. It helps me to make choices that ensure I am living MY definition of a fulfilling and successful life and learning in ways that are best for me. I think it can do the same for you.
It helps me to make choices that ensure I am living MY definition of a fulfilling and successful life and learning in ways that are best for me. I think it can do the same for you.
I think it can do the same for you.
Choose to create a life you love: a 3-step framework.
Asking is difficult for many of us, but sometimes asking can have unexpected results.
Not long after we began unschooling, Dale decided he wanted to start cycling as a sport. Dale was inspired by his cousin’s cycling group when they camped in our town enroute from Foresthill to Disneyland.
Not really knowing where to start, we began by shopping for a road bike. The bikes we saw were far out of our price range. We realized we didn’t know what we were doing and needed to ask for help.
We discussed our options and decided to ask the folks at our local bike shop for advice on finding a decent used bike we could afford. Things were especially tight for us that year. We talked about what kind of help we needed, and how we could reimburse the people for their time. Next, we called to check to see if the owner, Mike, was in and headed downtown.
Dale asked Mike if he would be willing to spare an hour, at his convenience, to teach us what to look for in order to buy the best used bike in our price range. Dale had been selling his original photos to earn money, and he offered to “pay” Mike for his time with some framed photos. We told him we understood that this might not be something he wanted to do. He showed Mike his portfolio and waited for an answer. Mike agreed, selected two photos, and they set a date.
When they met, Dale took copious notes and brought the requested photos as payment. Mike suggested a variety of places to look for ads and told us to bring ads, or bikes, to him before we bought. He wanted to help us find a quality bike that would work as Dale grew and a be good deal.
Dale followed up in a few weeks with his findings. Mike told him those weren’t bikes worth pursuing. They had more discussions, and each time Dale took more notes and learned more about the sport. A few months passed without finding a good option and Dale was getting a bit discouraged.Mike said it was worth waiting for the right bike. He said he had friend who might be willing to sell her extra bike, which would be just right.
Dale tried to wait patiently. If you know Dale, you don’t usually think of Dale and patient in the same sentence. We had started searching around Fall Equinox and now we are at Winter Sosltice.
On Christmas Eve we got a call, “Can you come down to the store?”
Excited, we gathered up the cash and headed to the store. When we got there, Mike and his coworker wheeled out a gorgeous red bike they had built from recycled parts and said, “Merry Christmas.”
We were speechless. They wouldn’t accept our money and offered to take Dale on some rides to show him the ropes and make sure he was riding safely. Such kindness and generosity still makes me cry. Thank you Mike Berna and Velo City!
Not all asking is going to result in this kind of fairly tale results, but looking back I can see the process we used might have made the asking and answering easier for both sides.
How to ask steps.
Here is a four-step process to follow to make it easier for you to ask, and help make it easier on the person you are asking at the same time.
Before you start asking, do your thinking. Identify exactly what you need, why you are asking, who you should ask and where and when are the best times to ask. Each of these considerations can make a big difference on whether or not you get the information or assistance that you need.
Clarify your questions. Aim to becrystal clear. Include a very concise lead up with pertinent background information to set the stage. Craft a very specific request. It is much easier to say yes and help when you know exactly what someone needs. Ask if there is a very quick response or resource the person can point you toward if they don’t have enough time to answer in depth.
There are three main points to remember with respect to asking: time, gratitude, and service.
Respect people’s time. Time is precious. Almost everyone feels like they need or want more time. Don’t ask someone else something you can answer on your own. Do your own homework and footwork, first before reaching out to ask others. Honor their need to say no and make no a comfortable option for them.
Show your gratitude. Thank people even if they can’t do what you are asking. It is much easier to ask and people will be more open when there is no judgement attached to the answer. Let there be space for the answer to be “No” without it being a big deal.
Don’t just ask for what you want, ask what you can give. Offer your help, ideas or services. It is much easier to ask when you can also give.
Record and Follow-up
Yes, record and write it all down. Keep a list of questions you are interested in so that you can do the pre-asking work that needs to be done. Writing the questions will help you identify and clarify what you need.
Keep notes on who and where you asked and the advice you received. Follow-up with people and let them know how their advice helped you or how you acted upon it. Be concise, but let people know that their answers made a difference.
When you follow-up and show your gratitude you help to build a connection and relationship for the future.
Get Started Challenges for You:
It’s normal to have a zillion questions when you start along the path of self-directed learning. So, there is no time better than now to get going.
Start your list of questions. Yes, right now. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write.
Determine who/where you will ask each question and note that beside your questions.
Prioritize your questions. In the next 24 hours ask a question you have been putting off. Which question will it be?
Guess what? Even when you have been on this journey for awhile, you will still be full of questions! Do you have some tips to share to make asking easier?
I’d love to hear from you. Add your two cents on twitter @lisanalbone or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add them to my newsletter or here on the blog.
This is a sample of the kind of information I am adding to the ABC’s of Learning Beyond School Guide. Want to stay in touch?