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 one of my core beliefs: to improve parenting, learning, and taking care of yourself, make sure you go outside each day.
Let nature nurture.
Fresh air, sunshine, feet and hands in the dirt help cure a lot of what ails us.
Need help with stress? Sleep? Moods?
Take a walk.
“In beauty may I walk. All day long may I walk. Through the returning seasons may I walk. On the trail marked with pollen may I walk. With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk. With dew about my feet may I walk. With beauty may I walk. With beauty before me, may I walk. With beauty behind me, may I walk. With beauty above me, may I walk. With beauty below me, may I walk. With beauty all around me, may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk. It is finished in beauty. It is finished in beauty.”
When I first wrote the ABC’s of Learning Beyond School I used Help as the defining word for the letter H. But as I have talked with more people about parenting, self-directed learning and how to define success for themselves, I changed my mind. I realized there are some core beliefs that are the bedrock of my approach to parenting, learning and life. This is one of them, H is for be Honest.