READY OR NOT

What’s next Mom?” “Where are we going now?” “Who are we going to see?” “What are we going to do noooooowwwwww?”

Sigh.

These hourly interrogations, although exhausting, also make me a little bit proud.  My children are learning that life with their mom is a life on the go and full of adventure (high five me). But seriously kids, enough with the hand raising already.  I’m not a tour guide, I don’t have a brochure for you to reference and can you please please please not ask me a question again for at least another hour (happy hour maybe?).

My kids, being uh, mine, like a little structure in their day. They like to hear the daily Hot Ticket list every morning. They like to know what we are doing, where we are going, who we are going to see, and what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner (just kidding about that last part, kind of). In response, I try to provide an outline as I think that preparation for the day helps to create a structure more likely to encourage positive behaviors and scaffolds our energy levels accordingly.

However, I keep it somewhat vague because like most young children, they don’t love it so much when things do go as anticipated and most of the time we don’t get to half the things on the “agenda” anyway. This means that I hear lots of “but you SAID” and “but we are SUPPOSED TO” and well, generally too much of the word “but” in general, to be honest (especially since it is a homophone for “butt,” which is hysterical when you are eight. Or five. Or thirty something. . . ).

Yep. I did say that. Yes, we were going to do that. But- newsflash. We didn’t. It’s called a “pivot,” people; let’s get our “om” on and be flexible, shall we?

This is harder than one might expect. It seems that the less I tightly plan, the more open I am to interrupting our regularly programmed schedule, the more they cling to a schedule.

Thanks karma. I got your message. Can you call back later please? I might have an opening in my day somewhere between eliminating old bullshit and the delivery of fresh manure; let me just check my uh, calendar.

This stubborn and persistent attachment to predictability, routines and expectations reinforces a few generalizations for me: 1) People don’t naturally like change. This is of course why the business of change management is alive and thriving. We aren’t easily inclined to deal well with shifts, and it takes experience, training and support to learn how; 2) I did a bang up job teaching my progeny how to stick to an itinerary in our previous life; this will 3) lead to some interesting challenges in training them to chill.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (a lot actually. Like, maybe I’ll start selling t-shirts and bumper stickers) –

CTFD already people.

Schedules are beneficial, calendar templates- lovely. But do you know what the best function of calendar template is?

The “edit” button.

Learn to adjust easily. Make plans, but be open to change. Be flexible when things don’t go your way. Accomodate new experiences as they present themselves. Say yes to movement- lateral, vertical, whatever, just be willing to at least consider a modification in direction.

In moving ever forward, keep on keeping on. The more practice and experience we have with change, the easier and more comfortable we will get with it. The more frequently our comfort zone is deliberately expanded, the wider those boundaries will grow.

Rather than teaching my children how to live a life that is for all intents and purposes a bit militant (and boring) I can teach them to enjoy their day, whatever it brings.  As I model being open and spontaneous (or spontaneous-ish) and by articulating my failures and how I am dealing with them, I can lead by example.

Identifying what I had anticipated happening, what actually happened, and how I am reacting to that brings clarity and learning. It reframes and refocuses the moment for for me, and for my kids. It changes an ordeal into an adventure, an obstacle into a challenge, a disruption into a possibility.

Speaking of perceptions and the Game of Life, it’s my turn again. The kids are up, I have some questions to answer and decisions to make (like, um, what’s for breakfast, since the pancake fairy skipped our house again today . . .). Catch ya on the flip side

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