this is how I expected classes would be; challenging, inspiring, thoughtful, all those romantic notions that someone might have when they spend years pining for higher education.
It hasn’t been easy this week, I have 3 children at home and the husband is out of the country and one child decided to break their driving foot and so balance to the universe is off quite a bit, but the classes were here waiting for me, after half a day spent in Urgent Care.
It is not a surprise to me that I am loving my writing class. I know it’s just English 101 but the novel we’re reading is O Pioneer! by Willa Cather. It’s marvelous. I learned this week about something called Lectio Divina…have you ever heard of it? “Sacred Reading” is the rough translation. There are four parts to it and I won’t bore you naysayers with the details but let’s just say that it is a very powerful way to look at a text, any text.
Also in this class I have to do a “community service project.” They really wanted us to apply our critical thinking skills to a problem we see in our community and come up with a project to help that problem. As a young thing I may have rolled my eyes and stomped my foot at this. As an old thing, or, er…”middle-aged,” I have already been pondering a problem I see in my neighborhood and have wanted to do something about. I will keep you posted as I start this journey, and it will definitely push me out of my comfort zone.
A class I thought I’d like but have been absolutely delighted by is Interpersonal Communications…so far I have taken a self-esteem test, Rokeach’s Terminal and Instrumental Values, and this week Gallup’s Strengths test. It’s a lot of introspection.
I think the biggest A-HA for me through deep diving into my psyche is that I need to work on my confidence, it can be destroyed too easily by my harshest critics, my teenagers.
I won’t go into much family detail on this blog, but I have 3 children of the young adult age at home. All the learning in all the universities cannot teach you more about your own faults than your teenagers can. They will gladly point any foibles out if given the opportunity, and though a parent might diligently work to be the type of parent that their blessed children can turn to for help in times of despair and trouble, the fact is, sometimes they really don’t want to talk to the parent. Sometimes they want to wallow in their pain. It’s a very teenage thing to do.
It’s why I loved Wuthering Heights. Yes I realize no one else in the free world loves or loved Wuthering Heights but I did so love fictional torment at one point in my life. The point where I had never experienced true pain because I lived in a nice comfortable house with my many siblings and parents who loved each other. I haven’t revisited Wuthering Heights recently but I have a feeling it would not hold up.
The long and short of parenting teens is you feel like all the foundational elements you placed so carefully when they were very small and loved you are dashed and torn asunder, like nothing was there to begin with. I was just as guilty with my own parents. I remember clearly thinking when I was 15; “I’m 15. I’m going to remember that at 15 my future children will tune out everything I say, because I don’t care what my parents say anymore. I’m a fully formed adult now.”
Clearly I had no idea how much I had to learn.
Here is another favorite quote from a dear friend’s husband to his then 15 year old son…”You’re 15. You are as stupid as you’re ever going to get, because right now, you think you know everything.”
And while I don’t have an actual 15 year old at the moment, the principle applies…my kids are their own people, and they currently find me annoying and even when I know they are struggling with complex teenage feelings and issues I am met with brick walls around their feelings.
Anyway, back to my Interpersonal Communications and that A-ha moment. It’s very important to me that I whether this storm of young emotions with my confidence intact. While I envisioned being the mom they could come to about anything, the reality is that maybe I’m not who they need right now. That is okay. (I say this to myself to convince myself.) I have done the best I can and will continue to leave my door open if and when they feel the need.
If parenting was easy the rewards and payoffs would not feel as amazing. And I do have glimpses of those times.
I come away from this week grateful for this time in my life. I am grateful for this never boring family that keeps me on my toes. My brain feels alive. I worked into the night on Friday so I could have Saturday and Sunday off, my mind didn’t know what to do with itself. This is what I was hoping for, that maybe the long-dead, hardened gray-matter would start forming little neuro-pathways again and it would all lead to my lifelong dream fulfilled of being able to write and create like I once did.