During one of my presentations called, “How to Regulate Yourself While Your Child is Melting Down,” I shared a story about a difficult decision I made on the opening day of ski season. We had been at the lodge for less than 2 hours when my son’s skis disappeared! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As I was describing the situation, my son Ben asked to say a few words: “When you have an expectation about how something should go and it does not work out, it can be really hard to accept.” Damn right!
When things are not going the way you expected, planned, or wanted, you do have some choices.
- You can fight against
- You can resist it
- You could even try to power through it, or you can drop your agenda and drop into what is happening right now
2020 level set all of our agendas
Think of 2020 as the grand lesson of dropping our agendas. We did not expect COVID.And even when we did learn about it, we expected it to be a two-week interruption.
We expected our kids to go to school in person.We expected to go out to dinner, visit relatives, go on vacation, have birthday parties, and shop without a mask. Well, we were mistaken. What we wanted, what we expected, what we believed should be happening, wasn’t happening.
Learning to deal
Dropping our agendas means loosening our grip on how we believe it should be and dealing with life as it is. When we drop our agendas, we take the pressure off both ourselves and our child and we open up space to do the Next Right Thing.
For example, when my son was in elementary school, my agenda was for him to attend every birthday party he was invited to and stay for cake. This agenda was tested when, after 90 minutes of play time, my son was in sensory overload.
Being at the party was not enough. He wanted to open the presents, blow out the candles and sit in the chair of honor. But we just had to stay for cake. After all, it would be rude to leave. And, I don’t want to be that parent or my son to be that kid who made a spectacle of themselves. I wanted him to be invited again. I wanted him to have friends.
So we stayed. Instead of sitting around eating cake and chatting with other parents, I was chasing Ben to ensure that he did not overturn the cake, open presents or grab goodie bags from other children. It was exhausting.
As time went on, I made a shift. I could either fight what was happening or decide to call time when my son got to the point of no return. This is what it means to Drop your agenda.
Let go of how you think it should be and drop in to how it actually is and decide, now what?
For us, this meant sometimes we stayed for cake.