Tonight was my daughter’s 3rd grade Curriculum Night and I didn’t go. I’ve never missed a Curriculum Night – not for her or for my now-7th grade son. I know it’s not a big deal, and I don’t mean to make you feel bad if you’ve ever missed Curriculum Night. I’m sure you had your reasons. But it felt like a big deal for me. I’m Room Mom. I’ve always been the Room Mom type, the party-planner, the bulletin-board decorator. I drive a mini-van.
I missed Curriculum Night because a month ago I agreed to give a workshop at a new venue on this particular date. I drove an hour to get there, through rain so wild and thick my wipers couldn’t keep up, in a dress that was utterly drenched just from getting in the car. Possibly as a consequence of the stormy weather – and possibly irrelevant to it – there were three people in my workshop audience tonight.
Here’s the crazy part. I loved every second of that workshop. I adore teaching the principles in my new book and I would drive even farther, in harder rain, to do it.
Prior to this year, almost all of my speaking engagements took place in auditoriums filled with hundreds of people, and my fee, for almost a decade now, has been $1,000 per day. A well-meaning author-friend asked me last week why I’d started doing local workshops that pertain only to the one book I haven’t even published yet – many of them for free and often with no more than a dozen people in attendance. He asked this politely, but also clearly from the position that I’d completely lost my mind.
The answer is simple. I love it. Up until recently, all of my writing – and most of my energy – has focused on children and parenting. My 34 published books were all either children’s books or parenting books, all designed to celebrate, and help families intensify, the bond of unconditional parental love. And when I first started speaking about those books, twelve years ago, I did THOSE presentations for free, for anyone who wanted to hear them, because I loved talking about it so much.
But this book is for a different audience. This one is about YOU and about ME, and about the parts of our inner journeys that have little to do with whether or not we’re parents. It’s about the core essence of every one of us; about identifying who we deeply are and what we deeply want, on a soul level.
And right now, for today at least, I believe with all my heart that committing to this kind of meaningful self-examination is the greatest gift any of us can give ourselves AND our children. Making it to Curriculum Night is good. Giving kids a parent who is passionately true to her authentic longings, and by example, encouraging them to always be true to theirs . . . is better.