By Paige Trevor
Editor’s note: During this winter class session PEP Leader Paige Trevor is writing weekly about her PEP I class, which meets Wednesday mornings at Temple Micah in Northwest DC. This is the first post in this series about the eight-week class.
Class starts in two days. Packets and books are in the car, the class is well enrolled, cookie dough is in the freezer ready to be freshly baked for the first session. I don’t want to be braggy, but I do know how to make a fabulous salty oatmeal cookie.
It’s winter and it’s snowy this morning, to get me prepared for teaching January through March. Will this week’s class be canceled? Do I need to prepare? Will anyone show up? What if it’s a two-hour delay? The older I get, the less I take the weather personally. It’s a relief.
Prepping for class is done with equal parts dread and excitement. Dread: “Ugh, why did I say I’d do this? EIGHT weeks.” Excitement: I open the PEP I binder, and goodies, ideas and laughs literally fall out of the notebook. Yesterday, I found a note that a former class participant’s son left her one night: “Paige is on vacation, Sam [his brother; name changed] and I will be teaching class tonight.”
The child who wrote that note was around 6 years old. He used a green pen, and his note still cracks me up, years later. Kids are so smart and listen so well. He knew that this Paige person was taking his mom away once a week. What ingenious problem solving: “If Mom needs parenting help, well, we can take care of that right here, no problem. Mom gets her class and Sam and I get her to stay home.”
Sifting through notes and articles and charts and going over the exercises we’ll be leading, I know why I do this (in addition to the laughs). I do this because it helps ME. During the next eight weeks I will show up as a better parent in my own family. I will treat my kids and myself with more respect. Firm and Friendly will rule the day. (Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll still nag, AND I will nag less during these next weeks. I will still be my bossy old self, AND I will bite my tongue 87 more times during the next eight weeks than if I weren’t leading a PEP class).
I will be seeking and noticing progress not perfection in my kids, my spouse and, mostly, myself. Frankly, this is exactly what PEP is all about.
PEP I: Parenting 5 to 12 Year Olds takes place at Temple Micah, 2829 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC, on Wednesday mornings, 9:45-11:45 am, Jan. 28 through March 18. Preregistration is required; you can register here or call 301-929-8824.
Paige Trevor is a certified parent educator, writer, public speaker and founder of Balancing Act, LLC, an organizing consultancy providing tried-and-true methods for establishing efficient routines and a peaceful household. She is the mother of two teenagers.