Parenting, like teaching, is about being flexible. If we are too rigid and stick to the plan, we miss out on some teachable moments and we miss out on enjoying what is around us. This past week my family had gone to DC to visit family for Thanksgiving. It was the first time my two children had gone to DC to see their aunt and uncle’s home. The kids were really excited too (mostly because they would get to stay in a hotel for three nights). Thanksgiving Day was wonderful and included some of the usual traditions like turkey, pumpkin pie, time with family, and my favorite, the musical previews before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
After dinner, the adults planned to meet up the next afternoon at the Air and Space Museum. We’re a family that likes a plan. It has been about 10 years since the last time I visited that museum and I was looking forward to seeing how my two would react when they saw the airplanes suspended from the ceiling. Unfortunately, at about 10:00 am my husband got sick. Driving downtown, finding a parking spot, walking, and then enjoying the museum was not something I thought he would like to do in his current condition. So, we let him sleep. Suddenly, our nicely planned afternoon and evening just got turned on its head! We had to get flexible and change things up for the day. Were my two sad/upset that they missed seeing the airplanes and other exhibits, yes. I will add, they understood why we had to change our plans and got to learn the life lesson that sometimes plans have to change. Because our plans had to change, we got to spend some extra time with their Grandma as she and I took the kids to a nearby park to play. Because our plans had to change, my oldest got to spend some extra time with his Grandpa while they used Grandpa’s phone to take pictures of all the letters of the alphabet they could find around the hotel. Because our plans had to change, the three of us enjoyed a great dinner that just happened to be across the way from an IKEA. So, because our plans had to change, the three of us enjoyed doing some IKEA shopping (okay, I guess it was really just me who enjoyed the shopping).
Being flexible and having to change plans, in life or in the classroom, shouldn’t mean that what takes the place of the planned activity doesn’t have to be fun. Being flexible allows you to be more resourceful, more creative and in the end being flexible shows those around you the true meaning of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.