I’m sitting down for what feels like the first time in forever. It’s not true but it feels that way! For all of you moms and parents that are in the mad dash to the end of school, you can probably relate.
Open houses, art shows, graduations, it’s all coming to a head and can feel pretty frenzied. Especially, if like me, you’re finding yourself a part of it all. Doing things that you’re not even sure you volunteered to do!
This year, we’re in a transition as well, which brings its own set of challenges. We have an elementary school graduation on our hands which means a move into middle school in the fall. It’s funny, Mason is so ready for this transition. He’s been ready for a while. I find that its me that was having the harder time adjusting. He’s just moving forward, excited for what’s coming. I however, have all of my own fears and apprehensions rearing their heads from my own past experiences. I am however able to put those fears aside when possible, so that I don’t cloud Mason’s experience, but boy it can be challenging at times.
I’m able to put my fears to the side mainly because years ago, Matt and I both participated in the Landmark Forum. It was an incredible experience and we both did a number of courses over the years which included the Forum, SELP and Advanced Course for both of us and the Communications Course for me. There’s not much I can say about all of it that would sum up my experience other than two words….life changing. Participating in those courses is what has helped me to separate myself from my fears and judgements and really be with what’s truly happening. I get to see that Mason is excited and I’m scared and what the impact of my fears does to him. When I see that, it makes it easier to let go of how I’m being and stand inside of excitement with Mason.
When Matt and I went through the courses years ago, we knew that they had a Landmark Forum for young people and teens. We talked about the possibility of putting our future children through the course and we agreed that we would just have to wait and see when the time came. I can hardly believe it, but that time has arrived.
We dropped Mason off at his Landmark Forum this morning. He’s in. Three full days of conversation around who he’s being in life and who he wants to be. Conversations around choosing upset or joy, anger or forgiveness. It’s a pretty big conversation and I’m not expecting him to “get” everything that they talk about, but Mason’s a pretty sharp kid. He’s a thinker and I have a feeling he’s going to get a lot out of it.
Being a transition year, we thought this was the perfect time for him to take the course. He’ll be meeting a ton of new people and being exposed to so much more in middle school. He’s going from a class of 62 students to over 200. There will be over 600 students at the school altogether which is kind of crazy. The Forum will hopefully give him the ability to separate himself from his reactions to things so he can truly be able to think about how he’s feeling and why. Taking the ‘reaction’ out of the conversation a bit so he can be hopefully be more mindful in his experience.
I assisted the Forum for Young People in LA last year to check it out and see what I thought of the course. See how similar or different it was from what we experienced as adults. It was, for the most part, the same course. They speak to the children with the same language and conversation that we received. They treat them as people more than children, empowering them to take responsibility for their lives and to take action in a positive way that makes them and the people around them feel good. I definitely think the information went over some of their heads. Some children were too young, some were too immature, but many of them seemed to “get it”.
The course for young people is for ages 8-12. and even though Miles is old enough to participate, we don’t think he’s ready and I think too young to really get the most out of the course. In order for a child to participate, at least one of the childs parents has to have taken the Landmark Forum. I considered having both Matt and I take the course again as a refresher but the timing didn’t work out and honestly, assisting the one in LA was almost like taking it again.
I’m looking forward to hearing about Mason’s experience after today and I’ll write an update after it’s all over. He has today, Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 4pm. They’re long days for sure but if you think about what the conversation is, it’s not very much time at all. In fact, when Mason was talking to someone from Landmark on the phone who was asking him if he was ready to be enrolled in the course, he asked them what the time committment was and then put them on hold. He looked and Matt and I and we braced ourselves for what he was about to say. We fully expected him to complain about the length, the amount of days, something. He looked at us and said, “so, three days of 7 hours, 21 hours total for something that could change my life forever?? That’s nothing. I’m in.” Matt and I were both stunned and ecstatic. He got it. One weekend for the possibility of a lifetime of transformation. Awesome.
Here is an excerpt from the end of the welcome packet to the course:
“Wen we adults think of children there is a simple truth, which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live, a child is living. …. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. … A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him, for, after all, life is his and her journey, too.”