• Jody Kussin

#62 Family Matters Life Goes Awry

In These Times by Dr. Jody Kussin, May 15, 2020

What’s your plan? Your big picture parenting plan?

I realize most ‘little picture plans’ have disappeared and been abandoned. But what’s the overall context going forward?

As Robert Burns said (and Steinbeck re-iterated:)

“The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.”

We are so far ‘awry’ at this point, I wonder again, what are your plans?

Have you considered that other old saying: ‘Man plans, and God laughs.’

One dad told me this week: “The plan is for our kids to look back at some point and say, ‘Wow, we really had fun at home with Mommy and Daddy when we all stayed home.’”

A mom said, “My basic plan is making it until the school year ends, and then really REALLY spend time doing nothing.” I know you think we are not doing much, but this has been incredibly hectic to raise four children while crisis/home schooling them with two working parents.”

Planning is like story telling – we need a beginning, middle, end. That’s one reason we can’t do it right now. We only have the beginning and middle, with no clear end in sight. So how can we tell our stories? We just have to live them right now.

A dad said today, “We are less concerned about homework practice sheets and more concerned the kids learn to get along with each other. Fewer formulas, more forts. Less lectures, more Legos”

Summer camps are being cancelled and/or switched to online (which seems an oxymoron – virtual camp is like bittersweet – two things that do not go well together.) Working parents are scrambling to figure out what in goodness sake to do. Teens are angry and mourning ‘the only hope I had of breaking out of this house.’

I know some parents hiring college kids now, to come to their houses a few hours a day and play with the kids. Some families are looking into the Belgium plan of ‘joining bubbles’ - where you choose four individuals and they choose you and you all agree to be a part of the Venn diagram and to continue sheltering in place while expanding the home nest. (This is already causing relationships problems in Europe – it’s like little kids on the playground - ‘Cut that out or I won’t let you be in my bubble or come to my birthday party.’ And ‘I hear you are inviting your sister in law into the bubble but not your sister, for reals?!’)

People are going back to basics and more sour dough bread is being home baked now than during Little House on the Prairie days.

Many families are now avidly following animals (online) – National Geographic and webcams of baby eagles being raised and bears frolicking in the woods. You know who needs more attention? The reptile CHAMELEON. Lots to learn from those little guys. Adapt. Change.

While also staying true to yourself. How do they do it?

Our joyful planning ahead, in these times, needs to be both limited, thoughtful, and huge, all at the same time. One day at a time planning. Harm reduction analysis for meeting your family’s needs. And seeing the forest and the trees at the same time.

For the day: plan to be happy and kind.

For harm reduction: plan to be careful and conscientious.

For the forest: plan to raise yourself and your family up to with gratitude and a sense of connection and attachment to the human race.

Life is definitely willy nillying all over the place.

And I just can’t resist reminding us of Culture Club: Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon You come and go, you come and go Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams Red, gold, and green, red, gold, and green

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