But yesterday after we got done speaking, an attendee told me that it was the best workshop she had been to at the Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health Conference. I mentioned that last year I had had a few bad evaluations that I assumed were from professionals, but that I thought parents usually understood the point of the presentation. She said, in essence, that many of the tools that they needed were not being presented to them in other seminars and that it was those tools they were seeking when they came to the conference.
And then I remembered why we were doing all this in the first place. Why I was shoving medicine down my throat and leaving home on the brink of a relapse of pneumonia just to spend 90 minutes talking to parents. It goes back to my first adoption conference when I was in the middle of parenting our first very tough older kids. I was listening to a professional with many degrees and years of experience tell me how to parent my child. But nowhere in the brochure did it mention that HE had ever even lived for a day with a kid like mine. I wanted to stand up and shout "How can you think you know what you're talking about? Take my kids for a week and use your theories and let me know how that goes for you." The two or three seminars that I went to that were BY adoptive parents were so much more meaningful and rang true for me, but some of them obviously were parents who were very interested in sharing, but had no public speaking experience.
At that point I decided that maybe I should use my 15+ years of public speaking experience in other venues and that Bart, an excellent speaker, should join me when he could to share things that would impact the audience with our experiences. And every time since we started speaking, parents have given us good feedback.
Sometimes it is a hassle. As I mentioned yesterday, all of the details drag me down in booking the appearances and then actually getting there with everything I need. My health has been a challenge. Bart and I are an excellent speaking team, but finding someone to oversee a household of 10 or 11 or 12 or 13 people while we are both gone overnight is easy.
But yesterday I was reminded of why. Sure, we get paid sometimes (though yesterday we did on a voluntary basis), and sometimes we sell a book or two. But we don't do it for the money. We do it because it makes sense to do it and because it empowers other parents. It redeems our hard times.
The person who said this to me knows who she is and also reads my blog .... so if you're out there, thanks for the reminder. And you asked me to include this prayer in my blog again, so here you are:
The Modified Serenity Prayer (author unknown)
Lord, Grant me the Serenity
to accept the people I cannot change
to change the person I can
and the wisdom to know it's me.