Not How I Planned to Be On Oprah

Though not my only wake up call, this one got my attention.  I was sitting at Harpo Studios in Chicago to view a taping of Oprah’s Life Class for Super Soul Sunday.  A few weeks earlier my daughter had been interviewed and taped with eight other children by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, a child psychologist and author of The Conscious Parent.  Clips of the kids from the interview were going to be included in a discussion between Oprah and Dr. Shefali during Oprah’s Life Class. Topics included for discussion were how it feels to be a child, communication with parents, discipline and beyond.

A few weeks earlier I’d thrown my 11-year-old daughter’s name in the hat to be a part of this.   My daughter is very open and likes to talk.  She’s been raised by a life coach.  She got what it was going to be about.  I myself am always looking for anything that supports me in becoming a better version of me. It was a perfect match.

After the taping with the kids, the producer came out to say how fabulous Casserly had been.  “She was very open, forthcoming and shared a lot.”  “Great,” I thought to myself.  This should be—to use a favorite word of mine — “interesting.”

Before this day when I would see the show live-streamed, I’d received many calls from the Harpo producer.  She asked, “Are you feeling comfortable with everything so far? We need to confirm that your husband will be at the show.”  She called several times to confirm this last detail even though I’d learned that other husbands were not required to be present. Hmm.   “That’s odd,” I thought.

As my husband and I reached the studio for the taping of the big show, the producer sat down with us.  “Dr. Shefali really liked your daughter,” she repeated.  “She shared a lot.”  (Casserly had told me she’d spoken the most in the group discussion.) The producer went on, “We are going to put both you and your husband in the front row and have you both set up with microphones now.  We don’t want to tell you too much because we want your responses to be authentic.” 

She asked again, looking more at my husband now than me, “Are you ok?  Do you feel comfortable?”  The question only reminded me that I shouldn’t feel comfortable at this moment.  My husband said, “Let’s get this show on.”

I didn’t know exactly what my daughter had shared, but let’s just say I knew it would provide an opportunity for me to grow my parenting.  That’s what I had intended.  That’s why I had volunteered.  That, however, didn’t matter to my ego now.  At this point, minutes before the show was to start, my ego knew it was in for a large helping of ego-pie, and it was having a fit for bringing me to this point.  It felt like I was being led into the Hunger Games, but I was the only one who didn’t know it yet.

We took our seats.  The show began.  Casserly’s face came up on the large screen first, and she shared her feelings about not truly being heard. 

Oprah turned to ask me how I felt when I heard my daughter say this. “Are you surprised?” she asked.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t.

I’ve received whispers in my life that I am moving too fast, unbalanced, and that at times I’m not present even though I am there and talking.  While I give my best to my clients, sometimes only half of me is left and available for those closest to me at the end of the day.   I’ve realized this before.

The only difference this time was that I was getting the lesson on Oprah’s Life Class directly from Oprah, the ultimate life coach.  How much louder did it have to be?  Would I get my lesson this time?  These were the most important questions to me.

Dr. Shefali and Casserly reminded me that our children don’t need to be molded, controlled, shaped, cajoled, fixed, or managed, and we don’t need to solve their problems. More than anything what they need from us as parents is to be seen, heard, and feel like they matter so they feel empowered to do this for themselves.  Sometimes, as my daughter shares on the show, all they really need is a hug.

Taking the liberty here to use Oprah’s language, “some things I know for sure are…”

  • I am a master student of conscious living and conscious parenting—not a master.
  • We cannot be better parents or leaders until we acknowledge that there are moments that we make mistakes and that we can be and do better.
  • Life speaks to us very directly.  We have to be willing to listen.  Some of life’s lessons are hard but only because we are hard-headed.  We can get a life lesson from a whisper or from a brick, our choice.  There are a few life lessons I’ve chosen regrettably to learn by way of a brick.  Being fully present in the moment is one of them.
  • Our children are our greatest teachers, if we are willing to truly listen.
  • Finally, we all want the same things for our kids and ourselves, but at times we don’t realize the way we’re going about is not working.  We remain loyal to ways that no longer serve us.  The good news is at the end of the day, we always have an opportunity to make a new choice.

Last week I came across a journal entry I’d written earlier this year.  It read, “Be on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.”  Well, life had given me what I wanted and certainly what I needed once again.   No, it wasn’t how I planned it…I believe it was better.

The airing of this Super Soul Sunday Life Class is this Sunday, September 21st on OWN at 8:00 CST/9:00 EST.

I hope everybody who has children sets their DVR and watches.  The show has the power to change the way you see and parent your children.  It did for me.

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