We got there early and were surprised to see that the room was set for 100 people. Joe busied himself with setting up a book table and I got my notes out and organized. I'd been asked to do a talk with a slightly different focus from what I usually do so I was very careful in arranging what was to be said when and with with what emphasis. Twenty minutes to start and the room was still empty with the exception of me at the front and a hotel guy making sure the coffee, tea and juice table was all set. He looked over at me with a sad smile. I smiled back more hopefully.
Saturday lectures are an interesting thing. They are typically targetted, as this one was, to parents primarily and staff secondarily. Usually if you get 10 to 15 you're doing well. People are busy, generally and parents are tired, constantly. But we hoped for at least a few, a hundred maybe not, but a few. But then, almost suddenly, people began pouring into the room. It was quite full. The hotel guy came by and I gave him a victorious nod.
I have little to say except how much I enjoy doing parent training. I began my speaking career with parent training, speaking in church basements to small groups of parents. I think that I owe my whole approach to training to those early days. I learned early that parents respect people who tell the truth, who are intellectually honest and who do not patronize. Parent's have an expertise that is often, and at great cost, untapped.
So for a whole day in Vancouver I was refreshed by expectations of parents who loved their kids. I was challenged by questions that carried both frustration and humour. I got a glimpse into the sustaining power of hope.
And now I'm taking a day off.