Tag Archives: teaching

Strong girls, confident girls and American Girl

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I love perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I have found some real treasures there. Sometimes for as little as a quarter. Sometimes for as much as two dollars. Over the past few months I have come across American Girl books. First of all, I had completely forgot there was a book series. Then I discovered they had these guide type books.

Having a ten-year-old girl to raise, I have wondered how to approach subjects. When do I approach them. I am constantly looking online for information on this. I had not really thought to find a book that explained it to HER.  The first one we came across was ” The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls.”  There was nothing in this book I had not told her already. However, she dove into it and really seemed to finally grasp some basic concepts. She was understanding why she needed to change underwear every day. Why she had to use shampoo conditioner and soap when she took a shower. I can’t tell you how many times she asked to take a rinse off shower. Why brushing your teeth last night doesn’t count in the morning.We read some of it together but for the most part it was just in her room for her to read. I know she read it as when I went in to check on how clean her room was, It was always in a different spot.

Now instead of figuring out how to have birds and bees talks and your changing body talks I could focus on other important issues. With school starting back up, I thought I would go check out the book store again. We had visited lots during the summer. She has more chapter books than she knows what to do with.

When I stumbled upon another great book from American Girl. This one is something that some of the other mothers I am friends with and I have discussed a lot lately. “Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and Finding a Better Way. It is hard for me to comprehend that at Ten years old this is what she is dealing with now. She is my baby. Wait how is she walking? Why is she growing so fast? Alas, she is and the best way to deal with it is to pull up my panties and be ready. So I got the book, even though it was not remotely what I was looking for. I walked in to find books for a friend and maybe one for me.

Knowing my daughter is an eager to please type person like myself. Knowing how that affected me when I was her age. I wanted to fill up her bucket as much as possible, to strive for her not having the crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence I had.

Like the first book she started reading it right away. As she read things she liked or made sense to her she would talk to me about it. Normally reading hour is a bunch of me reminding her she is supposed to be reading and a lot of her rolling her eyes. This is why it’s an hour instead of the twenty minutes required. Once she had this book in her hands though it was all she could focus on. Even the next morning I found her walking around looking at it. I mean seriously how do you get upset she is not getting ready when she is reading? I really struggle with that. In the car she continued to read it and all these little squabbles that had come up, some when she was in Kindergarten, that she had never told me about. She had ideas of how to handle it if it happened again. The book encourages to set a personal motto, so that was what she was thinking about as she got out to go to school.

I remember being told to respect my elders. It didn’t matter if that elder was bullying me or being overly bossy. I was a kid. I had no say and if I said anything it was disrespectful. I have tried to encourage her to speak up for herself. To stand up for herself when she needed to. I have tried to teach her that if she sees it happening she should say something. I want her to feel heard but also have respect for those in charge. How in the world do you teach this as a parent who is eager to please and overly anxious to a child who is the same? Being the researcher I am, I looked up the book. Then to my wonderful surprise, I found there was all kinds of curriculum material available all centered around this book and another American Girl book.  Not once anywhere did I see it mention they should behave this way because God wanted it. I was so relieved. This was actually usable stuff to me! She is already eager to please and I want her to stand up for herself for HER. Not for anyone else, not even God.

My eyes have been opened and now this is probably something I am going to research more.  She already wanted to share this book with her friends so I have volunteered to do a Sunday School class on this subject. Perhaps this is something I will try to do more often. Perhaps I need to make this a goal for myself.

It starts with us, the parents and will trickle down from there. My hope is if we all do this, one day the world will be a kinder place.

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From the ground up (A #1000speak post)

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It’s all over the news these days. It is hard to avoid it. Police brutality! Police shoot civilian! On and on it goes. It starts to get depressing. It is so easy to only see one side of the story, as media often only shows one side.  Even media that tries its best to be unbiased. Are any of us truly unbiased? When the only stories you are being fed are sensationalist and horrible, it starts to taint your view. If you are not looking at the picture as a whole, it is not easy to see why police are acting the way they are. It seems random and unconnected. Folks, it’s time we all started looking at the bigger picture.

When I worked in probation, I saw it progressing. The blatant disregard for law enforcement. It hasn’t gotten any better from what I have seen. In fact it has gotten worse. Both civilians and police over reacting because of past events. ” I wasn’t really resisting!” When you think about it as only your actions it doesn’t seem like resistance.  When you look at it from the perspective of the police who not only have to keep their safety your safety and the safety of anyone in the immediate area in mind at all times. Someone pulling their arm away can seem like a bigger threat.A small resistance can be where it all falls apart. They can’t possibly know that you never intended to escalate it to anything more than that. They are human. They are subject to adrenaline rushes just like anyone else. No? They should control it better? Really? If a person fails to rescue a child being crushed by a car because the adrenaline rush is not enough to lift the car, would we blame them? Would we say they should have been able to control it and lift the car. No one would ever say that. If you really step back and look at it, both situations are one where safety is threatened. They really are not that different of situation. The problem is not them. The problem is not us. It is all of us. It is both sides. Both sides need to reach out. Compassion can be that bridge.

Race seems to play into it sure, but that can end with us. It takes both sides reaching out. If you look back over time there have been many races all over the world that have had clashes with police, for all kinds of reasons. It is not just an American problem. It is global. GLOBAL people. That should be getting our attention. It is practically shouting for change. We can be that change. It won’t happen over night I know that. Right now it is all about planting seeds of compassion. Compassion is capable of building that bridge between them and us. Because really there is no them and us there is only we. We, the human race. There is a lot that needs to change. Compassion is the first step in those changes, I promise. Trickle down effects work. We know they do. We have seen it. Its time to use the same process to go up. Start with compassion from the bottom and it will reach the top. It will. Compassion can go up that chain of command and before we know it change will be happening.

We need to start now, at home with our kids. We need to be setting the example and looking for the good. We need to be scouring the internet for good stories and sharing those twice as much as the negative stories.  We need to be teaching our children to find the positive. We need to get the message through to media that we are tired of only negative stories. We are emotionally burdened by the repetitive horror stories of what the human race is capable of. We need to not shelter our kids from the horror but show them that there can be balance. THEY can be the balance. They can make the difference.  We need to lead them by example. We need to be working towards the changes just as hard as we are teaching them. We need to not only tell them there are two sides to every story but show them. Find the other side of the story. Give them all the facts. Demand that media do the same. From what I have already seen from the up and coming generation they are going to blow us away. They are holding tight to compassion and spreading it. Call it a renewal of the hippies if you want, but peace, love and happiness are not horrible goals.

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Start now. Join us. Read share and comment on the links in the link up below. Link up your own compassion post.

#1000speak Finding our way back. Join Us.

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On my post Gratitude Vs Depression Vs Anxiety at the end I added a bit about a new initiative that I am participating in.

This is a little more about that:

The newest news on that is that you don’t have to be a blogger to join: We now have a site where we will publish anyone who does not have their own blog.

What is this #1000speak all about?

Somewhere we lost our way.

Somewhere we forgot compassion.

We say we have compassion but, I think we have forgotten what true compassion is.

This is what the Free Dictionary say about compassion

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We forgot how much kindness,mercy and love tie into compassion. We forgot to be genuinely happy for others. Instead we are judging them. We are telling them they are wrong. A lot of times we say this with good intentions. We say it is because we care. Because we love them. We forgot that by doing things this way, we are forgetting how absolutely unique each person is. What makes you happy, isn’t necessarily what makes me happy. What makes your life gel is not necessarily what makes my life gel. In fact,if I tried it your way my life would probably fall apart. When I listened to what others said I had to do,I fell apart.I grasped at straws. When I stepped back and listened to my inner voice, When I was true to myself, things started clicking. It is hard because we want to prevent our friends families and even strangers from struggling and grasping like we did. We forget that during that struggle, during that grasping, I was learning. I was learning things about myself, about how I work, How I function.They were lessons I needed to learn.Sometimes they were lessons I had to have several times.

When you add in the horrors that have been in the News lately. Terrorism, death, people falling apart and the news is there to blast it in our face. Is it any wonder that people are loosing their faith in humanity? That depression is on the rise? That people are striking out in anger?In fear?

The best way to make a change in the world is , model the behavior we want to see in the world. If we want to see more kindness, we need to be more kind. If we want to see more love, We need to love more. True non-judgmental I accept you for who you are love. We can’t teach our children compassion if we don’t show them what compassion actually is.  Compassion for humans, compassion for animals, compassion for the Earth. To start modeling it maybe we need to just do it, the feelings and the actual want to be compassionate will follow.

I am proud to know some of the founders of this initiative. Flooding the internet with goodness. With stories of love ,kindness and compassion. Reading about it often inspires us to do more. 1000 bloggers may seem like a small little pebble in the grand scheme of things. It is just the first step. The ripples. That is what I am excited to see. How many ripples will this have? It’s the ripples that make the actual change. I hope for our ripples to be as big as a humongous boulder dropped in a river. Ripples that start in one spot and travel far down the stream.

(all links will open in a separate window for your convenience!)

Here is the post that inspired this initiative. Here is the post that started this in motion. Yvonne and Lizzi are just plain amazing. Their compassion is astounding.

If you would also like to join this initiative-sign up here.  Don’t have a blog? No problem. Send your writing to THIS EMAIL.

We also have a Facebook page you can follow the progress on!

Follow on Twitter under the hashtag  #1000speak

And of course stay tuned on this blog!!!

Save your pennies!

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In September I spoke about Guest at your table, a charity, and how we are going to take a more active role.

Please take a second and go read it! Here

This may seem like a hard subject to talk about. I think the fact that it is based on pocket change makes it a bit easier to explain to kids.  I also feel it is something that we need to be teaching our kids. As a parent, I am always questioning myself. More than just her physical needs. Am I feeding her emotional needs? Am I feeding her spiritual needs? Am I making sure she is not overly spoiled but yet feels loved?

By starting with just collecting pennies it has also lead to other, more complex, questions. How does ten cents feed a family? Why is their food so much cheaper than ours? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?  I am not going to lie, it is hard to talk about. It is hard to talk about as an adult. However, I firmly believe that it is never too early to teach gratitude for what you do have.  I also think it is never too late to start.

I don’t know about you but, the constant asking for stuff wears me out. It is just stuff. It is not anything she needs. We have been trying to instill in her, while it is nice to get presents, the true value is in having someone’s presence. Spending time with family and friends you love is more important than stuff.  In a child’s mind this can be a hard thing to swallow. However we are starting to see our teaching paying off. She is looking for the good part of every situation more and more.

The added bonus is of course when you are constantly trying to make sure they see the good side of things, you also see it more.

 

Ten Things of Thankful #67 (but really week four)

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It doesn’t seem like this should be week four. I am very proud of myself for keeping up with it. It is also getting easier and easier to find something to be thankful about in every situation. This is not to say I have left all the complaining and grumbling behind. I don’t think I ever truly will. However I do know that it is helping my mental health greatly, this looking for the positive and being grateful.

Saturday

1. As odd as it seems , because we need the money, I am thankful my husband had Saturday off from both jobs. It allowed him and our daughter some bonding time and it allowed me to deal with another flare of myofascial pain syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Along with the storms that were moving in and out and throwing my arthritis in all kinds of fits. I was able to focus on resting and replenishing my body without worrying about my daughter.

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Sunday

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2.We had a service at the beach and a potluck for our autumn equinox service.  It was stormy at first but the sun did make an appearance. Good food and a good service.  Here is to cooler weather. Even if it is because of the tilt of the Earth.

3. For a friend who gave me the left over Seitan Stew from the potluck. It made it an easy dinner since tonight was just me and the kid.

Monday

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Not only was it too thick of rain to drive, my arthritis was just not going to be calmed down by anything. It was ticked off and was making it well known how much it didn’t like the barometric fluxes we had all day. They were individual storms roughly an hour apart.

4. Despite my schedule being changed all around, I still got off two submissions to other Magazines.

5. PLUS I got an email from Mamalode saying I will be published this FRIDAY! WOOT WOOT!

Tuesday

6. I had the most amazing autumn equinox walk. It was so amazing I wrote about it, here  .

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7. I tenaciously guard my alone time. A cola and my book fifteen to twenty minutes before the school dismissal. It is simple yet gives so much happiness.

Wednesday

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8. More newborn snuggles. I just love it. I love that I can help my friend out a bit with some relief and I love the snuggles. I also kinda like that he doesn’t talk back….yet. It actually does make me thankful that we are past that stage. You tend to gloss over how much work it is with a newborn when you reflect back.

Thursday

9. I am thankful for friends who can communicate with no words at all

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This was  vastly more stress relieving than any words could have achieved.

Friday

10. A second published essay. It really has helped renew my passion for writing. Check it out. If you like it please share it!

We have enough;Teaching Gratitude 

Also I am really happy to say I have figured how to attach links to words. It was something that I could do with help but when I tried on my own… it didn’t happen.

So that’s a bonus thing.

Mom , be objective!

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This year my daughter starts third grade. She is starting to turn into this wonderful little student who can actual explain what she is learning. She is also able to tell me all I ever wanted to know about a subject. She was fascinated with tape worms , she did her research. I was not so fascinated.

However, when her school room assignment came and her Best friend forever like a sister to her was also in her class we knew it had to be changed. It had absolutely nothing to do with the teachers assigned. It had everything to do with those two can not NOT talk to each other if they are in the same room. We gave it a go last year. They found ways around actually talking. They pantomimed… Because that is not the least bit distracting to others. They had their own sign language. While that was ingenious , work was not getting done. It was requested that my daughter be moved, which was approved. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

The new selection was with a male teacher. My first thought was, no!  The what if’s invaded.

What if he comes off too gruff and she burst into tears?

What if he ……… insert fifty million irrational reasons. 

A friend of mine told me I was lucky. She wished her kids could get in a class with a male teacher.  Say what?

I had to step back and think , am I seeing this objectively or am I acting only on emotions?

When I really thought about it, I was acting solely on emotions. She is nine years old. An adult will say something stern to her she may not like. It may be a man. I can’t keep her emotional state in a bubble. Boy do I want to though!! Then I started thinking back, my favorite elementary school teacher was a male teacher. I had always admired the difference in interactions with the kids, I saw when teaching with another male teacher. I actually had a male teacher as my co-teacher several times.

Once I stepped back and really looked at the situation. I realized I was actually okay with this. In fact, perhaps he will be that MAGIC teacher for her. We all have one who has opened our eyes to something. There are so few male teachers we should be grateful when our children get the opportunity to have a male teacher.

 Was I really going to let a difference in gender be the deciding factor?  Turns out , that no I was not.  We have told her she can be whatever she wants to be. There are no boy jobs or girl jobs, there are just jobs. If I changed her room based solely on gender am I not sending her a mixed message.

This summer her math tutor pushed her and was a bit hard on her. She realized quickly that she was doing that to get the best work out of her. It has only helped her.

Now I can’t wait for what the new year holds!

Remembering that you just made a DNA contribution

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I scheduled a parent teacher conference. I found that it helps me stay on top of her school work if I am touching base every semester with her teachers. I am not good at consistency. I know that. I have found ways to compensate for this, scheduling frequent parent teacher conferences is one of them.

It is hard to remember that yes my daughter gets somethings from me, somethings from her father, and then there is a part that is just her. Its hard to remember that she is going to have traits that are just her. Who knows , maybe my great great great great great grandmother had this trait. There are somethings I understand where she is coming from, there are plenty more that I am completely lost on.

It does make it harder to problem solve when she has issues in school that are exactly the same as mine. It makes me more apt to just say hmm yes I have the problem too. I want her to go beyond what I did though. I struggled through a lot of my elementary school years. It was not until I had that magic teacher who just got me and broke through.

It is annoying when it is something she gets from her father. Something that frustrates me about her father is he is incredibly brilliant(you have to be to purposefully fail an IQ entrance test by one point). It is just something that is for them. I worked and sweated and studied to get a 138 in my IQ test. Her father was barely paying attention and got a 140.

Its hard to look at her and not see some part of myself or her father. Sometimes that makes it easier to forget she is her own person.  As hard as we try to guide our children to be better than we are. To succeed where we have failed. To mold them into confident successful people. It is easy to blow off the parts that are our biggest flaws. Don’t discount that other half of the DNA. Maybe that is all she needs to get over the hurdles that stood in my way.

It is hard to not sit here and think, where did I go wrong, how did I not see this coming? I know she gets her A.D.D from me. No matter that I tried to give her every advantage so that it would not be an issue. It seemed like it had been working. It is so easy for me to see it only as a hindrance to her. It took me years to see my A.D.D as a benefit and not a curse. To work past all the negative feedback I got from teachers and even employers. If only you could focus……If only you followed through all the time on everything….. It took me years to figure out how to make it work for me instead of against me.

By scheduling frequent parent teacher conferences we can work together as a unit to make her  a better student. One of the things that she has in her favor that I did is a Montessori school.  The part I love the most is work partners. It seems she is finally understanding that in picking a work partner she needs to pick someone who lifts her up. Picking someone who has strengths in her weaknesses and finding out that her strengths may be there weakness, they both win here.  I firmly believe that the Montessori learning environment will give her the edge I didn’t have.

Now to shed this guilt that I did something wrong. To remind myself that I made the DNA contribution but she is her own person and not everything that happens to her is my fault. To remind myself that just because she inherits something from me gene wise does not mean she will be just like me. Easier said than done. Mommy guilt does not let go easily.