A New Direction

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We did it. As we started back to school for a new semester, we decided to give Chase a chance to go off his medication. For those of you who have been following our journey with ADD, this is both an exciting and scary time. It was only two years ago when my son couldn’t finish a single paper in class. Not only could he not finish an assignment on his own, often times the directions didn’t make enough sense for him to even start. Here we are now, midway through 7th grade an he is like a whole different kid. The boy he was in 5th grade is nothing but a shadow that has slowly over time become a distant memory of the boy he used to be. I am happy to report he has been doing fantastic in school. No more half done papers, no more missing assignments. There was a time when I was feeling lost and hopeless inside. I didn’t know how to help him and watching him struggle day after day was ripping apart my pain-filled heart. Now he is getting straight A’s. He is confident enough to raise his hand and speak up in class and he was brave enough to come to me and say the time is now to do it on his own. Wish us luck. Every day is a new day to get it right and I have a feeling we are creeping closer and closer. Time will only tell how this whole adventure will go but I’m not looking back. It’s amazing how far he has come and there’s no telling how far he will go. Since today seems to be a day I am quoting Dr. Seuss, I will end this post with these great words.

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Sorry, Life is Just Unfair

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The world is unfair they say, that’s just the way it is. Everywhere you look, in every day you live, you can find examples lurking around waiting to break your spirit. We convince ourselves it’s part of life because deep down we are afraid there is nothing we can do about it. We justify it by ignoring it and quietly whispering to ourselves, just deal with it.

Well, after giving this an immense amount of thought I came to a conclusion. The world itself is very innocent. It is people who are unfair. Quite a revelation huh? I hear people all the time say that’s just the way it is. It’s something we should learn early in life and we should hold hands with this pattern that will affect us for the rest of our lives. I can’t help but wonder why. When did we start to buy into something so ludicrous and actually believe it to be true? When did we start to stand by and take it like a passive little girl whose candy was being stolen by some great big bully. In a world full of people who don’t want to make waves, in a world full of fear of consequences mixed so eloquently together with a large tribe of butt kissers, we sadly sit by and believe there is no other option.

I am a warrior for what is right. If I am told something will happen one way, I have no reason to believe otherwise. What I have discovered though is someone’s word doesn’t mean much anymore. I have had people look me in the eye and tell me one thing, then turn around and do something entirely different. If only we were as quick to stand up to these people and demand they explain the discrepancy in their words and actions. Recently, I took this task on. It made me uncomfortable because after all, who actually holds anyone accountable for anything? Look around at what people are getting away with and the answer becomes very clear. This particular example was placed on my plate and I was forced to eat it. It happened at school. We were told the boys going out for basketball had a week of open gym followed by a week of try outs. Low and behold, the Friday of open gym, the boys were told what teams they were on. It made no sense and no-one, especially the boys had any idea it was going to happen. These poor kids didn’t even think try outs started. I wanted an explanation on the matter of principle. I wanted to know how an athletic director could stand in front of a group of people and say one thing and the next week show these boys and parents that his word meant nothing. Imagine how these boys felt being placed on a team after a week they believed was there for them to get back in shape. The crazy part? They didn’t even touch a basketball until Wednesday so what criteria did they even base their decision on anyway? It felt so wrong, so much so that it ate me alive. How could something like this happen? How could it go so wrong and so differently than how we were told it would play out? How could I possibly explain this to the child who was standing there confused with pain in his eyes looking to me to make some kind of sense out of it. I was crushed and his pain became my pain until I took some from him and then I carried more. I was mom. Was I going to stand by and take it? Expose myself by standing there in a line where I knew someone with a baseball bat was waiting to bust me in the head? Was I going to wait there foolishly and take what was coming to me even though it didn’t make sense because well, life just isn’t fair? I was stronger than that and I put on my boxing gloves as I stepped out of line. I made a new line outside the athletic directors door and I asked for an explanation. You won’t believe what happened next.

Yesterday I got an email. They opened practice back up to everyone and were going to reevaluate what teams the boys were on. Even though the lists were posted, even though it seemed like a done deal, this man had the courage to make good on his word. The results may stay the same. The boys may be placed right back on the original teams but those boys will also learn that when that man tells them something, they can count on his word. I have a tremendous amount of respect for someone who tries to make something right in the name of principle. It was a small win for humanity and our promise and trust in each other. There is hope, we just need more people brave enough to bring on the revolution. I can’t fight alone.

You Should Never Be Less Than Perfect

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So yesterday we were eating dinner and the silence was really bothering me. I asked anyone if they had something they wanted to share. Chase slowly pushed his chair back from the table and said “Well….”. I knew he was about to tell me something that would be difficult.

It turns out he has lost his packet for science class. He went to his teacher and told her he thinks he accidentally threw his out instead of an old test and asked if he could have another. She told him he would be getting a 0 and she would not allow him to have a second paper.

At first I was angry. He has a 98.5 in the class and I knew what a 0 would do to his grade. I told him he was in trouble and there would be no video games. After I thought about it I decided to call him downstairs and tell him it was okay. It was just a mistake and I knew he didn’t do it on purpose.

The bottom line is this. Life is so very hard and people expect so much from us. I even believe they expect perfection. In time, we learn to expect that from ourself as well. No wonder we feel like we can’t do anything right and that we are a complete failure. We hold each other to a standard that is just unattainable. The fact is, we are human beings. We make mistakes, we learn from them and we strive to do the best we can. Does throwing a paper out on accident make Chase irresponsible? No. It does not. It makes him human. People have bad days and chaotic moments and sometimes kids with ADD get distracted. Imagine that. The kid has a math test that he couldn’t finish the other day because the math teacher hasn’t bothered to bring him up to speed on the 8 days of information he missed while he was out sick. To me, that lends itself more to irresponsible than human nature. He has a broken arm that makes it difficult to get in and out of his locker and put his papers in the necessary binders. He is doing a great job in school and this is the first time something like this has happened. I have to wonder how many times this teacher has misplaced something. Geez…half the time I am looking for my cell phone while I am actually talking on it. Does that make me irresponsible?

This expectation of perfection has got to be stopped. It hurts people and makes them feel really bad about who they are and what they do. Let this be a lesson. Give people a break. It is not always your job to punish someone or teach them a lesson because they made a mistake they already feel bad about. It is your job to look them in the eyes and say it’s really okay, we all make mistakes. We cannot hold people to a higher standard than we are capable of ourselves. What do you think will be the more important lesson in the totality of his lifetime? A zero on a paper or someone saying it’s okay, we all make mistakes? Let me know what you believe.IMG_6810.PNG

A Special Gift

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Something wonderful and unexpected happened last night. I was rushing around trying to get things ready for the morning when I poked my head in my sons room to put away some laundry. I noticed a piece of paper on his dresser with writing in multiple colors. As I picked it up and started reading it, it didn’t take long for the tears to well up in my eyes and slowly start to slide down my face. I wish I could share the details of what I read with you but I realized quickly it was only meant for Chases eyes.

It’s no surprise my daughter had a very difficult transition into middle school. It breaks my heart to even imagine how awful it must have been for her. So there, on Chases dresser was A Guide to Middle School written by Kayleigh just for Chase. Her advice was mature and kind and practical. I really couldn’t believe my eyes. It warmed my heart to know she was looking out for her little brother. She really is growing up and turning into a very kind young lady. I am so proud of her for who she is, her strength of character, and what she has overcome along the way. I couldn’t help but think of my blog post titled Letter to My Daughter on Her First Day of High School. I can’t help but smile to myself as I wonder if there’s a little bit of me inside of her.