The Truth No One Wants To Hear

Standard

Many of you don’t know how my struggle with the school system ruined a handful of years of my life. I remember the days when I would sit at meetings with teachers and administrators demanding they follow through on my sons accommodations so he had the chance to be successful at school. It’s all about the children, that’s what they say until something becomes inconvenient and then it’s a list of reasons why they cannot follow the accommodations your child so desperately needs. I was called a bully for fighting for my child and the top of the top threatened to cancel my sons 504 meetings. Imagine if I marched into the school lobby, the principals office or stood outside a classroom window holding a sign with my closest friends screaming “DO YOUR JOB!” What do you think the reaction would be then? Would teachers rally behind me for a common cause because you know, it IS about the children?

Don’t get me wrong. I have made peace with my own hell. It almost destroyed me but I realized that if the end goal was truly getting the help Chase needed, I had to take a different approach. I stopped demanding and started reaching out. How can we give Chase what he needs together? What is something that would work for all of us? Slowly and surely the teachers attitudes began to change. Today I am happy to report that this has been an amazing year because finally after fighting a hard battle, I finally got the type of teachers that Chase needed. They go above and beyond, not just for him but for all their students. I am so grateful for them. It was the state of Oklahoma and the teachers here that taught me a hard lesson. Making demands turns a deaf ear and makes people resist what you demand from them even more. This isn’t the way. I support their cause but I do not support their path to get there. There are two sides to every story and unfortunately the media chooses a side and that is the only story you will ever hear. This is the first time in years that the officials we elected did something positive for teachers. Is it really a surprise that they are resentful and angry that they are on the receiving end of demands and chants? Teachers lining the Capitol and chanting “Do Your Job” and “We Won’t Leave”. You bet they’re pissed because they worked long and hard to make this much progress. This situation is lose-lose for everyone. Maybe it’s time to rethink this plan and try again. Just a different perspective from the one you are hearing. Just my opinion but attacking the people who could give you what you want and humiliating them with words on signs is probably not going to work but then again, what do I know?

Advertisements

A Constant State of Change

Standard

Today is our first major tornado threat of the year here in Oklahoma. Isn’t it amazing and crazy how much our lives can change in just 24 hours?  Everything that seemed like such a big deal yesterday isn’t even a single thought today. Life has a funny way of putting things in perspective especially when we’ve forgotten how to do it for ourselves. Today be grateful for all of your blessings no matter how big or small. Don’t take anything for granted and keep in mind today and tomorrow may look very different from one another. We are in a constant state of change. This too shall pass. Until then I will hunker down until the storm blows past and it will pass in its own time.

What Does Reading and Driving Have in Common? You Won’t Believe It!

Standard

You know that old saying, save the drama for your mama? This mama is sick of drama. Everytime I turn around its something else.

Chase took his 8th grade reading test on Tuesday. The kid has been a wreck ever since. Upon completion of the test, a raw score pops up, yet there is no published passing score to date. Usually these standardized tests are a complete joke and I don’t put much emphasis on them but this year the situation becomes a little more serious. See in Oklahoma, one of the worst ranked states when it comes to education, the school system teams up with the DMV and 8th graders who do not pass their reading test cannot get there drivers permit until they do. The catch? I do believe you can only take the test once a year. Some will argue this is a good thing because reading a book on how to drive well, requires reading.However, this test is based on vocabulary, literary terms and analysis and comprehension of pieces that are just over a 14 year olds head. Someone please explain to me how identifying the mood and theme of a piece of writing has anything to do with driving a car? Enough is enough. This is taking things one step too far.

Sometimes We Forget

Standard

Sometimes we forget to be grateful as we wake up in bed each morning. 

Sometimes we forget to love and appreciate the blessings in our lives.

Sometimes we forget that today may very well be our last.

Sometimes we forget to not get caught up in the little things that will never matter.

Sometimes we forget that the past is in the past.

Sometimes we just forget that we only get one dance around the sun.

Sometimes we forget….and a simple tornado that touches down in your town reminds you. Everything gets back in the right perspective and you are reminded to live smarter, live better and be  kinder. You are reminded that you will not get this day back so you spend it wisely. Sometimes it takes a big, scary storm to help you see a whole lot clearer and then you remember. You remember to love, you remember to live and you remember to be grateful for every single minute you have. Sometimes we forget but eventually we remember to spend our days surrounded by love and let things like regret and anger slip away. 

To Warm Your Heart

Standard

There is so much kindness in the world if we dare look for it. I have often wondered how empty my funeral service would be. I’ve traveled around so many times over the course of my life that I never seem to have any roots. I have a small handful of friends who I make in each town but truth be told, if I were to die tomorrow I know nobody would bother to come. My close family would be there of course but outside of that, do I really matter enough to anyone to make the trip? 

Yesterday, I saw a post about a homeless veteran who had passed away. There was concern the services would be empty because the man didn’t appear to have any family. What happened next was both encouraging and beautiful. Total strangers filled the service out of pure respect and kindness. So many beautiful stories like this one are often swept under the rug, downplayed by stories of division and violence. I thought this particular story should be front and center to offer hope for the ones who have become hopeless in this world that is sometimes hard to understand. Love one another and let kindness spill from your mouth, your hands, your heart. Namaste. 

https://m.facebook.com/NEWS9?__tn__=C

A Storm of Gratitude

Standard

If I had forgotten somehow, yesterday I was alarmingly reminded that life is truly unpredictable. There is no way of knowing or even guessing from one moment to the next, what life will bring. 

It’s tornado season again in Oklahoma. I had a terrible feeling that this year would be a spring filled with tumultuous storms. I’m starting to believe my instincts were right. As I stood outside and felt the winds slam against me, I was frightened. The weather can be so over powering, so destructive. If you are in the wrong place at the right time, nothing can save you from Mother Natures fury. The town next to mine got hit again. What are the odds that the same place can get hit so many different times? It’s heartbreaking and it’s terrifying and when I woke up today I was very grateful to be safe and alive. I forget how fragile life really is. I want to believe I am invincible but the sobering truth is I am not. None of us are. Today I will take the time to appreciate all that is around me. I will not allow myself to get stressed if Chase doesn’t do well on his math test or if there are 20 loads of wash piled up. The sand is slowly moving through my hourglass, there is not a single second to waste. Enjoy your life because this one is the only one you will ever have. Don’t sweat the small stuff and be grateful that you are who you are, this wonderful human being who is uniquely you. Make a difference, smile more, stress less and laugh from the heart of your belly.  It’s not the years in your life that matter, it really is the life in your years.

The Great Debate

Standard

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/a-house-divided/

Today’s prompt: Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides.   

Both of me have already been struggling with the OU scandal that has been monopolizing the news the past few days. I live in Oklahoma, in the very town this happened in so this story for me is more than a fleeting headline.  

The compassionate, empathetic, forgiving side of me would like to debate first. I realize these frat boys did something very, very wrong. There is nothing anyone could say or do to ever explain such a disgraceful chant. Do I believe racism is alive and well? You bet I do and it goes many, many different ways. Do I believe African Americans are the only victim? No, I do not. I remember when my son was in kindergarten. He pulled a handicap accessible fire alarm and was suspended from school for three days. Even at such a young age, the embarrassment and humiliation he had to face was excruciating for me to watch as a mom. He was so distraught and just driving on school property to drop my daughter off sent him into an emotional meltdown. It took all I could muster to give him the courage to walk back into that school. How does this apply to the boys at OU? If you watched those news reports you could see the hurt and shame on their faces as they packed their things and moved out of the house. Do I think they needed to be kicked out of school? No, sorry I don’t. Like it or not, we do not put together robots to attend schools who identify with every great thing the university identifies with. People have a right to say what they want, sing what they want and they have the right to have individual beliefs. What I do believe is that these boys were caught on video doing something that will disgrace them for the rest of their lives. They have to live with that guilt and humiliation that will far outlast an expulsion from a school. And let’s be honest, the world is not a big enough place to allow the punishment to end there. We love to throw stones and for some, this will become a long time commitment and fascination. I can’t help but wonder how I would feel if the dumbest thing I have ever done was aired on tv for the world to see. And do I have the right to finger point and demean when I am not free of sin in my own life? Show me one person who has not done or said something that should bring him shame and then maybe I will have a different perspective. Perhaps another consequence would have brought people together instead of divide them more. The double standard, the teaching and forgiving approach the university took with the athlete that physically assaulted a girl breaking her bones was much different than the zero policy the school took with these boys who assaulted with words. That is the problem with parenting and schools when it comes to discipline. It needs to be specific and it needs to be consistent. Imagine if we sat these boys in front of African American students who were devastated by the words and lack of consideration of these boys. Imagine if they could have had a real heart to heart conversation about how much this hurts the people it was directed at. Imagine if in the midst of their own humiliation and accountability, a handful of these boys experienced compassion and empathy for the first time for the people they hurt. Perhaps that punishment, understanding and healing would bring about real change and meaningful consequences. So tell me, this expulsion…was it to punish the boys or make the school look good? Did the University succeed in really teaching these boys and using their own power to turn these foolish, reckless boys into young, responsible men?

The spiteful, revengeful me believes those boys should pay. One affects the whole and if this is the attitude of a few frat boys on a bus than we should shut it down, we should shut them down and use this situation to send a very loud and clear message that this kind of behavior will not and should not be tolerated. These boys are an embarrassment to our town and cast shame on the university with all this negative attention the world is watching thanks to the diligent reporting of these worthy news stations. This information has to get out. People need to know that 2015 is not far enough away from the past to eliminate the terrible injustice that has gone on for far too long. We need to stop it in its tracks and send a clear message that these kinds of songs, these kinds of behaviors and these kinds of words are no longer acceptable and will come with severe consequences. We should start reading Facebook and private messages and listen to private phone conversations for even the slightest connotation of a racial slur of a racial tone. We should have a prison in the center of every town where we can publicly demean and shame these people until they lose their will to live altogether. That is the answer. Mistreat those who mistreat others. That will save the world, and isn’t that the common goal we all share? Don’t we want to forgive and move on and start over where people really are equal as human beings both in our eyes and in our hearts. Isn’t the goal to love everyone and be equal on every level despite the color of our skin with equality in opportunity, respect and dignity for every living person and a world free of hate, blame, vengeance, retribution, and superiority.

The common sense side of me has only one question. What exactly is our goal? When will the people, all the people be truly satisfied? When will our leaders stop dividing and start bringing us together as one nation under God. Can I even use that word anymore? When will the news media be an outlet to grow our hearts instead of growing our anger and hatred? When will everyone be accountable to do their part to end this hate once and for all? Let’s be honest, do we know? Is that really what we ALL want? Is that what our behavior is showing others?