Lost In Emotions

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One thing I’ve learned about dealing with teens that can also be applied to adults is this. Once you lose your cool, as soon as you raise your voice or use an angry tone, it is game over. You have handed over your opportunity to make a point. You have now become an enemy and someone the other person only sees as mean instead of hearing the message that was intended to be spoken. Sometimes that’s what I believe people want. Being mean gives my kids an excuse to retreat to their rooms instead of staying downstairs and cleaning up their own mess or being responsible for what is expected of them to do. I see it so clearly when there is an exchange between my husband and my kids and how this allows a point on the teens score card and zero on dads. It’s not so easy however, when I am the one that completely loses my cool. I guess I have to work on that a little more. Remember, if you want someone to listen, you have to say it in a way they are willing to hear. When you yell or berate, the person you are speaking to will stop listening and you will look like the bad guy while they escape the lesson. That is lose lose for everyone involved. Stay calm and speak in a nice voice.

Late or On Time?

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It seems like there is no sense of urgency anymore. I think it’s a blessing and a curse that people are on their own time clocks these days but is it making us irresponsible? 

Question: if you are not ready but need to be someplace at a certain time(work/school/meeting), will you finish what you have to do and show up late or will you stop what you’re doing to show up on time?

Why?

What Exactly Is The Job Description?

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Discipline, positive work ethic and being ready to survive in the real world. 

If you asked my husband what his responsibility is when it comes to the kids, he may list those three things I mentioned above. I go back and forth in my mind each time I ask myself honestly, what is the most important thing I, as a parent, can do for my child? The problem is there are SO many things to do all the time. From the time they are born, we are teaching them how to eat, crawl, walk, write, drive. The list goes on and on. Somehow though, when I look at my children, I can’t help but wonder if simply loving them trumps everything else.

The world is a tough place. I think we can try and shove things down kids throats before they are ready. What I’ve seen is that when you try to do that, they literally choke. Sometimes they will look you in the face, stick their finger down their throat and purposely gag. They start to eye roll every time you have another lesson you are all too eager to teach. The truth is, everyone learns in their own time. Life has a funny way of slapping you upside the head when there is something you just aren’t getting. You will have the same lesson over and over again until finally you figure it out. AND, you will figure it out.

So, back to parenting. Should we really get all aggravated and befuddled every time we try and force a lesson on our kids and they reject it or don’t seem to get it? Should we consider ourselves a failure because our kid burps in public or chews with his mouth open? Should we try and shove harder and harder, make them get it? And then what? Maybe our job as a parent is to provide a place where our kids feel confident enough to learn on their own and someplace safe enough to fall if for some reason they fail. Maybe our job is to love them no matter who they are, who they love, what color they dye their hair, how many times they burp after we ask them not to and still love them after they have rolled their eyes for the 12 millionth time. Maybe that love is enough to send them the message, you are okay just the way you are and I have confidence you will turn out to be a decent human being without me forcing you to do so. 

I don’t know, that’s what I think but what do I know? I’m not a perfect parent. I yell. I lose my patience. I say things that I know I’ll regret and I pray my criticism won’t completely ruin their self esteem. However, every single day, whether I like them or not, I do the best to love them for who they are and provide a place they will always feel safe and wanted and accepted and loved. Could there really be anything else that is more important than that? Maybe my job and responsibility as a parent is to just love them while they are busy figuring the rest out on their own.

Kindness At Work

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So, today was the first day of school. I admit I might have had a tear or two in my eye or maybe it was just the wind. Every year goes by faster and faster. I remember Chases first day in a new school. He was so tiny, probably one of the shortest boys in the whole grade. We had just moved here and he didn’t know a single soul. He was so brave. Me? Not so much. 

Today, I looked out the window and was so proud. Usually I drive him to school but he wanted to ride the bus to help out the new kid that just moved down the street. He is even smaller than Chase at that age and when we saw him on back to school night, the poor boy was so scared, his eyes welled up with tears. “Don’t worry mom, I’ll have his back.”  Sometimes I think trying to teach my kids to be selfless and kind is a lost cause. But today, he was full of kindness. And my daughter? She volunteered to help the new students find their classrooms and be a mentor. She wore her shirt proudly today with the words, you’ve got a friend in me” in bold print on her back. And, she takes those words seriously. 

Maybe eventually they do learn from us. Maybe example really is enough. Maybe there really is hope they will grow into kind, responsible, young adults. Maybe, just maybe.

The Most Important Thing Of All

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And just like that, I discovered all I really needed to know.

I was leafing through Timehop yesterday afternoon and I stumbled across a post I had written a year ago. It was about being a mom and having enough courage and accountability to consider all children mine. I really believed that if everyone took on the responsibility to save all children, our world and theirs would be a better place.

Here I am a year later feeling run down from the overwhelming responsibility I feel all the time. Everywhere I go is an opportunity to teach someone to be more together. Just last night I showed up at Olive Garden for my daughters birthday dinner and yet another fiasco. The day before I had called to make reservations and when I arrived, they told me they don’t make reservations for Saturday evenings. Okay, great, but someone did. This kind of thing happens all the time. No wonder I am feeling drained and overwhelmed. I take extra time to over prepare and everything still gets screwed up on the account of others. Its a daily thing.

I know now that I cannot save the world and when the plane is going down I must reach for my oxygen mask first. Even though those instructions never sat right with something inside of me, I get it now. I can only save myself or sacrifice myself. As much as I want to blame others, ultimately it comes down to my choice. I am my sole responsibility. I shudder as I type those words.

The truth is this, we kill our own spirit sometimes trying to be successful. We drain our own energy supply by feeling overly responsible for everyone and everything around us which takes us away from the most important feeling of all, being happy. At the end of the day, what could matter more than that?

Sit Back and Relax

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I have a distant memory of a time long ago when I was a young girl. The need and urgency to lay out the day did not exist back then. The hours and minutes would be welcome in their own time, one at a time, with no need to rush them along. These days, now that I am grown, I feel unsettled when the minutes lack any sense of structure. It is hard to comfortably sit back and just let it be. I feel uneasy not preparing for the details of the day. I guess that’s what adulthood does, makes us so responsible that we lose the ability to loosen our grip on the stifling reigns of responsibility even for a small snippet of time. Even as I sat eating my breakfast, I was already consumed by what we would be having for lunch and dinner. I spend so much time planning for every detail that I lose the ability to take a moment to relax. Time to make some big changes. I can’t go on living this way. Nobody should. The best moments of all are the ones we are truly present for, not the ones where we bring the past to the future or waste the one we are in thinking about what is yet to come. So, please join me in my new journey to finding a path that helps me let go of my need to control. Sit with me as a passenger where I willingly choose to take my hands off the wheel and sit back and enjoy the ride. Who knows what we may discover on the way.

It’s The Little Things

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It’s the little things that make the biggest impact. Today I met with my sons new team of teachers. Sometimes, our wings are ready to fly but we just need a special someone to give us the confidence to try for the first time. One thing I noticed, some of the best teachers I have ever had recognized one small detail. They provided some type of positive feedback and in return witnessed an amazing amount of growth. That is just how Chase is. He loves to make people happy. He loves to please. When teachers really get this, they can use it to their benefit to watch amazing growth occur right before their very eyes. One particular teacher noticed it right away. She has chosen Chase to be her trusted student. The student that takes care of anything she needs. The student who will be expected to help out a substitute teacher on a day she needs to miss class. What better way to make a student, especially one with ADD not only feel important and good about himself, but also lead that kid to believe he is responsible. He can be trusted to handle things on his own.

I really got a great feel from this group. They seem to know him, you know the little details that make him unique. I think he is in good hands and I am excited to see what this year brings.

Change Is Coming!

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Well it’s summer and I have no doubt it will be interesting. I am used to being home alone in my clean controlled environment filled with peace and quiet. Schools out now and things are about to change. Have I mentioned recently how much I dislike noise? It as if every little sound is magnified by 1000 in my tiny little ears. My kids are noisy. One makes ridiculous sounds and the other sings ALL THE TIME and not very well either. Sometimes the voice in my head screams “SHUT UP!” But thankfully it never comes out of my mouth. I don’t see the younger one very often. He is very hyper and fast faced and he can slip in and out of a room looking like a racing blur. The only way I know for sure that he was really here is that I walk into the cabinet door he leaves open or find an empty bag of Cheetos next to the full garbage bag.

Today, we are going to learn about teamwork. We will work together to get all the chores done before free time will be allowed. I am going to do my darnedest to follow through and teach my kids about responsibility and doing their part to pull their load. I have handed out the first list in case someone forgets what I told them to do. Then, and only then, can they play video games and have friends over and enjoy all the free time they want. Someone has to teach kids about time management, completing what is expected of them and most importantly doing so with a good attitude and not with a giant chip on their shoulder. This idea that someone else will pick up the slack or it’s someone else’s job and sense of entitlement ends right here in this house with me. Wish me luck. It just started and there’s already been some eye rolling. One thing at a time right?

A Lesson on Teaching Responsibility

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One day Billy walked into class. He forgot his study guide in his locker and the teacher told him he would not be allowed to go and get it. He would have to sit there and do nothing while everyone else did their work and think about why it is important for him to be more prepared and responsible.

The teacher had to leave early that day because the sitter called to say her daughter was sick. So she said goodbye to her class and reminded them to study for the test the next day. A few minutes later, the teacher walked back into the classroom telling the students she forgot her keys.

The End

There are some lessons that cannot be forced onto others. Sometimes people become overwhelmed and they forget something. How many times have you walked into a store to buy milk only to arrive home and realize you forgot to pick it up? How many times have you walked out of a restaurant only to discover you left your purse hanging on a chair?

Do these forgetful events label us as irresponsible? Does not allowing Billy to go to his locker to grab his paper teach him a lesson about responsibility? I personally don’t think so. The only teacher that can properly teach us that important lesson is life itself. I have raised two children. I have been responsible for their safety, their care and their well being. Yet, I still drive to the post office to mail a letter, buy stamps and leave to find that letter still in my car hours later. Let’s not mistaken being forgetful or human with being irresponsible. It’s important to build yourself up and shrug a thing or two off by admitting you made a silly mistake. It happens, to all of us, for we are all human. So don’t teach a kid like Billy who leaves a paper in his locker that he is irresponsible. Thank him for having it done and let him go get it. Only teach what others can learn and not what you do not have the power or right to teach. We teach by example and letting kids know it’s okay to mess up sometimes and to just move on is one of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn.

Where Are The Golden Rules?

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Oh the dreams that haunt me at night. I try really hard to let things go. I try to push past them and move on and get along with living my life. Then, the very things that I try to ignore attack me at night and believe me when I tell you….with a vengeance.

This will be my last rant about school. Going on 4 weeks ago, I sent an email to have the final wording of our 504 readjusted. We had the meaning and I was ready to sign off and move on. There was one key portion missing that was discussed in our meeting. We decided iIt was imperative for each teacher to send me a weekly update specifically about Chase regarding his grades, the completeness of his work and the timely fashion or lack of him handing his work in. So, things have been going smoothly except now this is the second week in a row I have not received anything in science and the first week the other three teachers have failed to send me an email as well.

What is the big deal right? I will tell you why this gets my goat. I got a class email from a teacher early last week stressing how we need to talk to our kids about staying focused. With the weather being so lovely and the end of the year upon us, we need to remind our kids to not slack off and that they are responsible for their own learning. Really? My question is what are the teachers responsible for? We give these kids state tests at the end of the year that specifically test the kids on how effective the teacher was. Do they no longer feel responsible for the kids learning anymore? Remember, when I say school, and teachers, I am referring to the ones we come in contact with on a daily basis and not every school and teacher in the world.

Back to the point. Kids model what they learn. I am somewhat offended to get an email about responsibility and slacking off when it is blatantly noticeable that it appears the teachers are doing the same. Model what you teach. Be what you preach. Now, because a principal and counselor were lax on following up about the weekly email, guess who else has now become lax. When did rules and expectations and regulations become so insignificant. Just the other day I caught my daughter wandering the halls at school when I went in to pick her up. She was supposed to be in lunch. She then informed me she never goes to lunch. She goes into a class she does not even have to hang out with her sophomore friends. What the hell is going on? Any kid can wander into any classroom?

Anyway, there are 15 days of school left this year. I am so very proud of my son. ADD does not define him anymore, he is learning ways to find its advantages. I am grateful he has had a fantastic year. Let me know if you’ve experienced this as well. I’m really curious.