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Currently Browsing: Little Guy Lessons

Value the Heck out of Our Good Educators

We have our kid enrolled in a public school. He’s a super smart kid, scores ridiculously high on those school standardized tests, and we’d absolutely go into debt to pay for a private school if it was the right thing. But he’s a musician and the music program at his school is marvelous. The reason the school’s music program is so very good is because of one teacher. One amazing dedicated inspirational teacher.

He’s the guy who was a music nerd in school just like my kid. He’s turned Eamon and his classmates on to Jazz and Buddhism and a number of wonderful things that would have meant nothing coming from me. And he hears and sees each of those kids. And they feel heard and seen. They feel like they belong there in that class. In a time when we are fast becoming cogs in a giant wheel, it is more important than ever to acknowledge our children as the people that they are. They need to know they belong somewhere and are not just being asked, nay commanded, to fit in.Value the Heck out of Our Good Educators on Shalavee.com

So imagine our outrage when the mandate got handed down that the 8th grade middle-schoolers in Maryland would have to fulfill a mandatory language credit for one half of the year instead of having band. So for one half of the year, band and choir and art students all had to give up their sense of belonging to complete a credit of something they’ll get plenty of in high school. He was unhappy and so my son passed around a petition to these children which they all signed because they thought maybe their disappointment would be heard.

The story will continue to play out. These children will not get that time back to be seen and feel good about themselves being who they are this school year. And sadly, the program in high school isn’t the same and many of them will drop out. Not my kid but for many, this is their last chance before life continues its artistic oppression.

So on behalf of Eamon’s music teacher, and for all the teachers who deserve the credit we keep forgetting to give them, write a thank you note to one you appreciate. Gush if you can. Because they deserve to hear our appreciation for the mostly thankless job they do. Their administrators just don’t get that it’s truly about the students. Their advocacy, their support, and their chance to be seen for exactly who they are.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Being on Purple : The Good Girl Control

At my daughter’s school, the children’s behavior is monitored daily by a stoplight inspired grading system. If you’ve behaved yourself , you get on a green status. If you received a warning, its yellow. And a bad choice will get you to red status and probably get you sent to a principal’s waiting room, or maybe that’s just what I remember. But the most insipid of all is the purple. Because that represents better than good behavior and it’s all my daughter seems to want. To be the good girl.

When she’s at school, she thinks she needs to make sure that she is liked and fits in so no one votes her off the island. But the minute she’s off the bus and in my company, she let’s it all hang out mostly to our mutual detriment. Six-year-olds are immense people-pleasers and they are also control freaks. So she is trying to get a purple so hard everyday that I think it’s sending her over the edge when she doesn’t get it.Being on Purple : The Good Girl Control on Shalavee.com

So this morning, after another night and day of not so stellar choices and listening, we missed our bus for the first time ever. And as I drove her to school, I started to realize and discuss with her how striving for that purple might be messing with her. And that perhaps, she could just go ahead and be the sweet kind and helpful little gal that she always is and that when she was rewarded with the purple as she often seems to be especially on Fridays, she could be surprised and happy.

Teach her to reject likeability.

Her job is not to make herself likeable,

her job is to be her full self…”

–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie–

The Good Girl programming is a little pervasive and creepy. That we as girls are taught to be mindful of others’ expectations and needs instead of rewarded for being kind people and taking care of ourselves in marvelous caring ways, is just society’s flaw. But let us as parents try to counteract these expectations by encouraging them to be proud of just who they are and not what they do. And to care for themselves with the same compassion and effort as they are asked to give to others.Being on Purple : The Good Girl Control on Shalavee.com

Purple is a beautiful color to earn. Especially if you can enjoy it just because it is the way life made you and your day based on the choices you made with integrity and joy.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Mother Buffer Zone

I’ve always said she wants to be my hat and sit on my head. When my daughter is feeling needy, she can’t be on top of me enough. Everything that she emotionally needs is drawn from me and it’s more than draining. The give and the take between a girl and her mother is exhausting and it’s necessary. I need to be very conscious of creating a mother buffer zone.

The obstinance and the emotional output she aims at me however… isn’t personal. But most of the time, it feels that way. If there’s an issue of independence that she needs to resolve, her misbehavior will go on until she has decided that she has worked it out. Until I have let her know to her satisfaction that she is worth my attention and the discipline to show her when her behavior is unkind, unnecessary, and unwanted. Not her but her behavior. And she gets to decide when that lesson has been learned.The Mother Buffer Zone on Shalavee.com

Meanwhile, I am also a human with hormones and bad days and sometimes/eventually, I’m worn down and worn out. The crying cannon aimed at me feels personal and torturous. I can’t wait until she gets on her school bus some mornings. My irritation rises and the post-traumatic stress disorder starts to set in.

But what I realized this week is that even though I am her mother, what she sometimes wants from me is stuff from the concept of mother. She pushes against the authoritarian concept of mother. She needs her Mommy when she’s hurt because we mothers are home base, a conceptual safe comfort zone. They happen to be working out their issues with us specifically yet the humanity of their emotional trials need not be taken personally but instead, compassionately by us.

If we allow for a Mother Buffer Zone between us and our children, an understanding that our children need to work out their independence and self-trust in the mirrors they have with us, then we can all be human. We can acknowledge their growth work and our emotional maturity for respecting that and we don’t have to take it all personally.The Mother Buffer Zone on Shalavee.com

I will add that I am always making sure that the way that I’m treated is respectful. My children are entitled to be mad but they may not be disrespectful to me. In that way, I also model what self-respect looks like to them that they may go out in the world and say, “You may not treat me this way.”

Understanding the dynamics of the 6 – 9 year old’s need to create and be OK with their independence can remove a little of the pressure from the parent. Allowing for independence to not be a bad thing fosters independent children. And I assure my daughter that she will be leaving me eventually but I will never leave her. I’ll be here for as long as she needs me. And hopefully, if we do this the right way now, the teen years will be amazing.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Minutia of Christmas

( From December 2014 ) The sound was a thwap and a roll, hollow plastic bouncing and traveling across the floor. My new Christmas tree balls were this moment’s entertainment. The “ball balls” were being extracted from their big clear box and thrown while I hurried to put my laundry away. Although that’s exactly why I bought those, I underestimated the little monkey’s reasoning skills.let the ball-a-thon begin on Shalavee.com

Every day is jam-packed with holiday fun.

Not unlike any other day in my life, I’ve been cramming the carrying out of Christmas details into the tiny time slots when I’m kid free. I got started early! Then stalled. And then the holiday started to close in on me and every other person in the free First world.

garland as a boa on shalavee.com

No one to impress but me, I knew I had time. But the tree had been lit and yet naked for a week. On the heels of the Christmas ball shot put incident, the unearthing of ribbon and tinsel garland set off a playing frenzy with Fiona dragging the garland around screaming “Mine, Mine” while the cat chased and pounced on the end. I’m not accustomed to the toddler mayhem yet. I like my holiday decorating to be quiet thinking time for me. Ha!garland and kitty games on Shalavee.com

Today was cookie making day as well. My son and husband conceived that cookies would be Eamon’s offering to the school class party. I apparently was no where around for this important strategy tete a tete because I am no cookie baker. And alas, Pilsbury’s Sugar cookies with embedded Christmas tree designs that you just cut and bake were all gone from the grocery store’s refrigerated section. So I talked myself up into helping Eamon make chocolate chip and sugar cookies. From scratch.

creaming the butter and sugar on shalavee.com

I hate baking because I’m a cook. Exact measurements? And a toddler who refused to eat her dinner and is now milling around your feet and now falling off the step stool knocking sprinkles everywhere? Call them disaster cookies. choc chip cookies on Shalavee.com

I was feeling generally hostile and irritated and pulled out just enough patience to have Eamon do most of the work. And yes, for her sake and mine, I sent Fiona out to Dada who was doing train garden setting up.

I enjoy my domesticity straight up. I am good with all the ten million details of Christmas but I just want to do them alone. No I don’t want to ever bake cookies with the kids again unless they are well-behaved young adults. No they won’t ever be decorating my Christmas tree unless they’ve proven to have tree decorating abilities. And yes, I will totally take advantage of their cute art project creations to make gifts for people at Christmas and cash in on their one absolute contribution. Creative mindless fun. The rest of Christmas is serious business and better left to the professionals. Christmas cookies from Shalavee.com

Merry Christmas to all you perfectionistic special event planners and decorators otherwise known as moms across the world. You’ve given enough. Take a seat and enjoy the event because it’ll be over in a blink.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are?

My daughter is just starting elementary school now in Pre-K. I am again besieged by notifications and permission slips galore just like back when Eamon was in Kindergarten and there was “homework”. See my recent repost of my piece Kindergarten Homework here. All sorts of good intentions being bantered back and forth between educator and parent about how to best raise/educate our kids.

Within a hunk of papers distributed by the school this week, a subscription newsletter from a parents-institute, I read this headline:

“Parents Must Encourage their Children to Develop Self-respect”

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

( I immediately thought, Well yes, and what about those parents who already see educators as bossy jackasses thinking, “you can’t tell me what I must do with my kids because I’m not going to be bossed by smartass educational type people”. Shut that down.)

Of course I knew it was well-meant and read further. Essentially, children who are disrespectful don’t have any self-respect. Sometimes that’s what hides behind lack of respect for authorities. If we don’t value ourselves, we’re certainly not valuing others. And eventually the justice system needs to show us our worth. This is what the article said self-respect came down to being composed of.

Self-respect comes from:

Competence – Being good at things makes your kid feel good. Children need lots of opportunities to master skills and feel good about themselves while they do. New skills from sports to art to chores can give them a chance to like themselves while they master those skills. And no one standing over them telling what a bad job they did either.

Accomplishments – They need their progress seen and noted.By everyone but mostly by parents. See above.

Confidence – This can be about pointing out how all the work paid off and acceptance that sometimes we falter to succeed. Mistakes can be learned from and we need to know we can rely on ourselves to make things happen.

Freedom – Allow kids to be independent and make their own age-appropriate choices. Let them chose when things can be done and how sometimes. Showing them you trust them makes them trust them.

Support – Accept your children for who and what they are. Let them belong to the family instead of having to fit into your vision of what they should be. Ask them about their day. Listen and witness their answers and help solve their problems if they ask for it.

Imitation – Be the person you want them to model themselves after. They will do as you do. So if you have low self-esteem and anxiety issues, they will too. Be kind to yourself and stand firm for them with their demands as well so that they may see what standing firm looks like.

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

Invisible sword fighting

If you paid attention to even most of these, you’d have a pretty great kid. Personally, I got lost between the family cracks and did not have most of these attentions paid me but yes, I’m paying them to my kids. And then I thought, what kind of parents are we to ourselves? I feel like I can tend to be on the side of almost abusive self-parenting if I allow me to continue to berate and judge myself for the myriad of things I seem to do “wrong”.

What if we took these steps above and applied them to ourselves, which is truly necessary if we are actually parents because our kids do as we do, not as we say. What kind of parents do we want to be to ourselves? Compassionate and kind or judgemental and punitive?  Just like these children, we go out into the society and make our own contributions based on our self-worth and respect so shouldn’t we give ourselves these gifts as well to give us an edge up on our lives? I could use with a little more self-respect in my world, couldn’t you?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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