But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about being or finding mentors for our kids. I can make suggestions to them until I’m blue in the face and they won’t be motivated to try my suggestion, but if another adult whom they respect makes the same suggestion. Bingo. They’re all for it. I don’t feel bad about this. The reason this happens is because I’m their mom and I love them no matter what, so I’m always going to see the good in them, but another adult who notices a spark… well then it must be true, right?
I stumbled on this concept last year when the tennis coach asked my youngest to join the team. He had never expressed an interest in tennis, but just the fact the coach asked him to join was a huge factor. His father and I had been trying to get him to join a team because he’s very athletic, but every sport we suggested he didn’t want to participate in it. He joined the tennis team and enjoyed it so much that he’s planning on doing it again this year.
So, when a friend complained to me about how her son was nominated for the National Honors Society at his school and he didn’t want to do it because he had to do thirty hours of community service, I decided to test my theory. I suggested to her she have one of his teachers encourage him to join. She did and now her son is taking the steps necessary to join the National Honors Society.
Teachers your kids respect are gold. If you can have them help you with your child, do it. The teens years are tumultuous to say the least and I’m not ashamed to say that our teens need all the help they can get. So, don’t underestimate the influence teachers have over your kids. It doesn’t take much. Just a suggestion or a request from one of them is all it takes. Teachers do make a lasting impression on our kids. There’s no doubt about that.
However, it doesn’t have to be a teacher, it could be a coach, a scout leader, or a favorite uncle or aunt. It takes a village to raise your kids and finding them a mentor who believes in them is a great place to start.
How about you? Do you have any ideas that will help parents through the teen years? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! I need all the help I can get! 😉
Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. As I watched the Olympics the other day, I started thinking about all the sacrifices these athletes make to compete in the games, and that started me thinking about opportunity costs and life decisions. What is opportunity cost?
The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
Opportunity cost is why some people become paralyzed when making a decision. They’ve got so many options available to them they can’t decide which one is the best. So, how do we make these choices and hopefully not regret the choice we’ve made?
Well, first of all, you have to decide how to measure the value of each alternative. This is where it gets sticky. Because how do we measure the value? Is it by how much money we’re going to make with a choice? Is it by how we’ll be remembered by family and friends? Is it by the instant gratification the choice will give us?
The answers to these questions are deeply personal and can only be answered by each individual. There is no blanket answer for any of us, but here’s how I make most of my major decisions and maybe it’ll help you with yours.
I look at how I want to be remembered. Yes. I know it’s kind of morbid, but I think about what people might say at my funeral. Do I want them to talk about how I worked so hard I never saw my family? Or do I want them to say, how I was an inspiration to my kids, and how I helped provide for both their emotional and physical needs? Do I want to be remembered as someone who created a showpiece of a home, or someone who wasn’t too hung up on what people thought if my house was messy?
When I ask myself these questions. It puts things into perspective. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that what other people think is more important that their own opinion, so I have to live that way myself. I want my kids to have good memories of their childhood and not live in an environment where they can’t build forts or make brownies because I’m hung up on what a mess it’ll be. Because of this, I have to deal with people occasionally seeing a messy house.
I can deal with that. The joy on my kids’ faces when they build a huge fort is worth the cost of people thinking I’m a bad housekeeper. I am bad. There’s no mistake about it. I don’t enjoy cleaning. I’d rather be writing. So we’ve got clutter.
But I digress. By looking at how I want to be remembered, I was able to make that decision to stay home with my kids and feel good about it. There are times when I’ve had doubts because staying home meant I’d have to make sacrifices. I’ve sacrificed all the income I would’ve brought into the home if I worked instead. This was a huge opportunity cost of my decision, and made the choice hard because security for me and my family is also important to me.
So loss of income was a huge cost of my decision, but what about the gains? The gains are important because they offset the costs. This is where deciding what we value comes into play. What I’ve gained from staying home is a great relationship with my kids. I don’t know about you, but the value of that is priceless. I can’t put a number on it.
I’ve also got well-adjusted kids (knocks on wood). They don’t have behavioral issues because I was able to focus on teaching them how to handle their emotions like frustration and anger. I get compliments from their teachers all the time. They tell me they wished they had a whole classroom full of my boys. I’ve even gotten these compliments from teachers who haven’t had my kids. They’ve just witnessed my boys being kind and considerate to their classmates. Now, my goal wasn’t to receive pats on the back from my kids’ teachers (although it is a great feeling when they say things like this). It was to raise healthy well-adjusted humans. So, when their teachers make these comments I know I’m on the right track and again that gain is priceless.
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m sharing an awesome event that I was able to attend. It was Nerd Camp, right here in Michigan, and it was totally free.
What is Nerd Camp? It’s a place where teachers and librarians can gather and share their ideas. If you ever get a chance to go, I would highly recommend it. Naturally, the focus was on reading. Amazing speakers sparked the opening ceremony with incredible speeches. Their goal was to encourage educators to turn students into lifelong readers. They stressed that kids needed to be able to choose what they read. By having the freedom to choose what they read, students were more likely to develop a lifelong love for reading. And isn’t that the goal of a teacher and a librarian?
Donalyn Miller spoke, and she told us the story of “The House that Reading Built.” It was wonderful to hear, and it made me realize I wasn’t alone in my worries about the decline in reading. Each speaker spoke about how reading books changed their lives. I felt like I had found my tribe. I’ve been speaking about the need for reading from my tiny soapbox, my blog, for the last couple of years, and here I was with people who felt the same way I did. It was an awesome experience.
Raina Telgemeier also spoke. She’s the famous author of “Smile.” She told us about her writing and how it had not only changed her life, but the life of her schoolgirl crush. It was amazing to hear this author share parts of her soul with all of us. It made her seem like all the rest of us. Human.
There was a surprise speaker as well. Kate DiCamillo. The winner of two gold Newberry Medals and two silver ones. She wrote “Flora and Ulysses.” She shared her girlhood story of how she conjured up a pony for her friend. It was a humorous and heartwarming story. It made me realize we all have those stories in our souls that need to be shared with kids of all ages.
I went to a couple of break-out sessions after this amazing opening session. One was about blogging and it was interesting and eye opening, but the one I really enjoyed was the one about helping high school students reinvigorate their love of reading.
It seems that many high school students don’t identify as readers. This doesn’t surprise me with all the activities kids have available to them today, reading has gone by the wayside. It’s too bad. Reading has gotten me through many of the dark moments in my life. It is an excellent way of coping with stress. Maybe if kids became readers again, they wouldn’t have as many issues that they have today. Anyway, that’s another blog post for another day.
This last session was great because the presenter gave us tools to find books for kids when they can’t find something they like in the classroom library. The more access kids have to books, the more successful they’ll become. It’s a statistical fact.
Anyway, I wasn’t able to attend the third session, but I’m sure it was just as uplifting. It was nice to find like-minded people like myself, and it gave me some added incentive to finish my novels. I’ve got two that I’m heavily invested in at the moment, and I’m excited about them.
This camp has certainly inspired me and I hope if you’re a librarian or teacher you’ll consider going next year. It is a positive experience to say the least.
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m participating in “A Slice of Life” today. I’m excited and a little nervous because this is my first time. I hope you find what I want to share interesting. It’s a story about my oldest son.
I had gone out to breakfast and then church with a couple of friends. We were talking about making the New York Times Bestsellers List and what it takes to make it. My friend told me the story about another author who made the list by taking out a loan and buying the required number of copies to do this.
Now, it’s been one of my goals to do make this list. I just think it’d be a great accomplishment and I’m working on improving my writing to get there, but what an easy way to do it. However, would I feel the same sense of accomplishment if I made the list the easy way as opposed to having my book make it all on its own?
So, I was talking with my hubby and my son happened to be in the room listening as I explained the story my friend had told me. Just as I said, “I don’t think I’d feel a sense of accomplishment if I made it that way.”
My oldest wrinkled his nose and responded. “Mom, that’s cheating.”
“You’re right,” I said and he rose from the couch and went in the other room.
I was so proud of him. He knows the difference between accomplishing something on your own and buying it. I don’t know where or when he learned that lesson, but I’m so glad he did. I hope I had a part in teaching him that.
It’s funny, when you’re a parent, you think of yourself as the moral compass in your child’s life, you never think that they’re going to be your moral compass. 🙂 It just goes to show you, you never stop learning and we can learn from everyone can’t we?
Thanks for stopping by and reading my “Slice of Life” post. I’d love it if you’d take a look at the other posts and if you want to leave a short snippet of your own slice of life in the comment section, feel free! I’d love to read it!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I saw this on my Facebook page and had to share it with everyone. I think this is an awesome idea! I found this awesome story on Glennon Doyle Melton’s Blog. To see the original article click the link below.
A few weeks ago, I went into Chase’s class for tutoring.
I’d emailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math – but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She emailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it.Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth grade classroom staring at rows of shapes that Chase’s teacher kept referring to as “numbers.”
I stood a little shakily at the chalkboard while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, perched on her desk, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.” Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but l could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.
Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.
And then she told me this.
Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.
And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot – and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.
As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.
Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.
This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.
And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.
And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.
All is love- even math. Amazing.
Chase’s teacher retires this year – after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day- and altering the trajectory of our world.
TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching- it’s our best hope.
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today to share with you an exciting project that I’ve been working on, it’s called “Books on Base.”
The purpose of “Books on Base” is to gather children’s books and donate them to our military bases. I’m working in conjunction with VolunTEEN Nation on this project. VolunTEEN Nation is an organization that encourages teens to volunteer. They have volunteer opportunities throughout the United States.
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m a huge fan of Zig Ziglar, so when I saw this post on my Facebook page, it inspired this blog post. 🙂
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger (many moons ago. ;)) if a friend, co-worker, or boss didn’t see my value, I would make it my mission to prove them wrong. I would spend time agonizing over their opinion and become frustrated when they couldn’t see how incorrect they were.
Of course, I’m older and wiser now and I know better, but what would’ve happened if I had figured this out earlier? I probably would have used all that energy to focus on accomplishing something, or maybe just enjoying my life a bit more.
This is an important lesson for our young people to learn early, and that is to be internally oriented and self-focused. Being self-focused is different from being selfish. I think I need to make this distinction. Being self-focused in the context in which I’m writing about anyway, means that a person focuses on his or her own set of internal values and desires. So when they encounter a negative or toxic person that person won’t have a huge impact on them, because they’re busy working on their own goals and aspirations.
As a parent, I worry about this. I don’t want my kids growing up with this kind of insecurity. So how am I going to raise them to be internally oriented? That’s a good question. I thought about it for a while and I’ve decided that this is the best way for me to do it.
The best way to do this is by being an involved parent. I have to remember that my kids are experiencing many things for the first time. What that means is even though I may think what they’re going through isn’t a big deal. It is to them. They don’t have the life experience that I do, and because of that experience, I’m supposed to be a guiding force in their lives. I shouldn’t use that experience to belittle the event they’re dealing with. I should use it to help them through it and give them some guidance on how to deal with it.
Often times, we adults forget this and try to brush off our child’s feelings because we’re trying to put food on the table, are worried about our jobs, or one of the other million things that parents worry about besides our kids.
If we focus on our kids, that also gives them permission to focus on themselves. It teaches them that we value them. This is important because then they learn to value themselves and they won’t fall prey to the toxic people that they’ll inevitably encounter in their lives.
Thanks for reading my post today. I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts, so leave a comment!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today talking about negative emotions. These feelings are tough to deal with even as adults, so I thought it’d be a good topic for today, especially with the holidays coming up. It seems like gathering with families can bring these emotions to the surface rather quickly.
Part of the problem when dealing with these emotions is that they have a label of bad or negative, so not only are we dealing with the powerful negative emotion, we’re feeling bad because we have it.
In reality, these emotions aren’t negative, they’re telling us something. They’re a signal designed to alert us. Maybe a situation isn’t a good one and our fear is igniting our fight or flight response.
First of all, let us identify some of those negative emotions.
Fear- That feeling that something bad is going to happen.
Hurt– That feeling you get when you suffer a loss. A loss is any unmet expectation.
Frustration– When you’re not getting the returns for your efforts that you want.
Disappointment– When you feel you’ve lost out on something forever.
Anger and Guilt- These emotions are the result of the violation of your own internal standards or guidelines.
First, let’s re-label these emotions from “bad” or “negative” to signals. That’s right; they’re signals that alert us to something. For example, when we’re feeling frustrated we need to look at our efforts and see if they need to be tweaked. Maybe talking to a mentor about our results will help us tweak our strategy so we can improve our results.
Our frustration is a signal that we needed. It told us that we needed to take action. In my opinion, that’s what these emotions do for us, they tell us to take action, to make a change. The only problem is that when we feel these emotions we don’t always know what action we need to take.
The first thing we need to do is take control of our emotion. So how do we do that?
1) Break your pattern immediately and disassociate. Do something crazy to break out of the emotion.
2) Now get curious. Become a third party observer and ask questions. What’s going on here? Where did this emotion come from? Remember to do this as a third party. Don’t make it personal.
3) Then identify the real issue of what you want.
4) Then come up with an action that will get you what you want.
The key to this process is the disassociation. We need to become an observer so that we can identify what we want without being blinded by raw emotion.
These steps are clear and practical, but like everything else in life, it’ll take practice to master them. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t master them right away.
In my opinion, these steps would be great to teach teens that are experiencing some of these emotions. They can be incredibly intense and many teens don’t have the tools they need to deal with them. By using the following steps above, they can start practicing now and master their emotions at a younger age. Just think how the quality of their lives will improve. 🙂
Thanks for reading my post today. I hope you found it helpful. If you have any tools that work for you on dealing with negative emotions please leave a comment, I’d love to read it!
****For more information on dealing with negative emotions go to:
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! A fellow blogger asked me to discuss a topic that’s near and dear to everyone’s heart, and since October is National Bullying Prevention month, I thought why not? So, you guessed it the topic for this post is Bullying.
Did you know one of the underlying causes of violence in our schools and teen suicide is bullying? In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of fifteen to twenty four. To me, this is heartbreaking news, especially since bullying is easily preventable.
What is bullying?
According to Wikipedia, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.
Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse emotional, verbal, and physical. It usually starts out as verbal abuse, and if it has not stopped in time, it escalates to physical abuse.
Who are the bullies?
Again, according to Wikipedia, research indicates that people with a strong need to control or dominate tend to be bullies. Further studies indicate that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.
While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety. By demeaning others, they feel empowered by their dominance.
Who are the victims?
People who react to stressful situations by perceiving themselves as victims tend to be the best targets for bullying. These people give the response the bully is looking for, submission. However, if the target responds with a clear attitude of self-confidence that somehow demonstrates that the bully’s attempt at control is futile, then the bullying will quickly diminish or end all together.
There is another factor to bullying that is intriguing. Despite the large number of individuals who do not agree with the bully’s tactics, very few will intervene on behalf of the victim.
In 85% of bullying incidents, bystanders are involved in teasing the victim or egging on the bully. This gives the bully permission to continue behaving badly and may actually increase the behavior.
The reason the bystanders behave this way is that they want to avoid becoming a victim themselves.
Sadly, all it would take is one or two people standing up for the victim to stop the bullying behavior.
What can a victim do?
I found some excellent advice from the link below.
H Ask for help from friends, teachers, parents, or other adults.
A Assert yourself. The best way to do this is by using I statements. For example: “I feel _____ when you _______.”
HHumor. The bully wants to upset you, so instead of getting mad use humor to diffuse the situation. Be ready with a joke.
AAvoid. Stay away from the bully as much as possible
S Self talk. If you are being bullied, think of good things about yourself even if the bully is picking on you.
OOwn it. Sometimes what the bully says might be true, so you can own the comment. For example, if a bully is making fun of you because you wear glasses you can say “All the better to see you with.” You can’t deny you wear glasses, but you don’t have to be ashamed of it either.
Of course, these techniques might not work all the time, nothing is foolproof, but to learn more go to: