Thursday, November 29, 2007

Watch for the Quiet One

The comment I made at the end of my last post on comparing children was aimed more at a child being in the shadow of one who is outstanding in some way.

In the classroom it is often seen that the quiet child sits back and does not get the attention because he is overshadowed by the outgoing student. In my classroom I have two outstanding girls painting a picture. One girl is sweet and speaks to me daily, compliments my attempts to be a good teacher and is enthusiastic about her work. I love her. Then the girl next to her is also a sweet girl but she is going through tremendous problems at home and she is very quiet, never speaks to anyone in the room, does not smile much, gets totally "into" her painting (which is good therapy) and does not ask for help. She to is doing a good job. I also, love this girl. When one on one I ask her about her personal life, I ask her how she is dealing with this problem or that problem and I try to be there for her. Sometimes, she opens up and talks and sometimes she only gives a little.

It is VERY important that I maintain a balance of attention to both the outgoing child and the quiet one. Having been the quiet child I understand my quiet student. She is content not to be the center of attention and she is working out her problems in her head. She will not demand attention until she gets totally cornered. As the adult I need to keep a finger on her pulse.

Finding the specialness in each child and helping them to fulfill their potential is the goal of parenting, the more children, the more difficult the task because everyone knows that when there is only one child it is hard to isolate their specialness because everything is special about him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Amaryllis Bulbs

Okay, you amaryllis watchers.
Did anyone else buy one?
I bought two. Now a week and a half later the one that was 4.5 inches is now 12 inches and the one that was 3 inches is now 6 inches. Both have big buds developed that are shooting up.
I have to wonder why one is so slow and the other is shooting out the gate.

Or maybe, I should realize that neither is slow but one is faster than the other.
Do we compare our children like this?
One is good and the other is exceptional but we do not realize the good one because we are so focused on the exceptional one?

Oh, I think I could start a blog on that....but..... I don't have time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Conscience is Clean

What a wonderful week we have been having in Verdi.

Family around.
Kids playing around the house, coming in for hugs and chocolate every now and then, going with Papa to feed the cows, beating Uncle Bobby at pool, finding puzzle pieces with the big people, misreading the answers on Loaded Questions "under no circumcisions"....laughing.

Parents playing games with the kids, putting jigsaw puzzles together, playing Loaded Questions with the kids, trying to keep them out of Nana's stash of chocolate.....eating .....eating....eating....ugh!

Few times have been more memorable or enjoyable. Just good clean fun.

I saw a new Tractor Supply commercial about dirty hands..."never opened a Swedish furniture catalog", and on and on....ending with "BUT my conscience is clean"!
What a good commercial!
What a good feeling.

I hope all who are reading this had wonderful time.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amaryllis Bulbs

Hey, Moms, run out to Home Depot or Lowe's (maybe Walmart) and pick up an amaryllis bulb in boxes in the gardening section. Most are on clearance now but are perfect.

Let your kids watch the daily growth by measuring with a ruler and chart the growth. In four to six weeks they will be around 18 inches tall and will have a huge rewarding bulb. If you hurry it may bulb around Christmas.

It is amazing how quickly they grow. I have two in my kitchen window. One is 4.5 inches, the other 3 inches and I planted them Saturday.

On Your Knees

It seems I hit on a subject that we all have in common.

Either we have had kids,
we are working with kids,
we are working with people who act like kids
or we once were a kid.

An interesting conclusion of the previous blog is that we all identified that kids need both discipline and love or love and discipline or however you put it but both are necessary parts of child rearing and that defending your child to the end is only defending your child to the end and not truly a form of love because anyone who truly loves a child is going:
  • to teach the child to be independent instead of dependent so they can function on their own as an adult,
  • to teach them good work ethics so they will be good employees,
  • to teach them to respect their elders because a society that does not value the older generations is doomed to failure,
  • to show compassion and love because what goes around comes around and besides, those you step on as you climb the ladder of success are the very ones who have to be the support while you are at the top,
  • But the foundation of all the lessons must be to love God and his creation.

As Dave Ramsey would say of dealing with debt, take "baby steps". The lessons are not learned in one day. It takes time. But as all teachers know, know your objectives, move to the goal.

Child rearing is a massive, overwhelming job. There may be jobs that will pay you more monetarily but no job more important.

I am glad to have done it and am glad to have completed my first generation of child rearing, and look forward to supporting those in control of my second generation of child rearing.

I am so fortunate that the daily failures in my life as I brought up my children did not overshadow the spiritual training that the extended family and church family helped me with while my children grew.

Children learn from what they see,
let them see you on your knees.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Preaching On Dana

I seem to be stuck on the idea of bored children because this is a major concern of mine. I have begun to do a dog and pony show daily to get the attention of my students and I still hear the same ol' thing "this is boring".

My response today is different than it was years ago to my bored children.
Today I say, "you brought that with you. I can not make you love life. I am just here to make you learn about art."

Generally, they look blankly at me. I smile and move on. But they never repeat that to me again. Or if they do they get the same response as the one before, I smile then move on.

BUT I see their boredom.
They move their hands to shape a lump of clay,
Or sketch a crude drawing to satisfy the "cartoon" assignment but it lacks any humor or it is just crude humor,
Or they sleep through the ONE MINUTE video "today in history" because they can not connect it to themselves or even find any interest in knowing what has happened beyond today.
They draw but only on demand.
They follow the directions and see the development but get no satisfaction from a job well done nor interest in how to make it better.

What is the problem with this sort of child?

Often this is the child whose mother will call and scream at the teacher because we are bringing down her darlin's GPA.
"He received a 93! He should have a 100!"

"WHY? " we ask.

"Because he IS there!"
"But he comes in late, and does not work. He would rather talk and flirt! He takes up space I will agree. But he does not work to his ability. He is there, I will agree. He can do it I have seen but it takes too much time from his visiting."

Still Mom screams, "He deserves a 100! Not based on his work! He should get it just for showing up!"
The moral of my blog today:
Well meaning mothers do everything they can for their children but deprive their children of the ability to experience anything themselves. Let them fall on their face and pick themselves up. Otherwise they will always need a crutch. They drive them here, then to there. It is ballet, and baseball and art and soccer, too but the problem is that it is overloading the child and they have NO time to BE a child. They rush from one organized thing to another and give them classes galore. Every day is taken up and no time is left for family. And family is what they NEED.

You want them to be happy. Stop being there for their EVERY desire. Be there for their every NEED (food, clothing, shelter and love, love, love but not things, things, things!) Take care of them but give them time to enjoy the outdoors. You say they hate going outside? That is because it is uncharted territory to them. They are stuck in their chair in front of tv or the computer. Give them paper, and pencil and scissors and glue. Help them create and discover their imagination. Our children today are experiencing overload and they are young. Too much stuff, not enough of imaginative time.

I look at the toys offered to our children in the stores. They are commercially based, no imagination. Choose the old fashioned things that help them create. The ability to create is the beginning to problem solving. Children who can not create or imagine are the ones who struggle with problem solving. I worry that we have intelligent people who will never come up with that new invention because they simply don't want to put themselves out. They don't need for anything.

Read to them. Find fun things to read and show them. Poems by Shel Silverstein or Norman Rockwell's drawings.
Let them dig in the garden. Give them their space to grow anything they want.
Plant seeds in clear plastic containers so they can watch the roots growing daily and see life germinate.
Take them to visit family and friends and grandparents who love them. They need to bond with them, too. The extended family is a valuable asset and gives them a place to run when they need someone else besides you.

Just in case anyone thinks I am writing this due to something with my own grandchildren, that would not be the case. As I say the things to do I think of the plants on the window ledge at Ryan and Jenny's house, and the blackboard in the dining room and I think of the craft cart at Leann and Randy's house and the books on the shelf.

Thanks, Dana for giving me permission to vent. I hope someone sees this and recognizes themselves in what they do and can change early on before their child is bored with life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bored or Boring

Strange new problems are being reported in the growing generations of children
whose mothers were always there,
driving them around,
helping them with their homework -

an inability to endure pain or discipline or pursue any self-sustained goal of any sort,
a devastating boredom with life.
Betty Friedan (1921 - 2006)

Oh, how true I find this to be. As an art teacher, not an academic teacher but rather a subject often thought of as a fun subject I find more and more students bored with art. Not the actual class but the process of creating. How sad!

I found this statement today and it just so happens to coincide with the one I was working on.

Of Legos and Gizmos

The question is: Once happy, can you get any happier?
If one gift makes a child happy will twenty more make him happier?

I could bombard them
with more and more things
but it's lost in a mountain
of stuff on the floor
of legos and gizmos
I don't even know,
it's just one more thing
piled in the floor,
or shove in the closet,
or under the bed,
for a quick little thrill....
then on to the next.

Here's Your Blog Jackie

Jackie tells me it is time for a new blog. I know I have been neglectful about blogging but I think my brain turned to mush! I think it is a combination of teaching and the remodeling dust.

Well, life is just tough! Some days are just tougher!

Things in this world are not fair. Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people. That is why we need God.

Choices we make while we are young direct us in a path but that does not mean we can not take a detour.

Anger words are hard to digest.

Love overcomes all.

Yes, these are all random thoughts. But somehow at 5:30 in the morning that seems fitting. It must be those things that knock around in my brain overnight.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Saving Face or Saving Grace

When I was just a child I had a friend, a neighbor girl who seemed to pick arguments with me all the time. I loved to play with her but I hated to argue.

I can remember this one day while playing on her swing that she began to pick on everything I said. I can not remember what we were talking about but I remember as a six year old stopping my swing and looking at her and asking her,
"Do you like to argue?"
An affirmative response to my question, "Yes!"
My response as I stood to get off of the swing, "I don't."
And I walked back to my house.

Sometimes the only way not to get into an argument is to simply walk away before it gets heated. Once the argument escalates it is too late to get out gracefully, and difficult to walk away. It is often simply a matter of choice to keep your mouth shut, your feelings off of your sleeves and to take the higher road and choose not to get into an argument over some stupid little thing.

It is not about saving face, it is about saving grace.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Time Change

I have to admit that the time change messed me up this time. Usually, I change the clocks and am fine when I get up but this time I went to bed and thought my cell phone will show the correct time in the morning and all will be well. So being lazy-to-bed, I left the clocks alone .

So this morning I got up, looked at my cell phone and then I looked at the clocks downstairs, and put a load of clothes in the washer. Folded the ones that were in the dryer and turned on the TV. I looked at the clocks and wondered why my phone did not update the time and why did the TV channel guide not update the time. Everything still had the old time on it. I sat and watched a movie and drank coffee. Then I got Lee up because he needed to get some things going before church. His phone was off an hour from mine. I have Sprint, he has Cingular. He had 6:30, I had 5:30. Then Daniel got up. Now with everyone up but Caleb I am bold to wake Caleb to solve the mystery of the time.
Caleb confirmed my suspicions, he had changed the clocks before he went to bed and now the realization hits us all. I got up at 4:30, thinking it was 5:30.

I guess, I will be down early tonight. Now again, how did this happen?