3 thing April 12 – 2nd day of spring break – I’d rather be at the beach!!

I was a wreck – so nervous.

So, day 1 I got sinus surgery and it’s a 3-5 day recovery with 2 weeks of no strenuous activity. I did this over spring break so as not to miss more time in my classroom since the repeated sinus infections that knocked me out so bad doc gave me a Covid test every time, kept me from my job on multiple occasions. Then I got Covid!!! So it’s been a very rough school year.

So here is my list of gratitude I am grateful for the surgeon and health care professionals that did an amazing job of calming my nerves, healing my pain, and giving me tender and full attention. Special shout-out to Chris, the recovery nurse that was generous with the pain meds but more importantly, started singing I am woman…how did she know?

I am grateful to have people to surround me with their love and care as I recover at home.

I am grateful that I call tell the pressure behind my eyes – the one that made them feel like they would just explode out of my face – well, it’s gone. Praise God.

On another note…

I was called selfish and a bad teacher this week by another teacher. I was told I lacked commitment to my students and criticized how much school I had missed, my lessons and instruction. Although she has never been in my room. Nonetheless, it really hurt my feelings. She is a friend. No conversation, no asking me if I’m ok or why my absences have been so many. (See sinus story above).

Hmmmm chronic illness… Choosing to take care of my physical, or mental health for that matter, is not selfish. It’s called self-care.

I have accepted that she was having a bad day, is overwhelmed by her job, and chose to lash out at me. Perhaps even something personal going on as well. Teaching is hard and very demanding and we tend to ignore our own needs ALL THE TIME. So I repeat, self care is not selfish.

Basically? We had a misscommunication as I failed to receive information about a student. That prompted the unprofessional email. Anyway – I’m disappointed she was not made to apologize or did not do it on her own accord – as she also sent this to 2 administrators. I was told it was handled and now it’s a personnel issue and they can’t tell me anything. They printed my email of concern and put it in the file of this incident Total cop out.

I don’t want to reply to her attack in kind. I thought about bringing her flowers and just saying – something is clearly upsetting your life and I hope whatever it is gets better for you .. and give her the flowers. Be the bigger person and give her. Chance to apologize. She’s a teacher – she’s under too much stress – she snapped and had a target that morning and unfortunately it was me. I can empathize. But I can’t accept the personal attack. Standing up for yourself is a part of self care. I cannot let it go unnoticed. She is my friend. This could be just what SHE needs.

I am grateful that I have grown is gratitude, grace, and peace and I hope to continue to help others grow as well. You are never alone. Ask for help. Reach out – someone will reach back.

Have a great day everyone. And be kind to one another. You never know what their struggles are.

#gratitude #3things #choosejoy #selfcare #bekind

Dear Social Engineers:

websterDear social engineers:  Dear manipulative members of society and micromanaging social climbers:

According to Merriam-Webster, social engineering is simply “the practice of making laws or using other methods to influence public opinion and solve social problems or improve social conditions.  [Also,] management of human beings in accordance with their place and function in society:  applied social science. Simplified even further by Urban Dictionary.com – “the attempt to control social behavior”.   And finally, on a digital security website we have “the art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information…exploiting your natural inclination to trust”.  But, my personal favorite: “the art and science of human manipulation”.  WOW.Puppet-On-A-String

I wonder how this very volatile phrase has morphed and has been trivialized to mean controlled and purposeful manipulation of a child’s life by a parent, as he or she tries to improve his or her own social status through the life, friends, and activities of the child.

While I appreciate that the human condition lends itself towards selfish behavior, wrapping others up in one’s own twisted reality of an imaginary hierarchical realm really depletes my life force.  Fake friendships and phony smiles – simply exhausting.  Please exclude me because I choose to be excluded, not because I have succumbed to the inane attempts to make me feel lesser.  And while I understand the parental right to protect one’s child from hurtful relationships and detrimental environments, I will never reconcile the vicarious living that occurs through the lives of children by their parents as anything but sad.  Furthermore, I do understand that society has classes and that in every scenario there is a pecking order.  However, it seems the reality of the order, often disputed or unclear, remains abstract and truly unimportant when considering other human beings.  As I teach in my classroom, I will continue to see individuals and not members of cliques.  I will continue to exhaust myself to make the invisible child visible to all.

social engineeringSo please back up and look at the big picture.  Please stop “managing human beings in accordance with” YOUR idea of THEIR place and function in YOUR life.  If you want to bring about improved social conditions for everyone, your child included, simply treat the world and individuals in it as though they all matter.  Please stop trying to micro-managing the lives of others and get one of your own.  You will be a much happier person.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Everyone.

 

 

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home

According to Merriam-Webster: home (noun)

  1. one’s place of residence
  2. the social unit formed by a family living together
  3. a familiar or usual setting :  congenial environment; also :  the focus of one’s domestic attentionDSCN2051
  4. a place of origin
  5. an establishment providing residence and care for people with special needs
  6. the objective in various games

Home 1. Piedmont, South Carolina;  Home 2. With my mother, so I may never find it again.  With my children – so it comes and goes as they do.  With my husband, till death parts us; Home 3. Beavercreek, Ohio – my familiar setting;  Home 4. Mishawaka, Indiana – from whence I hail; Home 5. all of the above – we all care for one another and each of us has special needs; Home 6. Home = base; a safe haven and hopefully, you can always go home again.  Ghosts in the graveyard, flashlight tag…all memories of home base.


The heartfelt, real meaning of home…sitting by the fire, watching tv with the kids.  Cooking dinner in the kitchen with the kids setting the table and telling me about their day.  Washing their clothes, watching the onesies turn into ripped jeans and sweatshirts.  Tucking them in at night, even as teenagers.  Going over the best and the worst of the day at the dinner table.  20160214_130831.jpgKissing my husband goodbye every morning and hello every afternoon.  Laughing with them all as we recall funny memories.  Merely looking at my hands and seeing the hands of my mother and my daughter. Bickering children in the backseat of the car (I used to call my two youngest the Bickersons).  Tears as best friends move away.  Cuddling, hugs and kisses.  Going to bed every night next to the man I love.  These are home to me.

Recently I found myself far from my current address while my family remained.  I experienced great nostalgia as I returned to the hometown of my childhood and adolescence.  Strong memories of my parents and my older brothers flooded my head, exploding into feelings that ran the gamut of emotions.  Mostly, the ultimate sense of comfort and knowing – knowing that I was loved, knowing that regardless of our dysfunction – love was iimg_3077.jpgn our home.  During a moment of sadness, however, I longed for so many things from my youth, mostly my mom.  The click-clack sound of my mother’s high heals out on the driveway as she left for work each morning, the warmth and comfort of her embrace, the smell of her Design perfume, the sound of her goofy Woody Woodpecker-like laugh, her sense of humor, and her model of undying loyalty.  As my sorrowful memories began to make me feel alone in the world my youngest daughter sent to me the image to the left with the message “I took this for you because I know you like the sunset with the black trees”.  HOME.

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Please Pull Up To The Cone.

Orange coneEach day on my morning drive I encounter three schools – elementary, middle, and high.  My commute spans four to twelve minutes, depending on the parents in the other cars.  The days of dropping off at the elementary school ended a few years ago.  I will save those days for another post.  Now, my youngest of three attends middle school.  I drive her to school mostly because of her large Baritone Saxophone that she carries back and forth to band and home.  Sometimes, it is so she can get there early to practice in the band room.

In the car circle at the middle school there is a very large, bright orange cone.  The simple, well established rule that we all learn during the first weeks of the sixth grade – pull up to the cone.  This very simple rule allows for the maximum number of cars to safely unload the precious little cherubs and keeps the line flowing at a tolerable pace. In the early part of the school year the administrator remains dutifully in the area, waving his arm, ensuring all parents learn the rule and all cars pull up to the cone.  This complex pull to the orange cone system has been in play for years at the elementary school, as Orange conewell.  So this concept should not be a shocker to anyone.

As the school year progresses the arm waver begins to disappear, leaving parents on their own to follow the rule.  Inevitably, parents fail to pull up to the orange cone in order to drop their own child off at the optimal point.  To be honest – the arm waver never really deterred the determined parents.  He served more as a reminder to those that try to do the right thing.  Clearly, not pulling up to the orange cone slows down the line, backing it up into the street, forcing unsafe traffic maneuvers by those not dropping off, and, quite frankly, takes a little more time off my life.  Rather than five or six cars unloading at once, only one or two let out their cargo before the line moves again.  This is not a new phenomena – parents thinking that their kids are too special to have to walk the ten to fifteen more paces than a less deserving child (see the aforementioned orange cone at the elementary school).

So why do we have rules?  Let’s go back to the basic of common courtesy.  Rules allow a society to function and exist.  At every school I see parents breaking the simple drop off rules for their particular school – and don’t even get me started on the chaos of daily pick up.  These are likely the same parents that get the email or phone call home that their entitled child cheated or cut class or hurt another child or was insubordinate….and they immediately take the side of the child, failing to even consider the ideas of integrity or honesty or true consequence.  Not only do these parents have the “not my child” attitude because they sit with blinders on, they also have the “my child is special and does not have to follow the rules attitude”.  After all, the rules are for the “lessers”.  Why should my child have to follow the rules?  They see me break the rules for them daily.  The rules clearly do not apply to us.

Orange cone

Similarly, why have rules in the house?  So kids know how to function within the parameters of the rules of society.  Life is not a free-for-all.  By not setting reasonable boundaries for kids and leading by good example – parents are setting their kids up for failure (or to be jerks).  True, there are successful liars and cheaters and jerks all over the world.  Everything in life is a trade off and I suppose, once again, it depends on perspective…what it means to be successful.  I want my kids to follow the rules, be considerate, have compassion.  I want my children to show empathy, help others, and be courteous.  I want my family to know love, security, and pride.  I do not want my children to think that the world owes them something.  I do not want my children to be entitled buttholes.

The demise of  our society begins at not pulling up to the orange cone. We teach our children through our actions.   We teach them humility and fairness, or we teach them entitlement. So I choose to pull up to the orange cone – every time – giant instrument and all.  She will survive walking the extra fifteen paces carrying that thing.  I promise.  This is why I pull up to the orange cone, every time – because it is such a simple and courteous rule to follow, to model for my daughter.  How could I expect my kids to follow the hard rules, if I can’t even follow such a simple one?  Pulling up to the cone shows my daughter that she is not the center of the universe; she is not entitled to any special treatment. Choose to pull up to the orange cone  – both literally and metaphorically – and teach children accountability, consideration, and humility.

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