Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Flippin' Future of Our Kids

Recently I wrote an article for this blog entitled; "Don't Get Smart With Me." It suggested that there are different types of smart and some kids have trouble showing their particular kind of "smart" within our standardized testing and classroom confines. I talked about some very famous "smart" people who did not fit the school mode. I referenced Edison, and Einstein, for example. I was very encouraged by my findings and hoped whoever read the article might think twice about how they see intelligence and ability in others. I still do.

Having a teenager at home who is looking toward graduation and very unsure about what comes next, I have been trying to be encouraging, calming, even non judgmental when she throws out ideas regarding her future that make me want to scream, "WHAT? Are you crazy? No way. Not if we are footing the bill, not if you live here, not if ... Are you crazy?" I try to feign a smile and say that nothing must be decided today and not to pigeon hole herself as a student or non student. I try to remember some very good advice given to me many years ago. "Love your children for who God made them to be, not who you want them to be. The more you try to tweak them against their nature, the more frustrated everyone is." Ah, what a beautiful thought. But wait a minute, I don't think my mentor meant putting up with frivolity and laziness and kooky plans to find themselves somewhere along P.C.H. watching the sunset. Isn't it my job as a parent to push my child back into the right lane, to protect them from ideas that are not so realistic?

I would literally fight tooth and nail to make sure each and every child is evaluated fairly,and given his or her rightful chance to show their gifts and their capabilities. I am still a huge advocate for taking another long look at how we teach and how we test. What I am most sure of though, is that it is the desire for knowledge that makes life rich. The quest to understand and be enlightened in your faith, your perceptions, your grasp of history, and culture, and art is what heightens our enjoyment and fulfillment in our relationships and in our behavior and contributions to the world.

Too bad the age at which we graduate from High School is nowhere near the age that we understand the importance and the blessing of a good education. We are expected to make these big educational decisions at a time in life when all our hormones and frontal lobe want to do is have fun! I was no different. I was more concerned about how my bangs were feathered than my math test. I came out of High School and floated into Junior College with no real plan yet for transfer, or specific career. I knew I wanted to write; that's about it. Looking back though, somewhere deep deep down I had a strong sense that continued schooling was not a question for me. It had to be accomplished.

One of my teachers in High School always warned us, "If you don't get an education, your options are limited. Pay attention. Work hard, or you'll be flippin' the burgers." Any time someone was goofing off in class, or late, he'd just say, "Yeah, keep it up. Flippin' the burgers." We even used the phrase on each other when we did or said something silly. "Flippin' the burgers." Obviously with no offense intended toward any person who flips burgers, I want more for my daughter.

I watched an old episode of "Freaks and Geeks" the other night. It is a look at high school teens in the 80's. The show was under the direction of Judd Apatow and starred now famous faces like James Franco, Seth Rogan and Jason Segel. The character of Lindsay is a smart, capable student who is choosing to dumb herself down to fit it with the cool crowd. Her guidance counselor will not stand by and watch her demise, so he follows her with college applications and pleads with her not to throw away her chances at a great educational future. In a pivotal moment in the hallway, Lindsay turns to her counselor and says,"Not everyone who's smart goes to college. Look at Einstein and Thomas Edison." "And Frank!" points out the counselor excitedly. "Who's Frank?" asks Lindsay. There is a momentary pause, and then he answers, "The guy who pumps my gas."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Teach Your Kids About the Real Easter Story

Looking for a hands-on way to teach your children about the real Easter story? Consider getting a set of Resurrection Eggs. They are each filled with a symbol relating to Easter. There is a guide to explain each piece and it's importance in the story. We use them every year.

                                      Check discount stores, christian book stores and your church.

Pre Easter Hunting Fun!

It's Almost Easter...

Have some fun with those empty eggs before next Sunday!!
Spell out in capitals something special you will do with your kids..
GET  ICE CREAM      PARK     BAKE COOKIES   whatever
cut out the letters and put one each in the eggs and hide them. 
When all eggs are found, put the letters together to spell out the clue. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sing It Mama!!

My bible study gals and I were recently brainstorming ideas of worship. We were complaining about our distracted natures and the difficulty to stay focused. One of the ideas was not just listening to Christian music which is powerful in its own right, but to pick a few hymns or songs that really move you and play them loud and sing along. I know David sang out to the Lord often. There is something about belting out a great hymn in your kitchen, or your car, or while you are putting on your mascara when you're alone. 

I am thinking it wouldn't be bad for my kids to hear me now and then. When I sing along with the hymn I am attaching, my dogs look at me funny. I get goosebumps every time, and can hardly keep from choking up not only at the beauty of the voices of Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill, but the emotion I feel singing along from the bottom of my heart. 

Try it! Let Him know you love him, even if you can't read your bible today for more than 5 minutes because you get sleepy. If you are struggling to pray because your thoughts are scattered. Maybe all you need to do is:

                                                                                               Sing It!!

If you want to download this song in audio, it is on an album of country artists singing hymns which is great. It is called How great thou art. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ladies Who Lunch

It's funny, on one hand we are, in many ways the most entitled, spoiled generation ever, and yet we don't allow ourselves to enjoy a leisurely, lovely lunch with a friend because we are too "busy" for that.
Maybe, if we remembered the incredible value of sharing a meal, sharing our hardships and joys with a good friend, and then walking away to let someone else do the dishes...we might do it more often.
 You don't even have to wear hats!

Today I met a wonderful friend at a sushi restaurant where the poor waitress must have asked us ten times if we needed more iced tea or diet coke. That gives you an idea how long we sat there. This is not a friend I talk to every day, sometimes not for a month. No matter. There is a knowing. There is a mutual adoration, respect and deep affection that is reignited the instant we are together. I am genuinely happy to see her, can't wait to hear about her family, her highs and lows, the new and the old. Her eyes light up when she sees me too.

*If this sounds hokey to you, you need a new friend. I can't explain the gratitude I feel when I think of the girlfriends my God has blessed me with. It is one of the great joys of my life.

So, with ice tea and diet coke disappearing from our glasses, sushi being savored and shared, we discussed everything under the sun; our wonderful,challenging, exhausting kids, husbands, things we are working on, things we are not too successful with, hopes, worries, faith, health. There were rounds of spontaneous tears, some crazy laughter, some quiet conversation. Mostly, we were just being a friend to one another. We could say what we are proud of and ashamed of, what we are confused by and what we know to be true. I think I will donate to a good cause in the amount of a two hour therapy session I no longer need to schedule. There is nothing like a real friend to remind you of your good character qualities and encourage you away from the less desirable ones. She knows you don't really hate your kids or want to strangle your husband. She knows they are your everything, otherwise they could never drive you this nutty. If you put yourself down, she laughs and brings up something great you've done. She shares her good one liners with the kids, and listens quietly when she know no advice is needed, just a caring look and an "I get it," sigh.

Lunch with my friend is just what I needed today. She is so smart and funny and genuine. If she likes me, I guess I must not be too hopeless. Give yourself the gift of friend indulgence. Call a friend and make a lunch date today. You won't regret it.

* Watch your iced tea intake. I almost had a potty accident driving to the groomer to pick up my dogs after the lunch. I never wanted to get up and go during our conversation. What am I, 4?