Browsing Category "parenting"
8 Nov
2017
Posted in: parenting
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One of Us

kindness matters quote

I’m a nervous creature by nature and have serious worrying tendencies. Sending our oldest to high school sent me through a minefield of emotions. I’d never attended a school that size, excluding college. He’d be with hundreds of students from all over the county, and I knew this point marked the time he would be more with others and less with us. All we had taught and trained him up with would be put to actual test.

When I dropped him off at his first high school football practice in early August, I prayed and wished that he would find kind teammates and adults who would see him like I do. Three weeks later when marching band began, I prayed for more kind teens and caring adults. I slowly felt my tension ease with every story, every friend, every encounter he related. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good.

He knew what I was worried about: upperclassmen picking on underclassmen, belittling coaches, teachers who no longer like their job, struggling in class, unkind classmates, drugs, alcohol, depression, etc. Every ABC Afterschool Special I grew up watching was on my list of concerns and a whole lot more the folks at ABC didn’t see coming for this generation. My high school only housed 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Freshmen were still in the junior high. I didn’t have any senior friends when I was his age, unless you count a few friends’ siblings. He has a couple classes with seniors and calls a couple dozen teammate. Chalk high school up as one more parenting milestone I felt ill-equipped to handle.

I’ve spent this first quarter asking questions about everything to anyone who would listen. Slowly my knowledge base has grown, while my worries fade to the background. I doubt I’ll ever shake those shackles, but I’m less fearful of this phase than I was three months ago. We have a decade of high school to look forward to with our four children. Those worries will rise to the surface and a few will probably come to fruition, but starting this journey on a positive note was an answered prayer.

Having two activities begin before the start of school, while cutting into my travel plans, was the most beneficial thing to happen to our freshman. He knew several teachers, loads of students in all grades and his way around campus. The first day was a formality by the time it rolled around.

I have told parents, teachers, teenagers and coaches stories about the kindness they have shown. We all get into a groove doing certain tasks and sometimes don’t see them for the gesture they are, whether it’s inspirational quotes, meals, car pooling or simply a kind word. Those little things, especially coming from several sources at once, make all the difference in a situation.

After the last regular season home football game, I took a moment on the field to thank a group of seniors for how kind they had been to our son. One big, burly lineman replied, “It wasn’t anything. He’s one of us, and we take care of each other.” We all belong together and are better off when we take care of one another.

Kindness matters. Love one another. Be kind. Always be inclusive. All these phrases and more I’ve repeated over and over throughout the last 15 years, I now watch teenagers live acting by example. It’s not everyone in the high school or even on the team. It’s a place filled with hormones and rapidly changing people who are perfectly imperfect, but they are showing kindness. Parents, we’re getting through to this next generation. I sometimes feel my words fall on deaf ears in parenting, but when I take a step back and watch these kids, I have renewed hope for this world that seems to have gone mad and lost its way.


 
Out of the Busy Race
By     |    Oct 12, 2017
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Out of the Busy Race

I’ve officially dropped out of the race for most busy mother. Someone else can take the title. There are people in my vast circle who bring out the worst in me. You have them too. They want you to see all the balls they’re juggling at any given time. They are constantly on their phones. They want you to know what they’ve had to do without any help from anyone. I’ll find myself spouting off my own to-do list and... [Read More]

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Teenagers Deserve More From Adults
By     |    Sep 18, 2017
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Teenagers Deserve More From Adults

Twice last week I listened to adults rant about teenagers. I heard all about how lazy teens are, how disrespectful, how they lack work ethic, how they dress like slobs and how our future is surely doomed when that lot reaches adulthood and takes over. I listened and silently seethed until the ranting was over. Both times I shared only one thought,” You, obviously, don’t know the right teenagers.” Right around the time I thought I had a decent grasp... [Read More]

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School Survey Says….
By     |    Sep 5, 2017
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School Survey Says….

The former journalist in me comes out full-force on the first day of school every year. I pepper our kids with countless questions about their day when they arrive home. I’m one step away from a spotlight for my interrogations like my beloved crime books and movies. I’ll take every nugget of information, no matter how small, the kids are willing to throw my way. I really should hand each of the kids a survey to complete. Those who need... [Read More]

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Joys of Back to School Shopping
By     |    Aug 31, 2017
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Joys of Back to School Shopping

Every August I look forward to back-to-school shopping for clothes and shoes for our kids, and every August I’m reminded how taxing the actual shopping excursion is in reality. We try to make a weekend trip away from home to a larger city to make the sometimes tedious shopping more enjoyable. At least in a larger city there are more food options to help in coaxing good behavior. This year with high school football a new part of our schedule,... [Read More]

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Adjusting to a Different Summer
By     |    Jun 21, 2017
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Adjusting to a Different Summer

I miss preschoolers. Maybe I don’t miss everything about having young children, but parenting a teen and a tween this summer has me nostalgic for truly lazy days of summer. I was prepared for life to change when our oldest entered high school. He’s active and involved. I knew certain things, like sports, would require more time. He hit the ground running this summer and his commitment motivated our 7th grader to start his own training program. By 9:45 a.m.... [Read More]

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No Ugly Crying for Me
By     |    May 22, 2017
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No Ugly Crying for Me

Warning: I’ve become a spontaneous crier. In fairness to myself, I’ve always been a crier, but lately, my tears seemingly flow on a daily basis. I can’t keep them at bay and really have stopped trying. I’ve promised our children I’ll stop myself before I’m at the ugly cry level, but that’s as much as I can pinkie swear about. Thankfully, the tears are happy(ish) for the most part. We’re finishing up another school year, my ninth as a mom,... [Read More]

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Big Push to Finish School Year
By     |    May 4, 2017
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Big Push to Finish School Year

The month of May is one of my favorite and least favorite months. Summer is right around the corner and the weather is improving. There are 22 days of school remaining and 50 days until we enjoy another much-anticipated epic vacation. But May is also the month when everyone has everything on every day…all month long. It’s inevitable with four children that our evenings will be full of recitals, concerts, track meets and practices. It’s never one thing at a... [Read More]

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The Thing About Grief
By     |    Mar 24, 2017
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The Thing About Grief

I picked up our 8th grader from school on Wednesday expecting our normal post-school conversation. The script goes something like this: I ask him to tell me something about his day. He tells me about some meme someone showed him at lunch. I either laugh, or don’t get it and he laughs. He’ll run through his homework list and pick a few small things to discuss. Thus concludes the recap with further items thrown in at random times throughout the... [Read More]

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If Only There Was a Parenting Guidebook
By     |    Mar 22, 2017
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If Only There Was a Parenting Guidebook

This morning my youngest son asked what the hardest part is of parenting. It took me a few minutes to decide. Not being able to fix heartbreak. Not being able to fix injuries. Watching time slip through my fingers. Making sure everyone feels listened to and treated fairly. All possible answers. The one I gave him: there’s no guidebook. Sure there are plenty of books on parenting. I remember with our oldest flipping through “What to Expect the First Year”... [Read More]

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Sometimes Life is That Cliché
By     |    Feb 3, 2017
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Sometimes Life is That Cliché

If there’s one thing I know about parenting, it’s that children grow up too fast. I know. I know. It’s the epitome of cliché, but also heartrendingly true. Our oldest will be a freshman next year and will register for high school classes this month. I’m sentimental, sometimes to a fault. The email confirming his placement in high school seemed surreal. It surely belonged in someone’s else inbox. I can’t possibly have a teenager in high school. I’m too young,... [Read More]

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Gifting Experiences Over Things
By     |    Dec 12, 2016
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Gifting Experiences Over Things

I watched our seven-year-old come on stage to walk-through her part in The Great Russian Nutcracker with big eyes and slightly hesitant steps. The stage was bigger than she’s used to dancing on with movable backdrops and multiple props lining the stage’s wings. Professional dancers from the Moscow Ballet company waited in the wings or on the stage. They were speaking Russian and looked aloof and marginally bored. As I watched our daughter and her fellow snowflakes, I was impressed... [Read More]

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