A Reason For Life

Last week Mr. L and I were washing dishes and listening to the soundtrack to the movie Rio.  There is a song on the soundtrack by Taio Cruz called Telling the World.  The lyrics are:

I’m telling the world that I’ve found a girl

The one I can live for, the one who deserves

To give all the light, a reason to fly

The one I can live for, a reason for life

I kid you not, we were just dancing around and singing when Mr. L pops off and says, “That’s not right.  We don’t live for a girl.  We live for God.  He’s the reason we live.”  A big smirk spread across my face.  I love this kid!  Seriously…he’s 8 and, at least for the moment, he realizes that we don’t live for a girl.  We have a much grander purpose.

Being a mother to 2 boys, I’ve very aware of the world they live in and the lessons being taught to them.

I was working at my father’s hardware store on Saturday and went to help a guy in his 50’s find what he was looking for.  As I point to the area up high on the peg board, he looked at my face, looked at my chest, and then looked a bit lower.  I can’t tell you how used and dirty I felt.  All that aside, I thought how this man didn’t come to looking at women in “that way” over night.  He had outside influences of some sort.

In that moment, I couldn’t have been more determined to make sure I protect my boys from idolizing women and their bodies.  I also had great sympathy for you men.  The world (women, music, movies, social expectations) don’t make it easy on you!

I’m thankful for Mr. L’s first steps towards a healthy respect for his relationship with women and with God.  It’s a life long journey but we are off to a great start.

School of Choice

Last year was a rough year for Mr. L.  His 1st grade teacher was a bad fit for him.  We tried to have him moved, but the school wouldn’t work with us.  I got all set to homeschool him about half way through the year, but we both realized he needed time with his friends at school.

As we looked towards 2nd grade, we knew we had to do something different.  Our family was moving to a new town that had 3 public elementary schools, 1 private school, and 1 charter school.  We set out to see if this charter school was a good fit for not only Mr. L but his little brother that would be entering Kindergarten.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much the boys loved the school when we visited.  The classrooms have 2 grades combined.  I love this because within the classroom the older kids are being taught leadership skills.  The teachers use progressive teaching methods to incorporate the kids into the lesson.  It’s hands on learning that is perfect for boys!  During the student lead tour, we were amazed at how the students could carry on a wonderful conversation with adults.  They highly recommended the school as an option for our boys.  What really blew me away were the teachers.  You could tell they totally love teaching at this school.

At one point the boys said they wanted to go back to that art room again sometime.  I informed them that the art room was really a K-1 classroom.  I believe it was at that moment that we decided as a family this was the new place for them.

My boys LOVE this school.  Mr. L was actually sad last week when we had a snow day and he couldn’t go to school (yes, this was during the week he had problems with his girl friends!).  They are learning so much.  I rarely hear a complaint about going to school.

I know people sometimes have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to homeschooling, charter schools, or other alternatives for schooling.  I just want to encourage you to find what works for your kids.  Each child is different.  I truly believe if Mr. L was in the normal public schools this year he would not be flourishing the way he is now.

(Girl)Friends

Some of Mr. L’s best friends at school are girls.  Do you ladies remember 2nd and 3rd grade?  I specifically remember ditching my best friend since Kindergarten to be friends with the popular girls when I was in 3rd grade.  That was a waste of a perfectly good, healthy friendship.  Young girls are full of drama.  One day we’re friends and the next you can’t even talk to each other anymore.  It’s a roller coaster of emotions.

I honestly didn’t see this whole drama thing coming our way.  Yes, I’m a bit naive.  You see, Mr. L has a lot of girl friends.  He’s been having problems for the last week  at school with his friends but yesterday was the big kicker for Mr. L.  He was cross country skiing at school (which he does not like…snow, cold, physical activity) and he was struggling a bit.  He called out to one of his girl friends asking them for help.  She look right at him and then proceeded to turn around and head off without him.  He literally laid face down in the snow and started crying.  His heart was broken.  How could his friend simply turn and ski away from him when he needed help?  You see, everything matters to this kid.  People matter.  Their actions matter.

His teacher came to find out what was going on after a group of students were circling around him.  She had the other students leave so they could have a conversation about what was going on (have I mentioned I really appreciate her?).  He said he had a secret that he feels like nothing and not important.  Those are the same words he told me on Monday last week.

Over the last week, he’s spent a lot of time sad about the way others at school were treating him.  I suggested a few tips on being a good friend for him to try.  I suggested that if his friends still didn’t want to play with him that he should be on the look out for other friends that would be a good fit for him.  I’m sure this is the first of many times we will deal with friend issues.

So LOVE with all your heart Mr. L.  It’s worth all the bumps you will encounter on the road of life because yes, everything (and everyone) does matter.

The Why behind the What

At church, we often talk about the WHY behind the WHAT.  I’ve often thought of that when it comes to parenting.  Why are my kids acting up?  What happened at school today cause this is not a normal reaction to the current situation?  Why did that situation blow up so much?

My youngest boy has been giving me a lot of sass today.  He ended up in a time out for 2 minutes because he wouldn’t listen to me.  Then it got elongated a few minutes because of additional behavior problems.  The behavior was his outward response to the fact that he was tired.  As of right now, he’s been asleep for 1-1/2 hours.  But let’s take it back a bit further.  He was up 4 times (do I have an infant in the house again???) last night coughing and then woke up at 5am for the morning.  So yes, he’s tired (and so is his mommy!).

Now that is a pretty obvious example but how about a more complex situation?  My older boy started treating his brother and the neighbor kids poorly one day after school.  I’d never seen that kind of behavior in him before.  He was putting people down and using words I’d never heard him use before (yes, stupid is the “S” word in our house).  Instead of punishing him for his behavior, I corrected it and then asked how his day was at school.  I came to find out some other kids on the bus had picked on him (in the same ways).  Now that makes sense.  Then you add to it that he needs to EXPERIENCE how it FEELS to be on the other side of that situation…and it was perfectly clear to me why he was behaving that way.

It takes a lot more time to work through all those details, but don’t your kids deserve it?  Next time something strange happens, take a few moments to calmly think through the WHY behind the WHAT.

Boy+Sensory+Dentist=Tired Mom

I’m sure the dental hygienist wondered why I was neglecting to bring my son in for his yearly visits to the dentist.  She may think me lazy, overworked, underinsured, or whatever…and though each of those may have played a part in my decision it really all comes down to something much greater.

My oldest FEELS everything.  This isn’t just an oral thing as he is energized by sound, hindered by bright lights, and will not put new things in his mouth.  But yesterday at the dentist he got to experience all those things…together.  Really, let’s think about this.  The loud noise of the “water cleaner” aka the drill.  The bright light for the dentist to see in your mouth.  And then let’s concentrate all that in your mouth!

It started with the hygienist putting the rough bib shirt protector tucked in his shirt.  His response, “that FEELS rough.”  Then she put red dye on his teeth.  He kinda freaked out cause he’s not supposed to have red dye.  So I explained to her why he was trying to hold his lips away from the dye and almost trying to crawl out of his skin to get away from the dye.  Of course as soon as I tell her we don’t do reds, we don’t do high fructose corn syrup, and we limit sugar then she wants to know if he’s been diagnosed.  Perhaps the most frustrating moment in this 30 second discussion is when she pressed the diagnosis or need for one and then wanted to mark “behavior issues” on his sheet.

You may have guessed that I hate labels.  There is no box to contain the things we encounter each day.  My son is not worse than others.  He is not defective or deficient.  He is an unique individual.

Have you experience his laugh?  Have you seen his artwork?  Have you heard one of his great stories?  Have you attended one of his parties?  People…this kid is amazing.

By the time the entire appointment was done, I was exhausted and a bit defeated.  I’m a bit overwhelmed with the thought of bringing him back for the dental work he needs done.  But I know he is my child for a reason.  I firmly believe God had this child for me because no other mommy could raise him the way I can.

I am his advocate.  I am his biggest cheerleader.  I believe he is a great kid with so many talents I can hardly stand it.  I believe he will be a wonderful man, a loving husband, and an excellent dad someday.

See the beauty in your child.

Strength: Ideation (Creative)

At our house, we concentrate on and talk about our strengths.  One of Mr. L’s strengths is his creative mind.  While at the dentist office today (the visit deserves it’s own post!) the dentist commented on Mr. L’s creative imagination.  I mean…that’s saying a lot since the boy is sitting in a sterile room with very little to work with!

He never ceases to amaze me.  Truly.  We don’t tend to have any “I’m bored!” time at our house.  We have far too much to discover and create.  Here’s a picture Mr. L created at school a month ago.

Bird on Birch

Now this may seems ok to some, but you need to know where he started!  He had white paper, cardboard, and paint.  Yeah…that birch looks like they peeled it off a tree and stuck it on paper.   Maybe I think it’s more awesome than others.  Maybe I feel the need to lift him up after revealing some of his dirt in my last post.  All I know is that I am proud of him and excited to see the man he is going to be.

Each day is an adventure.