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.


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.

I Don’t Like Myself

Those were the words my son uttered today.  Break my heart!  When I tried to ask him about it, he said,”see, I told you there were things about me you didn’t know.”  How do I react?  If I tell him I think he’s awesome, it’s just his mom saying it and she has to love me.  If I let it go, then he may believe I’m ok with those feelings.

It all started when we were watching The Biggest Loser from last night.  One of the ladies said she didn’t like who she was but didn’t know how to change.  Then he made that huge statement.  How do you have those feelings at 8?

The truth is that being his parent takes a lot of thought and consideration to raise him properly.  Dominant parenting and “you do it because I said you should” doesn’t work for him.  He is an extreme extrovert while everyone else in the family is introverted.  He loves to communicate…a lot.  He is super creative.  He is a party waiting to happen.  He so wants to be loved and accepted for who he is.

In most situations, his behavior stands out and not always in a good way.  He gets moved a lot while in group settings at school because he is talking or distracting other students.  He gets corrected at home a lot as well.  Every time he’s in one of these situations he FEELS different.  He FEELS unaccepted.

So how do I show him how deeply I love him and yet still make sure he’s learning boundaries?  There is no handbook to raising children.  And then they come out so different from one another!  We think we have it down after the first one, but we are quickly corrected.

Has your child ever revealed this kind of hidden feeling?  How did you respond?

Then Comes Baby

Becoming a mother was very memorable.  I developed pre-eclamsia around week 28 weeks.  My 25th birthday was spent on my left side on my couch.  Wahoo!  After a 7-day stay in the hospital and lots of drugs, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy…who was not breathing and was such a shade of purply grey that it certainly scared me.  I’m so thankful for modern medicine (did you watch Sybil pass away on Downton!).  My son spent the next 19 days in the hospital.  It was one the most trying times of my life but in the end I was able to bring my sweet baby boy home.

The one thing that got me through the entire time was my faith in God.  I knew God was with us through that long 19 day experience.  We would watch girl after girl get discharged from the hospital (what’s with those girls!) as we waited in our quiet little corner hoping and praying that our son would soon join them in the outside world.  He was what they called a feed and grow baby.  He wasn’t sick, but he wasn’t well enough to be out of the hospital away from medical care.  I guess that kind of set the tone for the rest of our days as his parents.  He doesn’t have an illness or diagnosis or a disease, but he requires quite a bit more attention.

One thing is for sure, I would never trade my son for another.  I firmly believe he is one of a kind.  I believe he will influence and change his world.  I believe without him I would not experience as much joy and laughter as I do now.  In each one of us there is beauty.

Boy Meets Girl

Marriage is amazing.  Period.  I love having a partner in life.

Marriage is a learning process as well.  If you have been married even one day, you know that it takes a lot of work.  Yes, hard work.  That doesn’t sound like that the Happily Ever After you see in the movies does it?  Well, that is not a fairy tale people!  The truth is staying married takes a lot of work.  It takes a lot of grace as well!  And did I mention how much time you MUST put into communication?

One of the first things I realized was how different we were.  It took 10 years of marriage to finally start to understand my man.  We were part of the launch team for a new church plant with some people we had greatly respected for some time.  During the launch process, they had us go through StrengthsFinder 2.0.  Our results were very revealing of why we do what we do and why it can be difficult for us to understand each other…a lot.  It also helped set us on the healthier path we are on now.

I love finding out about our strengths.  I love trying to peg my kids strengths even now as young boys.  If you haven’t already, make sure you check out StrengthsFinder 2.0.  It will blow your mind and help you as you relate to your husband, wife, kids, boss, and coworkers.

I Don’t Need Your Approval

My time at college was…interesting.  I ended my high school career with a bang, well actually a boom, thud, smash.  My hometown encountered a F5 tornado in March of my senior year.  My family alone had $100,000 in damage to our property.  It was a crazy mess.  That was the day I lost my innocence.

After leaving for college, I spent many nights in tears.  I’m sure my mom would like for me to tell you it was because I missed her (and I’m sure there were times of that) but I was very much grieving for my perfect life!

KeysI was a music major at a university very well known for its excellent music program.  I had a hard time expressing myself through music after the tornado.  I couldn’t add expression to my music for fear that if I did I would emotionally loose myself.  I spent my piano lessons in tears.  I remember very few lesson times when I didn’t cry.  My professor on MANY occasions asked me if I was sure being a piano major was what I wanted to do.  It was.  I was determined.  And he was not going to stop me!

Looking back now 15 years later, I can usually laugh.  I know that each decision I made back then has helped teach me more about myself.  I’m thankful for my stubbornness because without it I wouldn’t be able to get my minister license this year.  After a 10 year “break” from living, I’m back and ready to get to it!

In the beginning…

I was the perfect child.  No, I’m not kidding.  I did what my parents told me to do.  I wore the clothes they provided for me with little fussing or complaining.  I was a wonderful student with a great GPA even though I certainly had to work for my grades.  I was involved in the arts and in sports.  I was a model child.  I wanted to be average…and in my world that was average.

Truth be told, I gave my parents the wrong impression of what a child was.  Being the first born, I’m certain they believed all children came out this way.  But the hidden truth is I had no idea who I was.  I can look back now and tell you I was a people pleaser.  I didn’t like conflict.  I would not ruffle feathers.  You just simply would not encounter that with me.  I also never had a clear idea of my passions.

As I grew older I realized that I hated perfect.  I hated sugar coated answers.  I hated being lost to who I truly was meant to be.

So here I am now on this journey to see people as unique.  We all have different talents, different strengths, and different passions.  I’m on the path to discover not only mine, but those of the people around me.  Join me on this journey.