Thursday, July 31, 2008
A few days ago I was doing school with my Beckie, and she was her usual somewhat restless self. She tends to rush through school work, fearing that it will take forever, and wanting to get it over with as quickly as possible. I'd like her to develop a love of learning, but we're still working on that. As we were going over some geography, I asked if a certain mountain range was along the eastern or western border of the state we were studying. Grinning at me, but without opening the book to look at the map, she confidently proclaimed "Eastern!" I told her that was incorrect, and that she needed to actually take the time to look at the book in order to answer the questions just as we always do when working on geography. Her response is typical of the impulsive, risk-taking kids I've worked with over the years. She smiled and said, "I have no regrets. I had a 50-50 chance of being right!" For me, it was about her truly learning something. For Beckie, it was about getting finished with the work. So the compromise? Beckie will learn how to find information, but doesn't have to memorize facts she cares nothing about. That way, when it does become meaningful to her she will know how to find the information for herself. And I get to relearn all the information I've forgotten since it wasn't meaningful to me when I was Beckie's age. Beckie, I understand, but I will still work to equip you for your continuing education and any life skills I can pass along to you.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
We just had to have our thermostat replaced in our dining room, and since the new one wasn't the same size and shape as its predecessor we will need to repaint around it to cover the exposed wall. It reminded me of the time when we first painted the dining room. I'd read up about various glazes and finishes and decided to try to add some texture using a glaze applied with a feather duster. After the base coat of blue, I started applying a white glaze in my typically meticulous fashion. I was getting this wonderful cloud-like effect, but being meticulous meant very slow progress so Scott offered to take a turn. I gladly turned the feather duster over to him, and left him to paint for awhile. Scott's method was to paint with Zorro-like swipes, which was much faster. The Zorro method was a little too rough for the feather duster, though, which began losing feathers by the end. It also wiped out the lovely clouds, but clouds change their looks over time anyway and what we ended up with still looks good. The Zorro method of painting was probably more fun than what I was doing, and now I hope that Zorro/Scott will paint once more to cover the area around our new thermostat. What do you say, Scott?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Once more, I have an amusing auditory processing moment to share. My son Josh, asked me if we had any ice cream in our downstairs freezer. I told him we had some mint chocolate chip down there, and was surprised to see the puzzled expression on his face since that's one of his favorite flavors. Then a few seconds later he broke into a grin as he told me, "It sounded like you said "Cement Chocolate Chip" and I was wondering what ingredient would be so hard that it would be like cement. Then I figured out what you were really saying. So, can I have it all, Mom?"
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Bitterness. It is so easy to feel it and so hard to rid yourself of it. I guess like many things, it's better if you can prevent it than to try to eliminate it once it's there. When you have a child who struggles, you have a greater likelihood of being rejected or misunderstood as a parent. Besides that, if you are like many of us, you also feel your child's hurts as if they are personally happening to you. In a real way, we are rejected when our children are, because we cannot fully separate ourselves from who they are - and I'm not sure we should as long as they need us to advocate for them. When a child acts differently from the norm, or in ways that are interpreted in a negative light, it is a near certainty that sooner or later we will get unsolicited advice from relatives, friends, and even strangers. Sometimes we are just given "the look" of disapproval, and that can be as painful as spoken words. The reality is, not everyone can understand your individual situation. Some people take one look at us and decide they don't even want to understand us. Here's the rub: if you let those looks and comments get under your skin it will be hard not to become bitter and resentful, and as a result you will be less effective with your child and will feel less contented than if you can rid yourself of bitterness. I've been working on this area a long time in my own life, and the most helpful thing I've found is to choose to believe that the person making the comment is genuinely trying to be helpful. Often, they have no clue as to what I've already tried, etc. but I let them off the hook in my mind. I pray a prayer of gratitude for them that they don't have to deal with the struggles I do, and then I let them go and let the judgmental comments and poor advice slide right on by.