Family at the Y: Part Two

lobby conversation

I was back at the YMCA for our Saturday routine.  My son loves to play at the child center, and I love to do my writing.  Win-Win!  This is what I wrote during that time:

I just sat down at the lobby and settled into my usual chair with my laptop, and whom do I see?  That same family — from last week’s”Open Letter” post — minus the mother.

The same girl who was having a huge meltdown is sitting on the floor, coloring like a normal kid.  Her brother, who was adding to the torment last week, is on his tablet.  Her father is still introverted, engrossed on his phone.  And my heart is pounding.

She just headed off to dance class, so it’s just the dad and brother.  I’m tempted to ask him if he was hear last week…  Just a friendly question to start a conversation.  See what he says….

(Ten minutes later…)

I did it!  I reached out to him and we had a nice conversation.  I asked him if he was here last week.  At first, he acted like he couldn’t remember.  So I explained that his kids look familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it… Was it from the Y?  School?  Town?  We started chatting about what brings us here… my daughter’s gymnastics, etc…  He said they come every week.  Then his son wanted to go to Starbucks, so we talked about the different flavors… how white chocolate is an oxymoron to me.  He laughed.  It was nice. They went to get the kid his designer Starbucks beverage.

But then it occurred to me… if he comes here every week, why did he act like he couldn’t recall last week?  In my own mind, I concluded that it was due to embarrassment from the display last Saturday.

(Update…)

They came back and we chatted until his daughter came back.  We talked about everything under the sun: caffeine addiction; my tinnitus; how our kids got their names… and of course, my book!  ; )

I managed to work “One Mllion Kisses” and my 153Promise trauma-free parenting movement into the conversation because he said how he and his wife went out last night.  I mentioned how I had plans to see a speaker tonight… It’s a teacher/coach who speaks about his experiences (a future post this week) and I was going for research purposes regarding my promotions strategy.  That’s when I saw it happen…

Once I began pitching my vision and mission statements, he almost cried.  He said how difficult it is to raise kids, despite the fact that we love them.  How the idea of a support group would be great.

His daughter came back from dance; I got my son from the play center; I gave the father my card; and we planned to see each other next week.

So here I am, Monday morning, turning this play-by-play into a post, and I’m filled with a bunch of reactions twisting in my mind:

  • I’m so glad I approached him with kindness
  • If my tactic were different, I wonder how he would have reacted
  • This exchange could give credence to my theory that he’s been abused by her as well
  • Interesting how the children were fine… not in her presence
  • I’m encouraged by his reaction to my goals- maybe I can make a difference instead of preaching to the choir
  • The L.O.V.E. approach works with my target audience, too!
  • I wonder if he went home and shared our conversation with his wife
  • Who’s going to be there next week?  What will happen?

It just goes to show that you never know what is possible… Make it your #153Promise to be positive, be courageous, and be open to amazing things that can happen… and to see the amazing in the small moments.

-Kisses! XxXx

 

 

A Sally Field Moment!

trophy cupRight now, you like me!!!  Said a very young Sally Field at the Academy Awards.  And now, I get to say the same thing, because Barefoot Momma just nominated me for a Liebster Award!  And I gladly accept and will do my duty:

  1. What is you most embarrassing moment?  So many, I think I repressed most of them.  But one of my most blushing teaching moments was when I told a student to, “Either spit or swallow!” when I caught him chewing gum.
  2. What is one of your favorite quotes?  Again, so many.  But my current mantra is, “Silence is the voice of complicity.”  It keeps me speaking out against the mistreatment of children.
  3. What is your favorite season, and why?  Autumn, without a doubt.  The colors of the leaves, the crisp air, apples, pumpkins, the sunsets, Halloween, harvest.. I could go on and on.
  4. If you could learn anything, what would it be? Jazz piano!!!  I sign jazz standards, and I always wanted to accompany myself.
  5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?  I’m doing it right now: Being a good mother, wife, teacher and writer… while having a balanced lifestyle and staying sober.  So far, so good, praise God!
  6. What is something you learned in the last week/month/or year?  Right now, I’m learning how to use social media to promote my book, “One Million Kisses: The Promise of 153” that’s due out later this month.  It’s a HUGE learning curve, from publisher to shelf, to into people’s homes!
  7. The best part of waking up is…?  Knowing you have one more chance to do something great!
  8. What is your favorite outdoor activity?  Running!  Unfortunately, the weather’s been stubborn, and my energy’s been down… but I’m hopeful both will improve soon!
  9. What chore do you absolutely hate?  I’m not crazy about ANY of them… I’d love to be in a position to afford a cleaning service one day… but I’d have to say laundry; it just never seems to end.
  10. If you could paint any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?  Paris!  I’ve been there 4 or 5 times, but the last time I was there was a loooong time ago.  I’d love to be able to go back and have the luxury of time to paint all day and have that as a memory to take back home.

Hope that didn’t bore you too much!

Without further ado, here are MY nominations, in no particular order:

MyGirlMyWorld

MOMtessoriLife

ChesterCountyRamblings

ManvsMommy

AutisticBeekeeper

GlitterInTheAshes

McKinley’sMilestones

ThrivingUnderPressure

NavyaK

Supaflymom

And my questions for you all are:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. Favorite writer?
  3. Favorite movie?
  4. Favorite song?
  5. Favorite food?
  6. “I want to be famous for…”
  7. Most vivid childhood memory?
  8. Pet peeve?
  9. Biggest fear?
  10. Biggest regret?

Thank again, Barefoot Momma, and best of luck to all ten bloggers!

-Kisses! XxXx

Ending Child Abuse is a Communist Agenda? When Did Parenting Become Political?

child with flag
Parenting is NOT a Political Issue!

Quick question: Does wanting to end child abuse make you a Communist?  Let me explain…

My husband sent me THIS LINK  from Face Book that has a video about not physically or emotionally abusing your children.  It’s based on the premise that parents who yell and hit have children who yell and hit.  It is originally from this website: Children See, Children Learn.  I am glad to have another resource to add to my list of organizations who are in line with the Vision and Mission of 153Promise.

Again, like yesterday’s post, I began reading the comments.  (Warning: it could ruin your day.)

People got SO ANGRY from watching an anti-parental bullying PSA!  They defend hitting their child, say that’s why we have brats is due to lack of spanking, and then it degrades into a political debate…

Flag polticalPeople post the quantum leap that videos like this are the work of the Liberals/Socialists/Communists in the US of A. They started making comparisons to totally unrelated issues like gun control and fighting in the Middle East.

Then, I noticed a trend… the ones who were upset MOST at this video were the ones who were spanked as a kid and who defend spanking their own kids!  That legacy is the EXACT TREND the PSA is trying to end!

Perhaps if those negative posters were shown more L.O.V.E. as a child, they would not be so miserable today.

If my commitment to raise my child in a trauma-free environment makes me a Liberal, then so be it.  I will LOVE my children liberally.  I will liberally shower my children with kisses and hugs.

Make it your #153Promise to join the TFPP- Trauma-Free Parenting Party, no matter what your political affiliation!

-Kisses! XxXx

No April Fooling… The Nonprofit Paradox: It Costs Money to Not Make Money!

Cash
It’s not about the money…???

I update my students from time to time about the progress of #153Promise.  Yesterday, I told them that the silicone bracelets came in.  They asked how much they will cost.  When I said that I hoped to get $5.oo, they thought that was a bit steep; they suggested no more than 3.  I explained that they cost about a dollar to make, and that it’s not about how much the item is worth; it’s more of a “Thank you” gift with a donation to a cause.  Then came the question:

“So, what are you going to do with the money?”

One thing for sure- NOT go on a trip or pay my personal bills!  I explained that I plan to reinvest the income back into the nonprofit.

“Yeah… but what are you going to DO with the money?”

They clearly didn’t understand; they were hoping to hear something like, “Donate it to XXX cause or charity.”  But I AM the charity!  Still, I felt like I needed to supply them with some clear-cut verbs…

I can’t blame them for not grasping the concept of needing to make money upfront.  In order to do anything to begin to accomplish the mission of #153Promise, it’s going to take a lot of cash.  I mean, why SHOULD they know???  Only over this past week did I begin to gain an understanding for myself just how expensive starting up a nonprofit can be.  So far, this is what I learned:

  1. If I want to be at an event, I have to pay money for the spot.  $50.00 for a 10’x10′ is enough to make me think twice about getting the exposure I need.  I should sell almost 20 books at an event just to break EVEN.
  2. Some events require proof of liability insurance.  That’s up to $700.00 a year- just to be covered in case somebody claims my setup injured them.
  3. You can have the best idea in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it dies.  That means, you have to promote.  That costs money, too.  We’ve spent money on tee-shirts, car magnets, bracelets, and business cards.  Adding all that up, it’s over $500.00.
  4. Here’s the big sticker shock… In order to become a nonprofit, filing fees cost over $1,500.00!  Plus, if you hire a lawyer to do it to make sure it’s done correctly, you pay another grand.

Well, it opens up a lot of options:

  1. You can take tax write-offs.
  2. You can offer receipts so other people’s donations are tax-deductible.
  3. You can begin the fun adventure of writing grant proposals to get big money.

THEN, once that all happens and I’m free to get down to the nitty-gritty of actually doing the good work I plan to do, THAT takes a lot of time and money, too!  Offering programming and writing curriculum to educate families about trauma-free parenting does not fall off trees…

So, as much as I want to become a nonprofit charity, it looks like I can’t afford to right now.

This Catch 22 was not something I had anticipated!  Neither was the difficulty in answering the question,

“So, what are you going to do with the money?”

I learned a lot by those students’ inquiry… even though it humbled me a bit.

Make it the #153Proise to be open enough to learn from any situation.

Kisses! XxXx

Be a Positive Parenting Example: A Lesson from Dr. Phil

Dr Phil
Dr. Phil

I only have a few guilty pleasures anymore; one of them is watching Dr. Phil as I do cardio at the Y after a full day of teaching.

Today’s show got me very involved- so much that I almost had to stop exercising because I was starting to cry.

It involved a whole family.  The parents were married for 13 years and had three children- two girls (15 and 9) and an 8 year old boy.  The parents’ marriage was in a shambles.  The father had been away on the road for several years and felt out of place upon his return.  He used his size as an intimidation factor with the younger children and had pretty much checked out as a husband.  The mother appeared to have a sense of entitlement and seemed to aggravate the situation.  Both parents favored the younger opposite sex child while leaving the older sister out in the cold.

It should come as no surprise that the children were suffering immensely- the younger ones were acting out at everyone, while the older was isolating in her room just to find peace.

The first half of the show was spent getting to know just how dysfunctional the family was.  Yelling parents, violent kids, and an older sibling caught in the middle.  But once Dr. Phil had the couple look each other in the eyes and tearfully express their desire to make things right, there seemed to be hope.

Then the 15 year old came out.  She explained how she felt the burden of trying to keep the family together.  Through all of this, she still manages to get good grades and learn several languages (Spanish, Russian, Finnish, Chinese and Japanese, to name a few).  Dr. Phil had her close her eyes and imagine talking to a girl who’s taking on the role of peacemaker to her family and blaming herself for failing to solve all the problems.  This is when it hit me.  [Click here to watch the video.]  This is what she says:

“You should watch to see what NOT to do when you are married and have a family.  That way, you won’t make that mistake.  And your family can thrive in the future, even if, right now, it’s falling apart.”

This young lady is so wise beyond her years.  But what really got me emotional was that she received more L.O.V.E. from Dr. Phil in 3 minutes than she’s ever had from her parents over the past several years.

What’s also chilling to me is that this family was not an off-the-charts scenario.  I’m sure many people would be able to identify with some of their own family’s behavior.

This teenager is the exact reason I started #153Promise.  I want to reach out to parents everywhere so they can become aware of their actions and make sure they are practicing trauma-free parenting.  No child should be using their mom and dad as examples of what NOT to do later on in life.

I applaud her insight and maturity to realize that she wants to leave a better legacy for her children than what she’s been given in her life.

Make it your #153Promise to be a positive example for your children.

 

Keep Calm and Learn On! 3 Changes To Bring Back the Love of Learning

Girl Studying
What’s it all for???

It may sound obvious that school is for learning, but I think we sometimes get caught up in the grades that people lose sight of that fact.  Students are so concerned about getting the GRADES that they forget to actually pay attention to concepts that are being taught in class.  Where does that come from?

Parents- are you responsible for emphasizing grades over an education?  Are you inadvertently stressing your kids out by expecting As over progress?    Research shows that anxiety leads to forgetfulness.  Chances are, the more you get your kids stressed over school and grades, paradoxically, the less they will learn.

Here are three changes you can make to help your students stress less and enjoy school more.

3. Stop checking grades so often.  If you are the type of parent who signs up to get notifications every time a teacher enters a new grade, stop that service.  Remember my posts about kids and cell phones?  The same holds true for you.  Do not check your phone every day for updates on your kids’ grades.  Otherwise, they will be doing the same thing so you don’t know their grades before they do.  Instead, every other week should be enough.  That’s about 4 times a marking period.  And only do that so you’re not twisting in the wind.  Don’t pounce on them for an 82.  Life will go on and when you are a grand parent one day, you will not remember that 82 in Math.  But you will benefit from the supportive (not stressful!) relationship you cultivated with your child.

2. Stop asking about how they did in school.  I have VERY bad memories of the dinner table with my family when I was a kid- mainly, because they would use that time as a debriefing on the status of my upcoming report card.  That’s probably the reason I had developed gastritis as a teenager.  Instead, say to them, “Tell me three things you learned in school today.”  At first, they may say, “Nothing.”  But if you help them by asking them, “Well, what about science?  What are you learning about?  Animals?  The weather…” they will start to open up.  It may take some time, but if they see that this new change is NOT going to go away, they may start to give you answers faster- if only to get it over with!  Reward them with what YOU learned that day, as well.

1. Stop helping them to study.  Yes, that’s right.  If you are going over the study guide for tomorrow’s test, you are now becoming the Gestapo and it’s not going to be a fun experience.  Instead, come to them when the stakes are NOT high- like when they are reading a chapter of the novel for English, or doing a current events article in History.  Actually show an interest in what they thing about the subject.  That way, they will see that you really care about them and what they think about the world- not just a number at the top of a paper.

Make the #153Promise to remind your children that they mean more to you than a GPA.

-Kisses!  XxXx

 

Top 5 Reasons These Pez Parents Stink

pez_egg_hunt
Pez Promotional Poster

Have you heard by now that an Easter egg hunt sponsored by Pez was an epic fail, thanks to some thankless parents in Connecticut?

Puts my Easter Basket post into perspective…

Here are the Top 5 Reasons these parents should go to Pez Prison for being such lousy parents:

5.  They can’t follow directions you are not supposed to go until the officials tell you to.  How frustrating is it when your own children don’t follow your instructions?  But how can we expect children to pay attention to rules if adults can’t?

4.  They have poor impulse control and lack patience– The number one predictor of successful adults is if children are able to delay gratification.  I constantly give my children opportunities to self soothe and learn to wait gracefully to get what they want.  I guess these parents never got that lesson… neither will their children, I’m guessing.

3.  They helicoptor over their kids’ event– In one of the comments on a Facebook rant over the event, someone made the very good point that adults aren’t even supposed to be on the field!  The normal protocol is to hold back your kids until the officials give the green light and then encourage your kids from the sideline.

2.  They claim no responsibility– After the horrible debacle, Pez received the blame by many.  I’m guess the ones who had the audacity to shame Pez were the same ones to “bum-rush” the hunt.  That whole “not me” attitude is nothing short of narcissistic.

1. They model bullying behavior– Four-year-olds had broken baskets and bloody noses.  Really???  Pretty much says it all…

There’s GOT to be someone who took a video of the event with a cell phone.  I for one would LOVE to see that turned over to the police and arrests be made.

I want to see mug shots of horrible parents, caught in the act of pushing little kids, knowing they are now having to defend themselves from charges of assaulting a child.

Even as bad as what happened to the traumatized kids, they at least have parents who were the rule followers.  Their parents will most likely run to their children’s side, calm them, and turn this into a lesson.

Know who’s really out of luck?  Those poor kids whose parents were the culprits.  They may have scored a basket full of Pez on Saturday, but they don’t have a fighting chance regarding positive parental role models.

Make it your #153Promise to always be on your best behavior for your children’s sake.

-Kisses!  XxXx

 

 

Hopping Mad Over Easter Basket Excess

Once again, I come downstairs (7:30 am is sleeping in for a teacher) this Sunday morning, sign onto my Facebook with a cup of decaf (I’m contemplating going back to high test, but that’s another topic), and find posts of proud mommies with the Easter baskets they made for their kids. But not pics like this:

east basket with chocolate eggs
A modest Easter basket

We’re talking super-sized, gut-busting gluttonous baskets, pails and sacks of Lord-knows-what.

When did Easter get to be another opportunity to over indulge and keep kids in Entitlement Mode?

Last I checked, Easter, is NOT about a bunny; it’s about Christians celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, whom they accept as their personal savior.

I am a purist when it comes to religion; it really irks me to see the origin of a holiday take a back seat to consumerism and nonsense that has nothing to do with the spirit of the day.

Jesus on the cross
The REAL subject of Easter

It’s as if every time I see a giant bunny rabbit with a bow-tie handing out plastic eggs with candy, I get this vision of Jesus on the cross, clearing his throat and saying:

Psssst…  Hey, you… yeah, YOU!  The one with their kids slamming jelly beans and hunting for eggs?  I’m dying’ over here!  Like, literally!!!  Remember me???  It’d be nice if you do me a solid and mention to your children that I’m the reason why you’ve got this whole basket gig on Sunday morning…

Children benefit from learning about customs and family traditions; it gives them a sense of belonging and identity.  But that’s only if they understand the meaning behind the actions.  Otherwise, the effort put into making all those goody baskets is all for naught.

So please, if you go through all the work to assemble gifts or other activities for this HOLY-day, make the same effort to teach your children the true definition of Easter- church service, and all.  Otherwise, what are they really learning from you?

Make the #153Promise to educate your family about your religion so they don’t turn to worshiping the wrong god of consumerism.

-Kisses!  XxXx

 

Time for Another Author’s Update! 3.21.16

mommy kisses baby

My book adventure continues to pick up steam!  Click HERE to read more about my most recent developments in my “One Million Kisses” saga, in addition to getting #153Promise off the ground.

In this entry, I highlight more interaction with my publisher regarding branding me as an author and the work my husband and I are doing to turn this blog into a legitimate nonprofit organization!

As I stated in the update: No wonder why all those male authors are always so moody- it’s the closest thing they’ll ever get to giving birth! ; )

-Kisses! XxXx

“Mom… I don’t feel good.” 5 Ways to Diagnose a Cold

It’s 7.  You can’t get them out of bed.  They say they are sick.

Home sick from school

Here’s a Parent Proof Plan on how to decide whether or not your child is legitimately sick, or just has “Testitis,” a sudden case of dread due to an exam.

  1. Take their temperature… with you present.  We’ve all seen Ferris Buler’s Day Off.  You can put a thermometer on a light bulb.  CFLs?  You can rub it on sheets to make the heat from the friction raise the temperature.  How do I know?  I got the T-shirt.
  2. Ask to smell their breath if they said they puked.  Gross, yes.  But if you didn’t actually hear the heaves and/or they didn’t tell you ahead of time that they were going to throw up, I’d be suspect.  It’s not a fun time (remember college?), and they usually would call for you before.  So if they claim they hurled but they conveniently already finished and flushed, ask to get a whiff.
  3. Remind them that sleep deprivation is NOT an illness.  Yanking them out of bed when they are just too tired may be the repercussion they need to inspire them to get to bed earlier next time.  Allowing them to snooze for an hour only enables them to stay up later in the future.
  4. Tell them that if they can’t go to school, all other activities are cancelled until further notice.  No practice.  No play dates.  No video games.  Once they realize they’ll be under house arrest, they may feel cured in five minutes.
  5. Tell them that you are going to email all their teachers and will have them do a work-from-home session.  When they hear of this plan for their sick day, they may realize that it’ll be more hassle to stay home than to just buck up and make it in to pledge allegiance to their education.

Continue reading ““Mom… I don’t feel good.” 5 Ways to Diagnose a Cold”