Personal Success

Buying Fishing Tackle

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Photo by Gabby Orcutt

Her name was Daisy.

She got blue ice cream.

After she named all the colors of the various dots on the ice cream window (blue, red, orange, green, and purple), I told her parents that she was adorable. I asked her, “How old are you?”

She held three fingers up.

“Wow, you know all of your colors and you jump so high and you’re only three?”

She nodded yes. Not proud, not shy, just being factual.

“My name is Daisy. What is your name?” Her voice was a shiny bell.

“Caroline.”

“How old are you?”

Her parents and I laughed.

“A LOT older than you!”

Her brows furrowed and she asked, “Why can’t you tell me?”

 

And I realized that I have bought into it hook, line and sinker*. Why was I being coy about my age? Because I’m a woman? Because 49 is old?

 

“I’m 49.”

She turned to her ice cream, satisfied. Not judgmental. Not shocked. Simply satisfied.

I watched her spoon blue ice cream into her mouth.

And I thought, I’m 49.  I’m not proud, not shy, just factual.

 

*American idiomatic phrase

 

 

Health, Personal Success

Helicopter? – No! Says Eric Hoffer*

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Helicopter parent

noun

informal
  1. a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.

Constantly hovering over children while they study, work, and do sports, etc. has been shown to “increase anxiety, depression and can lead to academic difficulties” (Psychology Today).

Effective parenting, is, in fact, nurturing your child to become independent!

Psychology Today offers these guidelines (abbreviated):

-Listen to your child, rather than imposing your goals and wishes on him or her. Listening to your child encourages independent thought and critical thinking. It helps you avoid a common downfall of helicopter parents: imposing your values on your child.
-Don’t manage your child’s relationships or communications for him or her.
-Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for his or her actions, unless you believe those consequences are unfair or life-altering. It’s fine to hire your child a lawyer if he or she is in legal trouble, or to intervene with a bullying teacher. But don’t try to get your kid out of detention or berate another parent who talks to your child about problematic behavior.
-Don’t raise your child to expect treatment that is different from, or better than, the treatment other children receive. Your child shouldn’t expect to get something they don’t deserve or didn’t earn.
-Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to contemplate potential solutions.

-Don’t do your child’s work for them, or keep track of deadlines for them. Even school-aged children can learn to remember test dates and classroom projects. By middle school, your child should be managing their schoolwork largely on their own, with only as-needed help.

-Support your child’s teacher, and encourage your child to respect the teacher’s opinions.
-Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions. Don’t allow a child to stay home sick just because she or he didn’t timely complete a school project.

 

*Eric Hoffer was a great American thinker and he never actually said anything about helicoptering parenting. It just rhymes nicely.

Personal Success

Word Nerd Undeterred

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Four 4th grade girls stand around, bored. I grab a board game out of the recreation wagon. “Here, play this, it’s super fun!”

They break into teams. Each has a pencil and paper. They shake the word box more violently than necessary.

“FUM!” Yells one girl with glee.

 

“Fum” is not a word!

Yes it is! Fee-Fi-Fo-FUM!

 

Mrs. Wipff, could you look up fum? Is it a word?

I look it up. “Well, according to Wikipedia, it IS a word: Fum is a traditional Catalan Christmas carol.”

The group disbands shortly after that.

Too many words. Kind of boring.

Boggle is the bomb! How can they call it boring? Maybe I’m just a word nerd.

Personal Success

Kids and Socializing

We took a Red Eye yesterday from Mesa, AZ to Crystal City, VA with one layover. Fueled solely on excitement and junk food, 28 8th graders gleefully walked to the Newseum. They read about the history of journalism and watched a sobering video on 9/11. The kids sat in suspended disbelief while the adults cried in remembrance.
As we walked everywhere,  I brought up the rear of the group to maintain our number of 28. It was hard to prod kids normally taking selfies to “rush” their snaps of cherry blossoms.

One overheard conversation:

“Why don’t you eat cheese?”

“I gave it up for Lent.”

“Huh?”

“Cheese is really hard to give up! I mean, REALLY hard!
At the end of the day, I asked kids,  “What has been your favorite part of the trip thus far?”

They thought for a long minute. 

“Being able to do everything here with my friends.”

Isn’t that what makes everything better?

Personal Success, relationships

Your “Role” Vs. “Being”

You’re a parent and you want to do a good an excellent job. Afterall, what could be more important? I’ve learned (the hard way), that to be a good parent, you have to both DO and BE.

DO – remind your kids to brush their teeth, make their beds, do their homework, etc.

BE – sit with them and just listen. 100% listening, with your eyes and ears and your full attention. Laugh with them. Ask questions and know them as people. They are people, separate from you.

You have a job: protect, nurture, teach.

But then, let them go and love them for who they are.

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Personal Success

Whirlybird Lunacy

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There is a label, in the education field, for parents who “hover” over their children in an overprotective, and micro-managing way: helicopter parenting.

As teachers, we get it.  You don’t want your child to ever “fail.” You want to prove to your child, the world, your self, that you are an involved parent. But you are not doing your child any favors.

When you hover, you:

  • subconsciously tell your kid that you don’t trust him to do it himself;
  • create anxiety for your child;
  • cheat your child out of the opportunity to work independently;
  • cheat your child out of learning from failing; and
  • cheat your child out of accomplishing something on his own.

 Sometimes, effective parenting means surrendering.