poetry

Pedal to the Metal

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photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini

We switched places at the gate

for my ultimate test of surrender

her smile and jokes betrayed her cool

take it slowly, speed limit’s 25 here

 

Am I OK?

Yes, you’re perfect

Still?

Yep, doing beautifully

 

As she drove (slowly, oh so slowly) to our cul-de-sac

I remembered my driver’s ed teacher

he was old (probably my age now) and balding

with two student drivers in the car with him

 

Emily T., tall, popular, blonde, took turns with me

She (with the perfect curls) could do no wrong

her mistakes were met with encouragement,

her proficiencies were met with praise

 

but me – with my glasses and foreign mien –

my errors were harshly judged,

and my victories gleaned silence

This injustice – as all maltreatments do – ripened into a gift

 

for his words and demeanor (and all the other abuses I’ve known)

created a wound

which turned into a scar

and thickened my skin

 

everyone knows thin skin bleeds easily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

motivation · Personal Success · relationships

Parenting Pain

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No longer mine – can’t carry you anymore,

you’ll stumble, fall and eventually – soar,

As your path widens and grows long,

I realize how I was so very wrong

 

 

You take your steps while I watch

sometimes wincing

Your self-determination can be dreadful

yet entirely convincing

It’s fast becoming apparent

that your flubs and whims aren’t errant

You don’t own reasons for my heart breakin’

for I never “owned” you, in that, I was mistaken

relationships

Dear Ms.K., Thank You for Giving My Daughter Detention

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Dear Ms. K.,

I want to thank you for giving my daughter detention today. Per our previous email, you informed me that she has been late to your class every day for several days. This baffled me, as I drop her off an hour early and you are her first class of the day. After several warnings, you emailed me to let me know that should she be late again, she would get detention. I assured you she would not repeat that mistake.

But of course, I cannot guarantee the actions of anyone besides myself.

After confronting her, she hurriedly assured me she learned her lesson. She explained that she gets hungry and her friend meets her to bring her food. Her friend is not always so quick.

Oh, are we blaming our friend?

No, no. It’s not her fault. Mom, it won’t happen again!

I try to give my daughter freedom within strict guidelines. A  “C” in a class at any time means her cell phone gets confiscated until the grade goes up. How she operates within her hours and activities is up to her.

When I remind her to make time for breakfast in the mornings and to pack a snack, I am met with heavy sighs. She is too busy styling her hair and applying makeup to worry about breakfast.

So it happened again today. She didn’t eat breakfast. She got hungry and met her friend. She was late to your class. And, as you promised, she will now have to serve detention – one hour after school tomorrow.

In the car, she was shaken. She’s never had this kind of consequence from a teacher before.

“It’s my fault. I got hungry. I didn’t pack any snacks or eat breakfast. It’s my responsibility. I will pack food the night before.”

I wanted to lecture  her and reinforce the lesson. I wanted to voice my dismay and disappointment. Instead, I said, “I am very proud of you for taking responsibility for this and not blaming anyone.”

Thank you, Ms. K., for doing the right thing. You are helping my daughter develop character and responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Remedy for the Blues

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by Ryan Moreno

I made the mistake of reading some news today. BIG mistake. What a downer. How dispiriting! But tonight, my family attended my daughter’s high school dance performance. Over 20 different acts, ranging from beginning to highly advanced performed in quick succession. And instantly, my spirits lifted. Kids of all ages, of all body types, and of all skills danced their hearts out. The audience was comprised of friends and families who hooted and hollered their encouragement, calling kids by name.

Dance. Art. Music. Literature. These are activities that require self-discipline, practice and focus. When you observe or participate in the arts, you are party to a deep, spiritual practice of love and harmony.

If you’re feeling “blah” or down, I highly recommend that you attend a local live show – preferably put on by children – immediately. Your spirit will soar.

 

 

 

Personal Success · relationships

When Your Past Comes Back to…

We were walking on our daughter’s high school campus during Open House. The schedule was set up as a truncated school day: we were to follow the students’ schedules and meet each teacher for six minutes. We were given five minutes between each class. Willey and I were a bit overwhelmed and we realized how Josie  (our first high school child)  must have felt on her first day: the buildings so far apart, the time to get to each so limited. It was also over 100 degrees outside, even though it was 6pm.

“Mrs. Chung-Wipff?”

I turned around. I didn’t see anyone I recognized. A petite “helper” student walked toward me. (The high school had arranged to have some juniors and seniors assist parents). I searched the girl’s face. And suddenly, I recognized her. Same cute nose and adorable freckles.

I taught Taryn second and third grade. It was the only time I looped in teaching, carrying my entire class over to a second year. It was over eight years ago. When I said goodbye to that class, it felt like I was saying goodbye to my own children. One girl, Taryn, was moving to Utah. She had an angel face and greeted me every day with an enormous smile and the best attitude! She – and the others – made me a better teacher. She and I wept together on the last day of school. I was surprised at the amount of emotion we had. I was going to miss her so much!

And here she was!

I can’t believe she remembers me, I thought. As if she could read my mind, she said, “I can’t believe you remember me, after teaching so many kids!”

 

No matter what your profession, you must realize that your kindness, love and attention mean the world to someone in your life. It can affect others for years to come, you just never know.