Posts tagged ‘children’

September 7, 2012

What measures a man

ImageIt been a couple years that I told a 17 years old kid, “What measures man is his actions, not his thought, not  his beliefs. ”

I believe this to be a true statement for all humans. It is our actions that make us who we are. It is our beliefs, opinions, values, morals that help guide our actions.

My son is 11. He is not yet a man, but still not a child. Life here is that of a vast labyrith. There are many twists and turns that lead to great black holes and dead ends. These children’s minds wonder in all directions, but down no road is there a sign that points, “This is the right way my dear child. Please take my hand and I will guide you.” The voices scream from every direction calling to the innocence of youth, making demands, challenging the very virtue of the child.

If I let my son do as he please eventually these voices screaming become reason, justification.  I see this happen all the time. Kids 15 years old stealing cars, doing drugs, having sex. Even the 17 year old had a child at 18.

My expectations are high, not because I expect them to meet them, but rather reach for them.  Everywhere in society kids are getting participation awards, feel good moments. If that’s the case then why do we even bother to educate when, in fact, all we need is a babysitter. There cheaper. Kids need to be challenged, expected to seek accomplishment.

It dawned on me the other day that my son could not cook a simple egg, because I have always made breakfast; I like cooking. He can now. Now he can make his own breakfast everyday, and he will.

I dawned on me that my son just expects me to do his laundry. Not anymore.
I will not feed or walk the dog. I will not check his math homework. They have an app for that. I will not do his chores because he wants to go play. Today he will become the man I want him to be.

He will make decisions. He will provide intelligent anwsers based on his participation in education. He will use critical thinking, and form opinions. He will change his mind when appropriate and seek truths where falacies lie. he will stand up for what he believes in and fight for beliefs where warrented. He will be kind, and do the right thing. And most of all before he leaves this house he will be judged harshly, and critically by the actions he chooses to make.

I will always be there to watch him stumble, to make mistakes and learn lifes lessons. I will catch him when he falls, and place punishment when needed. I will be firm and leave no rock left unturned.

Every failure, every one will lead him to success in life. Each and every achievement much greater than any feel good moment can provide.

Men are great when life is earned. You don’t get an award because your breathing.

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June 9, 2011

You should be superman

When is it our responsibility?

I’m currently watching Waiting for Superman while I run on my treadmill. I haven’t seen the whole movie so my opinion may be bit premature. I doubt it. Realizing that the movie is about our tax dollars, unions, and government. Its failing the people. It’s failing our children. Out of this failure lottery, charter,and private schools have arisen. I send my kids to charter school. The school is currently full. Every year there are more and more charter schools popping up. Two elementary schools in my district have closed. With great hope the union will collapse here.

I am no different than parents that live in poverty, or wealthy areas. I want my kids to have a decent education. I want my kids to have better, be better off. We all do.

The statistics are frightening. http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/movies/24waiting.html

Consider the following statistics cited in the film: the annual cost of prison for an inmate is more than double what is spent on an individual public school student. Eight years after Congress passed the No Child Left Behind act, with the goal of 100 percent proficiency in math and reading, most states hovered between 20 and 30 percent proficiency, and 70 percent of eighth graders could not read at grade level. By 2020, only an estimated 50 million Americans will be qualified to fill 123 million highly skilled, highly paid jobs. Among 30 developed countries, the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science.

Just consider the last sentence. 25th and 21st does not make us pioneers. It makes us lazy, complacent. Every parent no matter how poor or wealthy can afford pen and paper. We have resources: library’s, Internet, Discovery channel. We have the power to educate our kids. We have the power to change. We have the right to expect more, demand it.

Its summer and my kids last day of school is Friday. Their education doesn’t stop there. I provide summer school. They write their times tables, division, and this summer algebra. They read, take comprehension tests, write book reports, write stories, work on computers, take field trips. If money allows work a little magic with Lego mind-storm. They learn what the school has failed to teach. I hope.

Our society is passive. We have let the unions, the government, the powers that be use our tax dollars inappropriately in every possible way. We are being bullied into a socialist system. Dependent on the power. But………

We can make a change. Have your children write, read, do math instead of watch tv. Watch educational programs about science, the universe, cooking, animals. We the people can make the change. Together we can demand accountability. Take your children out of public schools. If there is not room demand more charter.

If second place is the first loser then what is twenty fifth place. This is what I see from where I sit. Mommies coddling their children. Poor Johnny’s work is to hard. Poor Johnny needs a trophy for second place. Teachers expect to much. Mommies don’t expect enough. Dude, man up! This is what I see. I say it over and over. I know to many mom like this. I had a mom once tell me I needed to put my mommy hat on. Are you kidding me. How can you achieve great things if your expectations are so low or swaddled in a baby blanket.

June 3, 2011

Talking on kids.

When my kids were about five years old I stopped buying them toys. They had plenty and I just didn’t see the point of buying they something every time we went to the store because it was shiny and new. One should learn to appreciate what they have. Accept that desire, and wants should have limits. This doesn’t mean my kids have gone with out. They haven’t. They just had to work for it. At five there were simple things like helping pick up, or doing an educational lesson to earn a toy.

Now my kids are ten and eleven. I want them to grow up with a work ethic. Life isn’t free to me so I don’t think it should be free to them. My son rides motocross. There is the fuel for the bike and truck. The maintenance on the bike. The cost of the gear. The price to get into the motocross park. My daughter has a social life, dance and she is into electronics. Every thing costs money. Needless to say it isn’t cheep, and I have to work to pay for it. I think they should to.

I decided the other day that I shouldn’t have to clean house anymore, or at the very least not have to do all of it. Now I’m not a super clean freak so their best effort will be enough. Their chores include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, picking up their stuff in the living room, and putting away their laundry. These chores earn them the right to play on the weekend. I don’t often harass them about their rooms, but ask that they take dirty dishes down stairs and clean it on occasion. Any other chores they do can earn the money to spend and I’m pretty generous if they have done their best.

Summer is upon us and lists have been made both for chores and homeschool. Yes, they get home schooled in the summer. A teacher told me once that kids fall back three months over summer break. I would like to deter that and maybe advance them a bit, so getting school work done is mandatory above all else.

It is just my belief that since I brought these children into the world I should make every attempt to teach them morals, ethic and values. I should make sure that they are educated, so they can function at a higher level. They should know how to cook, clean and be able to sustain their life. They should have a sense of duty and responsibility. They should be mentally, and emotionally stable. Very important, they should be able to handle and communicate in any given situation.

My kids play on an average of two to three hours a day after school. They go to bed by eight because studies show that a well rested kid makes better grades, reasons and rationalizes situations better, has a better attitude, and is more likely to be well adjusted to society. I believe this. There are no alarm clocks in my house. Once or twice a year they oversleep. We are late for school, but they have had their rest and that’s important. Waking up naturally means the brain and body have finished all functions and the body is ready to take on the tasks for the day.

As a parent I have chance to make an impression everyday. Time is fleeting.

May 29, 2011

Chaney Ranch

This is an updated post. Jantz sent us a video he made of our son. And quit frankly I am super stoked about it.

May 29, 2011

Funny little things

Years ago long before kids. My husband and I were grocery shopping. As I walked down the isle I said, “I can’t remember that one thing. I know I’m forgetting something.” Just that split second as we came around the isle he says while passing another slightly older couple, ” If we’d had sex last night you could had made a grocery list.” more often than not I just ignore him, but I hear the older gentlemen laughing and whispering to his wife, so my husband gets the glare and the eye roll which makes him proud. That is one of my favorite memories without a doubt.

When my daughter was three we were at Sams club. I told my daughter to wait with nana while I put her brother in the car. She didn’t. She ran into the parking lot. I took here back to nana. She ran into the parking lot again. I was getting irritated at this point. Then she wouldn’t get in her car seat. She made her body stiff as a board. I was seriously irritated. This went on for a few more minutes. I took her out and we were standing at the back of my SUV discussing. Ok, I was talking and she was being a stubborn child. So, I picked up a gallon of water and proceeded to pour some of it over her head. I figured this ought to cool her off. Nope. She said, ” Now I have to change my jammmies!” I love that moment. The look in her eyes. The tone of her voice. Her stubborn attitude. I will never, no not ever forget that day. That is truly my awesome daughter.

My son is funny to. He is very observant. He can turn observation in to a comedy. Just the other day we were at Food for Less. I asked him to bag the groceries and mentioned that my bags were in the cart. I proceeded to finish paying and as I turned around I noticed he didn’t use my bags. “Didn’t you hear me say the bags were in the cart.” “Yep” he says. “Those bags are for Vons. You can’t use them here.” I did not know this. He was quit serious, so I took him for his word. I will know better next time to bring the appropriate store bags. My son is very mechanical and sees the world without shades of gray. Not a day goes by without observational comedy. What’s not to love about this.

May 23, 2011

Driving

Today as I am driving to the gas station after dropping off my kids I notice a man walking across the street before. He was of average height and build. Looked to be normal. Had everyday casual clothes on. Just walking across the street going from point a to b. I wonder where he is going. What he mint be thinking or whom he might be thinking about. Then like poof his whole life story pops in my head. I have made it all up.

He grew up here loving to surf and play guitar. He’s a musician by trade, but work is tough. The pay even tougher. So when he comes to run his errands he parks in a central location and walks. He figures it’s a good way to think and get exercise because he cancelled his gym membership. He needed to money to feed his two kids.

His wife is an RN at the local hospital. She is well educated and loves the sound his guitar makes when he plays. That’s how they fell in love. In a small jazz club. Recently she had to take a pay cut. He finds ways to save money by clipping coupons, walking, and car pooling with other parents.

You know his daughter is quite the budding ballerina. She dreams if being the princess in this falls play. His son is a star football player and practices hard to make it to the draft, although that is years away. Both kids play guitar to humor dad, but neither want to be a musician.

I have named him Joe because it’s an easy name. Joe is rather content walking. A happy man and I smile at the happy life I have given him.

After I get fuel its off to the dance studio to register my daughter for next season. I notice an older women sitting in her SUV just outside. Of course I have a story for her as well.

She’s a grandmother of two rather bouncy young girls. Who she takes care of while their mother is at work. No, she doesn’t live with them, but there’s are plans for that in the future when the housing market gets better and she can sell her house.

In the car she is discussing the dance schedule with her daughter. Who use to love to dance. She has fond memories of that. Now her granddaughters fill that void with twirling bodied, swinging arms, and dancing feet.

This is my usual day. Making up stories about people. Today they were happy. Sometimes they are tragic. But, there is always a story to be told.

May 21, 2011

Failing

I read a featured post yesterday on failing , so here are my thoughts.

My honest emotions are infuriating. Failing is a part of life. In fact it’s how we find what we are good at. Aristotle was probably not good at sports, but rather philosophy. What if we had told Aristotle he was a great soccer player, a winner. What if based on that he became a athlete only to find after years of playing he didn’t make the cut and was told he sucked. Finally, someone was honest, but he had wasted years because of perpetual lying. That’s how I look at it. Why lie. Yes the truth hurts. Why teach your children to lie. A white, small, little lie is still a lie.

My daughter likes to sing, she sucks at it. It doesn’t mean however that she can’t find personal joy in it. My son, terrible at drawing. It doesn’t mean he can’t make a beautiful picture or find joy in the arts. These shouldn’t be career choices.

I am blatantly truthful with my kids, for some that makes me a bad parent. This is a perfect example. When my son started riding motocross tracks (mx) he struggled but loved it. One day the track was dry not up to his liking. He complained incessantly. I got mad and this is what I said, ” You can be a whiney little cry baby girl and we can go home and have a tea party or you can man up and get the job done. I’m done with your whining. Either take off your gear or ride.” I was mean. I could have been nicer for sure, but that was the turning point. He chose to man up. He accepted the conditions of the track and rode. Now he’s a rockstar on 85’s. He’s a great rider that can conquer any condition set before him. This is his passion in life. He lives and breathes it. Mx was his choice. He made it and his is willing to face any necessary consequences. The only rule I have is simple. The day you want to give it up, walk away just say so, and we will be done. I don’t see that day ever coming. He has given up holidays, parties with friends, and all unnecessary luxuries for this. He will make a great man.

Im not a fan of team sports, because there are losers and winners although that’s not how it’s played. Telling a kid he is a winner all the time only leads to a false sense of security and self worth. Have you watched the auditions for American Idol. For some they were told how great they are all of their life. Their self esteem is huge. They have a false sense of awesomeness. Randy says the suck. They go home crying. They have been living under an umbrella of lies because nobody wanted to hurt their feelings. Now what. If someone had just been honest then another greater path could have been taken. Time, life was wasted on lies.

That’s just the way I see it. Lies waste life, talent, and ultimately builds a strong resentment rather than a bond of respect. Sure I hurt my child’s feelings when I tell them they suck at something, but my kids will do great things because I was honest. My daughter is eleven and taking college for kids courses all summer. She is an amazing learner. She wants to do this. My son is at Chaney Ranch riding with pros, because he has passion and commitment. Both of my kids are individuals who make choices, decisions, face consequences, just like I do. Just because they are young doesn’t make them incapable of handling life. They are. They want to.

May 20, 2011

Chaney Ranch

Tomorrow my boy is riding at Chaney ranch. Its invite only and many great riders will be there. I’m always nervous when he goes to a new track, of course, I’m mom. When he was eight or nine he said, “Mom, it’s ok if I die out there.” That’s what every mom wants to hear, but he’s focused and dedicated to his sport. I admire that he is willing to give it his all despite any negative consequences. This is my son.

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May 16, 2011

Perspective on raising girls

I often talk to parents about how they raise their children, daughters mostly. Mine has been a little more difficult than my son. In terms of raising her I tend to think psychologically as I wanted her to be balanced, and well adjusted.

When my daughter was two I was very new to the study of children. I should have known when she cried the first three months of her life she would be a challenge. I should have known when she skipped over the crawling and went straight to running I was in for it, but I didn’t.

When she was two and getting in trouble one day I sat her in a chair and told her to stay, like a dog I suppose. I told her if she got out of the chair I would spank her. I don’t know why. Spanking serves no other purpose than to hurt my hand, but that’s what I said. This played itself out several times and the only thing it got me was a sore hand. She never cried because her butt was covered with a diaper, but she did have fun tormenting me.

As the years passed the same situation presented itself over and over again in different scenarios mostly in the form of us screaming at each other. I never quite understood why until now that she would do anything her father said but fight me tooth and nail over the smallest thing.

Never does she have conflict with her father. If he asked her to do anything she does without complaint, because she knows this will pit him against her mother. If she severs their bond then she can becomes the leader. This can be her tribe. Dad always sides with mom but as a young child she never stops trying.

It’s just recently I hear people referring to their families as a tribes. It is the most accurate statement that can be made about the family unit. We are tribes. Preindustrialization, and modern man both men and women had roles to play. Although in the fifties era,  the Beaver Cleavers showed great signs of the separation of men and women in the home. Men went to work, they were hunters of food, protectors of the home. They were builders. The foundation of the very tribe in which they belonged. Women were the gatherers, the ones that nurtured the children into their appropriate place within the tribe. Women supplied the essence of tribes very life. Everybody has a job and they were clearly defined.

In the case of a mother and daughter. A daughter is meant for these things. I believe genetically. She is born to nurture, to supply the very essence of leadership that will one day support and guide her own tribe. Without her no tribe can exist. Now that’s not to say that boys and men do not serve the same functions in their roles but it’s clearly another essay. Females no matter the age are meant to do great things and conflict arises when there are two making the same soup.

My daughter from birth genetically, I believe, is a leader. All girls are. She wants to lead to take control of the tribe. She fights for this. She wants to make the decisions, and tells me no when she doesn’t like mine. It creates conflict, fights, a struggle between her very nature to be a leader and her age. This explains a lot about why little girls like dolls. They are playing the role of leader. Preparing for the day when she posses her own tribe.

When my daughter was three or four she wanted to pick her own clothes to wear. She wanted to make decisions, chose what she wore, what she ate, what cup she drank out of. These were all critical decisions that prepare her for life ahead. I let her do all these things. It actually makes my life easier. Now her choice is clothing hasn’t always been the best but it covered the parts of her body that needed to be covered so it was fine with me Because it is her peers that will judge her new look with blatant truth, I do not have to be the bad guy. It is her peers that become my greatest ally. They judge harshly and allow me to play the role of nurturer instead of dictator. They hurt her feelings when they say her outfit is ugly, or she’s fat, stupid, etc. To resolve this I get to tell her she is an individual, beautiful, brilliant. I get to educate her on proper nutrition, fashion, the three R’s of education. She turns to me and I become the hero, the caretaker, the wise one. It works in my favor every time.

As my daughter got older she found new ways to assert her leadership. She got bossy with everybody. The kids on the playground, our son, nana, papa, but never dad. She would tell her brother he was sick and he needed to stay in bed and home from school. She would command him to eat his veggies. Don’t throw sand at the playground someone could get hurt. Don’t go up the slide that way it’s not safe. She was being a mother and rightfully so. She is born to do this genetically, nurture, care for, emotionally tend to. We praise our daughters for these traits. We encourage these traits. This is her way of learning how to prepare for the future. How to be a mother. She immolates us because genetically that is what she is supposed to be learning in these early years.

As my daughter moves into the teen years she is afford more freedom to make tougher choices, more responsibility. She recently had to research a new school and find out if its a fit for her. She made the final decision and it coincided with mine. It worked naturally the way it’s supposed to. We have fewer fights because we work together for the greater good. I encourage her to make mistakes, take risks. She need only hear about my experiences but learn her own lessons.

I know a women that has three girls the oldest the same age as mine. She tells them how to dress everyday How to wear their hair. In fact she does it for them. They make no choices. None. They are told what sports they can play. The mother rules every aspect of their life. They have no freedoms. They are servants to their mothers will. Now this is extreme, but look forward ten years and picture what I see….rebellion and lots of it. Their mother has told me great, fantastical stories of her own rebellion but had not learned a single lesson from it.

There is not need to cuddle your child. The dress them, feed them, or rule with a heavy hand. Children by design know their path and are willing to tell us if we would only listen.

May 16, 2011

Gratitude

I’m not a great writer, but I enjoy it. I’m not very good at telling stories either but I’m trying. I hope you get from this story the joy I got from hearing it.

I work all day Sunday and the best part of work is the conversations. Most of the time the chatter is about nothing more than what guys did Friday and Saturday night. It’s always interesting, drunk stumpers, raging parties, but yesterday was different I meet a guy who had just come home from Afghanistan. I know lots of guys that had been though I don’t usually ask them about their trip. This guy shared part of his.

It’s easy to take for granted that we have running water and electricity. We have had it all our lives. When ever we feel like it we can use the bathroom, take a shower, wash our hand, have a drink. It nice. We can turn on the light and read a book to our children, put on a night light when our children are scared of the dark, have motion detectors out side to secure our property. Water and electricity alone gives us the life of royalty many wish they had.

It is my understanding that for the most part people around the world want what we have. What we take for granted, and it’s not just the basics like water, electricity. It’s everything. It’s safety, protection, rights, education, freedom, shelter, and these are what we consider basic rights. Then we have more above and beyond the basic needs, iPads, computers, cars, money, nice clothes, toys, and time to spend with our family. When you lay it out like this we truly are kings and queens like no other in history.

The man I talked to lived in a remote area of Afghanistan for seven months. There was no water or electricity. No bathrooms, no showers. For him it was an amazing experience. They built schools and kept the village safe. They helped where the could and the people appreciated it. The form bonds with the elders and are greatly missed now that they a gone although another group has come to take their place.

As the guy was telling me about all that they didn’t have and how they wanted to be like us. I had only one question. Is gratitude a hard concept for his daughter to understand. (I had noticed her walking by with him before he came in to get his hair cut. She was about the age of my daughter and I was a little curious.) He smiled, and I knew the story would be great.

As he did his duty in a country that very little he found that the people were basically happy. They appreciated even the simplest things. When he would call his daughter and tell her how the kids had no toys, no game stations, nothing that we have the daughter wanted to do something special. Over the years they had bought there daughter build a bears from the places they had traveled. She had a fine collection of thirty or more. With the help of her mom she boxed all of them up and shipped them to her dad. For every bear her father gave away he took a picture to send to his daughter. In her room she has all the picture of the happiness she brought into this world. She was unselfish and kind. She found a way to relate to those less fortunate than her. She gave without any expectation of monetary return.

The dad said the kids were happier than you could imagine. They didn’t believe that some would do something so generous. The shared this new found joy with their friends. This is a type of gratitude that most of us will never know. Most of us will never visit a third world country and see the face of a young child smiling with gratitude, but today I wish I could.