"If we aren't running your lines you can work on your homework."
Strangely, my daughter's previous elementary schools hadn't had a school play. I had imagined its time was past.... like the ice cream bars in the cafeteria and the posting of class lists on the school's front doors. But here, at our new school, the play is a staple of the school year. It is discussed as far back as September. Parts are compared all the way up until the auditions in December. And then there is the nail biting wait to hear what part each child will get. Of course there is disappointment (rarely did I ever get the role I really wanted.) But there is also excitement... what will this different role be like?
Somehow I expected to move from a small suburb to a large city neighborhood and be distracted by the bright lights. Instead I am surrounded by dunking for apples and cake-walks and school plays (where the parents actually get involved building the sets and sewing the costumes.) The difference is subtle, but evident. Mostly double income families, lots of public transportation, mixed housing. It shouldn't add up to a community where the entire community drops by the school playground to socialize while they buy a Christmas Tree to the support the school. But it reminds me of home. Not my recent homes.... but my home from when I was young. Where we sang about George Washington in February and danced around the May Pole in May.
I thought I was searching for sprinklers... when maybe all along I was waiting for the bright lights.
What was the town like where you grew up? Have you landed someplace similar or someplace completely different? Do you think journeys are meant to take us away from home, or back to it? I love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment.
And here's to a Journey filled 2015 for all of us, whether your journey takes you to distant lands, or into the miracle of your own back yard.
“Did they smash my pumpkin?”
This last weekend my daughter had special homework. A kind family had donated pumpkins for all of the kids and they were asked to bring them home and carve and decorate them in their likeness. They returned them to school yesterday, were going to use them for decoration at their party Wednesday, and then would be able to bring them home after school that day.
Except…. Last night some kids came around and smashed all of them. This would have been difficult enough on the students if they had simply decorated them. But the fact that the pumpkins were self-portraits, made the vandalism that much more hurtful.
Kids can be stupid and silly at this time of year. After all, the idea of playing tricks is built right into the phrase they grow up saying on Halloween. There is a fine line, though, between a stupid trick and a cruel one. Perhaps when the harm is being done to someone you can’t see it makes it easier to ignore the cruelty. In this case, though, one of the kids who vandalized must have seen the faces on the pumpkins and thought, huh?!
Listening to that little huh is not always easy to do, though; especially when we are surrounded by louder voices egging us on. It takes courage and real character strength that I imagine few high schoolers possess. So, while it might be easy to vilify the perpetrators, the lesson our own kids should walk away with is, how can they build the courage and strength to pay attention to their own internal compass of right and wrong- even in the face of peer pressure.
If you are a parent and have not yet found Dr. Michelle Borba here is a link to her website. She has detailed, specific, useful advice on how to deal with all sorts of child rearing issues. The link above will actually take you to a blog post she wrote on handling peer pressure. One of my own take-aways from the post was the goal of reinforcing my daughter’s assertiveness at a young age, rather than treating it as rebellion. My focus should not be on the fact that she disagrees with something, rather perhaps on how she expresses that disagreement.
Vandals might be able to destroy the physical aspect of the pumpkin but they can not take away the experience of creating it. So too, the inner strength we build sticks with us, even as the external world around us changes.
Here is to Kind Tricks and Yummy Treats this Halloween.
Do you have techniques for encouraging assertiveness in your kids? Have you ever had a pumpkin smashed? I love hear from you. And to prove it I will be giving away my book, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, to one lucky commenter in October.
Leave a comment for any of my blog posts and at the end of each month I will randomly select one visitor/commenter to receive a free download of my book. (Note: winner will be notified by a reply linked to their original comment… so check back at the beginning of November for directions on how to claim your prize!)
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