Tag Archives: School

Letter to #2 as he leaves for college

Happy Birthday Son:

It’s hard to believe you’re celebrating your birthday away from us. Your birth was the most calming and beautiful I experienced. When people saw you they said out loud “he’s perfect”. From day one I embraced you as my sidekick. You’ve proven you are unique and strong enough to follow your own path. You’ve stayed the same and yet changed so much. That little boy who talked to me about heaven and said: “My heaven will be inside” is now literally jumping out of the house to kayak and climb mountains. Trust me, I didn’t see that coming.

That little boy who was so angry at the day care for not allowing him to be in the “big boy room” with his brother and was subsequently pegged as “angry” is still fighting when he feels there is an injustice. That young man who told me “Mom you have to do something” when he saw the need to help his friends is now making every effort to help others, when and where he is needed. That young man who was defeated during his first year in High School by careless words said by careless adults graduated with a close to 4.0 average (was it 3.93?) and got exactly where he was meant to be.

You know when Jake left I wrote him a letter focusing on the philosophies I wanted him to embrace in life. I don’t need to write those things to you. Seems to me we routinely talk about them. I’ve had the best time sharing and exploring your beliefs and thoughts; because you listened to mine as well and made me feel that you valued the time we shared. Watching how you’ve grown over the years and how your initial observations matured and cemented into your core beliefs has been remarkable for me. I’ve watched a man mature in word and deed

Still, because I’m the mom, I must impart a few thoughts.

Make mistakes – but for goodness’ sake learn from them. There is no failure if there is learning and growth—PERIOD.

You’ll continue to grow and your opinions will change and grow as well. Your strength will be in your ability to awaken people to the benefits of your thoughts. You cannot force them. You CAN inspire them.

Stress is the best and worst thing you can experience. It is good when it motivates you and bad when it rules you. Figure out a way to manage it that works for you. Breathe, walk, listen to music, MAKE LISTS to help you manage your tasks and remember WE can and will carry ANYTHING you might find too heavy to on your own.

You WILL land where you are supposed to land. Making an adjustment in course is what we do to keep the wind moving us forward. Don’t ever think you are failing if you are moving forward. We believe in you, we trust you and we will help you. You are NEVER alone.

Guard your heart. You have a special tenderness and vulnerability that others may exploit in a way that hurts you. Be thoughtful and brave in all things but especially in matters of the heart. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Love is best recognized during the hard times as opposed to the good times.

Nothing you can buy will be as cool as something you can experience and feel. Put your effort toward experiences and capture them with your photography talents. “The business of life is making memories.” Think the “Fun Fund”.

Despite what everyone says – “You can come home”. Home is a place in your heart where you know you are emotionally safe. You were given a great gift that not everyone has; the gift of unbridled love and support by your family. You have and will continue to meet men and women who have struggled to feel the support you have as your foundation. Don’t take that for granted. Build on it in a way that helps you reach higher and stronger every day. You will never be alone when your family is with you…and we will always be with you.

I love you. Your dad and I are SO proud of who you are and are thrilled with your strength to be you. Go out and make a difference with your words and deeds in a way that when you leave a place, people will know “Sammy was here.”

Have a great year my son.

Love

mom

 

 

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Damaging Children 101

My husband and I are damaging our kids.  I know we are.  We don’t mean to, but as much as I read, research, and seek guidance; I’m positive there will come a point in their lives where they will look back and, as they talk about us, will say;

“I used to HATE it when my mom/dad would (fill in the blank).”

I imagine their wife, their psychiatrist or perhaps their cellmate, gasping as they cover their eyes and say;

“Nooooo, you’re kidding.  I’ve never even HEARD of that.”

There was the time for instance, that Steve got angry with the boys at dinner and raised his voice as he commanded:

“Don’t chew with your mouth full!”

I watched the boys stop chewing and ponder what their dad said.  I mean they considered how they could possibly stop chewing with their mouths full.  I’m pretty sure that caused damage.

Then there are my own contributions to their Xanax futures. 

Sammy recently came home and said he had a math test the following day on division and multiplication of decimals. 

“Are you comfortable with that stuff” I asked.

“I am with the division” he said, “but I don’t really understand the multiplication.”

“Okay”, I said, “Let’s do a problem.”

I then proceeded to write:

                          72.78
                    X   12.36

The boy was absolutely dumbfounded.  He couldn’t even do the first step.  I mean he didn’t know the first thing about how to approach the problem.

I freaked out.  How could he possibly be going to school every day and not know the first thing to do in order to solve the equation.  For two hours I ranted and raved, taught, fussed, and cajoled as I taught him every aspect of multiplying decimals.  Finally, after the tears and protestations, he got it.

In bed that night I told him how badly I felt that he was having trouble with math and that I had no idea.  I was so stressed personally and feeling completely out of touch with my kids.  I’d have to quit work, no more blogging, no more facebook.

“That’s IT” I told my husband.  “My focus is back 100 percent on the boys.”

The next day Sammy got off the bus and of course my very FIRST question was

“How’d your test go Sammy?”

“Easy, breezy, pumkin, squeezy” he answered.

“Terrific!” I felt able to breathe again.  “Do you remember any of your questions?”

“Well there was one that that was 19.99 X 2.”

“19.99 X 2?” I said.

“Sam-we were working 4 digit multiplication last night with digits, counting in, estimating etcetera.  That problem was really, really easy.  Were there harder ones like we worked?”

“Nah” he said, heading to the television.

“We haven’t learned that stuff yet.”

……..…..

Now, I’m not sure if this is an issue of communication, overreaction, or pure mommy guilt on my part.  But I have GOT to figure out the right questions to ask before my liver fails.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

Hey if you’re about to be a new mom, don’t pack and repack a diaper bag every time you’re going out of the house. Buy a double of everything and leave one bag in the car.  Put a pack of diapers in the trunk, single servings of formula (or better yet just breastfeed), some ziplock baggies for those diapers that need to be isolated at your friend’s house, and some bottled water.  That way you can just grab the baby, some clean bottles (if breastfeeding isn’t your thing) and you’re out of the house.  You’ll never have to think “oh darn, I forgot the baby powder” again.  

For the Teachers

I wrote this for some boards I visit.  Thought I’d share at the holidays for you to share as you care too.  My work is copywrited but if you think this will make your teacher smile, please share and enjoy!

     

Removing Doubt 

The spirit was ready for the birthday ahead;
But something was nagging, “Someone’s working” he said.

But how could that be, it was late Christmas Eve;
was there someone below him who didn’t believe?

He looked to the snow, when the glow came to reach her;
it lit up the worry, an overworked teacher.

“Dear teacher”, he whispered, (she thought she was dreaming).
“It’s me” he said calmly, “Are you no longer believing?”

She smiled a bit, “I was thinking of you,”
“Got a moment to chat?” “For a teacher I do.”

“I worry” she said, “that as hard as I teach them”
“So many to help, are you sure that I reach them?”

“Dear teacher,” he smiled “If you only knew”
“Yes you reach them” he whispered, “I’ve made sure you do.”

“With your lessons of history, world wonders and joy”
“You open the minds of each girl and boy”.

“But how do I know…how can I be sure
Sometimes the doubt’s just too hard to endure.”

He continued and told her “ bear no doubt on your sleeve;
As you’ve already said-and I know-you believe.”

“Trust me “ said God; “long before you were here
my children were searching” then he wiped off a tear.

“They needed the selflesness, talent, the caring
They needed the heart you so freely are sharing”.

“The prayed every night for the lessons they missed
One Christmas I answered, a teacher, their gift.”

So go home to your family, your presents and mirth
Know teacher your work is the purest on earth.”

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting Tip of the Day:

Establishing traditions is such a cool thing to do  this time of the year.  Think about wihch ones you have and let your children know what they are.  We always do a big countdown the first time we plug in the lights we’ve hung on the house.  It’s goofy but we’ve been doing it for years and so now it is a “Flett Family Tradition”.

 

 

 

 

Thank You PTO!

                               Throwing this out to all my PTO girlfriends:

0061

 T’was the night before Christmas and Santa looked down
At all the good people and searched till he found;
the ones that give freely of their time and their hearts
he wanted to thank them but how could he start?

So many hours, they worked without fuss
They worked for the children; they all gave so much.
What could he do to show them their worth
The difference they made with their volunteer work.

“I know” Santa said, “I’ll open their eyes”
“They’ll see clearly the impact they have on small lives.”
“They’ll see smiles on faces that their work puts there;
They’ll see kindness in children taught the lesson to care.”

“They’ll hear laughter from families that share in their days
They’ll get hugs that without them would just go away.”
“And at night when they rest, they’ll sleep soundly and know
Their volunteer hearts keep the children aglow.”

Merry Christmas and thank you for making a difference.

Parenting Tip of the Day:
Middle school changes everything.  The time to get involved in your child’s school is during elementary school.  You’ll be amazed at the difference you can make.

Report Cards

We had Parent-Teacher conferences this week and got the boys’ report cards.  I know with four boys I shouldn’t expect perfection but I have a definite type A personality.  When my husband and I were discussing what special help we could get one of the boys in Social Studies, I had an “aha moment” and said,images7

“You know – it really is just a B, we probably should let this play out a bit.”

The very kind teacher nodded trying to mask the smile in her eye.

One report card in 12 years of educational feedback was presented to my husband by a very sad, sad, young man and carried the scarlet letter C+.

“They come home, they study till dinner; they go to their sports activities and then study until they go to bed.” was Steve’s decree.

Realizing that I was the one implementing the new rules on “they”, a quick conversation ensued to restore some sense of balance to our approach.  After all, the scarlet child was only nine at the time.

NOW the boys have taken to taunting me when report cards come home.

Scene:  (Watching TV with Sam.  Both of our heads are focused on the screen in front of us)

“You did really well on your report card Sam.”

Sam, “Thanks mom.”

“Don’t you feel good when you get good grades Sam?” I asked.

Sam, as we both continue looking forward,

“Not really mom.  It’s no big deal to me.  I do it mostly for you guys.”

Life lesson mommy (when will I learn):

“Well Sammy, you should really be doing this for yourself.  It’s important that you set standards you think are important and work toward them.”

Sam:  “Okay mom.”

Life lesson mommy sitting there for a few pregnant moments realizes the whole discussion could backfire and starts to grow more and more concerned about where this could lead.

“Sam” I say glancing over at his face, my voice a little bit pitiful now, “you’re…you’re still going to work to get good grades right?”

Sam looking ahead waits for a few countable seconds:

“Yes mom” he says slowly, milking every second out of the moment.  And then the slightest smile curls at the ends of his little mouth.  I reach over and WHACK his shoulder and we both start laughing.

Man, if this is how they can handle me when they’re below the age of ten, I don’t stand a chance.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

I went to a presentation by a published child psychologist recently.  He suggested that if your child is being confronted by someone who is calling them names or saying rude things; have your child engage them using the five “W”s.  For example: 

Mean Child: “You are just a dweeb”. 

Your child “Why do you think that?”. 

Mean Child: “Because you always do dweebish things. 

Your child “Why do you think they’re dweebish?”.

His position is that this sort of comeback empowers the child to engage the bully as the leader of the conversation (rather than the “just ignore him” approach that we all know is pretty ineffective). 

I’m trying it with my #2 and #1 right now (I mean #2 will use it when #1 is being mean).  I’ll let you know if it leads to direct violence.   

School Daze

Keeping the boys on track with good grades is kicking my butt.  I’m really not sure I’m up to it, but I accepted the responsibility when my husband and I agreed I would be the parent staying home.

 
Sam returned from school a while ago with an abysmal score on his pre-test on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   Now I happen to consider Dr. King one of the greatest Americans of our time and I wasn’t happy that Sam wasn’t “getting it”.  For the weekend that followed I came up with study guides, matching questions, flash cards; I mean that boy knew everything about Dr. King there was to know.  His big test was on a Tuesday and when he came off the bus, discussing the test was our first order of business.

“How’d it go?” I asked; my fingers crossed.

“Pretty well.” he said.

I quietly commenced to pat myself on the back as we mommies do sometimes when we know we’ve made a difference in our kid’s lives; and to keep from going insane.

Come Friday when papers came home I was shocked to see the big fat 60 on his test sheet.  Sammy had missed four of the ten questions on Dr. King’s life. I looked at the test.  There was a paragraph to read and questions following the paragraph.  They weren’t exactly the questions we studied but the paragraph clearly laid out the information required.  I was deflated; and then I was MAD.

“Sammy, you come here and read this paragraph right now and then you’re going to answer every one of those questions.” I bellowed.

Sam came over, read the paragraph on the test and commenced to answer every question quickly, correctly and without hesitation. 

“Why in the world did you miss those four questions on Tuesday?” I demanded.

“Because Mom-I didn’t read the paragraph at the top of the test.” He said.

“Why not?”  I snapped; simply incredulous.

“Because Mom.” Sam said.

“I thought that would make it too easy”. 

I don’t think I can handle this for the next 10 years. 

Parenting Tip of the Day: I read a great tip in a magazine the other day.  When your children bring home oversized artwork that you’d like to remember but cannot keep due to space limitations, take a photo of them holding it.  You can keep the photo, discard the artwork (with their concurrence of course) and have a smaller, more manageable way to keep the memories of special projects.