Friday, September 23, 2011

The Well-Behaved Child...

If you haven't read The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline That Really Works by John Rosemond, you should. I thought it was a brilliantly written book covering the basics of child discipline: the parent. Yes, shocking I know, but the real work of raising children begins with the parent. This is not a book that will tell you how to make your children do what you want. Believe it or not, you cannot make other people change their behavior. (You can influence them and guide them, but the choice is ultimately theirs.) Rather, it will help you change the only person you can: yourself. It will tell you how to be a leader in your home and how to create an environment that is calm and positive.

I don't know about you, but my home and my parenting style was not characterized by the word calm. I was stressed and upset by most things. I would warn and plead until I either blew up or gave up. While my children were disobeying and pushing their limits, I knew the problem was my own. I knew I was doing something wrong. I just didn't know what. I read many books on parenting, and while most were inspirational and practical, nothing seemed to least not for long.

The philosophies in this book made a lot of sense to me and they were what I needed to hear. I can't say my home is perfect now (it never will be, we're all human), but my attitude and outlook is better and I'm working on developing habits that are making me into the person I need to be for my children. So if you feel like you need a different way to do 'parenting,' then you should read this book. It's not easy; but it's simple, straightforward, and worth it. I needed to start living out my responsibility as a parent which is so much more than providing food and shelter and is providing a positive example and firm boundaries. Hard. Much harder than I want it to be. But "the one who called you is faithful, and he will do it." (1 Thess. 5:24) Thank you Lord for changing my heart!

Also, as a side note, I wish I had read this book before I started probably would have helped a lot! So I'm also recommending it to teachers and future teachers even though it is written to parents.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Ten years ago I was a second-year eighth grade science teacher in Maryland. It was my planning period. I honestly don’t remember what I was doing. I think I was talking with another teacher. However, I do remember that it was the social studies teacher on my team that told us…or rather, showed us. He had been watching the news to talk about current events. He came into the room, turned on the television, and we watched the reporter try to explain what had happened to the first tower. As she floundered with the possibilities, we watched as the second plane flew into the other tower right behind her. How do reporters learn to just keep talking when everyone else is just dumbstruck?

I don’t remember when class started. Someone managed to look at the clock and we realized that the students were about to change classes. It had felt like an eternity and a moment all at the same time. Was it before the Pentagon attack and flight 93? I don’t know. I went to my room and turned on the news in there as well. The kids all knew before they got to my door. I spent that next class trying to comfort and reassure frightened children as we continued to watch the reports. I’m not sure how well I did. At some point we received instructions from the Principal to turn off the televisions and continue with the day as planned. We didn’t get much done that day. Actually, at least half of the children were taken out of school early by their parents.

I cried a lot that day. And the days that followed. I listened to the heart-wrenching stories of all those people: the ones that lived, the ones that died, the firefighters, the police officers, those who just happened to be walking by that day, the families of those who couldn’t be found, those in the towers, those in the Pentagon,  those brave people on flight 93 who stopped the fourth attack. All of them. Each and every person had a story and I listened to them all. And as I listened this morning before church to Amazing Grace being played at the memorial service, I cried again. During the video memorial at church, I cried again. And while I’m writing this, yes, I’m crying. Why? Those stories. Those people. They inspired America. Not to terror, but to pride.

T’was Grace that taught…

my heart to fear.

And Grace, my fears relieved.

How Precious did that Grace appear…

the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares…

we have already come.

T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…

and Grace will lead us home.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Beginning...

The title is a bit ambiguous and perhaps a little ambitious (and maybe some other fun 'a' words that I could come up with before the alliteration got annoying...) so I will try to explain. I'm not going to talk about the beginning of me, as in the day I was born, because I don't really know a whole lot about that day... My mom probably doesn't really remember it either. Really, the only thing we need to know about that day is that it happened and therefore the rest of life happened as well. The beginning I'm referring to occurred when I was in 5th grade. Before this time I do have some memories, but not many...and most of those were from 4th grade. This particular year was the year I learned that reading was fun and interesting and fascinating. Prior to this I don't recall reading much. Perhaps I did and don't remember it, but I do remember thinking that I had never liked books much before this, so I'm guessing that I wasn't an avid reader before this book.
The book that changed everything was Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. It was the first book that ever spoke to my imagination, tickled it under the chin, and coaxed it out of its latent repose...although, I didn't think about it in those terms at the time. :) My heart was captured by a normal little girl who finds something extraordinary, interacts with it, and has to make a decision whether to embrace it or not. The final scenes in the book are still branded into my memory, and it's been 10 years since I've read it last. Poignant is probably the best word I can use to describe it. I cried both times I have read it because I was so sad that she made the choice she did, but I was so happy about it at the same time...and I think if it ended the opposite way, I would do the same (Although, I think it ended right). So thank you, Natalie Babbitt, for writing the book that made me into a reader; Thank you, Mrs. Ziesloft (sp?) for making us read it in your 5th grade class; and thank you to the name-forgotten student teacher who actually lead the unit for that book that year.

It was a good beginning. I think from that moment on I have rarely been ANYWHERE without a book. I remember reading a book as I walked in the halls all through middle school...yeah, I was weird. Most of the time I would rather be reading...except now that I have started writing my own book. It was just a few years after my fateful collision with Tuck Everlasting that I started writing, and I've written on and off ever since. However, I decided sometime this year that I wanted to make a career out of it. So I call myself a writer, but I don't have anything published yet...I will though. I'm excited to share my stories with other readers and hopefully inspire others to beautiful moments. Thanks for reading!

Welcome - on blogging

I've never understood blogging as a medium. It didn't really make any sense to me. However, I have recently found myself reading several blogs and I can now see some of their usefulness so I decided to try it. It is still odd to think that I am writing this to, essentially, no one. Having just created my blog, I have no followers... So if you happen to stumble upon this page and like what you see, feel free to follow me so that I will no longer be writing only to myself. Thanks! :)