Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Yes Virginia, I Am Voting For Trump": Three Easy Ways To Tell People You Are Voting For Trump

I don't know about your children, but mine are very aware of the impending Presidential Election.
The youngest two are especially inquisitive as to who we are "for" in this race. 

I have, I think, rather successfully avoided coming straight out and providing the exact answer of who I will vote for. But at some point, I believe that I have to break the silence, stop evading and deflecting, plant my feet and not pivot.

At some point I have to shoot the ball.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, maybe you are struggling to tell your child that, "Yes I am voting for Trump." or maybe you just don't know how to tell friends and family what your final decision is, or just can't physically get the words, "I am voting for Trump." to come out of your mouth.  If you find yourself in any of these situations, you may want to join me in implementing one of these fun and creative ways to announce you are in fact...Voting for Trump.

1. The Tried and True "Candidate" Reveal!

Throw a party! Have cake! Invite people who are easily distracted buy small sandwiches and free drinks. Plan fun games and hire a pony for the kids to ride around on. They may not even notice you just announced who you are voting for, and it's a Trump!

2. Family Game Night!

The kids will be so excited for a night of family fun playing Trump Monopoly! When the little pewter Hillary head lands in jail, you can just laugh and laugh and casually mention that since she is in jail you are voting for Trump!

3. Draw A Name Out Of A Hat!

Only put in Trump! This one is easy, it takes any real pressure off of you to defend your decision because well...You know, you drew a name out of a hat!

Or if none of these methods work for you, maybe you can just write a blog post about ways to tell people you are voting for Trump and they will be so distracted by your suggestions that they will not actually are in fact telling them you are voting for Trump...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Social Media at Eleven

Social media, can I henceforward just refer to it as the spawn of Satan that it is? I mean it's pretty, it seems harmless enough, but...

Do we need to take our eleven year olds there?

The answer is "yes", and the answer is wrong.

Yet, it is the answer we give everyday when we hand them phones, ipods and devices that unlock their access to the wonderful world of social media.

Even when we think we have restrictions in place; limitations and safe-guards...we are fools.

We haven't just handed them the keys, to the proverbial "gates of hell", we have flung that sucker wide open and driven them through it.

You know why we drove them through?

Because they're not old enough to drive themselves, they are ELEVEN!

Please take a moment and sit in that fact.

They are eleven years old.

I get it, children grow up faster these days, they are exposed to more.

They don't have to be. So I ask you, "Why?"

The why, my friends, is perfectly summed up in these four words of a confident young girl...

"My mom's too lazy."

This was her response to the question in a group text, "Does anyone's mom check their phone?"

Where did her confidence come from you might ask. I will tell you, it came from knowing that no one will look at her phone, no one will check her text messages or group chats. She felt perfectly secure in saying and doing whatever she wanted to.

She's eleven.

Some of you are sitting there feeling pretty smug right now, pretty confident in your own parenting and watchfulness. Let me tell you something. I pray to God that you are right in your assumptions, in your confidence.

I pray, that you are not wrong about your child.

I was wrong about mine.

Do you hear me?

I was every bit as confident as you are feeling right now.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I picked up my childs ipod to plug it in to charge and I was intrigued by the notifications for instagram. So I clicked on the icon to find out what those eight notifications were...

Did you know that you could do group texting through Instagram? I didn't. If you are laughing right now and saying "of course I knew that!" To that I say "good for you, do you read them?" again you answer, "of course I read them?" (I know at this very moment you are trying to remember the last time you actually did read them and  also making a mental note to read them as soon as you are finished with this...I know you, I am you.) so finally I ask, "What about the ones they delete?"

Have you read those?

You're not smiling right now are you.

It's ok. I'm not either.

You know why? Because when I asked my child about what I had read yesterday, their pained response was "I deleted it".

"I deleted it!"

Are you paying attention now.

I didn't even see what they deemed bad enough to delete.

Dear God, what could it have been.

Oh guys, you have to listen to me. Seriously, we have to back the car up and get them out of there. They don't have the ability to grasp the consequences of their actions, but we do. Are you listening to me, WE DO!

"Oh my child knows better, they know if I ever catch them..."

Yeah, yeah we all know. We also know, that you are not going to, because...

"My mom's too lazy."

It's easy. It's easy to say yes and let them have and do what everyone else is doing. Here's the deal...and you already know, the right thing is rarely easy.

Our children know that.

You know how I know they know? Because my child was saying "they just...", "they said...", "He...", "She..." and finally...

"it was hard to say 'no' "

No, is a big hard word, especially when you are eleven and in way over your head.

It's hard for all of us to say sometimes.

I want you to know, what I know.

They are eleven and they are exposed to a lot of things that are confusing and a lot of things they don't understand, but they are figuring it out with lightening speed. You are right about one thing, kids grow up a lot faster than they used too...

But only if we let them.

So what do we do?

Honestly, I am still wading through that, figuring out what is the right thing for my children.
I know that I don't want to read the words of eleven year olds that say things like, "He had his hand on my thigh" and "He will probably be the first one to kill himself". I don't want to read texts from eleven year olds talking about who is "lit" and the fact that all of this is riddled with profanity, well I can assume you are at least not surprised by that one.

My guess is you don't want to read these things either.

Maybe, that is why you don't.

They are only eleven, it's not too late.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down

There's a Hank Williams Jr. song with a line about corn bread and ice tea taking the place of pills and 90's been stuck in my head for days.

I sat down to my 9,876th IEP meeting recently, and as the teacher suggested a plan for more inclusion eyes glazed over and my mind wandered away, off in the distance I heard him say the word "worksheet".

Snapping back to the task at hand, I found myself saying..."No."

You see, we have fought, and we have raised some...well you know how the saying goes....

but, "hangovers hurt more than they used to."  I generally avoid them.

So we find ourselves in a place where we are a little older, a little more tired, I guess you could say we have "settled down." While I do enjoy the occasional delusion of wisdom, and thinking we have developed impressive skills in negotiations, I suppose the most important thing is, we have had time to come to terms with reality.

Gripping reality is an on-going, never ending process.

Because you see, our children will always do things differently. We will always have those moments when we see other children and can't help but feel that twinge of 'what if" (I don't think we are supposed to say that out loud, you may not know this but I wear socks with my Birkenstocks in the winter so caring what others think is not high on my list of priorities)  Sometimes it's hard when  we see other children getting academic awards and scholarships. There can be a little sadness at the sight of teenagers going out on their first dates, leaving for prom and falling in love. We often stand back and wistfully watch as they get married, start careers and families. What we feel is normal. It's a reflection of our humanness, our innate desire for our children to do and experience all the world has to offer.

Sometimes I struggle not to go to those places.

I constantly remind myself that God's plan for my son will far outshine anything that I could have planned for him. I also know that I may never understand what exactly that plan is, what his purpose is. I am grateful for what I do get to see and understand, and I will continue to fight and work for him to have what he needs. But ultimately, I trust God to take care of the details of His own plan for Cooper.

I will give it to you straight, I feel worn down from years of battling the same battle; school systems, administrations and yes even teachers, God bless them...seriously God bless them we could not do this with out them...But all too often they are all  desperately and doggedly entrenched in their beliefs and routines to the point that there is no better example of the "Hey lets try to hammer this square peg in a round hole" analogy.

It's easy to get stuck in wanting your kid to do it the same way as everyone else's child, especially when it comes to school. The thing about that, what I have learned over the years...Cooper shines when he is being Cooper. While he is at school being Cooper can look like whatever it needs to look like in order for him to be prepared for his future.

So when I heard inclusion time and worksheets...I simply thought "no". It's a nice idea and it may work and be appropriate for some, but at this point, at this time in Cooper's life...the answer is "no".

Actually my answer was. "I have a thought, what if we did something totally different..."

I believe in inclusion with my whole heart. I do.

What I don't believe is, inclusion will look exactly the same for every child. I don't believe inclusion is as simple as sitting in a classroom with typical peers, although that is a very important part. What you need to understand is, inclusion begins in the heart. It begins when we as parents first wrestle with a diagnosis and accept its reality in our lives. Inclusion is a seed we plant in the heart of each one of our children and it is our job to make sure it grows. It grows when we reach out to families struggling with finding a place at church to meet their needs. It grows when we step up at the play ground and talk to the mom with the child that plays differently than the others. It grows when we welcome every child into our classroom with eager anticipation and high expectations.

 Inclusion grows when we are living examples for our children.

So when I sat in that meeting and tossed out some ideas, and the teacher beside me sat up straight in his chair and leaned forward, saying, "I like that, I think that's a good idea.", when the assistant principal sitting across the table was taking notes, emailing people and tossing out their own ideas...I had to smile, because...

"none of us do things quite like we used to do...and all my rowdy friends have settled down"

If you would like to put all of the lyrics to that song together just click the link:
Hank Williams Jr. - All My Rowdy Friends (have Settled Down) Lyrics | MetroLyrics