Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chatter From the Sidelines

Anyone who knows me knows that I am happy to sit back and watch. I would rather not participate. I like my comfy chair and my warm and safe place off to the side. I let others take the lead and I just watch and follow. I don't like to ruffle feathers. I am a people pleaser and people are usually more pleased when they are right. Lately though I have been thinking about standing up. I am thinking about leaving warm and comfortable for the unknown. The future depends on it. My child's future.

I am over the education system ignoring anyone who isn't making the grade. Anyone who might need extra support or specialized education. Throwing anyone who doesn't score above the national average on the tests under the bus. I don't think they know best. As a matter of fact I think educators need a crash course in individualizing education. Every kid deserves to be treated as an individual not a test score. Every single child. No pretending. No wool proverbially pulled over eyes. No empathetic nods and fictional stories to even the playing field. Nope. I can not be pushed back into my chair and given popcorn to shut me up.

If it sounds like my panties are in a bunch that is probably because they are. I am so tired of being told that this is just the way things are done. WHY is this the way they are done if they are not working?? Time is wasted, years are wasted. I vote for the schools every time. I support public education. I want to believe in our school systems and trust that they are able to follow through on their promises. At the moment I don't buy it. I have questions and I want them answered. I want to ruffle some feathers and I want to rock the boat.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Humble Pizza Pie

I think about where I came from all the time. I seem to look over my shoulder more then I look ahead. Actually I think looking back helps me get a grip on the future. Somehow involving our past in our present seems imperative to remaining humble.

When I was a little kid I remember lots of things. I remember my flowered wallpaper and I remember my bicycle with the banana seat. I remember our old green VW bus and I remember the pizza. We used to save money by making homemade pizza with hot dog cut up on it instead of pepperoni. I loved that pizza. It reminds me of my Dad and Friday nights. To this day he will still make me that pizza on occasion. I am sure it isn't as wonderful tasting as conventional pizza but it is wonderful none the less. Even more importantly it is something that helps me remember that memories and love don't come from money and pepperoni.

No matter what ladder I am climbing or how far away I go I won't forget those days. They shaped me and prepared me to make the choices I make every day. Choices for myself and decisions about raising my own children. I want them to have the same anchor of humility. To remember the ones that matter and not the things. I need them to remember that sometimes we have to go more then half way to meet the needs and wants of others.

Lately I notice so many people are forgetting where they came from. Forgetting the people that were there when...that made those memories and supported their dreams. It is like they are standing on a podium looking out over their adoring fans but can only see blank faces...one the same as the next. They are unable to see the real important people in the crowd. Family and friends that remember when.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Popularity is Not Something You Do in Your Spare Time

Its funny how things stay the same year after year in the world of popularity. I noticed it last year when my oldest was in 5th grade and even more this year with the whole middle school crowd. It is so easy to see the girls that are the self appointed heads of the "social committee". The girls who put themselves in the spotlight and want to not only be seen but also followed by all. The ones that are the first to date an older guy and the first to taste a beer and the first to tell everyone about it. The girls that can make you feel like you belong in the corner red faced and blubbering because you aren't them. Being popular is like treading water, to get to the top you have to push everyone else down. Who is teaching these kids to be such proficient swimmers?? Their parents of course....
Don't get me wrong being popular isn't an easy job. It is all consuming to have to put forth that kind of effort. Those years of middle and high school are topsy turvy and almost an out of body experience. and not just for the kids feeling ostracized....like any war, it's damaging even to the winners. Sometimes though what might seem like the winner ends up being the one that falls flat on their face. Being all that to that many people can't last forever. Most times these kids peak in high school and hit a slippery slope down with nothing to look forward too. They have already experienced so many things on fast forward that when real life hits they are bored. They figure out that the friends they thought they had latched on to them to climb the social ladder. They realize that the boy that they thought loved them for forever just used them as a trophy. After graduation all bets are off.
Yet as I look at the parent's of the kids that I would consider the popular ones I see that the circle continues. The parents are what their kids will be in 35 years. Still high and mighty but now maybe a little sad.
AND yes (before someone points this out) a close runner up for the title of this post is: Yep I Am Bitter

Friday, September 10, 2010

Her Life...With a Twist of Me

Sometimes things happen like in a movie. The scene when the key fits in a lock and the meaning is revealed. One of those moments that your whole life has been leading up to. The important place in the story where everything finally makes sense. Those moments are brilliant and scarce.

My moment came out of nowhere but certainly changed my opinion of myself. My middle daughter began having difficulty in school last year and was eventually (after lots of red tape and hours of begging) diagnosed with a processing disorder called Dyslexia. My first response was to immerse myself into any and all information I could find. Initially what I was finding was scary and hard to swallow but as I continued to dig deeper and find more detail I began to realize something. The characteristics within all of the articles accurately described my child. All of those things that had led me to use words like unique or eccentric in conjunction with her where in bold print right in front of me. All those things that make up her beautiful personality. That make her her.

Then I began to realize something even more amazing. Some of my own quirks that I had always tried to hide or suppress over the years seemed to fit too. People always thought I was stand offish when in reality I was just busy trying to navigate my road less traveled. I could never follow the worn path to reach the answers, instead I would wind around the forest for hours and eventually get to the correct end. Academics were hard but socializing was harder. I could never just look at the surface when I met new people. I couldn't focus on the niceties. I wanted to know the story and the details behind the smiles and designer jeans. Fake was not who I was or who I am. I see things in a different way. It is hard to be different especially when you are a kid but I like it now. It gives me a perspective that no one else has but that everyone can relate too.

Someday I hope that Olivia likes it too. She will learn to navigate the choppy waves and rise above the murky water and see everything with a new sort of clarity.... with a little twist.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Me, Myself, and I

I have been thinking a lot about trust lately. How we absently put our trust into people even without them earning it. Those in authority positions just get the trust. Teachers and doctors and lawyers. We want them to have the answers and be in charge. We go to them for what we don't know and want them to spit out a solution. We have faith that they know. We are taught to trust them. We want to trust them. For all my life I have. I am beginning to feel like I should question that authority. I want be able to expose my vulnerabilities with the unspoken security that they won't be taken advantage of. At this point it seems like instead of feeling trust and reliance I am feeling a sense of being blindly led. Almost like the pied piper. The fog is starting to clear though. I can disagree. I can find my own answers. Questioning my trust in authority is actually about being able to find trust in myself. I like that. I need that. Before I can find trust in other people I have to find self confidence in myself.