YOU Have To Do It!

You have to do it… not me.  I have tried, but more and more I realize that only YOU can really do it.  You have to create caring, loving, respectful adults out of the children you bring into this world.  I did my part.  I raised two adults who care about this world and treat people with respect.  No, I was not a perfect parent, I smacked my older son more than I should have… I did not want to raise someone who saunters across the street daring cars to hit him, or someone who sits back in class smugly ignoring the teacher.

I am a teacher, and in my class I teach respect, caring, kindness and peace… but I should be teaching math, reading, science, art and music… I can’t get through what I need to because my day is constantly interrupted by children who are unkind or don’t know how to behave.  But, as much as I try, they bring with them what they learn, or don’t learn, at home.

It is, at times, draining, hopeless, and full of frustration.  It is, at times, joyful, exciting, and inspiring.  I alter my plans with each nose that needs blowing, each shoe that needs tying, each scratch that needs a band-aide, and that is how it should be.  But altering my plans because someone is refusing to follow directions, running out of the class, screaming that they hate math, cutting up their clothing, hiding in the coat closet, or throwing a tantrum is not acceptable…especially on a daily basis.   It takes away from everyone else and it takes away from me.

My job has more stress than ever before and I wonder what I should do.  Yes, I love them all as they are when they walk into my classroom, but I can not fix them.  I am not enough, there isn’t enough time in my day, and I have a classroom of other children who also need me.

I am changing things daily, switching up expectations, spending more time on working as a team, teaching how to be kind and caring, and most recently showing Mister Rogers during quiet morning work time.  I have tried meditation with children, self-talk, a peace pole, rewards, behavior cards, soft speak, singing, yoga, special seating, big buddies, and more…  I have exhausted my resources and wonder what more I could do.  But I realize that it must be you.

YOU need to do it.

What is it, you ask? ‘It’ is being a parent who raises children who are ready to attend school.  How?

  1. Get rid of modern tech devices for any child under 6 or 7 years old
  2. Only allow slow moving, kindhearted or educational shows in your house.  (Mister Rogers, Little Bear, Sesame Street, Blues Clues) – but really Mister Rogers is the gold star standard.
  3. Take your child to the library once or twice a week to check out books.
  4. Read to your child often- at least daily.
  5. Have family game nights. (teach how to be a good winner and loser)
  6. Play with blocks and other toys that don’t need batteries or have flashing lights.
  7. Give your child art supplies and things to write with.
  8. Make playdough.
  9. Give them whole healthy food to eat – cook together.
  10. Sing your child to sleep.
  11. Talk to them.

I am sure there is more that could be added… but these are a good start.  YOU do have the power.  I can’t do it alone.

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Sacrifice

To all who are celebrating Easter today I hope that it brings you comfort in knowing that Jesus sacrified his life to save you.  If you are a believer, then today may be the most meaningful day. It is a day where you are thinking deeply about the gift you have been given by your savior.

Now I will get political…. because across our country people are gathering in churches to celebrate this ultimate sacrifice, this gift from God, this day of hope for the future… and yet… and yet… and yet…

Our citizens are unwilling to look at the second amendment differently, unwilling to sacrifice their right to a quick and easy killing machine, to save the people of our country.  I have heard more than one citizen say that owning a gun is a God given right… oh my

Did Jesus sacrifice his life so you could openly carry an assault rifle to a peace rally? Did he die so that you could call teenage survivors, trying to make a change, names?  Did he sacrifice so that you could poison the rivers, turn away the hungry, bully the caring, and break apart families?  Did he give you the ultimate gift of salvation so that you could demean his teachings by doing the ‘right thing’ because it is holy week?

I know that many believers are on the right side of all of these issues… but for those who are not, and are sitting in their churches listening to HIS word, I hope you listen closely because nowhere will you find anything close to words supporting where our country’s leaders have taken us, where anyone can do whatever the f*** they want no matter who it hurts, where the NRA has twisted our constitution, and where God has given us the right to own guns.

Jesus paid the ultimate price so that you could live your life… what are you willing to sacrifice so that our world will be a better place?  If you have to rely on it being ‘holy week’ to do the right thing then you have no business calling yourself a Christian, you should be doing the right thing EVERYDAY…

God did not give you the right to own a gun, it is a choice you make based on your values.  What do YOU value and what are you willing to sacrifice?

If you are religious it is time to ask yourself, what sacrifices can be made in your personal life to make the world a better place?  Showing love, kindness, and practicing peace are good ways to start, although those don’t require sacrifice…

Paying more taxes, recycling, eating fewer animal products, regulating gun ownership and gun control may be sacrifices… thinking beyond what is good for just you and your family, thinking about what is good for society, and for the world… that is sacrifice

Mrs. Whitworth is ALWAYS Right

Have you heard?  Mrs. Whitworth is ALWAYS right….  I overhead this said by several of my students to a new classmate who was questioning how things were done in Room One.  They were defending the Room One way, and their teacher, to someone who didn’t quite grasp the obvious.  I try my best to be fair, consistent, and loving in my classroom.  Sometimes I think this is lost on many of my children… but maybe not. When it comes to having my back, my room full of 6 and 7 year olds will willingly let an outsider know what’s what.  It was the best moment of my day.  That, and having one of my struggling readers raise his hand to read aloud to the class AND listening to him read successfully… Yes, there was joy in Room One today.

Oh, and did I mention, Mrs. Whitworth is always right?

Thank You Sam, Dick, and Fred

Those on the left, have been calling for something to be done, for our leaders to step up and stand up, even in a symbolic way.  We have been watching and hoping for action towards changes in the culture surrounding guns in our country.  We are sure that it will take many different tactics to have any impact on the growing number of mass shootings in our country.

Yes, the students of Parkland have moved the country and their voices have reached many people… we are beginning to move, to be moved, to think past what we have been unwilling to let go of.  But it is not our politicians who are making change, change is coming from the leaders of large corporations. Walmart, Kroger (Fred Meyer), Dick’s Sporting Goods and many others have decided that they will take action and say we will do what we have the power to do.

No one wants to be responsible to having sold a gun to the next mass shooter.

I saw the sign hanging at the gun counter in Walmart…  ‘As of March 6th, 2018, we will no longer be selling any gun to anyone under 21 years of age’…

Thanks Sam, Dick and Fred for doing what our elected officials are afraid to do. I hope that it makes a difference, but even if it doesn’t, it makes a statement, it makes people think, and it may move us towards a safer, kinder country.

Let’s hope that Washington reads the writing on the wall, listens to the American people and follows the lead of these retail giants. Hopefully this is only a beginning and our politicians need to open their eyes because we WILL be voting in November and if they are not ready to take a stand they may be packing their bags.

Thanks For Choosing Roseburg

I went for a run the other day and passed this lovely family (twice) as I circled Stewart Park… it was a beautiful day and as I waved for the second time, with both hands and a big smile, they all smiled and waved back, almost laughing at my cheerfulness.

They were a family of color, probably with relatives who originated somewhere very far away and I am grateful that they chose to make Roseburg their home.  Why?  Because they give me hope that our community will learn acceptance, love, tolerance and grow into a place where we are all more safe, where we all value education, libraries, and our environment.

Some of my most cherished friends and family, immigrants, have moved away to places more progressive… friends from Mexico, Ireland, Brazil… while others from, Japan, Australia, Israel, England, have chosen to stay. Our community is enriched by people who bring with them culture and ideas that are different from ours, we are not diminished, we are uplifted.

Our car was broken into the other night, by some guy, probably on drugs, who had no sense of respect for others.  WE are doing something wrong as a society when we vilify people who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families by working hard and getting an education, when our own children are loosing themselves to drugs, video games, violence, and crime.  Hurling hateful rhetoric on-line, out car windows, and in classrooms, is spurred by the man who sits in our highest office, himself hurling hateful rhetoric… a twisting of the first amendment… free speech does not mean that you HAVE to be hateful or unkind… just because you CAN be does not mean that it is right. Being hateful is a choice.

Teaching children to love learning, value education and respect others begins at home. I know that our town is full of families who do just that.  So I am glad they will be joined by new families coming to live the American dream.  They are not takers, they are contributors, they are business owners, they are hard workers and I welcome them, smiling and waving as I run by.

I hope that our small community is overrun by people of color, by immigrants, by people who may not attend the popular church or any church… diversity is our path to a better society.  So, thank you for choosing Roseburg  …  we need you.

The Desensitization of a Nation

We have spent the past few decades gravitating towards a level of sensitivity and political correctness that has surpassed and suppressed our baser selves and previous insensitive and brass generations. Sadly, we are coming to the end of an era, a proverbial backlash as the pendulum swings towards the opposite end of the spectrum.  Whether he said it or not, his s***h*** comment was repeated over and over again on cable news stations all week long.  One interview I saw had a former international relations expert who not only used that language but racial slurs including the n-word more than once!  The news anchor he was talking to, who happened to be black, did not bat an eye!  I almost choked… he was making a point rather than calling someone that name, but it was still shocking.

Those baser selves, the Make America Great clan have a leader, and sadly they have joined together with decent people who were hoodwinked into thinking he would make our country better.  Okay, I will give you that the economy is booming and many people have been promised more money in their bank accounts… but is that what is most important to us as a people?  Money?

Have we lost our moral compass, our ideals, the meaning of America, our sense of justice?

The outrage is constant, but when a certain level of anger or outrage is maintained, it becomes normal and we no longer are shocked.

The more our president, OUR PRESIDENT, uses the kind of language we don’t accept from our own children and spouts the ideals we are ashamed to call our own, the more his base (those baser Americans) feels empowered to spew their hatred in their own small communities across our country.

I hope you are planning on marching next Saturday to show that those of us who still believe that we WERE moving in the right direction before this deplorable man came to power does not represent who we are as a nation.

Happy New Year ~ Looking Ahead

What did you do with your year? Sometimes surviving the year is enough.  So much loss and tragedy across our country, but if you were lucky enough to make it to this point without personally being touched by loss, illness, or financial troubles, then you are fortunate and perhaps you have spent your year making changes in the lives of the people around you.

Wishes of health, happiness, and peace in the new year are repeated in various forms across all social media.  I hope that these sentiments come true and that we all have a healthy and happy 2018.  I know that many things are out of our control, but years ago someone told me that we shouldn’t say ‘have a great day’, we should say ‘make it a great day’.  I think about this idea often.  Much of our happiness depends on our outlook on life.

So, for 2018, I hope you walk on the sunny side of the street, make things happen, be involved, find the silver lining, smile, move your body, be kind, make healthy choices, meet adversity with optimism and hope, and always ‘Look for the joy’!

Peace