Blogging, facebooking, twittering…etc.

Do you ever wonder why you blog? Or why you participate in any social interaction online? I’ve come to believe that we as a group crave more attention than what we have in front of us. Why is that not enough? I recently deleted my FB account….permanently. It’s strange to be so disconnected. I feel like a cast away at times. But, mostly it’s been good. I’ve recently had phone conversations and face to face experiences that I wouldn’t have had with the connected FB experience. The abundance of free time I have is amazing. I’m actually overwhelmed with the amount of free time I have. I wonder if we are numbing ourselves subconsciously. Perhaps we are seeking outwardly, what’s right in front of us…if we could just control ourselves enough to peel away from the screen & look. My experience of disconnecting has forced me to pay attention to those I care for because the distractions are gone. My question to you, what do you get from your connected online experience?

Day 5 of deleting my Facebook

Today is my 5th day off Facebook. Technically, my account won’t actually delete for two whole weeks. I suppose that is incase I want to reconsider disconnecting from 200 and some “friends”.  Umm, After this week..Not a chance! It’s been amazing! I already admitted I was neurotic about Facebook. I’ve deactivated my account numerous times to take a break, but it was always there waiting…..and calling! Deciding to permanently delete it has put it out of my mind. Sure, I’ve gone on autopilot when I pick up my phone to load up Facebook, only to catch myself and realize it’s not there.

So anyway, about this week being amazing! Free time takes on a whole new meaning without the compulsive need to be connected. I had a day off work this week and I totally wasted it studying world religions online. I gained tons of knowledge. Buddhism was particularly appealing to me. As a Christian I was inspired by the simplicity of Buddhist monks, maybe this is because I have this overwhelming urge to simplify. Check out, Ask a monk, on YouTube… Enlightening…Lol..;) Also the music of the amazing, Lake Street Drive, YouTube. Inspiring. I also rocked my garden with enthusiasm. Seeds, plants, weeding, mulch. I love the disconnection right now. I’ve enjoyed meaningful phone conversations and talking with my husband without looking at my phone…(rude!) I’ve even gone out and forgot my phone.

So basically, I’m gonna get preachy for a second. So many of us are ridiculously distracted.. ADD culture. But it’s our own doing. We can live without Facebook. We can simplify. We can focus on our true goals,  desires & passions. We can disconnect and learn new things and have real interactions with real people that matter.. Rant… done! I’m going to go brag to myself about my gardening..The joy is all mine, because I can’t water it down by posting it and seeing if other people will be interested.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication..Davinci

Bored brains in school

ImageThe topic of education has been festering and evolving for about 2 years here. It’s late on a Saturday night and I am unfortunately sitting here deliberating this rather frustrating topic. I have 3 kids in the public school system and as they get older I am getting increasingly concerned about the path I am sending them on. I remember my experience in Catholic grade school and public high school. School is not a whole lot different now..probably quite a bit worse.

I feel bad ranting on education because I have developed personal relationships with several of my kids teachers. I have nothing but respect for these hard-working souls and I know my kids are in safe hands with them while I work and live my life. Actually, I think teachers struggle with a lot of the same concerns and they too have their hands tied.

My concern is not the teachers, overall! Couple exceptions! My concern is the system and the intentions of education in general. It’s a huge overwhelming topic with many components that have to be considered. Personally, my current concern is my oldest son. My younger kids are ok getting their basics down and learning how to function in a system. My oldest son, 6th grade, is my focus right now. Looking back on his experience I find it interesting that he was recommended for Summer School back in first grade because he was “behind”. Unfortunately, I failed him as a parent there. I just trusted the system because they are knowledgeable professionals and I was just a Mom. Ultimately, his Summer School experience didn’t really leave an impact. Waste of resources and time. I’m just recalling him needing extra help based on school tests. Tests that measure school stuff. They clearly do not measure people individually. They measure the abilities of children based on the memorization of useless facts. I could kick myself for drinking the Kool-Aid back then. I knew he was unique and intelligent in his own way but I did not have the confidence, knowledge or words to express myself so I allowed him to be labeled.

Children clearly cannot be measured by any one standardized test, yet we teach children that their potential and success can in fact be measured by tests and grades. I feel bad for the kid who works harder than everyone to earn a C and is left out of the honor roll celebration. Insanity! How can the abilities of thousands of different, unique people be measured by one test? In hindsight I see that my son did not see the logic in memorizing random useless information that amounts to nothing concrete, and he certainly didn’t attach a letter on a report card to his self-worth. I’m sure he did appear to need help with conforming to the system. It made no logical sense to him. Funny thing is, when he was at home he was brilliant. I thought so at least. He was busy thinking and creating all day, independently. His mind was always active and stimulated. This boy, at 5, would watch Discovery and History Channel for a couple of hours with complete focus and fascination. He retained everything. Today, we watched WWII documentaries and he already knew everything. He added several additional facts that were not even included in the program, which he apparently learned in second grade with his Dad. He loves learning. He always has and he initiates it himself. He’s in 6th grade now and school is killing this love of learning that he was born with. It really sucks to see him patiently and innocently submit to the ideals of a system that are squelching him and holding him back, completely shoving his mind in a small box.

So now in 6th grade, he gets A’s with little effort. I finally reached out to the school..5 years after he needed “special help”. Shame! I had a meeting with his teachers about the lack of a challenge. Not a popular topic. I was told he is spacey. Always seems to be in his own world. He needs to pay attention. Hmmm! Perhaps he is bored out of his flippin mind. It’s not stimulating to review material you already know for the fifth time this week so every kid can pass the SOL. I mentioned that his writing is poor. I was told I should be happy because a large portion of his classmates write worse than him. WTHeck..Honestly, I don’t care about the majority of students and their challenges. My kid is not being challenged by HIS needs and capability. Why are we always measuring individuals by the group? It seems like if a child gets to the top of the class of low standards and mediocrity they are put on the shelf to wait and wait. Although some of the teachers were genuinely interested we left with no solutions. There’s no resources available for petty stuff like boredom and lack of a challenge in school.

There’s countless programs for special needs and that is fine but it is dominating the system and its resources. Heck, if you can prove that the school is not providing a special needs child with his or her “right” to a free and appropriate education you can sue the school so they have to pay for a private education. That’s interesting! There’s a lot of kids with different special needs though, not just disorders. I understand, Boredom is not in the DSM & there isn’t an IEP for it, but it’s real for a lot of kids. It’s so real! It’s important to recognize that a lot of kids, not just mine, are submitting to a system of low standards and little expectations. They are bored to death and waiting for the system to leave no child behind.. They are intelligent kids who know they can turn in crappy work and get an A. I know this. I remember working the system myself. If you can keep your grades up and stay out of trouble, you’re golden. No one will bother you and certainly no one will recognize that you have completely escaped into your own world because school is a silly joke of appeasing adults who are looking at scores  instead of individuals.

And to all the teachers who care. I’m sorry!  I’m sorry that you have to hear from parents about giving their child an F when they deserve it. I’m sorry that you went to school because you love teaching children but find yourself having to teach kids things they should learn at home; like manners, social skills, respect and self-discipline. I’m sorry if you feel like a social worker instead of a teacher. I’m sorry that people expect you to do everything for their children besides teach them how to think and learn and explore their minds.

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All to often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. John W. Gardner

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance, but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable of going to school, are more intelligent and more educated than college professors. Maya Angelou

 

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” unknown

We had a busy weekend full of friends and fun. Then today was a predictable snow day and I worked from home while the kids basically did their own thing. They visited friends houses and killed time in our house. By the time I logged off the work computer I was pretty spent.  They, on the other hand,  were ready to interact and talk…a lot. Unfortunately, I basically had nothing left to give. I immediately went into Mom survival mode. OMgoodness, What NEEDS to be done? What duties are we obligated to achieve? What needs to be taken care of in the house incase someone stops by unexpected? Squirrel brain…. (& I routinely tell them to calm down and be aware of the moment..HA!) Somewhere between all the crazy thinking…for a split second, I asked myself who I was serving. I had no answer to my question. WHO AM I SERVING IN THESE PANICKED MOMENTS?…..cricket sounds for a minute…. Still I ignore the thought & escape to the couch feeling guilty and taking comfort in the soul food on my kindle. Jack asks, Mom can you put your kindle down? Me, Why? Because I want to give you a hug and it is going to be a long hug. I agree, despite being far from excited for physical touch. He nuzzled in…perfectly sweet. It WAS long…. and he was so in the moment. Mom, he says, Your earrings are so pretty and I love you!.. Aww…heart melts.

I go back to asking myself what I am retreating from. All these things I use to distract my brain do not matter to me or them! It is a convenient escape. For me, the preoccupations just serve as escapes dressed up in good intentions. I’m not pondering getting my nails done. I’m worried about school work, extra curricular activities and cleaning house. It’s all important stuff and it is for them. Not really though! They don’t care about that stuff. They want to cuddle, play games, talk, laugh & mess around…ENJOY LIFE! They don’t care about doing the “right thing”. They care about being in the moment and enjoying life. I’m often left feeling like I need to learn from them. Yes, I have to work and take care of their needs, but their needs are not always what I put first. I’m focusing on things that do not matter to them. I’m concerned with doing “the right thing”. But these things are normally an attempt to look like a good parent instead of being their parent, providing the love they need. Kids are so simple..Hugs, love, special attention. No ulterior motives..just lots of love… I want to meet them there in their place more often. It is fulfilling.

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Gratitude

Lovely! I wrote a blog & it vanished. I have plenty of time to replace those spontaneous fleeting thoughts. I will try…
Reflecting on the fact that when you have a family or a crazy life you’re often feeling like you’re treading water. Gratitude keeps me afloat.
Today…It’s so stinkin cold, but we have a roof over our head & walls to protect us from the frigid outdoors.
We’ve been plagued with sickness but it’s sickness that passes. Grateful for healthy kids that don’t suffer for more than a couple days..health!
I checked the oil today & we need a refill. We just spent $1600 a month ago, but grateful we are making ends meet, and we are relatively warm.
The kids are fighting, whining, high maintenance,demanding & lazy, but they are the best gift a Mom could ask for. I adore them to pieces.
The kitchen sink & laundry are overflowing. Actually, the whole house needs special attention, which means we have what we need!
Dave is gone again tonight, working. So grateful he has an important job, helping those less fortunate. His work keeps us grounded.
A night of school work means my children are getting an education. & I happen to love the devoted school staff.
Outside, it’s cold, frigid & messy. I dream of summer. Flowers, gardens, yard play, no school, humidity, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, summer vacation…& wanting the kiddies to get back to school. Gotta love this glorious life because we all have what we need. Thank you God for another day. I love love love this life.