Tag Archives: caring


Involved In Your Child’s Schooling? Let’s Lower The Bar

While listening to the radio after dropping the kids off at school a few weeks back, I heard a group of city and school officials for the major metropolitan area in which I live talking about parents involvement in their children’s education. They all unanimously said that the biggest factor in the success of children in school was parental involvement.

I immediately perked up and listened. I have tried to be involved with my children’s schooling since they were babies in the on-sight daycare center here at work. I joined every volunteer group the daycare had, and have sat on the board of directors (it’s a not-for-profit facility and the board handles the books) for almost as many years as my children have been enrolled.

Now that my son (and next year my daughter) are off to elementary school, I have tried to volunteer my time there as well. I am in my second year of serving on the Principal’s Advisory Council, made of up parents from each of the grades, and I have been offering my help to the computer teacher as she tries to come up with a plan for upgrading the school’s computers without breaking the budget.

Every night, I sit down with my children and go through their homework. I check every paper as they do them, and review all of the papers that come home. We read a book at night before lights out and kiss goodnight.

Just about every minute I spend with them is involved, either directly or indirectly, with helping them learn.

But you know what? The panel of officials on the radio that day set the bar of parent involvement a little lower than that. To them, they were hoping that parents would get involved by making sure their children went to school; making sure they’d eaten breakfast; packing them a lunch. If the parent would actually spend time with their child doing homework, that was a bonus, and none of them even mentioned reading at bedtime.

My point is, being involved doesn’t mean overachieving, it just means spending time, how ever much time you have. These education experts said that just having a parent who cared whether or not they were in school helped motivate these kids to be there and to learn.

So, never underestimate how very much your attention can help, but also, don’t get discouraged if you can’t be room-mom, or lunch-dad, or if you work full-time and can’t spend the time during the day at your child’s school, though you might like to. Each and every minute you spend, being involved and interested in what your children do, matters. Each and every minute.

by Rocket Science Mom

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Photo graciously provided by radioflyer007, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Love Them Thoroughly In The Moment

Something I do when someone I love is pitching a bitch: I love them thoroughly in the moment. That is, I attune myself to my love for them, I remember what I love about them, and then I talk to them about what’s going on. – The idea here is that no matter what I’m saying, my vibe is clear: I Love You. And, under normal circumstances, the bitch-pitcher tends to relax. And if they relax, maybe they allow themselves to adjust their behavior, which makes it easier to bring things to a suitable level of coolness.

For example, if my son is losing his very mind because of a decision I’ve made concerning the amount of television he is consuming, I could just walk away. I mean, he’s yelling, punching the wall, doing everything short of lighting his hair on fire. Why not walk away? It’s safer and easier on the ears. But what does that teach him? What lesson does that impart? And where is the love?

Instead, if I am at my best, I remind myself of my deep and profound love for him. Once I’ve centered myself, focused on the love-light within my soul, I then focus on him and his deal. I tell him, “Hey, just so you know, I am kinda bummed about your situation. I feel for you, it’s a sucky situation, and I’d love to swing things your way. But you know I can’t. And now you are yelling at me, and that makes it hard for me to truly care about your feelings, which is what I want to do. Can you help me with that?” – And because I’m all full of love for him, looking him in the eye, speaking softly and with sadness, he calms right down. Now, this doesn’t work all the time, but it works often enough.

So that’s my thing, that’s my strategy. I validate what he’s going through, I communicate with love and sincerity, and I speak candidly about my feelings – no judgement, just my experience of them. And not just with my son. This works with my daughter and my wife and my friends and with the guy at the corner sweet shop. And, of course, it works with me. It makes me feel better about myself, knowing that I did my very best to give the other person every single part of my heart. Makes it a lot easier to sleep at night.

by Stu Mark

Photo graciously provided by Cali2Okie, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

The Difficult Relationships Between Girls

closeup of a strawberryMy daughter has been having some trouble getting along with one of her girlfriends in her preschool class. She makes friends fairly easily and has a large group of girls she likes to play with. Some of them are her age, and based on the structure of the preschool room, some of them are a year younger.

She gets along with almost all of them. It not unusual for us to take a long time leaving the school for all of the hugs and goodbye wishes.

There is one girl, though, that has been her “best friend” since they were two. The two of them are both strong-willed young women. It is because of their strong personalities, that they often clash. The often both want to be in charge of what to play and who does what in their made up games. This leads to disagreements and hard feelings and often ends with one of them telling the teacher about whatever transgressions might have occurred.

This relationship has come to a head as of late. Both of their birthdays are within a couple of months of each other. So they have taken turns inviting and uninviting each other to their respective birthday parties. It’s causing my daughter so much stress that she’s ended up in tears when she tried to tell me about the latest argument of the day.

I am at a loss on how to help her. Most of my friends now and growing up were boys and not just because there were more men in all of my Rocket Science related classes in college. I have had and, to a certain extent, continue to have a harder time connecting with women in friendship than with men. I remember examples during college and high school, of my girl friends getting upset and holding grudges for things that I never understood.

Now that I see this happening for my daughter, I don’t know what to tell her. Do I tell her that it might be the first time she’s having girlfriend trouble but it probably won’t be the last time she will have a disagreement with a girlfriend?

I have told her to use her words and to try to tell this friend what upsets her when it upsets her and why she is upset. Rather than just run to the teacher or hold it inside, I have told her to try to express herself with her words. If all else fails, I have told her to play with the other girls, or boys, in her class if she and this girlfriend just can’t work things out. This might not be the best advice but it’s all I have to offer.

In the end, things just keep changing. By the end of the week that brought on this whole birthday invite/uninvite back and forth, the two of them were the best of friends again.

I have to admit, that I didn’t understand the friendships between girls when I was a girl, and I have achieved no more understanding now that I am all grown up.

by Rocket Science Mom

Photo graciously provided by Philms, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Pediatric Office Staff

reception desk of doctor's officeWe have spent a lot of time in doctors offices lately. My daughter Copy Cat was having frequent headaches so I took her to the pediatrician. We have used the same pediatrician’s office since my girls were born. I have a lot of loyalty to the doctors mainly because they know our history from the beginning.

However, I have considered moving to a different office because their office staff isn’t friendly. This is nothing new. It’s been this way for years, if not from day one. The receptionist tends to be terse when checking us in. While I can understand her job is boring and/or stressful dealing with children and their parents…she made the choice to work there. The nurses are not much better. Especially the last one who took Copy Cat’s vitals — and she was pregnant. The doctors make up for the unfriendliness of their staff. They are always friendly, welcoming and thorough.

I wondered if this phenomenon was limited to just this medical office, but it is not. A couple of weeks ago I took Copy Cat for an eye exam. I truly have never experienced a more unfriendly and rude staff in a children’s office. The eye doctor was amazing. He was very good with kids and me, the parent, too. Then onto the staff at the orthopedist. They were not rude, but they were not friendly either. Yet again, their doctor and physician assistant were excellent.

My girls are a little shy and I sometimes have to prod them along. Do the staff take offense at this? Do they make judgments about my parenting or do they just lack “bedside” manner. Is it just me or do have you noticed this too?

by Kelly Damron

Photo graciously provided by Buffawhat, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Cats Are Not Toys

a white cat kissing a baby girlMy baby might be evil.

My daughter never cared about the cats, though they’d always been around. One cat in particular took a great interest in being her champion, sensing that she was something of great importance and well worth protecting, but as far as the baby was concerned, the cats were always off on the periphery.

Things change.

Somewhere around six months of age the cats changed from something to occasionally notice and smile at to something THAT MUST BE HELD. AND SQUEEZED. AND PLUCKED.

This displeases the cats, and yet, they still place themselves in positions to be grabbed by her and most remarkably they never retaliate when she grabs mighty fistfuls of kitty fur and proceeds to relieve the cats of their weight. At most, they yowl and squirm, which only encourages the baby, who giggles madly and then places the cats in a bear hug or sleeper hold, against which they again meow or struggle limply.

We’ve tried to show the baby how to pet the cats gently with open hands, to stroke their ears rather than pull them, and to gently tug their tails rather than yank them. However, the devil on her shoulder is clearly a bigger influence than we are. While I’ve suggested exorcism, the cats seem to know that this is something they simply must endure and that someday, hopefully soon, the baby will evolve from plucker to petter.

I continue to monitor the situation, rushing to free the cats lest they develop bald spots, and I will continue to demonstrate proper kitty pampering, but I have to wonder if that’s about the extent of what I can do at this stage.

Hmm, I wonder if my wife would be opposed to shaving the cats…

by James Cooper

Photo graciously provided by Wilson (Army Gal), through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved