education

Molding Clay… You Never Know What You’ll Make

Today I moved a kid to a new table. It wasn’t without many warnings. It wasn’t with malice. It was simply because he could not manage being in the same spot with his friends. Nor could he manage to sketch and finish a super hero project without taking clay that didn’t belong to him and start rolling it across the desk.

Him remaining there, day after day, was akin to me before I was sober. Despite promises I would not drink four glasses of red wine and two buckets of chicken wings, all bets went out the window if I was super hungry and tired… after a long week with middle schoolers… and you sat me with my girlfriends in front of a bottle of wine. Or two. I went from solid and honorable mama to a lying liar who lies… to herself. Nope, like me on a Friday at happy hour, that kid needed to moved from that situation.

I had him write me a letter as to why he was moved. Not unlike my other student’s reaction, his letter surprised me.

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(That reads: “I can tell you hate me, but you don’t have to tell me. If you do hate me I’m fine with it and you don’t have to say that I’m ‘amazing’. I just wanted to play with clay.”)

It made me sad. “I can tell you hate me.” Really? I’m not really sure if this is a typical middle school reaction, or if this is the result of too much black and white social media influence. “You said the wrong thing… you’re out!” or “You gave me a compliment about my dress… you’re in!” That is until I make a mistake and compliment someone else’s dress and then it means I don’t like yours as much and “I’m out!”

I have no idea 100% what is going on half the time, but one thing I do know how to do… thanks to really messing up with my own kids and husband… is communicate better. I might not be able to pass down my hard earned knowledge to these kids, nor teach them how to make the perfect Origami swan, but I can attempt teach them how to switch their perspective. And sometimes that means just writing them back.

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I brought him to my desk. “Do you see that I boxed two things? One is your behavior. The other is you. I don’t like your actions all the time, but I’m not lying. I do like you. I really do think you’re amazing!”

He shrugged his shoulders and sheepishly walked away.

The truth? I really do think he’s amazing. The problem? He doesn’t think he’s amazing. But maybe, just maybe, a small note of encouragement can lodged in his brain that will spark a journey of self love.

Or he’ll end up stealing clay from Target.

I don’t know the end result of his life. But I know that I want to reach the end of mine knowing I did everything I could every day to be of service to someone.

And I want to reach the end of this night eating a fistful of Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups. I’ve had enough spiritual growth for one day. It’s time for some chocolate and sugar.

PS: I owe some of you some blog readings! Tomorrow is the day. Thank you all for reading me so faithfully. My numbers have grown dramatically and it’s been such a blessing for me to write.

Happily Ticked Off Tip #36: Put your feelings for others in writing. When emotions are high, they can come back to it later and it could make a big difference!

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

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My Word of the Year – Discipline

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It has occurred to me recently that whining and complaining is not all that it’s cracked up to be. At some point in one’s life, it becomes necessary to actually do something about what they want changed. This realization didn’t happen for me with doobage and unicorn rainbows shooting out my arse at a yoga studio run by a guru named Spirit Chevorlet. It happened for me at a red light on my way home from Target.

I had been stewing and stewing all day about finding work and putting away Christmas decorations and making school lunches and “Why can’t I just get a break I am working so haaaard?” when a little voice came into my head with four words that pretty much changed everything. “Shut the hell up.”

“Excuse me?” I thought to myself. But I felt that same voice tugging at me. Call it God. Call it my inner voice. Call it an angel with an attitude. I don’t care. For that moment, I sat in my own truth – the truth that it was up to ME to do something different. I knew this already, but it wasn’t until that moment that I really knew.

For many  years, I wanted the tics to change.

I wanted people to change to make me feel better about my life.

Since those fantasies didn’t actually translate into real life for me, it was now time for me to change myself. A few excuses I had for whining, complaining and basically throwing a big boo boo tantrum for the past few months included,  but are not limited to:

* I shouldn’t have to do all that social media stuff to get a job in this town. I’m a WRITER

* My husband isn’t changing into a beacon of flexibility. Why should I become the poster child for responsibility?

* My friends aren’t giving up wine. Why should I have to?

* My kids aren’t worried about cleaning their room. Why should I clean mine?

* I am too tired to exercise. I think I’ll just grow a spare tire and enjoy the wonders of armpit hair.

At the end of the day, I can either give my power to my husband, the tics, family obligations, my work, my kids or the dog, or I can give the power to me. Choosing me is kind of scary, because who the heck am I?

Who the heck are you?

This question changes everything. It leads to destruction or transformation. It leads to failure or success. It leads to darkness or light.

When we know who we are, we can be who we need to be. And when we are enough, no tic, person, place or thing can touch us.

It’s not every day that I have this kind of epiphany at 6:17 on a Thursday, but between you, me and the street light, I’m glad I did.

Talk at ya soon.

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Keeping Our Kids Safe – A Balancing Act

Today I went hiking with my kids after school with Miss L. At one point we came to a metal pipe that was raised about three feet over the water.

“Stand next to me in case I fall,” Pid advised. “But don’t get too close!” she said, before starting the first foot of a four foot trek across the rusty tube.

For the first few steps she was fine. She struggled a bit, but she didn’t come close to falling. Each time she righted herself back to a strong, balanced position.

It was only when her little body was aligned with mine that she started to really waver. She flopped once to the right and then instinctively fell toward the left where my arm steadied her. Her hand hovered over mine for the rest of her short walk across.

This was such an analogy for life. How often do we stoically face life alone, but when someone warm and comforting is near, we allow ourselves the vulnerability to fall?

While there is nothing wrong with allowing others to bolster us, it makes me think of a parenting struggle I often have. Like that walk my daughter took, I want my kids to know I’m around for them. I want to be their safe landing. But I’m of the ilk that parenting means raising our kids to be independent. If I walk too close to them all the time, they won’t have the chance to learn from their falls. Or even more to the point, they won’t have the chance to right themselves before the plunge happens. They won’t have the opportunity to know what they are truly capable on their own.

A discussion about this very thing is happening in the comment section of a previous blog. Take a look and join the thread if you’d like.

In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote from Lisa. She is a woman in her thirties that has T.S.. She has gone on to be quite successful. I’ll post some pieces of a q and a I had with her tomorrow. Just some of her wisdom comes right here:

“It’s the kids who have everything handed to them and are sheltered from failures that have the hardest time as an adult…It’s about loving and supporting your kid and giving them confidence and the ability to be comfortable in their own skin. There is no such thing as perfection so why do we all work so hard trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist? In the words of my biochem professor….’Don’t go hunting zebras in Scott County (Iowa)….chances are it’s horses…'”

And with that, I’m going to saddle up for the night. Until tomorrow, I’m thinking and praying for you all. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects, so feel free to comment!