Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well, I've Been Thinking...

Since yesterday's rant on Hadley's teacher, and school, and the injustice of life I've had time to think and I've gotten some excellent advice from some great women, both moms and teachers, and I've come to some conclusions.

First, in the grand scheme of things this is minor, it sucks, but it's doable. 

Second, we're halfway through this.

Third, and probably most important, its not the teacher who is going to make the difference here-it's me.  My reaction to this situation will have more impact on Hadley then the situation itself ever will.

I get so wrapped up in how this is going to effect Hadley that I forget that there are other sources of influence in her life.  My aunt gave me some great advice and since it's me, I can't imagine she'll be surprised that I'm quoting her, but this is what she said.

The teacher isn't the point. It's how you deal with the whole situation that's the real test. I can find you people who love AND hate any given teacher. Teach Hadley to handle unfairness and whatever else is happening thru this experience. You can't always change things in life, you have to learn to walk thru them as best as you can. Hopefully, she'll learn about the kind of person she DOESN'T want to be. Trust me, she will handle this better than you will! Kids are very resilient.

The stubborn side of me wanted to argue and say "but, but, but..." but, there was nothing I could say to argue with that.  This is my first real opportunity to show Hadley how to handle adversity, and so far, I'm failing miserably!  I'll do better, and I know I can.  Yeah, I've faked liking the teacher and I've even told Hadley "just because mommy doesn't like how she's doing something doesn't mean she's a bad teacher" but my heart wasn't in it.  It's true though, she may be a terrible teacher or one of the best but my opinion has been so jaded because I don't like how she's doing things, that I wouldn't know.  And, honestly, it doesn't matter!

“So Jesus explained, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.’” John 5:19 (NLT)
 
That's a load for a mom who's been running on emotion, but it's so true and it's go time around here!  I'm going to put up or shut up.  Starting right now, my attitude is adjusted!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching is Hard, but Being Mom is Tough Too!

I got Hadley sent to school and then went back to bed this morning because I didn't sleep well last night and thought I'd reclaim some sleep.  Didn't happen.

Why?  You ask.

Because my mind is spinning and the longer I laid there the more upset, aggravated, irritated I got.  I decided to put this post together to organize my thoughts and ramblings and clear my mind a little.

I had questions about Hadley's report card so I made a copy, wrote notes by the line I had questions on and sent it in to the teacher.  I knew the teacher was going to be out of school on Friday so I didn't expect to hear from her for a couple of days.  I tried to be clear on most of my questions and only wrote "please explain" by a couple. 

I understand that being a teacher is a difficult job and dealing with parents might be the worst part so I try to take that into account when I communicate with any of Hadley's teacher.  I want to convey that I respect their position but I sometimes need a little clarity.  Except maybe this year and I've just HAD IT!  My patience has worn thin this year, but I'll get into that later in the post.

The reply I got was completely unsatisfactory.  She basically told me that grading would just be harder sometimes and that I was misunderstanding the scoring system.

Okay.  Well, that's WHY I EMAILED YOU!  But, that was the only answer I got. 

My reply was less than understanding (in part because I'm pissed but this particular email was a victim of auto correct which made it sound even worse.)  I tried to reply, "I just need you to answer the specific questions I sent you."  But it came our more like what was in my head "do your damn job!"

This teacher has made our year hell.  She has zero compassion or consideration and I completely get how under appreciated and underpaid teachers are.  It's sickened me to see the education cuts while throwing money in directions that are unnecessary.  None the less, this is the world we live in.  With teaching jobs being as scarce as they are we should have nothing but the creme de la creme in the schools.  There is no excuse to have a sub par teacher when there are a dozen good teachers lined up around the block for every job. 

I read somewhere the other day that a girls self esteem peaks at nine.  It really scares me that Hadley is going to peak after spending a year with this woman.  It terrifies me, really.  I know each child learns and responds differently and each child has different needs.  What separates a regular teacher from a great teacher is the ability to learn each child's personality.  Last year Hadley had the teacher who managed to teach the kids, but she also really KNEW her kids! 

Hadley thrives on praise and positive reinforcement.  She doesn't do well with turmoil, she can't handle people yelling (at her or others) and she certainly doesn't want to trouble anyone.  Hadley is one of those kind souls who truly can't understand why anyone would ever do anything to displease or hurt someone.  She comes home in the afternoons with a heavy heart. 

The school has Hadley for approximately 35 waking hours weekly, I have her approximately 50 waking hours weekly.  That's not a huge amount of time to combat negativity, especially considering her confidence is going to peak in approximately six months. 

I'm sorry for whatever personal problems this teacher may be dealing with that makes her so unhappy and I have spent a lot of time praying for her.  I really don't hate her, or even dislike her, but I will NOT sacrifice my child's well being while she works out whatever she has going on.

With that said, I've come to the conclusion that I'm tired of dealing with the teacher and having her tell me all the right things and do none of them.  When my kids get in trouble and say "I'm sorry" I tell them, I want to see it, not hear it.  Saying I'm sorry is easy, showing you mean it is when the truth comes out and that's where I am with this teacher.  I don't want special treatment, Hadley doesn't need to be coddled and neither do I, but I expect my child and every child in that classroom to be treated with respect and kindness.  School may be the only place some children ever feel special and unfortunately, part of a teachers job is to make sure they do. 

I have friends who are teachers and although I worried a little that this post might offend them, it's a case of my blog being true to my life (good, bad and ugly) as I wrote in Surprise, I'm only Human.   Then I started thinking of the kind of teachers  (and people) they are and I realized it wouldn't be offensive. 

I know that I probably sound unrealistic in this post and that I think my kid is perfect (and I sort of do!)  I don't only feel like my child is suffering from this, I feel like the whole class is and it saddens me.  Children are so vulnerable and precious and even though some of them can be little jerks, we can't punish them all because of that.  Teaching is hard, kids are frustrating, and parents are obnoxious.  I get that and it's exactly why I'll never be a teacher but I can't imagine that people who become teachers are blindsided by this and if they are, I'm truly sorry.  Unfortunately in life there are sometimes surprises, and jobs can turn crappy in the blink of an eye, but you either roll with the punches or find a new job.  What you don't do, is torment small children or make them feel anything but like the gifts from God that they are! 

Tonight, I was talking to Hadlley about school and I asked her "Hadley, if you have a present from God, how do you think you should treat it?"

"AWESOME!" she replied.

"Sweetie, YOU are a gift from God, so how do you think you should be treated?"  I asked.

"Ummm....good" she stammered.

I then said, "why would YOU be treated any different than any other gift from God?"

"I dunno..." she again stammered.

"You shouldn't.  You are God's precious child, and you are His gift to me and I expect you to be treated as nothing less."  I demanded.

"Okay, I want to be treated like that, Mommy."  She said.

That is my prayer for her and other children, that they be treated like God's precious children.  Teachers aren't just helping kids learn to read and write, they are teaching them to be adults.  It's a hard job, with amazing responsibility but the truly great ones will leave a remarkable stamp on the world!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Surprise! I'm Only Human...

I wrote a post yesterday called America the Stupid, where I called someone stupid (more than one, really) and admitted to losing my cool on more than one occasion.  I posted a link to it on facebook and quite a conversation ensued. 
 
Elinore and I rarely agree on much, but we have a mutual respect for each other and we have a mutual interest in each other's lives.  Since she posted the comment on facebook I feel pretty confident that I'm not crossing any lines by re-posting the convo here.
 
Before I post the convorsation, I'll say it definitely brought some things to light that I've known and assumed others knew, but never really shared. 
 
I'm blatantly honest, even when it isn't necessarily flattering.  This blog is about my real life, so I'm real about it.  I could leave out the parts where I lose my cool and say mean things, or I could change things around when I do something stupid to make me smarter, but it's just not reality.  Real life is messy and I'm a real person living a real life. 
 
One of my largest character flaws, and something I'm continually working on, is patience.  My patience is always thin, I'm not one who has a high level of tolerance for things I deem stupid or incompetent.  I'm the one who gets things done, if you need a diplomat I'm not your girl.  I know this about myself and believe it or not I'm really working on it and have actually improved.  I tend to speak first and think later.  I was describing my friend Matt to someone the other day and I said "he's just like me, without the filter" and the friend I was telling said "oh crap!  LESS of a filter than yours?  I guess you have a filter, it just has a lot of holes."  That's about right too, and I often find myself thinking, I really wish I hadn't said that!  But, I'm working on it!
 
So yes, I'm the one who called the girl at the drive through stupid, I'm the one who got a speeding ticket because I yelled at a police officer, and I'm the one who made some extremely unkind remarks in the pharmacy speaker while waiting for a prescription (by the way, they leave that speaker on ALL THE TIME!  Just a little nugget of wisdom I learned the hard way for you!)
 
However, I'm the same one who called the guy at the a/c company to apologize after ripping him a new one, and I'm the person who went into the pharmacy to apologize, face to face, after realizing he heard me through the speaker, and I'm also the one who prays for forgivness and prays that I do better each day than I've done this day. 
 
(see, humility I do okay with!  If you have a mouth like mine, you have to be humble and willing to apologize...a lot!)
 
I really am working on myself and God is working on me, I'll always be a work in progress but I hope each day I do just a little better than the day before.  As long as I write this blog, I'll be honest about myself.  The good, the bad, and the ugly will be shared because that's life, and life is what I like to share.
 
Below is the thought provoking convo that inspired this post.  Thanks to Elinore for calling me on my stuff and putting up with it all these years, while still being kind and respectful!
 
Elinore- The movie, 'Idiocracy', comes to mind.

I respect your thoughts and that you're so open in sharing them.

I do have to point out the hypocrisy, that I see; you are complaining of a dumbed down society and then you are going to McDonald's for your sick family because it is easier?

I just find it odd to complain that our society has dumbed itself down by making things "easier" and you are running back and forth to the crappiest fast food joint known to man, because it's easier for you.

Not only are you doing that but, you're calling innocent bystanders (because generations before them have failed them) stupid. That's just being mean.

I understand your point though and I agree. We are definitely lacking in the critical thinking department and problem solving. I'd hate to see what would happen if we were forced to survive like our ancestors.
 
Lisa (me)--Hey, we'd been out picking up Hadley's homework and McD's what right there and the kids begged because they, literally, NEVER get it. I said what the heck and pulled in! I hardly think eating at a fast food joint once in a great while makes me a hypocrite. Nor do I think I'm being mean by calling stupid, stupid. Generations before me aren't solely responsible for my behavior. I have wasteful parents who think nothing of doing things like burning tires (true story) but I KNOW better! Not because they taught me, but because I chose to learn from elsewhere.
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  • Elinore--I don't believe you are a hypocrite for eating at McDonald's once in a while.

    What I found to be hypocritical was complaining about the make-things-easier/dumbed down society we have created and then taking part in said society. Maybe it's just the examples that were used that lead me to view it that way. Or maybe I'm also getting grouchy with age. Either way, it's just my point of view, not really that important. I just like to discuss things so that I can maybe get clarity on a subject.

    Just because a girl is placed infront of a do-it-all register and probably hasn't been challenged to think outside of that, doesn't make her stupid. Ignorant, yes. Perhaps, you calling her stupid made her question what she was doing and you've done the girl a great service. But, maybe she's been called stupid her whole life and it just hurt her self-esteem a bit more. That's why I think it's mean. You don't know her.

    I like that you are outspoken and assertive. I respect the way you think about things all the time and put yourself out there. I appreciate having access to your thoughts because we don't see eye to eye, quite often, and it challenges me ;-)

  • Lisa (me)--I think what makes someone stupid is not trying to do better or learn more. You and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things but I still respect your opinion and I know you respect mine (even when we think each other is crazy!) Had the girl asked me to explain what I meant rather than arguing with me and treating me like the stupid one, I would have patiently explained, but she chose to be stupid! I admitted (even in the blog) that it wasn't my finest moment but stupidity seems to be an epidemic people will never know if they refuse to learn. I really try not to lose my cool, but it happens more often than I'd like and this was just an instance. I could edit it out of my blog to make me sound better but I'm human and my blog is about my real life so I roll with it. Ignorance with obstinance is stupidity!
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    America the Stupid

    My aunt used to say that Microsoft was responsible for the dumbing down of America and I always laughed and shrugged to humor her because my generation isn't dumb and I know it!   I was right, to an extent, my generation isn't as dumb as the one right behind me and I can only imagine how stupid the one after that and then my children's generation will be, but I do imagine that my generation is dumber than hers!

    A few examples...

    Cashiers are no longer capable of counting out change and Lord help them if their computer goes down because they can't fathom that anyone else can do that math either.  I got my total the other day at a drive through it was $4.26 so I gave the young girl at the window a $5.00 then I saw a penny so I handed it over and the cashier replied "you gave me enough" and hands it back. 

    I said to her "I know I gave you enough, I'm giving you the penny so I won't get a handful of change." 

    When she looks at me, exasperated and says "well I can't change it, I've already put it in the computer." 

    I couldn't help myself, laughing I said, "seriously or are you kidding that you can't do the math on that?" 

    She didn't even realize I was laughing at her when she said "well my computer told me how much change to give you and I can't change that." 

    **deep breath, Lisa, don't slap her**

    "You would take my penny and add it to the twenty four cents you have, two dimes and four pennies, and then you'd give me a quarter." 

    "Well I can't do that, it will mess my drawer up." 

    I resisted the urge to scream YOU IDIOT!  YOU'RE THE ONLY THING THAT WILL MESS YOUR DRAWER UP BECAUSE YOU'RE STUPID!!!  and instead said, "just forget it, clearly you're stupid" and she tossed my food out the window at me and I went on my way.

    Then, last weekend my family went to Scotty's Lakehouse (which by the way, has NO lake view whatsoever but does have great food and service).  I ordered a turkey club off of their lunch menu and the waitress said "Oh, lunch ended at 3, I'm sorry."  First I said, "what time is it?" because I knew it was right around that time and the waitress replies "3:02"   I then said "okay, well it doesn't have to be a lunch special or anything but I'd like the turkey club please."

    "Well, I can't do it, the computer won't let me...well, let me check..." and she walks away.  She returns and says, "no, the button won't work so I can't do it, what else would you like?"

    First, I have to say it struck me that this seemed perfectly normal and acceptable to her, then it irritated me.  "So, are you telling me that you have all of the ingredients to make it, and a chef that knows how to do it, and a customer who's willing to pay for it but you CAN'T do it, is that what you're telling me?"

    Harsh, I know but patience has never been my strong suit, then she said "Yes, the computer just won't let me, I'm really sorry." 

    OH. NO. SHE. DI-INT!  So I gave her the look...you know the one, it says fix it or die!  And flustered, she agreed to take my order.

    I will say, the food was delicious!!!  And, there was SO MUCH of it!  Not to mention, service was great, and even though I'd been less than friendly to this waitress she took care of us like we were her best friends and truly didn't seem to hold a grudge, which really says more about her than me!

    Now, the tip of the iceberg was Sunday when we went to Noodles and Company with some friends and Amber dared order a family bowl when the cashier said "oh, we only do that to go."  Amber, sensibly said "then make it to go..." which totally irritated the cashier and seemingly ruined her day!  She practically threw the food to everyone at the table and Amber's husband, Jeff, even said "wow, Lisa, she really hates you! hahaha!"  I said, "Amber started it!" in my most grown up voice.

    All of this has me thinking, is our nation really that stupid, or maybe just this area?  It seems that an entire generation has missed out on problem solving skills.  Either that, or these restaurants regulate their employees so tightly that they are afraid to attempt to solve problems.  I'm not sure, but either way it needs to change.  Customer service is suffering and it makes these places look stupid for hiring stupid people!  Come on guys, you can do better!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Another Dolce Post

    I got a call this morning from Coleen, who owns Dolce, to let me know that my hairstylist is leaving.  UGH!!!  I love that she called to let me know so I wouldn't be blindsided next time I call but I can't help but ask why do these stylist keep switching salons?  I really liked this one!  I love what she did to my hair, she's super personable, and she made Hadley feel like a rockstar!  I'm really bummed that she's leaving!

    I learned a long time ago that you can't follow a hairstylist around because you'll end up going all over town and they will just keep moving and moving.  So, what I learned to do was find a salon that I like the management at, that sales the products I like, and that has a standard that I agree with.  That way, as the revolving door of stylists comes and goes I can be sure that they'll hire a certain caliber of person.  That is why I'm so loyal to Dolce. 

    I like Coleen, I believe that she's probably a good person to work for, and I think that Dolce appears to run pretty cohesively.  That doesn't change the fact that I wish I could find a stylist who would stay in one place!  Seriously ladies!  There will always be a new opportunity, and the grass will always be greener, and I'll admit I've never worked for Coleen or at a salon but if you find something good why not stick with it and make it work!  This doesn't just happen at Dolce, if it did I'd be suspicious but it's happened at every salon I've ever gone too in every state I've lived in!  With the one exception of the salon I went to in WV that had their stylist sign an iron clad contract, thus making them all stomp around in misery!  (or maybe that was because they lived in WV...it definitely made me surly!)

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Hair Cut With a Side of AWESOME!

    Hadley has sort of taken a hit to her confidence this year.  Between a teacher who cares less about nurturing children than checking email(totally the wrong profession for her!), miserable little mean girls (yes, this young!), and a new asthma diagnosis to struggle with, it's been a difficult year to say the least.

    As mom, I want to swoop in and fix it!  I want to smack her teacher, smack the bratty little girl, and take her asthma away, but I can't.  All I can do is try to give her the tools to handle things on her own and offer her support when things get tricky.  It's really really hard! 

    One thing I've tried to do at home to combat the negative school environment is to make sure she knows she's appreciated.  We tell her as often as possible how much we love her, how smart she is, how proud we are to have her as our daughter, what a blessing she is, and how beautiful she is.

    In the mornings when I'm brushing her hair I pause and tell her to look at herself in the mirror and I show her what I see.  I show her the stunning blue eyes that are looking at us with such a deep kindness.  I make sure she sees the beautiful smile that warms hearts and makes my life better.  I want her to see how beautiful she is, not only on the outside but the inside too. 

    We try to make sure she has hobbies that she's not only good at but enjoys.  We try to let her spend as much time as possible with her best friend.  We are really trying to keep a balance in her life right now by adding as  much positive as we can.  The shool has her for seven waking hours and we have her for about five so we have to make our time count!

    Everyone who knows me has heard me rave about how much I love Dolce Salon and Spa but today really drove it home because they are more than a salon!

    I took Lydia for her first hair cut and Hadley needed a trim to so she got in line for hers.  Lydia went first, which was hilarious!  Amber (my stylist) cut just the right amount off of Lydia's hair, just enough to help combat tangles but not enough to really tell.



    I told Amber what my "no no's" were for Hadley's hair.  NO bangs, not too short, nothing too crazy.  I told them other than that they could do what they wanted and I went to sit down and let Hadley take control.  I gave them what seemed like enough time to get almost done.  I walked over to check on them and where I left a little girl sat a young lady.  Hadley looked so beautiful and so grown up.  I looked at her and told her how pretty she looked and with bright eyes and a huge grin she said "I know mommy!" and then she brought tears to my eyes "I don't usually think I'm pretty but I really am now."

    I could see in how she carried herself and how she was looking in the mirror that she actually believed she's a beautiful girl!  Who knew that something as simple as a hair cut could make such a difference in an eight year old girl's life.  And who knew that the stylist I love because she does such a great job on my hair and is a fun, nice person could do what I've been trying to do for months!