Saturday, February 27, 2010

This is THE YEAR

I turned 49 on my last birthday. You know how kids always want to be older? So when mine would have a birthday, they would quickly remind me that that meant they had COMPLETED that year and they were actually in the next.  Seven wanted to be  Eight, Thirteen wanted to be Fourteen, but Forty-Nine... she KNOWS what's just around the corner. She isn't so quick to jump to that one.

I'll just say it out loud. Fifty. 50. Five-O.
And when my dad turned 50, I told him if he were furniture, he'd be worth more as he's finally an antique. Not so with humans. Wasn't I cute? Not so funny anymore.

I've never been the type to hide my age. Maybe it's too many years of Popeye saying, "I am what I am!"
I don't color my gray hair. Although my kids beg me to. I finally got them to admit that they simply think I'm that much closer to dying by having gray hair. Irrational? Probably. I'm not ruling it out, but it's not high on my list. Plus, Ron is 10 years older than me, and has white hair. He has for a while now. I think my little gray "highlights" seem appropriate! ha!  But I will say that a plus to having gray hairs is that they come in wavy and thicker. I've always had limp brown hair...this is simply making it more interesting!

I've spent a lot of my adult years raising kids. I'm still not done. And now my mom has moved here, so I help her as well. I think they call us The Sandwich Generation when this happens. It's easy to just go with the flow and spend the day putting out other people's fires. But time keeps going. And now there are probably more years behind me than ahead of me. I think it's time to work on my own personal Bucket List.

Maybe the winds are all about to change...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Should They Learn?

I read a blog about "What should children learn?" They were trying to think outside the box. They wondered if the focus on traditional subjects is really all that important. Seeing the responses was interesting. I had an inkling that my list would not resemble too many others, but with 3 teenagers, and 2 grown step-kids with children of their own, here's what I think are the most important things children should learn:

  • Kindness and compassion. Learn how to put yourself into other people's shoes.  When everyone else jumps on a bandwagon against something someone did, hold back a little bit.
  • Live in the moment. Realize that there are about 16 waking hours in a day. And when they're gone, they're gone. There's nothing wrong with having a little "down time" but make sure you have some "up time too."
  • Listen to people when they talk to you.  Give them your full attention.  Think about what they're saying but also why they might be saying it to you.
  • Learn healthy eating choices and find exercise that you like and can do nearly every day. You're going to be in this body for a while - longer if you take care of it
  • Learn your strengths and your weaknesses. Do something about or with both. Take time to get to know yourself.
    • Learn about the nature of advertising and marketing. 
    • Learn how to pursue your interests. Learn how to find information on the internet.
    • Be brave. Try new things. You never know what you might actually like.
    These are what come to mind when I think about what children should be taught.  In school curriculum, I think they call these "threads." They are supposed to permeate different subjects year after year. I like the idea of these topics being the important threads.  I believe the reading, writing, and math will present itself.  And if you need these more traditional "subjects" for a job you'd like to pursue, that's why we have community college.

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Sleep Issues & Real Life

     For years, I've let my children sleep however late, and go to bed at whatever hour. It worked well for our homeschooling lifestyle. We got up early when we needed to be somewhere. We went to bed when we were done with our day. But I would frequently be accosted by people saying,  "How will they be able to hold down a job - follow a schedule - adhere to expectations -- if I never impose any on them as children?" Well, it's a non-issue. It's like practicing the act of waiting in line. Or working on eating. Honestly, when they were younger, I'd think, "well, they just won't choose a job that conflicts with their natural rhythm." They seemed to be night owls and there are plenty of jobs that "start late."

    But that's not what happened.

    What actually happened is that they found a job they wanted, and they made their own rhythm cooperate. They are not late to work. I sometimes don't even get up with them! They have alarm clocks. They shower. They manage just fine thank-you-very- much (I don't mean that snappy tone for you all - just my long ago naysayers!) Katie proved this to me when she went to stay with her grandma in Dallas so she could attend a month-long intensive drama program. She got herself up at 5 a.m., checked her email, fixed her breakfast, showered, dressed, and caught the city bus to go downtown. She was 15. She's nearly 19 now, and if she needs to be at work or go to an audition or take a class, she gets herself there on time. She is aware that she needs to go to bed earlier than usual, and just goes.


    Michael and Katie's first jobs were at Barnes and Noble. They had a lot of 7 a.m. shifts.  They were never late because they wanted to sleep in.  At 13, Alyssa started going to cheerleading competition on weekends. We frequently stayed in hotels and had to be at the competition by 7 a.m. That meant she usually needed to start getting ready around 5:45. She jumped right up and started getting ready. Now she's in school and has to be up by 7:30 every weekday.  She has no problem with it. Sure, she sleeps until noon on the weekends when she can, but she stays up late then too. And it's not because she had to practice to do this.

    So, that's my real life experience with kids and sleep schedules. No one needed to rehearse getting up early. They did/do it when they need to.

    Just an interesting little fact... at least to me.