God, can I have a do over?

I appreciate the fact that for some mistakes we can go back and correct them. For some mistakes we really shouldn’t although the possibility is there. For others, there is no going back.

I’ve been watching my daughter work on her xtra math homework.  It’s a program on a website that gives the kids math equations to answer. I’ve been noticing if she gets one wrong she’s closes down the session and starts again. My miss perfectionist was trying to get a perfect score.

Okay, so I understand the desire to get the right answer and not make mistakes. However, I did explain to her the purpose of the exercise is to see which ones she has problems with and work on learning them and the program will continue to test her on the ones that gave her problems so she will practice them and learn. She kind of frowned at this but understood and now works her way through even if she makes mistakes.  In the end she was really excited when she finally worked her way through and got them all right and could move on to the next lesson.

For school lunches I make my daughter hot meals.  She doesn’t like sandwiches, not even peanut butter and jelly even if they did allow peanut butter at school she wouldn’t eat them.  She did try cheese sandwiches and ham sandwiches but very quickly I saw them coming back only half eaten or barely touched.  So for my little girl, I fix her hot lunches in a thermos every morning.  This morning however, I was going in about five directions at once.  I set the water on to boil that would be used to pre-heat her thermos so her hot lunch would keep hot, then work was pulling me in another direction, trying to respond to a critical email, while trying to get her milk money together for the milk program at school and finding I had no change and had to write a check for $5.25.  Plus reminding my daughter that she had a project that needed to be started that would be due next week.  She hadn’t unpacked her lunch from the day before.  She knows this is her job, so I was also pushing her to get up and unpack it which she did and thank goodness she also packed it with her snacks and put it in her backpack.  I started getting her water bottle together while heating her lunch to put in the now pre-heating thermos.

Somewhere along the way something disconnected my brain from the tasks at hand.

8:10am came and we stepped out the door during which I asked her, ‘do you have everything? Do you have your planner? Do you have your lunch? Do you have your water bottle?’ To which all answers were “yes, and check”.  Check of course meaning, checking it off the list as being had.

I return home, immediately jump into work and I don’t surface again until the phone rings in the middle of discussions and work being done for setting up an urgent change.  I’m a computer programmer and also perform data storage management.  For the most part I work between the hours of 7am and 4pm weekdays, but on occasion end up working nights and weekends and I’m oncall 24×7, so it isn’t unusual for me to get called into a problem that takes my whole attention for several hours.  When the phone rang at 11:25am I looked at the number, didn’t recognize it and considered not answering the phone in order to keep my attention focused on the urgent change.  I’m glad I answered.  It was my daughter calling and asking, ‘Mom did you put my thermos in my backpack?’  My head quickly swiveled 180 degrees (yes I know that’s almost impossible to do when it is from looking straight ahead to looking behind you, but I know I did it) and saw the thermos sitting on the counter where I had finished pouring in the hot stew and closed the inside thermal seal lid and saw the small bowl that sits inside the outer lid both sitting on the counter beside the thermos.  I looked at the clock again and asked her, ‘if I bring it to you, will you be able to eat it?’  They only give the kids 15 minutes to eat their lunch.  About that time, I could hear over the phone the announcement over the intercom at school for the kids to get ready to go outside that the lunch period was ending.  She replied, ‘its okay Mom I can eat my snacks.’  I told her, ‘Oh darling, I am so sorry.’  In her sweet young voice she told me again, ‘Mom, its okay.’

Needless to say I felt like a horrible mother.

When I picked her up at the end of her school day at 2:15pm she was wonderful, and came home and ate the stew that was waiting for her in her thermos.  All I wanted to do was ask God, ‘Can I have a do over?’  But, of course, this isn’t something we can do over.  If we screw up with our kids even just once it is written down for all eternity in the nether regions of our children’s brains and in our brains too.  At least until we get so old the connection to some of our memories start to erode and we only hope it is the not so good memories that loose the connection than the most joyous ones.

So tonight I’m working, finishing up the urgent change, talking with a friend and co-worker, while my daughter does her evening ritual for getting ready for bed.  She calls to me to come give her a hug and a kiss, and I tell her I will be there shortly.  I finish with work, end the conversation with my co-worker and go to her room to give her a hug and kiss. I find her crying.  I sit down and ask her what is wrong, but she won’t talk to me, so I lay down with her and hold her.  I wait a bit and ask her again but she won’t talk and only tells me its nothing, nothing that I can fix.  I wait some more and because she continues to cry, I start again and ask her to please talk to me.  I tell her that mother’s like to fix things but even if we can’t we do like to listen, that sometimes talking can help.  It takes a while but she finally tells me, that it is about me, and I finally guess that it is about my age.  I am 51.  She is 8 and if I didn’t say it, she would remind me, she is 8 1/2 years old.  I became pregnant on my 42nd birthday and gave birth to her almost three months to the day before my 43rd birthday.  She started at a very young age, maybe around 4 years old, of being concerned about how old I am.  At that young age she understood that as I age the amount of time she would have with me in this life is dwindling or could suddenly end.  Every now and then, this strikes her hard, like tonight, just out of the blue.  Other times it hits her when she sees me having health issues.   I guess tonight it really wasn’t out of the blue because for the past couple months  I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain that has effected my desire to move around very much.  I asked her if it was the fact that I was having pain that had brought this to surface and she said yes.  I told her I know I’ve been moving around like a little old lady lately and she nodded her head.  I kind of smiled at that and I told her, ‘you know, even kids can move around like little old people, especially when they are not feeling well and are in pain,’ which reminded her of a few times when she was sick and all she wanted to do was lay around and play video games.  Then I told her the doctor is looking into trying to figure out what is causing my pain, once he knows then we will know what can be done about it.  This discussion ended with my telling her that she was right, I can’t do anything about my age, but what I can do is try to stay as healthy as I can so once we figure out what is causing the pain then maybe I can work on being more active by starting out walking, three or four times a week. And I hoped she would walk with me.  She agreed and now she lies in bed peacefully asleep and hopefully not so worried, at least for now, about my age.

I completely understand why this is so scary for her.  She only has me.  There is no one else here.  It scares me to even think something serious might happen that would leave her alone.  It tears my heart out just thinking about it.  I’m doing what I can to ensure someone she loves will take care of her if that event should ever happen.  We do have a wonderful friend who spoke up and made the offer.  My daughter loves her immensely so I know she would be well cared for.  But sometimes I just want to ask God, ‘can I have a do over?’ So that maybe he would bless me with her at a much younger age at a much healthier time in my life, but I know somethings just can’t be ‘do overs’ and for some unknown reason I was blessed with her in my later years instead of my much younger years.  I’m not sorry.  I love her beyond my life, but sometimes I wish….


Cunning Manipulations and Vocal Recognition

Have you ever listened to a sermon when you could not distinguish the words being spoken?

I work from home, which sometimes is a curse and sometimes a blessing. I also live in a basement suite of a residential home. The landlord and her husband are wonderful people and have been so helpful to us when we moved in. We moved across the continent renting the suite sight unseen and have not regretted our move or the location or the suite we have rented. I could not have asked for a better landlord and I’ve had several throughout my life. This story is not about them or about our living situation here. It isn’t even about religion so to speak.

In raising my daughter and in my life experience, I have learned that the tone of your voice has more bearing upon how others perceive you and perceive what you are saying. I have experimented with my own voice, especially with my daughter to see how different tonal qualities along with the expression on my face and body language will impact her in regards to learning, listening and adjusting her behaviour.

I have learned that a strong hard voice along with a stern facial expression is most effective in gaining her attention and getting my point across. However, as a child, I also learned that if this is accompanied by hateful statements all it does is generate harm and resistance to wanting to learn or change one’s behaviour.

On the other hand, if I want to teach my daughter about love, family and compassion, then I find having a soft voice with loving overtones is most effective.

When we lived on the East Coast I knew a family that on occasion you could hear the parents screaming at their children or even each other from two houses away. On occasion I would have their children in my home under my care while playing with my daughter. If something happened in which I needed to step in and talk to them about something they did that wasn’t appropriate, I found if I used the same technique I used with my daughter with the firm voice and stern face, the only response I received were blank faces and silent voices. They would stand perfectly still, look me in the eye, and all I saw was emptiness. No understanding. No thinking of any sort. Just blank. It was almost as if they thought if they stood perfectly still and said absolutely nothing that they could pretend I wasn’t there and that they had done nothing wrong. If after this I asked them a simple question in a soft voice they still would not move or speak. They would not budge until I walked away.

As an adult, the father of my daughter and I lived together for four years. Without any warning for reasons unbeknownst to me, he would suddenly enter into what I called his black moods. He would go silent, not speak a word and the look on his face was pure darkness. He would not look at me. He would not acknowledge me during these times. We went about our day(s) as if we were two people living in a different apartment all alone. These moods would sometimes last for three or more days and suddenly they would end and he would act as if all was perfect and nothing happened and not say a word about why. Then we would go for months without a dark mood appearing. Everything would be wonderful and then suddenly out of the blue ‘BAM’ it was back. My first response when this happened was to think it was something I had done that caused the change in him. By the end of the second year I had decided, unless he would tell me what it was, I would assume it had nothing to do with me. By the end of the third year I knew it had nothing to do with me. During the fourth year, well the relationship was over, our daughter was 2 1/2 years old and along with his moods, other aspects of his behaviour started to effect her, and I asked him to leave.

In all of my experiences, I have always been aware of voice, facial expressions and body language. I learned about them early in my childhood from my own father. Each experience building upon my knowledge. Unfortunately that knowledge remained cryptic until my later years.

I attended church regularly with my family. Over the years from the time I was born until my mid-twenties to early thirties, I attended several different Christian churches of differing denominations. For a long time I wondered why it was when I left a Sunday morning service I would feel emotionally let down, depressed, sometimes angry, sometimes bereft of everything I thought I believed in. I couldn’t come to terms with why this was especially since it was the same no matter which church I attended.

Today, my eyes were opened.

Have you ever heard a sermon without being able to distinguish the words being spoken?

I did today, but at first I did not realize it was a sermon. As I mentioned, I live in a suite of a private home of a wonderful family who have been most generous to us. Due to the house not really being built to house a separate residence within its walls some sounds travel from the upstairs to the downstairs very easily. Today, I heard what sounded like a man talking. No let me correct that, not talking but lecturing. The tone of the voice was quite firm, sometimes quite harsh and the cadence was one of no letting up and not giving anyone time to say anything. I know my landlord’s husband’s voice and I knew this voice was not his. I had never heard this voice from our upstairs, especially not in the tone and cadence being delivered.

I am always aware of activities around me. For instance, it is rare for someone to be able to sneak up behind me. It is also rare for me not to be aware of all the different vibrations of people around me where ever I am, whether it is at a party or in a shopping mall or in a small convenience store or just my daughter and me at home. I am aware of the emotions around me. Not just by their voices but by their stance, their walk, the vibrations their bodies give off. In fact, there have been times I’ve had to leave places because of the negative vibrations I feel.

When I heard the voice upstairs today, my first concern was whether my landlord was home alone and had opened the door to someone and could be in danger. The tone of voice did not change and went on with very little to no intermission. The tone of voice left me with a feeling of anger invoking fear. The cadence was such that it sounded filled with hate and anger. I could not hear the words. When this did not stop after several minutes, I started becoming concerned for my landlord. I stepped to an area of the lower suite that contained the least interference for sound to travel down from the upper level. That was when I finally heard the words being spoken. It only took a sentence or two for me to realize she or they were listening to a sermon either a recording or someone in their home. I walked away with sudden enlightenment as to why in all my years of attending church I felt as I did when I went home.

I have no doubt that I am empathic and very sensitive to the vibrations around me. Sometimes I do not pick up on exactly what it is I’m feeling or why. I was even more so when I was pregnant with my daughter. I’ve been to concerts and in blockbuster or other places where I have almost passed out for what appeared to be no reason and as soon as I removed myself from the location the pressure was relieved and I felt fine.

Have you ever listened to a sermon without being able to distinguish the words being spoken?

Listen to the cadence.

Listen to the tone of the voice.

If you can see, watch the speaker’s facial expressions and body language.

Do you or can you distinguish any difference between the cadence, tone of voice and facial expressions of a sermon and a hate speech?

Even some politicians seem to have crossed over to this type of speaking mechanism to try and win votes. Hmmm… maybe that is why I rarely found anyone I wanted to vote for.

Tell me how can you perceive a message of love, if the voice is hard or harsh? How can you perceive a message of love if the face is stern and unforgiving? How can you perceive a message of love if the body language is on the verge of violence? How can you perceive a message of love when the cadence is marching forward like an army to war?

Or maybe somewhere along the line I’ve been misinformed about what God’s message really is.

I don’t mean to make this about religion. This is really about using your voice, your facial expressions and your body language to match the words and intent behind what is being spoken.

If I want to convey how angry I am, whether it is for something my daughter did that was inappropriate or someone treated me with no respect or I need to defend myself against another person’s attack upon me, then yes I can see using a harsh voice, stern facial expression and tense body language.

But what if I want to show my daughter I love her, or if I want to meet a new neighbor, or new people at a friends party, or want to convince people I could help our school or our city and wanted them to vote for me, or I wanted someone to give money to a charity I was working for? Would talking to them with a hard voice, a stern face and strong body language encourage them or discourage them? Isn’t this just a way of controlling by fear even when our words are all about love, compassion and wanting to help?

I’m just glad I don’t use those same methods when teaching my daughter about love, family and compassion. And really, my method of working with her when she behaves inappropriately doesn’t carry conflicting messages. If I’m angry, she knows it, not just from my voice, my facial expressions and my body language but by the words I speak. If her behaviour is above board and appropriate for the occasion or she does something so amazing, she knows that too, by my voice, my face, my body and the words I use.

If conflicting messages don’t work for our children and believe me they don’t no matter how much others may think they do. How is it that churches, politicians and so many other movements, speakers, CEOs, corporate executives, etc, think conflicting messages empower the people and convince them to follow, or join or that their way is the end all and be all of life as we know it? And why does it work on so many people?

Maybe we should stop listening to the words being spoken and only listen to the tones, and cadence, and observe expressions and body language. After we have absorbed our impressions then and only then go back and listen to the words. See how closely the words match our impressions from the tones, cadence, facial expressions and body language.

And oh yes, this was very helpful with the situation with my daughter’s father. It brought true enlightenment to me of just what his true character is and has protected me ever since against further manipulation. He has a very charismatic personality and can make you believe that poison is wine. I’m not the only one who has been manipulated by him, so beware and take heed. I now employ this skill in as many areas as I can throughout my life. It is amazing what insights make themselves known once it is employed.

Soul Child

It was he,
my first sight of him
my first thought
‘what have I done?’

the door opened
a thrashing of the soul began
beneath it all
a child remained.

Tears welled,
never died,
layers of pain,
scraped raw.

Beneath it all
a child grew
learned to laugh
learned to love.

Dark and brooding,
never a smile
No emotion
intelligence without relevance.

I’ll never dance through the memories
only walk with shadows
forever teaching me
forever raising me beyond the child.

Bravery, Choices and Evolution

I’ve heard some people say I’m brave. Brave to have taken the steps I have throughout my life that has taken me to where I am today. I have a friend that has been told the same by friends and acquaintances. We have talked about the thought of being categorized as brave, reviewing what we have done and why we have done the things we have that others classify as brave. We both look at it, not as brave but as what we had to do. I’ve often looked at my life and thought I’ve just gone with the flow, whatever came my way I just jumped on and rode until another train came and took me another direction. I still feel that way sometimes although I do know I had to choose to take that train or to not take it. The core of all my decisions has always been to try and improve my life.

I’m sure everyone seeks to improve their lives in the decisions they make. I’ve often wondered what makes two people choose two completely different choices when faced with the same circumstances. I know past experience weighs in a lot on decision making and I wonder how much others try to look forward to imagine what each option might develop into. I know I have done both in most if not all of my decisions and I have to say, not a single one has developed into what my mind envisioned. With that in mind I wonder why I still try to envision the end result and I can only come up with one answer: to ensure I don’t take a path that I can only visualize as destructive.

So, if I do this, does everyone else? If each of these situations had almost identical backgrounds: What makes one person choose taking a minimum wage job while another person chooses to steal in order to make a few bucks to live off of? What make one person choose college and another person to choose entering the job market and work their way towards a better career? What makes another person choose to prey on people and live off them conning them into believing they care and love you in order to put a roof over their head and clothes on their back using their verbal viscosity to blind a person into accepting this situation and another person to choose to use their cunning and verbal viscosity to work and be self sufficient? And what makes a person choose a relationship that is abusive and destructive, and another person choose a loving and supportive relationship?

Where was I going with this? Oh yes, back to bravery, our choices and our actions. Bravery to me is seeing the choices before you and instead of taking the easiest choice, you make a choice that involves risk and challenge while your visual acumen allows you to see beyond the immediate hardship and work it will take to get to your target while knowing the resultant target may not end up being exactly what you envisioned it to be and still be willing to give it a try. Firemen do this all the time. They are called to a fire not knowing for certain the exact nature of the fire, or how consuming it is or if people are in danger but they visualize the outcome of saving everyone in danger and hopefully saving as much as possible the structure or object on fire. They know in the end what they visualize will not be exactly the result but they dive in anyway and do what they must do.

Sometimes we loose sight of what bravery really is. There is no doubt that a fireman, or policeman face bravery every time they do their jobs. What I forget and sometimes what I and others don’t realize is that every single person is brave almost every day of their lives. A child is brave sometimes just going to school or raising their hand in class to answer a question or ask a question. A teenager is brave when they face peer pressure and choose to go their own path. An adult is brave sometimes just getting behind the wheel of the car to drive or stepping out of their house to go to work. A parent is brave just being able to let a child make a mistake. Bravery is about facing down our fears and not letting those fears keep us from making the right choices.

Is bravery a choice? I think it is, and I think it is a choice people make every single day.

I read an article today which to my surprise prompted the above thought patterns. What was written so mirrored my own thoughts, that I wanted to share it here and write something about how it reflected my own feelings and desires for the future but instead it took my mind into another thought pattern altogether but in so doing I understand why. What the author of the article challenges us to do is nothing short of bravery. It is easier to walk the path of conformity. To not challenge authority. And to just ride the current where it takes us without thinking about changing trains or boats and jumping off into another current.

I’d like to say I’ll be one of those people who works towards evolution, and I believe I am in certain aspects of my life. I might not think about it every day but I do know every day when I’m with my daughter and training her to live in this world, my only thought is to improve upon her situation from what I grew upon. To teach her to know herself and be compassionate, and yet be tough enough to live through the hard knocks of life. She sees me struggle with my job in the corporate world and she knows already she doesn’t want to be caught up in that struggle. Where that will take her I don’t know but I see her daily bravery and her inquisitive nature and did I mention her amazing intelligence and imagination? She can’t loose with all that behind her. Evolution can’t come soon enough for me but I also understand evolution is a continually ongoing process.

Here’s to bravery, choices and evolution!

Copy and Paste if you feel the same

I really do despise those “I’ll be watching to see who reposts…” or “copy and paste this if..” posts on Facebook. I know, it’s easy to just take the mouse swipe it across a group of words, hit the ctl-c or right-click and select copy and then paste it into your “What’s on your mind?” entry field. We all have done it and we all have felt better or clever for taking the simple action to show our friends or family ‘see we really do care’ or ‘see we really are reading your posts’ or “hey, yes, I agree”. It really wasn’t that hard. And oh gee, I feel so good having taken a second or two to repost. While in the back of our minds we are thinking, ‘jeesh I really should have said something like that but with my own personal thoughts and feelings”, followed by “but I’m not going to think about that right now, I’ve got so many other things to do or think about.  I’ll do it later.”

Yeah, I’m as guilty as the next person but maybe even more so because I now look at those posts and think, “why can’t they write something for themselves and express their own feelings?” and yet I haven’t done that either. So now I’m setting my own challenge to myself to write something, in my own words to express my feelings about those in my life both near and far. Thanksgiving is approaching for those in the United States and those of us who are U.S. citizens living in other countries but still celebrate it or at least hold it’s significance in our hearts. I was born and raised and lived in the U.S. up until a few years ago when I moved to Canada. I celebrate both U.S. and Canadian holidays (but only get one set off, oh well, can’t have the cake and eat it too 🙂  ) and I still feel very much a part of the U.S. and I am slowly feeling very much a Canadian although I have not yet become a Canadian citizen (maybe soon). With all of my biological family living in the U.S. except for my daughter who lives with me here, I feel very separated and sometimes adrift from them. Our family dynamics including my uncles and aunts and grandparents and cousins, brothers, mothers and fathers has always been one that contained very little communication and rarely from the heart. The word love was rarely spoken and physical affection, hugs, kisses, gentle supportive touches were very infrequent. When I cried at my father’s funeral my brothers had difficulty completely embracing me or comforting me. A hand grasping an arm, an arm around the shoulder but not a fully embracing, bodily consuming, wrap your arms completely around me, hold me together embrace.   It never happened. And, no words.  Words of comfort were just silent looks of pain and anguish. I must admit we all walked around in a daze. We were in shock and lost. I don’t hold any of this against them. I don’t hold it against my parents. I don’t hold it against my grandparents. We all act according to what we have learned. I love my brothers. At one point in my life, they were my world. They were my sole support in a family that was broken and lost. In a way we are still lost, kind of like the Wizard of Oz. I kind of feel like Dorothy trying to follow the path to get back home with my brothers the scarecrow, tin man, and lion (and please don’t ask me which is which, because any one of us could play any of the parts and still be true to who we are). But for me home isn’t a physical place, it is a spiritual place. A place where I feel I belong and am surrounded by those who love me and support me in the manner in which I need to be supported and for which I can do the same in return. I believe my brothers have found the same with their wives and the family structure they have built around them. I am still working on the spiritual place for me and my daughter.  In all honesty I think it is constantly evolving.

So here I am, trying to explain a bit of my life to complete strangers and friends who may read this so they will understand what I am trying to impart.

To my brothers, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, my parents, my grandparents, my friends, to all of these people some who are with us and some who have moved on to their next stage of existence, I want to say, thank you. Thank you from the bottom, middle and top of my heart for being there, for choosing to step back at times when you knew the words you wanted to say wouldn’t be accepted, for loving me even when you couldn’t say the words, for raising me the best way you knew how and for holding me even if it only was in your heart and not with your arms. I love you all and I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t choose another brother. I wouldn’t choose another parent. I wouldn’t choose another friend. I wouldn’t choose another family. I wouldn’t choose another life. At times it has been hard. At times it has been difficult. At times I’ve felt lost. At times I’ve felt alone. At times I have felt complete and utter joy and happiness. And during all of these times, I have always known your love was there and it helped sustain me.  Thank you from the bottom, top and middle of my heart.

I have a daughter and it is my hope and desire that I can teach her to be far better than me in expressing herself both physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It isn’t an easy thing to expose our tender hearts and lay it out there waiting for others to choose to accept it or reject it and then to see if they will cherish it or toss it back without concern or trample it as once they might have been trampled. Even in families I’ve seen this dynamic, and it saddens my heart to see it, over and over again, including my own.  Take a moment and let others know how you feel, whether it is through words, through a hug, a smile or a song.  It isn’t the worst of times, it isn’t the best of times, but it is the time to stop letting fear keep us from expressing to those we love just how much they mean to us.

school of hard knocks

I am an observer who at times has a hard time of just observing and not getting involved.  Halloween night was one of those times.  My daughter and I went trick-0r-treating with friends and their kids and their friends and kids.  Needless to say there was quite a group.  Over the months it has been quite obvious that our friends had difficulty with at least one of their kids and Halloween night was no exception to this observation.  It also became clear on Halloween night that the ones in control were not the parents.  The parent’s Bob and Alice have three boys.  Jack the oldest was off with the older kids which were not part of our group.  This was the first time the older kids were not part of our group which will explain some of the comments later.  The other two Joe, age 7, Brandon age 6, and my daughter Lilly age 8.  Their friends kids were much younger except for Trent being around age 6.  Trent, Joe, Brandon and Lilly were sort of a pack on their own with Joe spearheading the group.  It all started immediately, it wasn’t a gradual thing.  Joe was darting from house to house whether any lights were on or not.  Lilly kind of held back, she is not one for going to houses she doesn’t know and doesn’t like scary things so she pretty much was the tail end of the small group.  Brandon and Trent were in the middle, if they saw Joe tearing off down the street to another house they weren’t far behind.  The parents Bob and Alice were constantly calling Joe back, telling him to stay with the group.  We weren’t but a few houses into the night when I heard Bob tell Alice he thought with the older kids gone this would not happen this year.  He must have said this three or four different times throughout the evening.  Several times Bob was yelling for Joe to get back with the group or wait for the group, many times Joe just ignoring this and continuing on his way until his father would give an ear piercing whistle which would make him stop and either wait or come back.  One of the other parents even blocked the sidewalk, telling Joe if he goes past him, he will loose all his candy.  Joe ignored this even after being warned a couple more times as he tried to push past, but he continued and finally pushed past so Bob gave Joe’s candy to the other parent.  Joe got mad and yelled to the parent to give his candy back, when Bob told his son, no he had been told if he went past he would loose his candy, Joe turned on him took his hat and hit Bob with it.  Bob then got mad and told his son that is no way to talk to adults.  I turned from this thinking ‘that is no way to talk to anyone’ and when I turned back a minute or so later, Joe had his candy and he was off again doing the same thing he had been doing all along, running ahead, not listening and going to houses with no lights on. Bob made a comment which sticks with me to this day, that Joe is the difficult one, his is the school of hard knocks.  This continued all night.  There was one time Bob told Joe to hold his hand and Joe got upset and wouldn’t do it, Bob told him if he didn’t he would be going back home, but that only lasted a few seconds and Joe was off again.  By the end of the evening there were a couple times they couldn’t see Joe and wondered where he was and one time Alice said ‘well if he looses us it is his own fault’.  It wasn’t long afterwards that Alice and Bob couldn’t find Brandon and Trent.  Bob and one of the other parents went back the route we had walked, while I went forward to the house because we were only about ten houses away from home.  They had shot home claiming to the parent left at the house that they had told us they were going home.  If they had said anything they didn’t make sure we heard them.

My observations of the evening has given me much food for thought.  I am a firm believer in taking a firm stance with children, the earlier done the better.  There isn’t much mention about my daughter in the above because though she would run ahead a bit she was never more than just the next house and always in the open where I could see her.  Part of this is because she doesn’t like to be far from me but also because I told her to stay with the group.  A few times I heard her yell at Joe to get back with the group or wait for the group, however, I told her to be still and let their parents handle their kids.  This is the hard part of staying quiet.  Have you ever observed people and wanted to say something because it is all so clear to you as a casual observer that their actions or their technique is not helping the situation and you want to offer advice but you know if you do their response will be one of anger and not being willing to listen?  I don’t think if I said anything that there would be anger but I know without a doubt they would not listen.  They have been going to parenting classes for high risk children and that is what they will follow.  I have no training other than my own experience so I am not an expert and they will always follow the advice of an expert.  I’ve had other encounters in the past with them to know this is how it is and it is difficult to watch because the older the child gets the harder it is to get a firm hand and keep it.  I’m close enough that I see and hear things almost daily and it saddens me.  A soft voice doesn’t tell the child the seriousness of the problem.  A gentle approach doesn’t inflict the mechanisms to want a child to change.  And most of all if discipline is not consistent and strong of purpose the catalyst isn’t there.  In order to instill the need in a child to change a behaviour you must have a catalyst that is stronger than the desire that instills that behaviour.  You must provide something that makes that child want to behave differently.  A soft voice isn’t going to do that, a soft voice doesn’t tell that child just how disappointed you are in their behaviour and a soft voice doesn’t tell a child just how seriously scared you are for them.

I have a brother who is a police officer.  I went on patrol with him one time and saw how he presented himself to people when he stopped them and sometimes gave them a ticket.  I asked him about it one time and he told me they are trained to present themselves in a stern and tough personna.  In most cases this attitude will instill enough fear and concern in the individual stopped so that in the future they will try to not do what they had done that caused them to be stopped.  We must be police officers in regards to our children’s behaviour, if we are not then our children will not be engendered to change those behavours that are not acceptable.  I use the same tone of voice with other children as I do with my daughter when they are under my care.  I was asked by Alice to talk to her before speaking to Joe or any of her children because they get so upset when I do speak to them.  She wasn’t sure if it was what I said or how I said it or the tone of my voice but her concern was that Joe would cry and say how much he hates me.  I told her fine I would talk to her first.  I knew instinctively after what she had told me that she would not want to hear my philosophy on parenting.  I have heard her when she talks to her children when discipline should normally be called upon.  She always uses a soft voice.  A voice that is sing-song in sound.  A pleasant voice.  If I were unable to hear the words spoken and only heard the sound there would be no indication what so ever between her voice when gently sending a child off to sleep or lecturing a child when they endangered another child or themselves.  It became obvious to me that she fears hurting a child emotionally in the form of correcting them and disciplining them.  I’m not encouraging nor do I condone hurting a child physically or being mentally abusive to a child, however we learn from mistakes or our actions when they cause us emotional pain and this engenders us to grow and change.  This is the same thing that needs to occur in children in order to have them grow and change for the better if their negative actions and habits are corrected appropriately.  I have tried using the technique that Alice uses with her children but gave it up quickly when I saw it had no benefit in teaching my child the need to change.  After two years I have seen no change in her methods and no hope for Joe.

Back to Halloween night… I do understand not wanting to ruin a child’s fun or anyone in the group’s fun on Halloween night or any other special event.  If my child had acted as Joe had on Halloween night, I would have first warned her if she didn’t stop and stay with the group that we would then go home.  The warning would be given twice each time with a stronger voice and intent, on the third occurance I would have stopped and taken her directly home no matter how much she complained or protested or said she would behave.  With both Alice and Bob being the parents of Joe and Brandon, one of them could have done this very thing with Joe and not ruined Brandon’s night which in my opinion would have started the trend for next year or subsequent events when he doesn’t behave.  It would not have taken long for Joe to learn and correct his behaviour.  To see Joe not disciiplined for his behaviour of not staying with the group and Brandon and Trent not disciplined for running home without the group, I see all too clearly what the future will look like for Joe and Brandon.

Not Just Another Day

I know I’ve had other days where it seems like time just doesn’t move at its normal pace but usually it isn’t the full day but only a small portion of it.  Yesterday was one of those days, from start to finish.  Every time I looked at the clock, my mental thought was ‘what the f#$k?, I know more time has passed than that.’  I started my day by getting a shower, which included washing my hair, getting dressed, drying my hair, ensuring my daughter was getting ready for school, packing her backpack and dressed appropriately for the weather while checking the weather, the traffic cams and responding to a work email regarding replacing my business cell phone, all within 1 hour and I was not rushing or frantic or anything.  It all felt like a normal pace as if I had all the time in the world.  I dropped my daughter off at school and was on the highway by 8:30am heading for my chiropractor that on a Saturday drive takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to.  Today I arrived in exactly 1 hour and no I wasn’t speeding or taking short cuts, I took the same route and it was a mid-week when people are on the road trying to get to work.  I walked into the chiropractor’s office and was immediately taken in to see him and was out and on the road to visit my favorite bookstore which took me even further away from home arriving about 10:05am at the store.  The time dilation was wonderful in the bookstore, I browsed probably 20 magazines, choosing 5, found all but one of the books I wanted to buy, checked their computer to see if another store nearby had the book (no luck) and browsed through the crochet and knitting section cautious of watching the time since I needed to be home by 2:00pm to pick up my daughter from school at 2:15pm.  I left the store at 11:50, stopped and got hot chocolate and a banana loaf and arrived home at 1:00pm after stopping at the post office to mail a letter and the post office had a line of 3 people ahead of me and oh yeah I browsed their magazine section too before leaving!  I kid you not, I’ve done this same trip on a Saturday with less traffic and I never get home before 3pm.  Yes I left at 8:30am on a Tuesday morning whereas on Saturday’s I leave at 9:30am but still I gained an hour somewhere and it wasn’t by changing the time on the clock.  For me yesterday, time just moved much slower while I moved at my normal daily pace, and this continued for the rest of day, the wait from 1:00pm to 2:00pm felt like 1.5 hours, and taking my daughter to her martial arts classes (2 in a row), I probably read two times more during the 2 hours her classes took while I waited and watched.  Home and dinner and the rest of the night all followed with the same feeling as I read catching up on email, and Facebook, reading a new blog about a fellow knitter and a story he wrote then started researching the possibility of creating my own blog.  When I looked at the clock sure it was time for bed it was only 10:30pm and not the 11:30pm I thought it would be, which actually was a good thing because I needed that extra time to put out the trash I forgot about and then find what I only just discovered was my missing iPhone finally finding it in my car after calling it several times.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, as much as my mind had its little shocks throughout the day each time I looked at the clock, it isn’t the fact that I get so much more done or can do it without feeling stressed or pressed for time.  The enjoyment I feel is over the experience of seeing the time dilation and knowing, really knowing I was in the midst of it.  You can’t prove it to other people.  You can tell them as I am trying to express it here and giving them what little proof you have of how long it takes to drive here or there but no matter how much you try to prove it to them, you can always tell they don’t believe you or they try to convince you that you were either driving at a different speed or something else explains how it all happened.  No one wants to believe in the unexplainable or what appears to be outside of what we consider to be the normal laws of nature.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you express a thought to someone about wanting or needing something and then suddenly that thought or need or want comes to fruition?  Well that happened to me yesterday too.  I wrote to a friend of mine the day before yesterday expressing my need to find a way of influencing change.  I wasn’t sure how I would do such a thing and told her I expected it to be on my mind for most of my drive to and from the chiropractor and in fact it was.  Last night when I was catching up on Facebook on past posts that I hadn’t gotten to read all day, I came across a post from Lion Brand about a struggling entrepreneur for which was included his blog.  Interested in hearing his story, I went to his blog and read and read and read and read some more, responded to one of his posts and wondering how he was able to maintain a blog when it was obvious he had little to no money to spare, so I researched the source of his blog and discovered wordpress.com.  I’m pretty sure I had heard of them before but at that time I wasn’t considering what I was needing to satisfy a frustration I was feeling.  So now because of what appear to be so many unrelated items of the past couple of days, I now find myself with my own blog and being able to write my own thoughts for anyone to read and comment upon with the possibility of inspiration for everyone, including me.

I am hoping I can keep this upbeat and positive which will be a challenge as I sometimes feel myself being way too negative.  🙂

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