Last night I watched the most heart wrenching compilation of videos from 9/11. They were first hand accounts put together from real people watching as the crisis unfolded. I sat at the table and had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't just a scary movie. It's still hard to believe that it all actually happened!
This morning I said to my co-worker, Don, that even though it was horrific to watch, I'm glad that I did. I told him that it's something that I never want to forget. A moment later he asked me a great question: What is it that you don't want to forget about 9/11? Hmmm.... Great question, Don!! I thought for a moment and replied: It's a time when we all came together as people of one race ~ the human race. On that tragic day we saw what was truly important: LOVE (for one another), LIFE (that we all deserve to live), CARING (for our neighbors), PROTECTING (those who need our help), SUPPORTING (those who could not take another step)!
I believe that day, as so many went through the hell that will always be known as 9/11, we got to see a glimpse (right here on Earth) of what Heaven might look like ~ as the world cried with us and we all came pulled together as members of the same family!
May we all remember how tragedy brought out the best in so many of us.... Now we all just need to live our best selves everyday!
I would venture to say that when we allow our children the opportunity to struggle, and perhaps even fail, we also give them that chance to succeed by using their problem solving skills. They build up their coping skills and have an early ownership of the feeling of success (and failure).
I strongly believe that the coping skills our children learn at a young age (when the stakes are low) will help them overcome bigger problems when they are older (when the stakes are high).
I believe that we need to teach our children that it's OK to fail. We then need to teach them how to overcome that failure... and finally we teach them how to move on and past it. When we do this, we are teaching them the process of relying on themselves as opposed to outside forces (like drugs and alcohol) when they are older.
It's OK to love them through the hard times, especially when they are young, but try to step back when it's safe to let them figure things out for themselves. If this is done properly when they are young (and the stakes are low) then the benefit of learned coping skills will be worth it.
Take comfort in knowing that the depth of your worth will be seen in the absence of your presence! Keep in mind that nothing solid and lasting is built on the sands of shortsightedness, pride, and the absence of knowledge. Clouded vision can actually be more dangerous than no vision. One should always be prepared to understand that castles made of sand, run by distant Kings and Queens, often crumble. Build your life on solid ground and trust that you are valuable!
So, you’re probably wondering about the title The 10am Mommy Margarita Club. Your thoughts probably stray in a couple different directions… if you are a mom you are probably thinking that I must be joking (of course, maybe not). If you are not a mom, then you are probably thinking that I must be a horrible person. Both points of view have some truth to them, but I am neither joking nor am I a horrible person. I am just a mom who has tried her hardest to do her best… and to her surprise, unlike before she became a mom, her best isn’t usually even close to being good enough.
First of all, I will say that I’ve never actually had a margarita at 10am! At 10 am I was dropping my child off at Preschool. As for the margarita part of the title… well, we all know that in order to make a good margarita you need tequila, triple sec, lime, ice, a shaker and salt… seriously, who has time to put together that many ingredients!! Just getting the ice out of the freezer takes too much time all on its own! It’s much too complicated. So, you may ask if there is any truth to the title at all… the answer would be YES! There was a day every once in a while when I’d have a glass of wine at 11am (don’t judge me…. Karma is an excellent teacher 😊)… but the 11am Mommy Wine Club just didn’t have the same ring.
It was at Preschool drop-off that the idea of a 10am Mommy Margarita Club began. That’s when I finally, after years of being home with my children, was able to meet other moms who felt as stressed and ineffective as I did. That’s where the fictitious Mommy Margarita Club began! I will share some thoughts on parenthood and how I see the world differently since having kids.
What Size Puzzle is Your Child?
So, I was having a conversation with a friend about how we saw parenthood before we had our kids. It's completely different than we thought, to say the very least! What I've decided is that kids are like puzzles! They have varying degrees of difficulty. Some kids are those cute puzzles with about 15-20 large pieces. They are extremely easy to solve and there is no frustration involved. Then there are those kids that are like puzzles that have 250 medium size pieces and the picture has lots of contrast so it's easy to put the pieces together. It might take some time, but the level of frustration is still on the lower end of the spectrum.
When we move up to the 1000 piece puzzles type of kid, things start getting interesting. The challenge begins! It may take some time to find a matching piece. These puzzles are not easy, but with patience they are doable.
Of course, then there are those kids whose difficulty level is close to a 5000 piece puzzle... and maybe it's not only 5000 pieces, but this entire puzzle might be all ONE COLOR!!! You know the ones... super small pieces with no way to easily figure them out with a frustration level that is sky high... almost impossible to figure out (some might say). These puzzles are only for the most tenacious of us!
So, if you find that your kid is a 5000 piece puzzle sometimes (or all the time) be kind to yourself! With a puzzle as complicated as this type can be, you have to know that there are small victories in finding even one piece that matches with another. It may not look like much in the big 'puzzle' picture... but every piece counts! Every piece is one step closer to putting it all together so it's complete!
Make sure that when you are judging your parenting skills, and perhaps comparing yourself to other moms or dads (you know you do!), take a peek at the puzzle on which you are working so you can give yourself the credit you deserve based on the degree of difficulty. You may very well be a Puzzle Master!
One piece at a time,
This was originally published on 9/10/15... I am sharing it again, in honor of those who died in the attacks on Sept. 11th, 2001! It is also to honor those men and women who had a choice to flee the horrific events or stay to help save anyone that they could! Many selflessly died trying to save total strangers! Why does it take disaster to bring people together??
Sorry, this is a long one, but once I started, I couldn't stop!
I was watching a video on 9/11 and thinking to myself that it's like a horrific scene from an action movie... what else could it be... for something this unthinkable could NEVER happen in real life! Suddenly a thought occurs to me:
On Sept. 11, 2001, we came together as one nation under God! As people either scrambled away from the tragedy to safety or into the nightmare that is now Ground Zero to put their lives... at risk for a fellow human being... nothing mattered, NOTHING, but surviving and reaching our loved ones.
There were no perceived differences that separated us! Nobody stopped to ask you who you were before they helped you... they just helped. It didn't matter what car you drove, what job you had, the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, who your parents were or if you were a Democrat or Republican. We were all just people... we were all Americans! We were one!
Our tears were the same, we all bled the same color, our broken hearts continued to beat despite the pain... and in exactly the same way! We instinctively knew that we had to work together to survive... and we did! As a matter of fact, much of the world... THE WORLD, banded together to reach out to the United States!
People... what are we doing now? Are lives in 2015 less valuable than in 2001? If not, then why are we are killing each other? Honor those who died on 9/11 by valuing your life and the lives of your fellow humans! We are One People, we need to act like it!
So, in the Child Studies class that I teach at Post University, we are discussing DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practices) and NAEYC in ECE. So, naturally, this week's Discussion Board brought us to the topic of Inclusion. I always like to bring into my classroom as much anecdotal information as I can. So I shared with them about a young boy who changed me for the better.
The young boy was placed in my 2nd Grade Classroom for socialization purposes. This young boy had Autism and went to another school that was better equipped to give him the specialized instruction that was needed. However, as we all know, the socialization piece of school can be as important as the instruction piece. So, twice a week he joined us in Room 24. He was an amazing young man and I felt honored that his care was entrusted to my students and me!
Sadly, it is oftentimes human nature to distance ourselves from someone who is greatly different than us. My students were now challenged to expand their breadth of understanding and compassion for a boy who at first seemed very different from them. However, instead of our 2nd graders looking at our new classmate, Drew, with uncertainty and discomfort, he became our friend. It gave us all a connection with someone who had greater challenges than we did. His inclusion into our classroom benefited us and much as it benefited him. By the time a month had passed, we could actually point out more similarities than differences between each of us. He was taken under our wing not for what he had, but for who he was ~ a smart, brave and friendly young man!
I believe that it is easy to dislike or fear that which we do not understand! On the flip side, it is also very hard to fear or dislike that which we do understand. Familiarity can breed compassion and empathy. He quickly became 'one of us' and we all looked out for him... not just me! It was heart-warming; I was so proud of my students!
It was obvious that Drew felt he was a part of our classroom as well. I was especially proud of him, though. He was a warrior! It was he that took on the bigger challenge, well out of his normal routine and comfort zone. So, his was the biggest accomplishment.
Labels are over-generalizations that inaccurately confine and define a person ! So, we were careful not to label Drew. We saw him not as 'the autistic boy', but as the 'boy who had autism'. Some might think that we are just dealing with a case of semantics, but it couldn't be farther from the truth! Little changes can make the biggest differences. I will repeat this: We never said that he was autistic... because that would have been inaccurate. We said that he had autism.
If you think about it, we are often careless in our descriptions and labels. One little word can make a huge difference in the how we view someone. We say that someone is autistic, is mentally challenged or is physically challenged. However, in reality, these children 'have' autism, 'have' mental challenges and 'have' physical challenges. The difference in this wording is that it shows that heir challenge does not define them. It would be like the difference between stating that 'he is cancer' or 'he has cancer'.
Just because someone has a challenge, doesn't mean they should be defined by that challenge. We have the choice to choose that which defines us! We all wear many hats. We are artists, athletes, interpersonal wizards, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, students, etc, etc, etc! We all also have many weights holding us back from finding our greatness ~ time, talent, resources, abilities, problems, lack of self esteem, etc, etc, etc. However, I say we focus on the many hats that we wear and not the weights that hold us back.
Time for you to share:
There are many simple changes that allow us to create significant differences in how we define ourselves (and others) so we can excel in our complicated world.
What simple change have you made that has had a positive impact on either your life or the lives of those you love?
Thanks for reading!!!
So, you’re probably wondering about the title The 10 am Mommy Margarita Club. Your thoughts probably stray in a couple different directions… if you are a mom you are probably thinking that I must be joking (of course, maybe not). If you are not a mom, then you are probably thinking that I must be a horrible person. Both points of view have some truth to them, but I am neither joking nor am I a horrible person. I am just a mom who has tried her hardest to do her best… and to her surprise, unlike before she became a mom, her best isn’t usually even close to being good enough.
If you can relate, then feel free to join us...
So, I was having a conversation with a friend about how we saw parenthood before we had our kids. It's completely different than we thought, to say the very least! What I've decided is that kids are like puzzles! They have varying degrees of difficulty. Some kids are those cute puzzles with about 15-20 large pieces. They are extremely easy to solve and there is no frustration involved. Then there are those puzzles that have 250 medium size pieces and the picture has lots of contrast so it's easy to put the pieces together. It might take some time, but the level of frustration is still on the lower end of the spectrum. When we move up to the 1000 piece puzzles, things start getting interesting. These puzzles are not easy, but with patience they are doable. Of course, then there are those kids whose difficulty level is up close to a 5000 piece puzzle... not only is it 5000 pieces, but the entire puzzle is all ONE COLOR!!! You know the ones... super small pieces with no way to easily figure them out with a frustration level that is sky high! So, be kind to yourself! Make sure that when you are judging your parenting skills, and perhaps comparing yourself to other moms or dads, take a peak so you know what type of puzzle with which you are working so you can give yourself the credit you deserve based on the level of difficulty.
The Pursuit of Intentional Happiness!
Some days we have to create our own happiness! Well, most days... OK... every day we have to create our own happiness. However, some days we just have to set out to make it happen against our current mood... Here's to the pursuit of Intentional Happiness!!
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.