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Can they survive?

English: Juliette Gordon Low Category:Girl Sco...

English: Juliette Gordon Low Category:Girl Scouts of the USA images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Was just thinking about all the skills kids today do not have. I am approaching 50 so I do not see myself as old, yet. My childhood was very different from those growing up in 2012. I spent most of my time outside. Art and music filled the rainy day space when I wasn’t outside. I can build a fire, plant a garden, and navigate without the use of an ap on my phone to tell me how. I can recognize various plants and trees so I possibility could survive off the land thanks to many years in Girl Scouts. My merit badges were not technology based or business related but more life skills and special interests via the arts.

The group of kids I think will survive might surprise you. As a former special education teacher, I taught skills the regular education kids needed but never got, life skills. My students who were considered mentally challenged could cook, wash, dry and mend clothes. They could do comparison shopping. They knew how to navigate around town as well as tell you where local emergency management places were and who to ask for if there was a need. I doubt half of the regular education students in high school could do these things. My students who could write knew how to generate a letter and address one. I cannot even begin to list all the kids I have had to help because they have never written a letter until after they graduated from high school. My students were taught manners and USED THEM!!! They also knew that when it rained you wore a raincoat and carried an umbrella. Cold weather, you would never find a single one of my students without a jacket or showing “skin” because they knew being warm was important. I note this because I saw a high school girl at Target the other day in a tank top when it was 45 degrees outside. I questioned who was more intelligent and why my former students had the label, mentally challenged.

What happen to common sense? Is logical reasoning something that has genetically been altered so it is now something we need to teach? Will our future be effected by the sudden change in life skills? Who is really getting the better education?

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Silence is not golden

There are many sayings, “children should be seen and not heard,” “silence is golden,” and “silence is the source of great strength.”  There is a flip side to silence. we often think of the loud child as the one who much be going through something difficult when many times it is the silent child. Silent children are often thought of as “perfect” kids because they are not demanding, comply with the rules, and are often so quiet they are forgotten. These are often called the “lost children” because their needs are usually placed on the back burner and because of the silence, no one suspects the pain they hold inside. Do you know silent kids?

Children who are victims are often silent. Bringing any attention to themselves or their abusers has only caused more pain for them so they remain silent. Some silent kids are time bombs waiting to go off as they get older. It takes that one bully who pushes them over the edge. The saddest part is they suffer far more because at that point they are seen as a bully when really they are responding to meeting their limit of abuse. Some children, their silence is bought. But the pain still dwells deep inside which will surf, most likely when they are adults. Silent children often live double lives such as in a parallel fantasy world to escape their pain. We often think they are aloaf or weird when really they are trying to escape the torment and pain.

Please think twice when you see a child off in a corner alone and being “perfect.” Sometimes silence is not golden, it is dark with pain and disappointment. It just takes one caring adult to make the silence golden by taking a stand and being the voice the silence one is so afraid to have. Stop the hidden silence of abuse. Bring light and happiness to a “lost child” by helping him or her find the courage and support to speak out. Never let them regret standing up for themselves. Empowerment is the key. Art is the release for the silence.

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Filling the [ ] space

Image Try this experiment. Give a kid a blank sheet of paper and whatever art materials you have on hand. Ask the child to fill the space. Better idea, you do it! Can you? This is a good test to see if you or someone else has lost their ability to creative, let their imagination run wild or has given into the nothingness.

So, did you fill the space? I bet the first response was,”What do you want me to draw?” We are so prone to doing what others say or are programmed to suit a needthat  we can no longer freely “fill the space.” You have a world of colors, maybe paints, markers, etc. before you yet you have no clue. Sad reality check, isn’t it.

What is sadder is when you do this with children. 40 yrs ago kids would jump at the chance to have free draw because their minds were booming with ideas and imagination. Where did it go? Think on that a while. That is what is happening in our country, a lack of creative stimulation and imagination promotion.

Take a wee bit of each day and “fill the page” be the page be a three inch square to a three foot canvas. Take time to jump start your mind. And remember, you don’t have to be an artist to “fill the page,” you just have to be a starter and let the colors flow to fill the space. Promote Creativity today!!

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What now?

Sir Joshua Reynolds - Self-Portrait as a Deaf ...

Been hearing lots from both sides about the aftermath of November 6. So now what? Life goes on. What most do not realize it the impact of the negative and ober positive are having on the kids. It doesn’t matter who you voted for as much as how you deal with the “what now” part. Your attitudes towards others, which doesn’t mean you have to agree with their choices, and how you move forward directly impacts how your children treat others. Children are taught hate. They do not see color or race or preferences, that is learned.

Working in a deaf school I learned what it is like to be descriminated against for something I could not help- I was hearing. Other than the deaf/hearing issue, deaf basically do no see color, shape, size, religon, race, haircolor, job, educational status, sexual preference, etc. they just see a person. It was a very unusual environment at first because to them everyone that is deaf is pretty much equal and there for potenially a friend. It is an environment where people are gut level honest but mean it in a helpful way, not hurting. Hearing folks really find this honestly to be difficult, ironic that we wish not to hear the truth though we can. I think we as a society could learn a lot from the deaf culture. I cannot begin to explain it, one just has to experience it.

So when you start raving how you hate this group or that, please check to see if children are around. Please give them a chance to form their own opinions. There are enough bullys and gang behaviors in the schools, no more need to be created.

The bigger question I guess is why doesn’t positive spread as fast as hate? Seems people would gravity to something good yet it is the opposite. So what now? Are you planning to be a part of the new trend to focus on positive or will you continue the negative spiral down the toilet with attitude and hate? For me, I chose to find the positve, plant more of it and make a difference. Not the easiest but in the end, the most rewarding.

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Nov 2

WHY drug your child?

Was sadden today day to learn a young mother chose medication to treat her 6-year-old daughter’s ADHD. As a special educator for some 20+ years, I am going to be blunt about this, very few young children are truly ADHD. Yes, this is a not so creative vent but a tidal wave of pent-up frustration directed to young parents who feel their rushed lives are more important than taking time to truly parent. Before you “youngsters” get all huffy at me, I have  daughter who is ADD with learning challenges plus a son who could have been classified as ADHD at a young age, but more what most elders would classify as all boy. Add to that I have a husband who is a football coach which means he is OCD which seems to happen seasonally and … well, he is a jock. So if you wish to debate a wild household, yeah, bring it on because I lived in chaos as well as taught it all day.

I refused to medicate my kids. I used occupational therapy and some good old fashion parenting to manage. If you look back over time all mothers gained grey hairs, had bad days where tears flowed, and found themselves snapping a time or two at their kids. Hey, that’s normal. All kids explore, make messed, yell, scream, run around, ask 50 million questions, and refuse to do things. Just normal and a very important part of learning. Kids were not designed to sit unless hours in front of TV and computers. Kids were meant to be active, that is actively learning about their environment, exploring, challenging limits, and developing skills by trial and error. It also takes discipline. Life is the biggest and best teacher… as well as parents.

Once upon a time parents read books to their kids, not plugged them in. During such sessions there was questions and interaction. Parents took their kids to the park or played outside together with them. Here kids felt safe to explore because parents during those old days allowed their kids to climb trees and play in the dirt. Parents allowed their kids to help in the kitchen, even at the age of 3. The kitchen is a mecca of math. Yes, kids spilled things and often meals were not as tasty but there was a lot of pride as well as learning that happened as a result. McDonald’s was a rare treat not a daily must in a rush. Kids had regular bedtime, not at 10pm on week nights. Kids colored, painted, had play dough, and assorted offer interactive toys. Kids played!

My house wasn’t the model home for Southern Living. My meals were kid-friendly and not found in Happy Meal boxes. My kids enjoyed playing in the dirt, treehouse, clubhouses in the dining room during rainy days, and they played with their food. Activity was a must to grow dendrites. During melt downs, we worked through them but never gave into them. During frustration times, we discovered alterative learning styles. We learned that music, art and drama are key players in homework and learning. Was it a lot of work? Yes! But as a result I have children who are success college students who have learned to cope with their uniqueness and never had side effects or developed a need for drugs. They also are advocates for learning, learning un unique ways to which they share with others. They know that music can calm or stimulate just depends on the need and tempo. They know that crunchy foods can increase alertness, so can gum. They know that certain colors effect learning and mood. They know if you hit a road block get up and walk because it can jump-start the brain. Sometimes you just have to move to stimulate recall and increase memory. Yes, we do promote the Wii in the college environment. The gym can work those large muscles which also can create calming effects. Ok, my list is long but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the options.

I just encourage parents to try alternatives before jumping to the meds. If your life is too hectic, you might seriously want to take look at your true focus. Yes, jobs are important, we all have bills to pay but look at your schedule closely. The time you spend now while your babies are young will be an investment that will reap what you sow later in life. I have proof that difficult children can meet success without meds, it just takes patients, time, and a bit of creativity. My rant and venting is now finished. BUT, if you have such a child and need some suggestions, just ask and I will send you a ton of great and fun activities that can take those wild and crazy times down a notch.

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