Monday, October 17, 2011

The Blessings of Failure

D has been out of town for almost a week. He desperately misses me and the kids when he travels and likes to have frequent family conversations with all of us while on speaker phone. He enjoys asking the girls about their day and telling them good night. He likes to talk to Asher about school, current interests, etc. He doesn't want to miss out on a single moment.

Yesterday, I told Asher "Daddy spent the day thinking about his twelve-year-old boy." Asher asked me, "Why?" I replied, "You are our only son. We have put a lot of time and effort into you and we think about who you are becoming... we wonder what kind of man you will be. Daddy loves you. He was thinking about how he has influenced you."

Dyron and I have been discussing our waning influence on Asher lately. We're young enough to remember adolescence. We know how friends influence. We also feel Asher's "formative years" are almost over...

As parents, D and I have put 100% into teaching our children values we feel will give them the best life. Most of our values come from the Bible. Many of our values come from the way we were raised. Some of our values come from our own life experiences.

At this point, we have decided it's time for Asher to take what he has been taught and use those skills to make his own decisions. We still have "house rules" he must follow but we can't hold his hand while at school, hanging out with his friends, etc.

In our public school system, we have an online service called Edline that reports students' grades. It is accessible by parents and students to check grades on quizzes, tests, projects, etc. Many parents use this system. I have never used it.

Every day when the kids get home from school, I ask them... "How was your day? Do you have any homework? Do you need to study for a quiz or a test?" This is my one reminder to them. So far, it has worked very well. My children make excellent grades.

When they have forgotten a homework assignment or an upcoming quiz/test and the result is less sleep (I don't let them stay up late to complete a homework assignment. I make them get up earlier than normal to complete it.) or an inferior grade (because of lack of study), they learn from their failure. I feel very strongly about this concept of personal responsibility. The expectations Dyron and I have set for our children result in excellence! If there is a missed homework assignment or low test score, an opportunity for learning exists. We ask our children what could they have done to avoid the bad result? The answer is always change their actions.

In realizing it was THEIR OWN MISTAKE, we are empowering our children! They learn THEY are in control of their own actions. THEY have the power to succeed. THEY ARE IN CONTROL of their own success or failure.

Asher and I made an agreement before he started middle school. I told him I would give him "free reign" in choosing his classes and he would be fully responsible for his homework, quizzes, tests, etc. I would only ask him once a day if he had any homework or an upcoming test. He was placed in all Pre-AP courses and moved up to Pre-Algebra after the school year began. He seems to have a minimal amount of homework compared with other classmates. (I've heard other parents talking about their child's homework load.) This made me want to "helicopter parent" and check Edline. However, I resisted.

I will see in a few hours if he has chosen success or failure.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My firstborn and only son turns twelve today. Twelve! 12. A decade + 2. Last year of childhood. Almost a teenager.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I prayed for a son. Having two sisters, I never experienced a brother. I was curious. I wanted to learn about boys through mothering one. I wanted to know everything about a little boy. Why were they so loud? What made them run so fast? Why did they turn sticks into guns? Why did they pull a girl's hair when they really liked her? Why did they burp and fart constantly, love to skip rocks, and have a warrior spirit? Where did they get their energy?

When Asher was born, he instantly picked up his head and looked around the room with eyes wide open. I marveled at his instant fascination with exploring his new world. He never seemed to want to sleep. He hated being restrained in his car seat. He cried when we put shoes on his feet. He was a ball of energy from the start... always demanding more and more of me.

He taught me to think and move faster while at the same time making me slow to anger.

I loved him at first sight.

He has always hated to hear the word "no." Now, I see him more completely. "No" is another restraint to him because he doesn't ask for much. When he is disciplined, he sometimes receives instruction with defiance... but I can't think of a time when he didn't return to me and apologize for his mistake.

As a boy, he was a ball of endless energy. As a young man, he is friendly, curious, smart, and full of potential.

D and I reflected on his life last night and then talked about his future. We found a quote we both loved...

"Adolescence is a new birth, for the higher and more completely human traits are now born." -G. Stanley Hall

What is coming? So many people warn of what is around the corner. Every phase has been challenging... isn't that the purpose of children? I really see it as another learning experience. And, isn't learning about refining our current set of beliefs? Learning is a deeper understanding of our purpose. Raising children has never been a bed of roses... it has been a winding path of beautiful views, unexpected "oops" switchbacks, and the occasional rest stop. 

Son. I have loved watching and participating in your "so far" journey of life.

Just remember... "Every man dies. Not every man really lives." -William Wallace

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Language of "Uh"

My girls have been speaking a new language for a few months. I first noticed their new vernacular this summer. Eden would become frustrated with something Lillian was doing and she would say, "Lilli! Stop-uh!"

Later in the day I might hear Lilli say, "Eden! Quit-uh!" 

Many times the exchange between my two daughters would simply be the other sister's name. "Lilli-uh" or "Eden-uh" was heard in their conversation exchange several times a day.

Other "uh" words include:
1. Asher-uh
2. Don't-uh
3. Stupid-uh

Phrases include:
1. "I'm coming-uh."
2. "Be quiet-uh."
3. "It's not funny-uh."
4. "Leave me alone-uh."

I noticed the increased use of the "uh" ending correlated exactly with the volume of the speaker's voice which correlated with the intent of the speaker to get the person "named-uh" in major trouble.

Now, Daddy-uh and Mama-uh even join in the conversation now and then...

Good night-uh.