Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Things Students Say

I had a student ask me today a question that I considered to have an obvious answer, but seemed to have a surprising answer for her. The question was, "will people be reading and writing about us in History books?"

My immediate thought was, "of course, duh"! But then I realized that this young lady was legitimately asking me this question. So I told her that yes, one day they will be the people in History books. Then I posed to her a question that took her by surprise. 

"What kind of history do you want to be known for?"

I told her that even George Washington was a 14-year-old kid once upon a time. And I bet he probably didn't think he would be a prominent person in history. Adolf Hitler was once a 13-year-old kid and I doubt that he would have thought that he would have as profound an impact on history as he did. 

These revelations allowed for a very interesting "teachable moment" with my class. These children all wanted to know what I thought about their futures. I told them that they are writing their own histories every day, even though they didn't know it. One day they would leave a legacy behind for their progeny to either respect or hide from. 

So I asked them again. "What kind of history do you want to be known for?"

This time I added, "do you want your grandchildren to be able to speak highly of you, or do you want them to be ashamed"?

They all verbally and non-verbally agreed that they want their families of the future to be proud of them and their accomplishments.

When I explained to them, that the path to the positive or the negative has already begun for them, but that they can always change their paths as they progress, they seemed a little scared (as any 13-year-old child would), but I told them that as long as they keep the question about their future history stories in their minds, they will choose the right path for them.

There are no laws or regulations that say you are stuck in the same path forever. You can grow and change. You can venture forth into uncharted territories and be remembered for great, amazing things. You can sail a calm path and be happy. You can do what ever you want to do. 

After that I told them that I was going to get off my soapbox now, and they all got a confused look on their faces and asked, "what's a soapbox"? 

I guess we can't win them all.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tonight, We Cook!

I will never profess to be anything even remotely resembling a chef. I can barely boil water. And yet, I have days where I like to pretend I can cook. Today I will be making an orange glazed tilapia for dinner with rosemary roasted carrots. Now, I'm sure the tilapia would be better paired with rice and broccoli, but I don't eat grains as much as possible and I'm out of broccoli. So carrots it is.

I have also been working out a lot lately in an effort to build up some physical fitness. As much as I like relaxing on the couch, I realize that I will begin to look like virtually every other adult female in my family if I do. This is not a legacy I wish to pass on to my daughter. So physical fitness is important in our house. I don't subscribe to any one fitness routine. Truly, I fit it in where I can. Saturdays I take an adult ballet class. As a former dancer, this is my true passion. If I could dance daily, I would. I also love to play the various dance games on Xbox. That is a workout!! I also do Tabata style workouts. This is a good resource if you are curious. Finally, a coworker and I have started challenging each other in my classroom. During one of our classes together (she is my co-teacher and an awesome one at that!). So everyday, we do little things in class. The students think its funny. Hopefully they too will see the importance of working out. Some of my students are quite overweight, sadly.

I hope that by my own resolve, I can better my life and encourage you to better yours. :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Start

My husband, Sean, and I decided that this is our year. We will be getting healthier both physically, mentally, and financially. I do not typically make resolutions, but I think this is something important for us and our family. Time to break out of this unhealthy rut we have found ourselves in.

Breakfast: Gluten-free waffles (due to personal health issues) -I don't typically like any type of grain, but today was a special day for the kiddos.

Lunch & Dinner: Corned Beef, Cabbage, & Black-Eyed-Peas (a family tradition for each new year)

Workout: Beachbody 10 minute trainer: Cardio & Brazil Butt Lift: Bum Bum
You can be my buddy on Beachbody if you use that site: Gretchen's Beachbody Profile

Only I am accountable for my actions. Oh yeah, I am also saving all my pennies for a new laptop. Trying to type a post on my iPad is really ridiculous. Even one penny a day will buy me a decent little laptop at the end of a year.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I wonder if I could ever be a writer.

How often do you tell yourself "I'll do that later"? Then you realize that you never did it at all and you start to get mad at yourself. Then this seems to become an evil growing monster within yourself that you are now battling everyday and you start to think less of yourself. You start to think that everything is your fault. Perhaps if you just stop doing that procrastinating behavior it wouldn't be so difficult. Then, you realize that you have instilled that behavior in those around you and you realize you really are to blame. If only you had not been that way from the beginning, you wouldn't hate yourself now and the person you've become. You start trying to change yourself, but those around you are so ingrained with the previous way, that you find it virtually impossible to shift your own behaviors. You visit with others and realize that they don't have problems like you do, so it really is all your fault. Then you start to think dark and despairing thoughts. You try to ignore them. You tell yourself that you don't deserve to be a part of those around you and you start to distance yourself from them. You feel yourself slipping into an internal darkness but continue to pretend on the outside that you are okay. You get up each day, look about you and think "why bother", but you continue on anyhow. You don't really understand why you do it. You feel deeply lost and full of self-hatred because you are an ugly person and you lash out at others that don't deserve your lashings. Then you hate yourself even more and think those dark despairing thoughts again and again. You want them to stop, but you can't make them go away. You tell yourself you are being dramatic, over-reactive, and just plain stupid. You try to return back to pretending to be happy. You soon realize that you are in need of help from this despairing place you have put yourself, but you don't want to admit that everything is your fault, so you avoid seeking the help you need. You cry to yourself that you are not worthy of help. Deep inside you realize that you believe that this is true. Those around you may realize that you believe it and attempt to help. Or they may just tell you that you are being melodramatic and you need to get over it. Others tell you that it is all your fault and if only you had changed from the beginning, which just makes you feel terrible and perhaps even a bit worse. So you start panicking because you see where this thought process is headed. You need to break it and fast or else something bad may happen. The evil monster inside roars and says "maybe something bad should happen, maybe then those around you will do better than what you have done". Then you go to bed and cry, because you think this is all true and the evil monster is right. Then you are filled with a self-loathing so great that it consumes your every thought. You start to project the opposite to others outside you because you want them to think that you are okay. That you realize you need to fix all those problems within yourself and now you are smiling as you talk with them and you are practically cheerful to everyone. However, inside you know the truth. And you hate who you are. And you want it to stop. But you don't know what to do any more. So you give up. And cry. Again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Once Was...

I remember this one time when I was about 9 or 10 years old that I tried to run away from home.

Now, I’m certain that all children get that idea at some point in time or another. Running away from home seems like such a good idea. You are tired of the oppression of your parents and you desire the ability to make your own choices about everything. You are idealistic and na├»ve and don’t really understand the whole picture that goes along with being on your own.

The funny thing is though, I don’t know anyone that has every really gone through with it. I know there are definitely those who do, but I know none of them. I was one of those that I was fully prepared to run away. I had a plan in place. I had my clothes packed. I had my sleeping bag and my favorite stuffed dog. I had everything set up with the girl; I think her name was Caroline; that lived across the street from me. We were going to run away together.

There was this shack… I guess one could call it. It was clearly abandoned. It had a door and windows. It had a roof and four walls. It was about as shack-like as I had ever known. It was also not too far from where we lived. It was the perfect place as far as we could see. Caroline and I knew that this was going to be our future home. We had decided how we were going to set it up, complete with curtains. That’s right, curtains in a shack. But to us, this was going to be the perfect homestead. I don’t remember what time of year it was, but I think it may have been the summer. Summer in the North Carolina wasn’t too bad. Not like in Texas where, by August you are wishing for snow.

Neither of us had ever been to the shack. We had just seen it by the road each time our parents drove by it. So we didn’t really know what to expect when we got there. Of course, that was our plan. To get there.

I set my alarm clock in my room for about 3am. Late enough to ensure that everyone in the house is asleep and there would be few people out. Did everyone plan out their running away like that? I had all of my things already packed up and ready to go. I was so deliberate in my plan that when I snuck out of the house by the sliding back door, I made sure to place the rod in a way that would lock me out of the house when I closed the door. It was a major moment to me. I was going to run away and I wasn’t going back home. There was no way for me to go back home, so this was it.

I made my way over to Caroline’s house. Her window was closed, so I tapped on it for probably about fifteen minutes or so. Caroline never stirred. I saw her lying in her canopy bed with the yellow sheets and lacey comforter, her right arm thrown up over her head. She lay that way the whole time I was tapping on her window. She never woke up.

At this time I realized I was in some trouble. My shack-partner was clearly not going to follow through with our plan and I had locked myself out of my house. I suddenly became nervous. I was afraid to head over to the shack on my own. It was, after all, the three o’clock hour and there could be any number of scary things out there. When you are with a friend, it doesn’t seem quite so bad, but completely on your own? Nope. Not happening. So I did the only thing I could do. I made my way back to the house.

I went first to my window, but I knew it wouldn’t be open. I had double checked prior to leaving that it was locked. I was serious about leaving. I went back to the sliding door and tested it. I did a good job of making sure I couldn’t get back in. I stared at that rod in the doorway with such frustration. Why couldn’t I have thought this part of the plan out? Why was I so insistent that I was never going to return? What was I going to do?

I did the only thing any normal 9 or 10 year old would do. I pulled out my Strawberry Shortcake sleeping back and proceeded to set up camp outside the back door. It was at this point that I realized a crucial mistake in my overall plan.

I had forgotten my pillow. Thankfully, I had my trusty stuffed dog. She was grey and white. She had a red felt tongue. She was terribly itchy, but she made a really good pillow in the lacking presence of anything else. Beggars can’t be choosers at this point. I lay down trying to figure out my next step. Clearly someone was going to have to let me in. I don’t know who it would be, but a part of me was hoping that one of my little brothers would. I didn’t want to have to explain any of this to my parents. Eventually, I fell asleep on that back porch surrounded by blue hydrangeas.

I woke probably two hours later. I estimate this based on the light that was starting to shine. When I opened my eyes and put my glasses on, I realized that the rod had been removed and was now lying next to the track. What should I think about this? There was no one in the living room. My parents, as I could see through the other sliding glass door, were still in their beds and appeared to be asleep.

As quietly as I could, I slid the door open and tip-toed inside. Our cat Seymour was there to greet me. I found out later he played an integral part in my ability to return home. I carefully closed the door and made my way back to my room. I snuggled under the sheets and blanket with a real pillow underneath my head and fell asleep.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I can't decide if blogging is still an active concept or if people are tossing it by the wayside. It seems that with the advent of so many social networking sites, that blogging is no longer as necessary to keep up with family and friends as it once was. I don't much care one way or the other. I just find it difficult to procrastinate when the blogs I read do not update at least weekly so as to allow me something else to do when I should be working on some important project.

So. Do you have any blogs that you find to be exceptionally noteworthy? Anything I should add to my list of blogs to read on a weekly basis when I am avoiding work? I would like to expand my list. Feed my poor work habits.

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Be A Writer

Have you ever had that feeling that you are not accomplishing all you should? that you need to be doing something more?

I feel that way when I read poetry and learn about poets that began writing at such young ages. For example, I learned about the poet Christina Rossetti. She began writing at age five and wrote her entire life.

I like writing. Actually, I really enjoy writing a lot. However, I feel like I never have anything worthy of writing about. I didn't have a childhood that was filled with strife. Rather I think my childhood was quite idyllic. No one wants to read about that. Do they? I would think not.

Heartache and difficulty are not things that I have much experience with and yet any type of writing I tend to read, particularly in poetry. These authors have some kind of personal experiences that involve some type of struggle. I wish I didn't feel so inept.