Old School, New School- Where’s the Balance?

It’s been exactly 3 months since my last post….And what’s on my mind—parenting.

I’m starting to believe I’ve done my children a disservice by being too available. Of course they would say I don’t give them anything they need.

Today I had to make a quick run to the grocery. I was going to go alone, but Lilli, my 14-year old decided to join me. I’m making enchiladas and burnt the chicken in the crock pot last night. The rotisserie  was $7.99. The lunch meat and cheese (for lunches/snacks this week) was almost $15. And the sushi Lilli suddenly wanted to have was $8, stating, “I’m sick of sandwiches” (and apparently can’t wait for enchiladas).

I told her to find a deli salad instead, which she did. “How much is it,” she asked?

“$3.35.”

She made that sound that expresses disgust when you click the tongue away from the roof of your mouth, and said “I hate being poor.”

“Lilli, we aren’t actually poor. I’m just not making any money right now and need to be on a budget.”

“Well make some,” she demands.

“Even if I made some it wouldn’t be to buy you everything you want,” I reply as I start to feel defensive.

“You need to make more money so you don’t have to depend on dad. You can’t even pay the mortgage with out dad.”

From here I just get more defensive….”Listen here, kid….”

 

On the way home, I start to see how the earlier days of letting a child know their place might still make sense.

Besides spending most of my adult life as a homemaker, being available to my children and my home 24/7, I also began working as a teacher assistant a few years ago. This past year I worked at a middle school and the behaviors I observed made me curious about where the hell we are going wrong with our kids. It would appear kids don’t know their place.

I know that doesn’t sound right, does it? Well maybe it does to more old-school, conservative people, but to the liberal and equal minded people it may not. Here’s what I think– we have left behind the “children are best seen and not heard” philosophy where children were filled with shame and not seen as people with their own thoughts and feelings– and this is a good thing–but, now we seem to be in the other extreme where we let the kids run things. We treat them equally. We are afraid to hurt their feelings and to disregard their thoughts. We also tell them our thoughts and feelings as if they  know what to do with those other than hurting us somehow later (how else do you think my 14-year old knows I can’t pay the mortgage with my pay check).

But, here’s the result of creating equal ground for our kids—some of them now tell teachers and parents to “fuck off bitch” ( I saw this frequently where I work and have heard it from my own child). Some use our willingness to listen to their thoughts and feelings to manipulate so they get what they want. And quite honestly between this and the media with images and sounds of violence and sex, kids are frickin’ overwhelmed. They are kids for a reason. They are under our care for a reason, and yet here we are as a culture exposing them to content they can’t truly handle yet. In some ways we are protecting them but in other ways we certainly are not. And I guess they’re pissed.

In my own life as a parent, I have tried to protect my children from the experiences I had as a child- divorce, having an alcoholic mother. Yet, it was from these very experiences that I learned how to be resourceful, independent and responsible. Of course I am not saying I should have been a drug addict so my kids could be stronger in some areas, but I truly believed being available to them emotionally and also making them physically comfortable was what would allow them the space and the security to develop certain qualities that would benefit them. But, now I wonder…

I can’t say I have any definitive answers yet, but here are some things I am realizing as I continue this parenting journey, one I have been on for 22 years.

  • Kids are hard on parents

This realization comes as a relief. For 20+ years I’ve believed that somehow if I just do things right, which really meant doing things better than my own parents my kids will appreciate it. HAHAHAHA. I’m thinking it doesn’t matter. Kids are hard on their parents(large period here).

  • It’s okay if my kids don’t respect my choices or even like me.

My Aunt Flo told me when her kids said they didn’t like her, she said: too bad. I’ve been priding myself for years on being a good mom. And as my kids become more vocal in the ways that I am not or in the ways they do not respect my choices in my own life, I have been terribly hurt and confused by this. Like: don’t they see what a good mom I am….how can they say these things to me?  I think I can finally say it’s okay that they don’t respect my choices. It’s okay they don’t think I am a good mom. It’s okay. And quite honestly, it’s been humbling to see in which ways I really haven’t been a good mom.

  • It’s also okay how I chose to parent at the time.

No matter why I did what I did, which for many years was just not do what my mother did, my kids will survive. My kids will be okay. And even if I did do too much, as human beings we are resourceful and resilient. They will go through the struggles as they already are in their own ways. They will always have the capacity to take what they did and did not receive and have it inform how they live their lives and how they parent, if and when they choose to do so.

As far as what to do as a culture for our kids- as I said I have no definitive answers, but I do trust we are finding a balance between the old-school ways and the newer-school ways. I also know we must find a spiritual perspective in raising kids, ours and society’s. The balance then seems to be keeping a vigilance of our humanity- how we parent within our culture and our own upbringing, while also having a spiritual perspective- that within our spirits we are equals. We are whole. And we are on our journey that continues to unfold and evolve. From this balance we will find and share the wisdom, which comes from this space.

Would love your thoughts on the matter.

The Soul Reporter.

To Pierce or Not to Pierce—this is the investigation…

And I would like your thoughts and opinions….

My 13-year old is begging for piercings- septum and industrial (I had to google them).

I know in my mommy gut, 13 is too young and I sense this is the usual teen dilemma of trying to find oneself . To encourage her idea that it will make her more herself seems silly….BUT I see how important this is to her and I recognize I don’t get the whole piercing world even though I have my nose pierced. I have never wanted any more than that and honestly I don’t find it attractive to have certain piercings- like the septum for instance.  This is of course my opinion and not hers and so I told her I would take two weeks to investigate the world of piercings—calling studios and asking others for their thoughts and opinions.

So—- to pierce or not to pierce. Remember she is 13, turning 14 in June….Thoughts? Opinions? An offering of insight from those who are into body modification?

Thank you,

The Soul Reporter

The Shire in the Woods

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My kids call me a hobbit. So it’s appropriate I’m spending a few of my days during spring break at a retreat center called, Shire in the Woods. It was once called The Dwelling in the Woods and from 2006 or so to 2010, I visited the “hobbit hole” called The Loft, once or twice a year. It is a small, cozy cabin complete with kitchen, wood stove, screened in porch, 1/2 bath, and a small spiral staircase up to the loft/bedroom—all surrounded by woods and trails. It’s intention: to get away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

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In those years between 2006-2010, I would enter The Loft and sigh a relief of suddenly being alone with myself. It was a relief to be away from the needs and wants of my family. It was a relief to feel and know myself again. This time there was no relief. Although it was nice to see The Loft again after several years, I was somewhat dreading being with myself. It hasn’t happened since the last time I was here in 2010—and a lot has happened since then.

One thing is I no longer need to get away from my family like I once thought I did. I have worked through enough of my “stuff” and I love being with them—no longer feeling resentment that I can’t be myself with them. And so alone on a Thursday night, fire burning in the wood stove, a cup of hot tea next to me, I find myself texting them just to see what they are doing, almost wishing I was with them watching Parenthood on the couch. But, I’m here and although I feel a little foreign to myself after all these years, I’m hanging with me anyway.

So far I made myself lunch and dinner, using only the toaster oven provided. I took a two hour nap. I have written a a couple of articles, including this one. And, I went snowshoeing. Yes, I went snowshoeing in April on my spring break. I am in northern Minnesota and it still looks like February in these parts.

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After lunch, I stood in The Loft over-thinking the possibility of snowshoeing—Is it cold? Will the snow hit my face? Will I get lost? Stranded? What if there are bears or wolves? Then, I just moved. Put on the snow pants I have never worn, that unfortunately were a bit too tight in the gut, wrapped a scarf around my neck three times, put on my pink hat, my green jacket, which quite frankly I am sick of wearing and ready to store away, and then my boots. I grabbed the orange vest provided by the staff so I wouldn’t get shot by hunters (even tho it is no longer hunting season) and a ring full of bells for that wolf or bear (as if that might scare them off). I went outside The Loft, struggled to put on my snowshoes with my tight snowpants and hit the trail.

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The snow was hitting my face and I wasn’t cold, but sweating. Not only were there no bears, wolves or hunters there wasn’t even a bird or a squirrel. I was the only one in these woods, which didn’t stop me from looking around for someone watching me when I kept falling in the snow.

You see, it was a bit deceiving out there. It seemed I was walking on solid ground, but then I would notice large, deep crevices in the snow. I soon discovered these were snowshoe prints from previous snowshoers sinking into the snow. I had joined their club and made my own prints in the snow. One of which I took a picture of, where not only did I sink into 2-3 feet of snow but fell hands and face first. That’s when I looked to see if anyone saw me because if they did I would be so embarrassed because obvioulsy I am perfect and I should never fail and fall.

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I even got so paranoid about someone seeing me I had the stupidest thought—what if there are cameras out here and someone is getting a real good laugh. Because not only did I continue to fall and my snowshoes kept getting stuck and coming off, I was shouting the F bomb all through the woods. At one point I sat down in the hole in which I sank and almost cried. I was becoming exhausted by this journey and it wasn’t even a long one—or that serious. It reminded me of the journey of the past few years, those years between 2010 and now. A journey I keep being exhausted by—but there was a song playing in my head that stopped those tears from falling down my snow covered cheeks. Shake it Out by Florence + The Machine. 

Shake it out Nikki. 

I got up, fell several more times but in place of exhaustion was determination to just get up, shake it out and keep going.

Tonight, 6-12 inches of new snow is going to fall and cover all traces of my falling and getting up. Such is life…

Goodnight Day One.

fire

 

Good Morning Day Two.

I wake up feeling happy, serene. I am relaxed with myself. This is a pleasant surprise. I made some cereal, eggs and toast. Cleaned up a bit and got dressed. My big outing—walking to the main lodge to pay my bill. After I paid though, I kept walking. Here she goes again….but this time with no snowshoes. At first I intended to take the longer way back to The Loft, but I had remembered a beaver pond off one of the trails I wanted to see in the winter time. I mean spring time.

destination

 

This (above) is what it looks like in winter time. I realized after the journey there it wasn’t about seeing this. That was just an idea in my mind that pushed me forward, like some conquest I had to conquer. Turns out I did more than my share to conquer this goal. I ended up walking much further down a path than I had to. Walking through the snow is similar to walking in sand—it’s a workout. At least for me who hasn’t moved much this long winter. I could not find the path that lead to the beaver pond, but then saw a map posted helpfully on one of the trees. I missed the turn off completely.

I headed back the way I came and found the path toward the beaver pond. And guess what, it was filled with those sink hole land mines again. At least this time I wasn’t losing my snow shoes, but I was soaking my sweatpants in the snow that went almost to my hips. Remember I am a hobbit so I am practically being swallowed by snow.

I was also getting exhausted—again. And this time there was no song in my head from Florence + The Machine—I cried. Hugged the birch tree beside me and cried. I bet no one has ever cried holding this birch tree before. Is anyone looking? My heart was beating so fast. I was standing at the beaver pond realizing some other force pushed me here because I knew it wasn’t for the view, even when I set forth toward it. It was about regaining my strength. Pushing my heart again against life and for life.

I am not sharing what the past few years of my life entailed, but I will share that I set out on another kind of journey and I expected not only the view, but the journey to be spectacular. It wasn’t. In fact many times it was horrifying. I have been exhausted, standing and sitting similar to what I have done on both of these days where I’ve ventured out on the snow packed trails, hesitating.  Should I go? Or should I stay? Should I go to that beaver pond? Or just head back? Even while on the trail, epseciallly at the birch tree I stood for a very long time—hesitating—not feeling like I could head back. I’ve been doing this with life. Do I dare venture out again and risk being disappointed, exhausted and scared out of my mind? Or could I have a new experience?

footsteps

In all this questioning and over-thinking, I just move. It just happens. Apparently, some inkling of hope there are new possibilities. That the past in in the past.

I stepped inside the same steps that got me to the pond. It made it easier in dealing with those sink holes. I continued on with my steps and my tears, allowing myself to cry out the disappointment and exhaustion of the past few years. It was all in place to gather strength, to transform my view, to shed me of what’s not needed—as are all my steps now.

Goodnight Day Two.

 

sunset

Good Morning Day Three.

Today I leave The Loft. Much of the snow that fell has melted in the sun that says, Spring! I look forward to seeing my family. My husband will have dinner made. We will all watch a movie and have good conversation.

Before I leave, sitting at the familiar round table in The Loft, eating buttery eggs, cottage cheese and raspberries I accept what I’ve made a significant flaw, a “flaw,” which has shown itself on this short retreat. My hesitation about life, my caution and slow way of moving forward—perhaps a stubbornness or fear or laziness. I accept how long it takes me to move. I accept it often takes a lot to get me to move. I get it. I accept it.

I have cleaned The Loft, leavning it fresh for the next guest. I am pressing publish on this post. Time to leave. Goodbye Shire in the Woods. Until we meet again….

The Soul Reporter.

Dear Mom, Why Can’t I Love You?

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I was in a workshop, my mother sitting a couple seats down. I am looking at her and I hear this question, Why can’t I love you? This question lived within me for the next several days—and then I sat down and wrote her a letter.

Dear Mom,

Lately, I especially notice I cannot look at you. I notice when I am around you who I truly am shuts down and I become broken and numb. But when you aren’t looking I do look at you. In these moments I feel sad for you. I wonder what it’s like to be you right now. Are you lonely? Are you afraid? I want to hug you. I want to tell you I love you.

I know one day you won’t be here. Or maybe I won’t. Either way I know there will be no one else in my life like you. No one to get on my nerves like you do. No one to give me newspaper clippings about the newest eyeshadow color or my birthday horoscope. No one to ask me how I am that actually wants to know and no one who will look at me like you do or give me a bag full of presents—some bought, some taken from your own shelves for my birthday. There’s no one like you.

And, yet I throw away those newspaper clippings. I criticize your bag full of goodies. I reject the look you can only give and the words to me you only say. I do all this while knowing someday you won’t be here. Mom, why won’t I love you. This letter is my attempt to at least try.

I love you mom.

The past is over. Who you’ve been to me, these reasons I’ve told myself why you aren’t worthy of my love are not real. With the past in the past, the present and the future now have the possibility of me having a new experience with you. I am open and ready for this. I invite you to be also. Thank you for listening.

~Nikki

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What I realized from writing, and than sharing this letter with my mom, and later that group of people at that workshop is I was relating to my mom from the past and the future. I was using stories I created about her from the past, even ones I worked through about her not being available for me to justify not expressing love to her because I fear a future without her. Isn’t it funny how we think creating distance with ones we love will somehow protect us….

I’m opening to a new experience with my mother because I know living a life of survival and protection from the past and the future is a small and isolated way to live. I do not want to have regrets and I want to experience another possibility with my mother.

Thanks for being a part of this exchange with my mother,

The Soul Reporter.

The Workday

What is it about the workday that appears to dull my sense of awareness—awareness of Self, spirit, others, life…? What is it about this lifestyle that produces fatigue, unconsciousness, a restrictiveness rather than space…?

 

For 16 years I was a homemaker. In this space, I lived in my own rhythms—doing what needed to be done for home and family—and what I wanted to do. And then I moved in to the work place. Mostly I liked my work, but soon I discovered what I didn’t like— the lifestyle the workday created. That routine of getting up earlier than I would following my own rhythms. The requirement to be in a fixed location for a certain number of hours. Then, home to homemake—cook dinner, pick up around the house… By the end of the day all I wanted (and still want) to do is stare at a screen showing a good movie while eating something sugary.

I work at a school and this week we are on spring break. Upon the first day I feel how lovely it is to experience myself (again) without the workday routine. I feel myself filled with a bit more space—becoming more present to my natural rhythms. Not being in a fixed location, adhering to a time frame I move about in accordance to that rhythm.

I notice variety, similar to the weather we had—tornadoes in the southwest and where I live watching a sunset in the west and dark skies in the east producing lightening and rainbows. Then, followed by snow showers at night. My day was filled with moments of self-expression, creativity, errands, homemaking, connection with my kids and husband and downtime to just stare at that sky and write in my journal. None of this variety breaks through the dullness and fatigue I feel during the workday week.

When Monday, April 7 comes and the 5:45 alarm wakes me from a sound sleep and I enter the workday rhythm I have some options.

Option One: Resume the familiar routine becoming unconscious and dull = no change.

Option Two: Tell myself how I am going to stay conscious within this routine = no change.

Option Three: Intend to create a new way to make a living which matches my natural rhythms = potential change.

Option Four: Accept the unconsciousness which occurs in a routine— not making it bad or wrong or unworthy of my life. It just is. Discover the value in a routine and create variety on the outskirts of this routine and be pleasantly surprised how that variety bleeds in to the routine = transformation.

Our minds tend to create separation. In this case my mind separates the workday lifestyle from the non-workday lifestyle. Often from here the mind judges one as bad and one as good. Then time is spend using mental energy fighting the bad one.

I don’t know what option I will live from as I return to the workday life— or if I will find a new option entirely. But here is what I do know— in this workday break I find again what matters, what makes me alive and balanced. Writing. Hearing the seagulls screech in circles while the sun sets. Giving my husband a neck massage after a long work day. Reading. Listening. Being. Creating. My kids. Puttering around the house as if I have nothing else in the world to do—because I don’t.

Happy Spring,

The Soul Reporter

Life is an Initiation by Louis DiVirgilio

As I reflect on the totality of my life up until this present time, I have become aware that it has been a continuous process of initiation.  At 11:23pm on, Sept. 24, 1943, after 9 months of preparation, I emerged into this world, on the Southside of Chicago.  This was my first initiation, unless you believe as I do in the continuous cycle of life and death, then this might have been my, for a lack of an accurate number, my millionth initiation.  Some where in my readings I recall that some one asked the Buddha about the number of rebirths he had had, his reply was, ‘If you take the remains of all my incarnated bodies and piled them one on top of another, they would stack higher then the tallest mountain.’  This reply sounds apocryphal, but it gives a vivid vision of the eminence period of time that life revolved upon this earth, and its infinite continuity

 

To finish reading

Have You Ever Wanted To Leave Your Family?

I left my family.

How many of us women, wives, mothers have left? How many want to? Need to?

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It was only for a couple of days. I went to my mother. The irony. Our past relationship is one of the reasons I have walked through the world protecting myself from the need to need anybody. But, I’m growing up. I went to my mom—anyway— and she was there.

She opened her door—could hardly believe her eyes I was standing in front of her. It felt good to be there. By day two, crawled up in a blanket she put on me, I began to feel a twinge of guilt. I was away from my own family and the guilt was probably a sign I was doing something I had not done in a while—take care of my self.

I don’t know all of the reasons I left, but my guess is any woman, mother, wife reading may know a reason or two. What I did discover: the pain that caused me to pack a bag and look into my husband’s eyes and say, “I’m leaving” was no longer seeing my reflection, the essence of who I am in my family—the one container I have put everything in to.

To put it another way— I lost myself in my family and not received a dividend for my investment except depletion and resentment. I desired them to fill me up as my cup ran dry, believing this reasonable, and I resented they couldn’t or wouldn’t. And when the water in our new home stopped working due to a frozen pipe, I had to leave.

For years I endured far worse than a frozen pipe. But, somehow this broke me.

runningwater

It was this pipe that brought me back home. I had to let the service technician in. The water is flowing again. As for me, I am restored enough to see with new eyes, remembering my gaze is needed here in this home because a mother and a wife is what I am. It’s what I have chosen to do. But—my gaze is also needed to stay within my very own soul, a place I must return again and again for restoration, peace, clarity and wisdom.

The Soul Reporter

The Dying of the Light

I came down on my kids kind of hard yesterday. Sometimes we need to say what needs to be said.

My oldest streamed tears. My youngest sat stone faced.

I am learning—of course now when one is grown and the other is near—that parenting, good parenting is simple. I admit I have not yet found this simple application, but I have observed my own parenting and that of the culture.  We have moved from an authoritative paradigm—do as I say because I am the adult—to liberal parenting—tell me how you feel. Not sure either work well. I was never the authoritative type. I like giving my kids as much space as possible. I am a believer of expressing feelings, and went the more liberal route. Now, I’m not sure. Now, I am wishing I would have been more strict, voiced more of my expectations and even pushed them.

girls

I work with kids who call teachers bitches and if confronted they say, well I was mad. This is one result of liberal parenting/schooling. I am second-guessing the tell me how you feel paradigm because can kids really do this? Can they really process their emotions? Adults can hardly do this, although perfectly within their capabilities if they choose to do so. But  kids— I am not so sure. If anything, kids just learn how to work it: well I was mad….well my dad is in jail….

We took my daughter and her friend to an amusement park this weekend. We bought them dinner and gave them two free wrist bands for unlimited rides. When we went to meet them, a grandmother was talking to the girls. I asked my daughter what she was talking to them about. I got the usual—nothing. My husband went to find the woman and ask her. The girls were flicking small children in the ears and telling them they are annoying.

I waited until the next day (yesterday) to unload my disgust. She  needed to hear these are not our values. That her insecurities about herself does not give her permission to harass the vulnerable. Stone faced. I am not a perfect parent. She has seen and heard some things I wished she hadn’t. Life has been tough for her already. But— I have been here for her. I have been (mostly) stable. I am supportive and have put her first. And, I feel I have lost control. This stinky society of social media and bad television and sex obsessed music is raising my child. I tried, with a Waldorf education for her first few years of school to shelter her, but I lost the battle. Or I gave up, feeling weaker than the culture.

It’s time to take back the reigns.

My oldest does not harass the vulnerable, but I fear I sheltered her too much. I wanted her to have all I didn’t. I supported her acting dreams. I gave her stability and comfort, thinking this would be a foundation on which to stand and make a life better than my own. I feel she is afraid to step out and do so. I wonder where is her courage. This is what I got on her about.

I told them both it is unfortunate they did not see me when I was in my 20′s. When I was brave. When I had a child at 20 and took care of her. When I faced demons inside of myself, those of my upbringing. And let go of a relationship that was too dependent, faced my fear of being alone so I could find myself. They missed the days of their mother’s courage. Mostly what they see now is the mid-life wreck that is left—the worn out and tired mom.  The disappointed mom who can’t wrap her head around what I thought was the right thing in my parenting and seeing that maybe none of it made a damn bit of difference. That I missed whatever simpler parenting is.

As I ask—or as I did yesterday—demand to see the courage of my children, I demand to see my own too. Courage is what the youngest will need to feel her feelings instead of protect herself from them, to release herself from the cycle of numbness to the point of hurting others. The oldest will have to find hers so she can build a life she wants to live, or just a life beyond the comfort of our walls. And I have to have the courage to trust life and myself again, resurrecting from the wreck.

I look for the light. I long for it and my looking and longing are finally turning into something stronger. I am more willing to fight for it- to fight against they dying of the light and this takes courage.

May our New Year be filled with more light and more courage as we live our days,

The Soul Reporter

Gotta Do It.

Good thoughts will produce good actions and bad thoughts will produce bad actions. Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love. ~Buddha

 

“They” say write what you know. I will add—write what you don’t know, but desire to know. I also say, write what you experience. This is what I do here at The Soul Reporter, and specifically I am going to begin to focus in on what I experience day-to-day—somewhat of a new focus here at The Soul Reporter. 

Daily, I am with kids (our future)—middle-schoolers—my own and the ones I work with who have been labeled by the education system with various learning disabilities and also EBD (emotional/behavioral disorder).

I remember our daughter, Lilli’s third grade teacher telling us she wasn’t reading like the other children. I recall the day I sat in a room with teachers, psychologists and specialists telling me she had a learning disability (unspecified).

Tonight at dinner, Lilli told me a special ed teacher pulled out a group of kids to take a test in Social Studies. Lilli said, “And I wasn’t one of them.” It’s been a long road. Lilli now only qualifies for special education for math (frankly, at 41 I would qualify for this too). However, we aren’t out of the woods yet.

At Lilli’s last IEP (individualized education plan) meeting where she was reevaluated for services, they tested her to see if she qualified for the EBD label. She didn’t, and had she I would have protested. “They” tell you this label will allow the educators to take better care of the child’s needs. Although their intentions may be in the right place, I have seen this label also mean it is the beginning of the educational system giving up on that student.

The issue with this is many of the kids are already giving up on themselves. And, so I don’t get burnt out and give up on them, which I run the risk of daily, I am going to use this blog as an outlet and my hope it might become a resource for others. Therefore, to begin here is what I discovered today:

We must build—in small ways—toward courage, wisdom & greater self-esteem.

I worry about the kids I see who walk out of class and wander the halls. I worry about my own who asks to stay home at least once a week and skips gym class. There was a time I still worried about my own adolescent self as an adult, having constant dreams about trying to get to class but not being able to. I skipped most of high school. I hung out at Burger King, in cars or the grocery store—anywhere but class.

It remains one my greater regrets. It seems almost impossible to have a 13-year old care they will regret skipping class someday. And sometimes I hope they do regret it. If they regret, it means there has been a shift in consciousness for them. If they don’t regret it, to me it means they are still lingering in old patterns. For me, skipping class was a pattern of not showing up I worked on every day I didn’t show up. Everyday, I also told myself the next day I would show up, but I rarely did.  I get that math and science and other subjects seem like a big waste of time, and maybe they are. But, showing up is a good practice, which can begin in school.  To show up is a discipline that is needed to build character, courage, wisdom and greater self-image.

It is why I use the quote from Buddha above. The bad thoughts we have about ourselves as teenagers can be so severe our actions make us hide and act out negatively. This, when practiced continuously will weave us into a life we may or may not get out of. I did. I went onto college. Not necessarily for the degree, although it helped me get my current job, but to show myself I could do well in school.  I made the B honor roll every semeseter. I showed myself I wasn’t dumb. I learned my issue wasn’t brain power, it was a lack of using my inner power.

It helps me to relate to the kids in this way—to see they lack confidence. Because this seems like something, which can be worked with. For instance, Lill still asks me to order for her at restuarants. She lacks the confidence to look the waitress in her eye and tell her what she wants. I asked her today to consider doing small things, like order for herself. Doing these small things daily (and she may need to start even smaller) will work her inner courage. These small things will eventually be what increases the inner power she already has and will be a great power, which can and will move her beyond negative thoughts, and therefore negative actions.

If you find this topic helpful, please pass this blog on to parents, educators—anyone who is interested in our future, which are these kids. Thank you.

The Soul Reporter