As a trained facilitator in Love and Logic, I should know better. I should know that talking less works better. Letting consequences speak for themselves is more effective than lecturing. So…I am taking a deep breath and offering some advice based on my recent mistakes.
When M. (9 year old girl) created a library in the girls’ bedroom (this involved blankets and pillows on the floor, nearly every book in the house on the bedroom floor–not a small thing. I could open a children’s bookstore.) I didn’t need to respond in exasperation. Instead of asking, “When would this ever be ok?!” Yes–I admit–I said it. I should have just let her know that I would serve dinner as soon as the mess was cleaned up. Then she would have picked up, we would have had a pleasant dinner and I wouldn’t have suffered from high blood pressure.
When K. (10 year old girl) pulled everything out of their closet and brought it all out on the floor I would have saved myself some trouble if I would have had the same expectation. That she could have free time as soon as it was cleaned up. Instead, every time I went back upstairs to check on her progress, it looked worse instead of better. No kidding! Very frustrating.
However, what Love and Logic would say is that by sparing kids from the consequences of their mistakes we rob them of a chance for learning to take place. So, I will refresh my memory and study the techniques of L & L, thereby creating a more peaceful home and more responsible kids. It’s a win-win situation!
As I sit by my mom’s bedside I’m reminded of how important it is to invest in our relationships with the ones we love on a regular basis. Don’t wait until someone is ill to call on them. Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask how someone is doing. Sometimes we take the people in our everyday lives for granted. We go on doing what we always do, going where we always go, and just keeping the routine.
What if we are intentional with our relationships each day? Call someone who means a lot to you and isn’t in your daily life. Reconnect with that loved one who meant so much to you as you were going through a tough time. Send a card to someone just to say that you’re thinking of them. You won’t regret the time and effort it took to reach out. They may appreciate it more than you know.
We look forward to Friday Family Fun Night each week. It’s pretty simple: usually a movie, popcorn and candy. The secret to a great night is the catchy name, the anticipation of a night with no set schedule…and snuggle time!
During the week we have a tight schedule of homework, dinner, bath time, story time and bed time. If we don’t start each activity by the predetermined time we don’t get children in bed by 8:00 pm. If we don’t get children in bed by 8:00 pm, they don’t get the rest they need and then it all goes downhill from there.
But on Friday nights–Friday Family Fun Night to be exact–we take the night off. We lounge together on the couch with our snacks, blankets and pillows and enjoy a good cuddle. It doesn’t cost much, but the time spent in each other’s company is priceless.
It seems that everyone is adjusting well to the new arrangements. Four biological kids, three foster kids, and two adults make for a busy household! Thankfully the kids get along very well. The four are modeling the routines and expectations for the three, so that is incredibly helpful.
There are some practical things that we anticipated would be an issue:
Hot water–we have to wait for water to heat up between showers
Shower availability–only one shower in the house is functional right now
Laundry–Nine people wearing an outfit and pj’s each day, plus bedding, towels and B’s gym clothes…yikes!
But, hey, if this is all we’re worried about–no big whoop! Nothing that a new water heater, repaired shower, and an additional washer/dryer set won’t fix! In the meantime we are trying to make sure that we are showing Christ’s love in what we’re doing. Teaching all seven love, gratitude, and kindness.
And how am I doing? I’m tired, but joyful. There is so much happiness in the house, it gives me energy when I’m running on fumes! A generous amount of coffee doesn’t hurt, either!
It’s official! We became a family of nine today after the long awaited arrival of three little darlings needing a foster home. This was a planned move, but due to new regulations in our state we had to be re-fingerprinted and our information uploaded into the new data system. Forty-six long days later and they are finally with us!
We had already established a relationship with these children over the past year. We had provided respite care for the previous family and the kids attend school in the same district in which I work. To say that it was important to us that they be able to maintain consistency by remaining in their home school district and with their friends is an understatement! On a more personal level, though, it’s hard not to fall in love with these kids. But in my opinion, if you don’t love them you’re not doing it right.
While the kids will miss the family that was their short term placement, they are excited to be here, knowing that they will continue to have visits with the previous family. Our families will trade roles by making this home and the previous family would like to be involved as grandparent figures. A win-win situation.
How did the kids handle the first day? M. said that it’s like a sleep over–but we don’t have to leave! When we said prayers she wanted to pray for a forever home. My daughter prayed that it would be ours.
Between our two families and the teachers and staff at their school, these children have a lot of people who love and care for them!
I was recently awarded the Pittsburg State University, College of Education Distinguished Service Award in administration. It was such an honor to be recognized by members of the College of Education whom I studied under and respect deeply for their guidance and leadership. I also appreciate the faculty and staff at Frontenac, USD #249 for nominating me for the award. It is a privilege to work with such an excellent faculty. What a pleasure to work in a field that I love and actually earn a living for it. I am truly blessed!
If you are interested, you can view the presentation here. My remarks are brief, but it is a window into my heart for school counseling and my students.
Looking for a place to study education or school counseling? PSU is the best!
“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1
I’m thankful for so many reasons this year. My list includes my family, my friends, my faith, and my job.
I had a particularly rewarding experience at work this week when I delivered groceries to a few families in our community. Thanks to the Alter Society that generously gives to our fund, we were able to give Thanksgiving meals to a few families who have children in our school district. I was responsible for making the deliveries this year, and I’m so glad for it. Parents were so relieved that they would be able to cook a special meal for their kids this Thanksgiving. Some even said that they had guests coming to dinner and they didn’t know how they were going to feed everyone. It was a fishes and loaves kind of moment.
In having the privilege of delivering those food baskets I was blessed so much. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve.