February 2009


Since the last time I posted a blog, my boy has been really shining at school, and at home.  How blessed are we, to have a great school, and resources available to assist kids like Maxx to achieve all they can.  I know it’s not always the case, and I’ve advocated diligently for my son, and I’m so pleased to see the results.

Maxx is actually enjoying school, the recent parent teacher interviews were a delight, with all of his teachers telling me what a pleasure he is to have in their classroom.

So, why is my heart aching?

Not for my child today.  

I’m still shedding tears over the news I read yesterday in the New York Times about the horrors facing girls in Pakistan who simply want to go to school.  Last month the ghastly creatures that call themselves men, shut down with violent force all the schools that are educating girls.   Women aren’t even allowed to go the market, the Taliban are insisting that men shop for them.

How this barbaric sort of insanity can exist on our planet today is beyond my comprehension.  

And yet, it does.  …..and I am unable to simply shift to another page on my Mac, and forget about yesterday’s story.  It haunts me, and has since I read Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s amazing New York Times Bestseller; Three Cups of Tea.  

Reading that book, I was uplifted, realizing that someone like Mortenson would risk his life, and sacrifice so much in order to ensure that children in Pakistan receive the education they deserve.  

But there is still so much to do.  

If you’d like to find out more:

 http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/02/22/world/asia/1194838044017/class-dismissed-in-swat-valley.html 

…may open your heart, the way it did mine.  

And then if you’re wondering, what can I do, visit http://www.threecupsoftea.com  – read the book, share the book, and perhaps send them some money, or do some fundraising to benefit the important work they’re doing.

 

3ctcoversmall

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teacher

I don’t know who stresses more about this ritual, me or Maxx.

As the dreaded day approaches, I watch my son becoming increasingly agitated as he begins to characterize the teachers he’s having challenges with.   This week he’s been getting allies – having his friends support his assertions that one of his teachers is being unfair with him and others in the class.  Apparently she’s even cursing at the students when her frustrations rise.  

The parent/teacher interviews provide a parent with ten minutes to address any concerns.  

Not a lot of time when there’s big issues to address.  

I’ve been reflecting the past few days on what qualities make a good teacher.  This morning I googled good teacher bad teacher and was amazed:

Results 11 – 20 of about 19,100,000 for good teachers bad teachers. (0.23 seconds) 

NINETEEN MILLION possible pages to review!!  Hot topic for a lot of parents and students.  …and administrators.  

I’ve been doing my best to focus on supporting Maxx to be the best student he can be, but how does a parent deal with a teacher who obviously is just not cut out for the job?  

I’m going to go into tomorrow’s interviews as calm as I can be, focusing on listening deeply to this particular woman’s take on my son’s participation in her classroom, and then….I dunno.   I’ll figure it out from there.

img_13231Maxx:  valuing beauty, nature, a stunning sunset.

Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed about values.  I’m in a coaching process with Andrea at Kyosei Consulting:  www.kyoseiconsulting.com and attended a workshop this week with Richard Barrett of Barrett Values Centre http://www.valuescentre.com and what I’m learning is that clarity of values guides thinking, informs decision making, helps to align relationships.

All in all – knowing, understanding and living by your values is pretty darn important.

So, I’ve been obsessing a bit.  Have I been imparting my values in parenting Maxx?  Have I been helping him establish his own set of ‘good’ values?  I want him to have good values, because I’m learning, the more I dive into this that there are values that are not so good.  

I mean really – what set of values have the ‘masters of the Financial Universe’ been operating from?  And did their moms screw up?  Their moms are likely joining them on those obscenely indulgent trips to overpriced resorts on the lavishly appointed private planes.  What I learned from Richard this week is that values have a tendency to influence organizations from the ‘top down’ so maybe it’s mom’s fault.  

Or maybe, all over the USA, moms are sitting in their suburban living rooms, heads in hands, asking themselves the question, “What sort of values did I impart in my parenting for this to happen?”

As much as I try to live in the moment with Maxx, I also find myself projecting into the future a lot these days wondering what sort of adult he’s going to grow into.  Will he be self sufficient?  Will he be caring and considerate?  Will he be a good husband, a good partner, a good employer (mom can hope), or a good employee (nothing wrong with that!), a decent parent?  

I’ve been trying to kind of casually, without pulling out a flipchart at the dinner table, chat about values pretty much whenever I have his undivided attention lately.  Which means I’m driving him places a lot.  

We actually had a pretty good conversation yesterday on the chairlift before he blew me off to go snowboarding with his buddies.  

What I see in my teenage son is that he holds pretty strong values around the importance of family.  He jumps at the chance to visit with cousins, will get on the phone with grandma for a long chat, shows respect to both his parents, and both his step-parents and adores his step-brothers and half brother.  

When we’re in downtown Vancouver, I watch him dig into his pocket and hand off his entire allowance to anyone sitting on a sidewalk with a cup below their hanging, dejected face. 

He’s gaining a sense of pride in achievement, and seems to be valuing his educational process as much as the social life he enjoys so much at school.

He’s a loyal friend.  ….and he has a lot of friends.  

But there’s a few glimmers here and there that I still have some work to do in this area.  We’re struggling a bit with honesty and his (culture’s) sense of entitlement.  I don’t know how to fully address this as a parent and keep reading, consulting professionals, searching other blogs, harping at him about it, and just generally fretting about this one.  

When I witness my boy making decisions that are dishonest, I can’t help but ask myself, “What sort of example am I setting, that allowed this to happen?”

As I study more about the importance of values within corporate and government structures, I keep looking at my family unit and wondering, “am I getting it right?”

You can find previous posts at:  http://whitelightcommunities.gaia.com/blog