Saturday, October 11, 2014

When Life (or a Deer) Hits You Hard

It was a beautiful day. We just left a friend's house celebrating their son's  high school graduation.We are in our Toyota Highlander heading home for the evening on 495. Cruising around 55 miles an hour, with no worries and no cares. Out of the blue, a huge deer runs in the middle of the highway and runs smack dab on the right side of the car. I did not see it until it was right there. It hit us so hard, we lost control of the car. We killed the deer instantly; I watched it slide on its side from the middle lane all the way over to the median.  I swerved to the left and I swerved to the right trying to regain control. At this moment God gave my wife a sense of calm and she told me, "Relax". We gained control and pulled over to the side of the road. The entire front right side was jacked up! The car was undrivable. 

What's the point?

I don't know if there is ever a moment in our life, especially in parenting, that I should get comfortable. In fact if life is cruising very well, I should turn on the headlights and look out for the unexpected. That deer was the unexpected. But maybe yours is the quick financial crisis, or your washing machine stopped working in the middle of the week, or your son is diagnosed with a disease.  Please don't get me wrong, life is supposed to be enjoyed. Yet, life does have the unexpected. And as parents I just want us to be prepared for anything. Even for when a deer hits us in the middle of 495.

Hit me back if you can relate. I am N0S.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Uggghhhh--Read a book?!? This time with a Solution.

It was almost this time last year I wrote about how my boys would rather go outside, or play on the Wii, or sweep instead of reading a book.  Please, don't get me wrong.  They are highly intelligent kids who do very well in school.  They just believe (as probably do many other kids) that the summer is a time to chill. 

Well, the books are back.  Due to higher grade levels, their books are becoming more complex in ideals, focusing on the author's purpose, allegories, and a whole bunch of other facets of literature that I don't need to get into now.

Each day, I've challenged my boys to read.  They have to...and they don't want to.  It can be a challenge in the house. Well, I had this challenge yet again today.  My son had to read aloud to me.  He read in the most dismal voice imaginable, inducing thoughts of wanting to consume raw red onions and chase them with garlic cloves and prune juice.

Then, brilliance came to mind.

'Dijon, why not read with him?', I thought. Aha! (Imagine a cute, tiny gold chime bell going off.  Do you hear it?)

I sat beside him and read the next page of his book, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis using inflections and emotions. As we turned the page, I said, 'It's your turn."
Together reading Bud, Not Buddy
from his summer reading list.

OM stinkin' G! He sat up and read with enthusiasm and flair.  I heard inflections, tone control, pacing, and even laughter.  Could this be my son? Could this be the answer I've been needing?  Will this be the hook to get him reading with a desire and craving that is needed? I think so!  In fact, I even got into the chapter.  Reading the pages and watching them come alive, imagining you are there with the characters experiencing the same emotions they are...can be exhilarating.

Or at least that's what I want it to be for my little reader.  This is going to take some effort, some physical energy, and even a little sacrifice.  It just might mean turning off House of Cards for a while (I know, I know).  I can honestly say this:  he appreciated the bond shared as we read together.  Even if your children are older and don't need you to read to them, there's still the opportunity to participate in their literature.  Go to the library together and check out the same book.  Your conversations will appear more mature and relevant to events of today.

I'm NOS.  I need some water and lip balm from all this reading.

Question:  What would be the obstacles of reading to/ with your child?  Let's chat.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Determination and Seagulls

Determination is a very powerful mind tool. It drives a person to do more than he even expects to do. Although the outcome may be positive or negative, the success is in knowing there was an attempt.

Let's take my son for example. Everything about him is personally motivated. He's on a motor that is consistently turning, brewing up new ideas and concepts.  And he wants to see ALL of them happen.  He wanted to start his own business. Guess what he did? Start his own business.  He constantly asked me to allow him to cook breakfast and dinner.   Guess what he does now (sometimes)?  He cooks for not just himself, but sometimes the entire family.  Today, he wanted to go to the beach, even though it rained and rained and rained. Yet, you would never guess what he had the opportunity to do.  Yes he did.

My son at the beach enjoying the waves
that I should have been enjoying.
Not everyone is like this. In fact, there are more people who have to be encouraged, pushed, and even kicked to be at this level...all the time!  Most of us are not wired this way.

In the end, we saw a few summer raindrops on the way, a promising rainbow, and a whole bunch of seagulls flying around looking for something to eat. We sat in our lawn chairs.  I was fully dressed in blue jeans and some white Filas on the beach...unprepared...with no swim trunks...toting lawn chairs because I knew we would not be hitting the water.  If I had a little faith and drive today, I would have enjoyed the waves slapping my back instead of watching some cotton-pickin seagulls.  I guess I need a little more determination.

I'm NOS, still trying to figure this out.