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.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Can I Say Something? Allowing Your Kids to Speak Freely (Sort of...)

We've always wanted our home to be a place where our children can come to us with any and everything that's on their heart.  Well,  something must be going right.

My son came to us today and said some things that were on his heart.  He mentioned that he felt I come down too hard on him when it comes to work ethic.  He also spoke of other things, such as how he compares to other students in his class and even race.  Although I wish we didn't have to have the conversation, I thought it was very insightful and productive.  

We talked it through using Biblical principles, personal experiences, and expertise.  When all was said and done, my wife and I appreciated him so much for opening up and letting us know how he was feeling.  He's actually pretty good at doing that.  I could learn some lessons from him.

I must remember that allowing them to talk and not shutting them down is so important.  It builds their esteem.  It allows them to feel appreciated and in some ways, important.  What could have happened if he never spoke up?  Even more, what would be some repercussions if we didn't allow him to open up?  The Bible gives a clear explanation for this: Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21 NLT) 

Dads, let them talk.  Give them that window to freely open up and express themselves.  Yes, they must be respectful even when they express.  But even when they aren't, it opens the opportunity to give clear direction with firmth (firmness and warmth). I literally had to shut my mouth and allow him to speak his feelings.  I had to let go of my machismo and see this side of him.  I love him all the more now. 

Consider this:
How do you create an open forum for your children? Think about it.

I'm NOS...