Call It What It Is….

It seems to be an epidemic. You hear about it on the news. You hear about it in newspapers. You hear about it in magazines. Authors write books on it; psychologists write articles about it. News reporters share stories about it.

And yet….do we even know what it means?

According to our good friend, Webster, bullying means to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person) : to act like a bully toward (someone): to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force.

As a society, we need to watch our language. The word bullying encompasses so much now that it has nearly lost its meaning. Society is trying to generalize bullying, pack it all up into one big box, tie a ribbon on it, and call it done. But, it’s not that easy! The broad definition is a problem–and the temptation to label kids “bullies” isn’t particularly helpful. Very few kids are bullies all the time. We all play roles. Not all kids are bullies, but almost every kid (and adult) loses her temper and/or turns her back on a friend at some point. Instead, talk about the behavior. We give kids a chance to learn when we label behavior what it is: rude, disrespectful, dishonest, cruel. If we say instead, “You’re a bully…” we’ve done a disservice to them, their communities, and the kids they’ve targeted, because we’ve simply labeled them without addressing the behavior — and that label sticks for a long, long time.

In order to be bullying, it should have the following three things: hurtful, purposeful and repeatedly. I think the third one is the most critical. You can hurt someone’s feelings, perhaps even try to hurt their feelings, but it’s not bullying if it only happens once. There’s being unkind and then there’s bullying. Both need to be dealt with and be corrected, but bullying crosses the line from “normal, though negative children’s behavior” to “unacceptable” for us.

Well, I’ll be 100% honest. I have been in the schools for over 100 days this year, and I have only witnessed (TRUE) bullying ONE TIME!! ONE TIME in over 100 days, and I work with students now, all day, everyday….yes, I understand (and am not denying the fact) it happens, but my students are rarely without a teacher present. In fact, I can’t really think of a time (except maybe in the bathroom) where the students are not with a teacher (and even then a teacher is standing right outside the bathroom because students are not allowed to go to the restroom by themselves).

In my opinion, it’s not an epidemic (in our school)—our society is MAKING it one. An epidemic is something that it excessively prevalent; and to me, I don’t see it. Now, as mentioned above, I do see countless acts of unkindness, but not bullying. So, where does it come from?

1.)    Parents

I know; I am an excellent parent (because I am not one). Yes, I understand this is only my opinion, and I can say these things because I am not a parent, but….with that said.

If you want to call it bullying, that’s fine. You can even say that it’s a problem in society. But, it always has been (although I’m pretty sure we didn’t call it that when I was in school). We, as children/teenagers, were given the proper tools to handle it without thinking our world was going to end! We were taught, by our parents, to cope when things didn’t go our way. We were taught, by our parents, to buck up, to face the fact that life was not fair and to deal with it! We were given the tools to know that not all people are nice, and it doesn’t have to affect us, a person. We were also given the tools to know not to do the same thing to others (Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:9). And our parents were OUR PARENTS, not OUR FRIENDS!

We didn’t have parents up at the school, griping at our teachers to “fix it.” (We don’t get mad at the dentist when our children have cavities, so why do we get mad at teachers when our children fail a test or fail to turn in homework). Wake up, parents! Be a parent! Teach your child that the world is not centered on their happiness and stop trying to RESCUE your child! (Sorry, but it’s true)—

The children in our culture need to know that the world does not revolve around them. I have written about this before, but it bothers me that people say a family only exists when a couple has children. Paul and I are a family, and we do not have children. If we do ever have children, our children will join our already existing family, so they have to adapt to us (not the other way around). Our world spun before the baby ever came will continue to spin, despite having a baby.

Parents, please stop coddling your children. They are not fragile; they can (and will) break at some point….let them fall, let them fail.

Children need to be taught to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Like I mentioned above, children need to take responsibility for test grades and/or homework. In our district, I think they give WAY TOO MANY second chances! The kids get chance after chance to turn in homework or complete missing work—it’s a little ridiculous, if you ask me. When I was in school, if you didn’t turn in your work when it was due, you had one extra day to turn it in (for an automatic 70) or you earned a zero-that’s it, no exceptions! Shifting blame to someone else (a teacher, a sibling, a fellow classmate, a parent) does nothing and is a habit that, if continued, will be hard to break as an adult.

As parents, to a certain extent, you determine your child’s personality. Yes, I know they are born a certain way (Jeremiah 1:5), uniquely created by God, but you mold and shape who they become. If we, as adults, teach our children, discipline our children, and show them how to respect others, they will grow up to know and understand what it means to submit to authority and treat each other with kindness.

Speaking on authority, children need to be taught that parents, teachers, principals, policemen, church leaders, etc. are not out to make their lives miserable. Authority figures do not wake up every day thinking of ways to call out or discipline children. (I think some of the kids in our school think that, but it’s not true). So, if we teach our kids to UNDERSTAND authority and to obey those who are trying to PROTECT them and do what is BEST for them, life will ultimately be a lot more enjoyable for them. When kids realize they don’t run the show and they aren’t allowed to do whatever comes into their rapidly moving brains, they’ll make more responsible choices.

2.)    Schools

I am about to start my 4th straight week of teaching all day, every day. I have given this particular speech several times to my P.E. classes. And it goes something like this….

“You don’t have to be friends with everybody. You don’t even have to like everybody in your class, but you need to be respectful. You need to show a little kindness. If someone is bothering you, walk away. You don’t have to hang out with the same people every day. Find somewhere else to play. Everyone has a bad day, now and then. Everyone has a day when they just don’t feel good or someone else has hurt their feelings, so they are taking out on you. You may not agree with everything someone says or does. Learn to ignore and walk away. You don’t have to be involved in EVERY conversation, in EVERY class, in EVERY situation. Sometimes it’s better if you walk away, so you don’t get in trouble later for something that might happen. You don’t have to like everyone, but you are to be mean, rude, or unkind to no one.”

In my opinion, we (parents/teachers/administrators) have taught our children (in the schools) to TELL THE TEACHER if anything happens. Well, goodness, that drives me crazy!! It’s all I hear all day long…..tattle-telling.

  • ·         “He’s looking at me!”
  • ·         “He’s bothering me!”
  • ·         “He won’t stop talking!”
  • ·         “He’s touching my book!”
  • ·         “He’s kicking the chair leg!”

The counselor at our school told me something a couple of weeks ago that I really have tried to implement in my area (P.E.). There’s a difference between tattling and telling.

I ask….”Are you tattling?” (Usually the answer is yes, and they walk away before the words ever come out of their mouth!)”

Tattling is telling on someone to get them into trouble and telling (or reporting) is telling about something to help someone keep out of trouble.

Nine times out of ten kids are tattling because they want to get someone in trouble not because they are trying to keep someone out of trouble!

We (parents/teachers/administrators) have also taught our children to ASK FOR HELP if they don’t understand something. Well, goodness, this drives me crazy, too! If I’m in the regular classroom, it’s all I hear all day…..

  • “What do I do?”
  • “I don’t understand.”
  • “I don’t get it.”

My response: “Read the directions!”

Students need to make a concerted effort to TRY before I will even help them!! This isn’t being mean; it’s teaching them to at least attempt to solve the problem/question themselves before just giving up and asking for help. If we answer every question or explain every direction, we are enabling them. And this will lead to a life-long struggle of never learning to do anything on their own, and that’s a hard road to walk, as an adult!

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So, all of this to say….I realize the world is unkind. I live in it, too. In fact, Christ calls us to live IN the world, just to not be a part OF the world (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). God calls us to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) so that we may live and love the Lord and obey His voice.

I do realize the reason why some people act the way they do (label it “bullying” if you want to), say the things they say (using unkind words), and do the things they do (object authority)  is because they do not have Christ as a part of their life. But, I will say….I know MANY PEOPLE who claim to follow Christ who still act like jerks, so it’s not as “black and white” as you may seem.

Abraham Lincoln spoke wise words when he said, “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt.”

And I will leave you with this….

“The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.”

A Weekend Visit

This weekend my parents came for a little visit; they haven’t been here since we moved into our duplex (back in July). The primary reason they were coming was to hear Paul preach at church (Tim is out of town)….but we also decided to drive over to the Painted Churches in/around Schulenberg. I had never heard of them, but mom said she had heard of several people talking about the Painted Churches, so we went to see them. It is basically a collection of old Catholic churches, mostly built in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s that are “painted” on the inside, as well as having these immaculate sculptures inside.

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I did go inside a couple of the confessionals, just to see what they looked like. I came out pretty quickly and my dad commented, “Well, you weren’t in there very long!” My reply, “I’m perfect; didn’t see a reason to stay in too long, if I have nothing to confess!” 🙂

This sign was in one of the confessionals.

CAM02989After we got from Schulenberg, we went out to eat. Mom and Dad WERE going to stay in a hotel in Giddings (we don’t have an extra bed), but the three “GOOD” hotels in Giddings were all FULL, so they ended up staying with us!!! It was certainly unplanned, but it really worked out fine, despite not having an extra bed and only one shower!

Paul did a good job preaching this morning, talking about choosing joy, in all circumstances!

IMG_20140316_155417His sermon was based on James 1:2-4

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He didn’t think he did too well, but most of the time, we are our own worst critics! Everyone at church was very complimentary of him and enjoyed bragging on us to my parents!

My parents left about 1:30, and we enjoyed our Sunday afternoon naps!!

Back to school tomorrow! 🙂

 

Spring Break 2014

I REALLY enjoyed the aspect of Spring Break this year. Last year, I subbed at GISD, but my schedule was not full enough to really have Spring Break effect me. But this year, I was really looking forward to it.

We didn’t do much, other than a couple of day trips to Bastrop, Brenham, and College Station, but I enjoyed just taking it easy in the mornings and NOT having to get up at 6:15AM each morning! (I’m writing this, by the way, at 12:00-MIDNIGHT-knowing I have to get up in 6 hours, but I’m just not tired)!

Here are just a few pictures from the week–

Last Saturday I woke up and was hungry for pancakes. So, Paul, being the wonderful husband, went out in the RAIN–he wanted me to point that out–and got pancakes and bacon! And then he cooked for me!

The best husband ever....

The best husband ever….

On Tuesday we had to go to Brenham, so we stopped at Starbucks….I was bored in the car, so I just took a couple of pictures.

my new favorite picture of myself....

my new favorite picture of myself….

just chillin' in the Starbucks parking lot

just chillin’ in the Starbucks parking lot

On Thursday I got a pedicure, using a gift certificate that I got for my birthday back in August!

pedicure!

pedicure!

Friday we went to College Station and just ran some errands. Friday night was preparing for my parents to come visit this weekend!

LongTerm Sub. Job

Well, it’s March 10th, and I finally have time to sit down and write….trust me, blog posts (ideas, thoughts, excerpts)  have been rolling around in my head for the last two weeks, but alas, no time to sit down and think.

For no other reason, except my own (in order to remember), I’ll backtrack a little bit and talk about my current situation at school.

Right before I went to Illinois some stuff went down (too much to explain) at the Intermediate School, and I was asked if I would be interested in a long-term “sub. job” teaching P.E. everyday from Feb. 24th-April 4th. Well, the problem with that is P.E. is only 1/2 day ($30.00 a day) as opposed to a full-day of subbing, which is $60.00 a day. I told the secretary I wasn’t really interested because, financially, that doesn’t work for me. I would have to give up FULL DAY sub. jobs because I was doing HALF DAYS everyday. So, my proposal was….”If you can make it into a full-day, I’ll do it.”

So, while I was in Illinois, the secretary called me and offered me the position, all day, everyday….I would do P.E. in the afternoons and then “random” stuff in the mornings. I decided to take it and do a “trial run” for two weeks, from February 24th-March 7th. (We are on Spring Break now, so I thought a two-week “trial run” would be a good idea, just to see if I could do it and then decide if I wanted to commit to the remaining 3 weeks).

Well, the 2 weeks have been HARD, REWARDING, EXHAUSTING, FRUSTRATING, etc….I can’t really explain my emotions around it, other than that, being at  the school as a “teacher” is SO MUCH DIFFERENT than being a “substitute” teacher….

The first week the kids had a HARD TIME adjusting to me being their “teacher” and not just a “sub.”–they kept asking over and over again….are you going to teach us today? (they asked me that everyday for about 4 days, no matter how many times I told them I was permanent and they would have me EVERYDAY). On the other hand, I had a rough time adjusting to the other teachers….Because of my schedule I eat lunch at the same time as the 4th grade teachers–let’s just say I have eaten with the 4th grade teachers before (because I’ve subbed at the Int. School a lot) but it’s never been this bad–I ate lunch with the 4th grade teachers ONE TIME and that was it–I couldn’t do it anymore. They were so catty, so judgmental of the administration, so crabby…I just couldn’t handle it. (If I don’t have to be around such negativity, I won’t).  So, the week of February 24th, from Tuesday-Friday, I ate my lunch in the library….alone. (It was much better that way).

Just a little side story: one day this past week, I went into the teacher’s lounge to eat (I HAD TO because they were having the Book Fair in the library). Anyway, I got “talked to” because I was sitting in another teacher’s chair. Really?!? I didn’t think we had assigned seats in the teacher’s lounge (and, for the record, that particular teacher wasn’t even IN the teacher’s lounge when I was in there)–needless to say, I just heated up my food and left.

The second week I still had a very frustrating week with the other teachers. It’s such a different dynamic because on one hand: I am just a substitute, so I don’t know anything. But, on the other hand, I am a teacher now and not just a substitute. There’s such a “gray” area involved in there–I’m still trying to find my place.

I am a very detailed-oriented person. I am a planner. I want to know what’s going on–anything that is different from the normal schedule, I want to know. So….I ask. I ask the Principal, I ask the Asst. Principal, I ask the Counselor, I ask the Secretary. I ASK!! And, I know the details, I know the schedule, I know what’s going on…..(despite NOT being on the e-mail list or the “Daily Buff Notes” list–I know these things because I take the time to find out)!! This past Friday we had a different schedule than normal because the 4th graders had an assembly they had to go to at 12:30. Well, their P.E. time starts at 12:21–by the time I got them, got them settled down and ready for our activity, it would’ve been time for them to go to the assembly. So, I worked it out with the Asst. Principal (and she wrote an e-mail to the 4th grade teachers on the TUESDAY before) that the teachers, themselves, would take them to the assembly themselves and they would not even come to P.E. Well, all hell broke loose at 12:21 when the teachers were getting upset with me because I wasn’t picking up their kids for P.E.–they had NO IDEA what was going on…..I tried to relay the message of the schedule that had been worked out, but they acted like they had no idea what was going on. So, I went to go find the Asst. Principal, for her to help me explain what was going on–she just couldn’t believe they were acting so clueless! Her response, “They do KNOW. They’ve known since Tuesday. They just don’t READ!!”

And that’s just ONE example of how the teachers get upset with me because I know what’s going on and they don’t!! It’s not my fault–“don’t shoot the messenger!” 😉

But, even after my long two weeks, I decided to go ahead and finish out the three weeks, until April 4th. I don’t have a reason NOT to do it–I can’t say “no” just because it’s hard…and besides, I don’t want to put the school in that predicament. So, I’ll stick it out….

On April 7th, the P.E. teacher will come back and I’ll go back to just doing “regular” sub. jobs (although I am subbing P.E. on April 8th, April 10th, April 16th, April 29th, and a few days in May)….so, I’ll still be in there quite a bit.

The one thing that really makes me stay is the office staff-the secretary, the principals, and the counselor make it worth it! They are so good to me, always treating me with respect, asking my opinions, communicating with me, etc. That’s what makes it worth it!

But, here’s to Spring Break–here’s to NO ALARMS for the week, as well as no yelling at the kids to sit down and be quiet! My opinions on teacher 4th/5th grade will be in another post!! 🙂

 

Disciple Now 2014

Well, another Disciple Now is in the books….

Here’s Disciple Now 2012 and here

Here’s Disciple Now 2013

Last year we had DNow March 1st-3rd. Well, 363 days later, we had it again! (So, thanks, Paul–363 days to prepare for this years; how many days until next years?!)

Here is Disciple Now 2014 via pics! (It’s the easiest way to share)….

The group on Friday night....

The group on Friday night….

Melissa coloring

Melissa coloring

Adyson and Madison

Adyson and Madison

Taylor and Paige

Taylor and Paige

Paul and Melissa

Paul and Melissa

Madison tie-dying her shirt

Madison tie-dying her shirt

Walker, Madison, and Sharon

Walker, Madison, and Sharon

Paul tie-dying his shirt

Paul tie-dying his shirt

Paige, Taylor, and Melissa on the 1st night  (See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil)

Paige, Taylor, and Melissa on the 1st night
(See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil)

enjoying some peace and quiet while the girls slept in-

enjoying some peace and quiet while the girls slept in-

Peggy and Dana

Peggy and Dana

Paige, me, Melissa, and Taylor

Paige, me, Melissa, and Taylor

Melissa "dead" from Murder in the Dark

Melissa “dead” from Murder in the Dark

playing "Never Have I Ever..."

playing “Never Have I Ever…”

Afternoon activities

Afternoon activities

Saltine Cracker Challenge

Saltine Cracker Challenge

Aubrey is enamored by "Pa-Paul"

Aubrey is enamored by “Pa-Paul”

Free Time Worship

Free Time Worship

Walker coloring "one-armed"

Walker coloring “one-armed”

"One-armed" coloring contest

“One-armed” coloring contest

Dana and me

Dana and me

 

Paul and me

Paul and me

Madison and me

Madison and me

Domnick and Jasmine

Domnick and Jasmine

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The whole group
Disciple Now 2014

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