Reflections on Attitude

Made to Live Fully with Love, Joy, and Laughter As I reflect on some difficulties I am experiencing, I have asked myself a simple question:  Will this matter for eternity?  Some things we stew about or let bug us are not significant.  I realized I need to focus on what matters most in my life and ignore critics who just want to air negative vibes.  Some people will misjudge us and never accept us.  Sometimes our heartfelt intentions can be perceived differently from why we made a decision.   So, after having a bad week, I asked myself what brings me the deepest joy in this world.  The answer came easily, and I hope it comes easily for you also.  I want to share some basics of what gives my life value and purpose.  Thinking of such things brightens my mood and enables me to shut down the surrounding negatives that can drag my spirit down.   First of all, a strong sense of family including my aging parents, brothers, children, and spouse fulfill my heart.  I had an

Healthy Mind from the Farm

Healthy Mind Went back the farm where I grew up this weekend.  Had a wonderful time with much excitement.  Sunday morning.  My parents' home has a false ceiling in the dining room and living room.  This ceiling has been there at least 55 years.  It has looked stylish in its time with the block pieces lowering the actual ceiling for a homey look.  However, there has been a drawback to the ceiling.  Due to living on the farm, mice tend to get into the walls of the century old home.  The mice get between the false ceiling and real ceiling, then chew holes in the block pieces.   Sunday morning, my dad found a large hole chewed in the dining room ceiling and a mouse running all through the dining room, then kitchen.  The house was abuzz with hoops and hollers as the men chased after the scurrying mouse.  They got the mouse cornered in a hallway that led to outdoors.  My mom, daughter, older brother, and I were all scared of the mouse and didn't want to have anything
Childhood Play When my children were in elementary school, our house was the house where several neighborhood children gathered after school.  Often, children were in our yard for four evenings a week.  As the neighbors were over, I listened to the games and play that kept the children engaged for hours at a time.  What I heard with particular newly created games was a give-and-take of negotiating about what the rules are.  They patiently spoke and compromised on how to follow the game.   The games could be anything from snow fights, hide-and-seek, tag, Star Wars, or anything they wanted to create.  My son and his friend thoroughly discussed possibilities of winning and defeat.  There were things that were not okay such as hitting, kicking....   Imaginative play was a constant part of the time at our house.  We had a long driveway, so the children made up hopscotch games (a bit varied from the real game). They also created a sidewalk chalk town and drove the pedal toys
Childhood Play vs. Bullying When I grew up, we played lots of cops and robbers, tag, hide and seek with cousins, siblings, friends. We teased each one another, laughed, and played by the rules. No one whined or griped because they were teased since they also dished out some fun-loving teasing, chasing, and pranks. My younger brother was all part of this youthful experience-he was NEVER excluded. However, I have noticed that some young people want to tease and target another person with fun-loving an tics, yet they want to be "untouchable." It is okay in their minds to "go after" their peers, yet can't handle when the tables are turned. This behavior can become an imbalance of power, otherwise bullying. My message is that often the person who displays this behavior and can't take any back wants power. Young people learn social skills through play. Fairness where everyone plays by the rules is a life skill for ALL. If one continues getting by with the po

Social Skills for Disabilities

Social Skills for Disabilities Since graduation passed for my son, I thought back to the day when my brother, who is now 45 years old, graduated from his class.  The day was one of great celebration because he was born when society didn't know the potential of those with Down syndrome.  Children were often put in institutions.  As I reflect back, I was a big sister who was a naive and oblivious to society's perspective of culture back then.  Years later, I had have many conversations with people who informed me of the devastation and shame that went with having a child with a disability.  Often, parents would be apologetic about a child and say the child wasn't right.  However, parents had a choice how to respond to having a child with a disability.   When I was out in the teaching profession, I attended my brother's graduation.  By this time in my life, I understood the significance of such achievement and accomplishment for him.  The teachers and staff w

Boy with Autism teaches me

This week has been a huge learning experience for me.  I am leading a class for vacation Bible school at our church, and I have 21 students.  I take these young children around to different stations such as crafts, Bible time, games, snacks, and music.  I have one student who has autism.  I have been learning about this young boy, but I do know from my education background that not all children with the same disability fit neatly into a box.  Each person with autism is an individual with specific abilities and strengths.  However, I wanted to share what I learned and what worked for me. 1. I learned Tim (I changed his name for privacy) is very observant and hangs back as the large group is doing a music activity.  I encourage him to join, and he stays nearby but distant.  He takes in everything that is going on.  When he didn't want to participate, I asked him to let me know if the children were doing what they were supposed to do and report back to me.  Tim let me know everythin

Graduation Day

Above:  My brother's graduation over 25 years ago. Graduation Day My son graduated today with high honors for academics.  He is the first one of my two children to graduate and go off to college to study engineering in three months.  People ask how I am feeling.  I tell them I am so happy for my son that I'm not sad yet.  Perhaps, the day he leaves for college, I will feel differently.  However, I'm so thrilled to see him develop his gifts and talents and pursue his dreams.  He may have detours to his goals, but he is ready to conquer those academic pursuits.  How can I be sad about that?  I didn't raise him to selfishly keep him with me forever.  It has been an exciting journey watching him become his own person.  This graduation reminded me of one over 25 years ago.  My younger brother received a diploma at his high school graduation.  The day he walked in with the other seniors who he had been friends with since kindergarten was so momentous.  He walk