Feb 24, 2013

The knife in our mouths

We were leaving church this morning when my daughter repeated something another girl said to her in Sunday School.
It was stunningly, breathtakingly mean, involving my daughter's appearance. My jaw dropped.
"What did you say to her?" I asked.
"I just smiled and said, yup, and I'm proud of it." She shrugged. "It doesn't really bother me. She didn't say it in a mean tone. She probably didn't even realize what she'd said."

My daughter is thirteen, the age when the knives in girls' mouths begin delivering lethal blows with precision. And I seriously doubted the other girl was as innocent as my daughter wanted to believe.

"Well, next time someone says something so awful to you, repeat it back," was my advice. "And then ask her how that makes her feel."

She shrugged again. "I don't want to stoop to her level."

!!! Is this my daughter? Part of my heart melted. She gets that generous nature from her dad's side of the family for sure. 

The other part of my heart hardened. My own mouth is full of sheathed knives ready to be thrown at the smallest provocation. It's an impulse I've worked hard to control...but one that served me well in middle school.  Using words like a skewer can be a protective skill. Nobody messed with me more than once.

"When someone is so naively rude, they must be corrected," I said. "It's like having your fly down - nobody wants to walk around with such a faux pas all day. Not only are you sticking up for yourself, you're doing a public service. Hopefully that girl will think twice before unleashing an unkind remark again."

"But, Mom, we're supposed to turn the other cheek," my daughter said. "We were in church, remember?"

I've thought about that all day. And I'm conflicted. Yes, as Christians we are supposed to love our enemies, etc.

But does loving our enemies include NOT correcting horrible behavior from others? What do you think?

Feb 15, 2013

Friday funnies- Feb. 15

Bonus points for guessing my favorite line in this video in the comments:


From @[205344452828349:274:George Takei] and @[220779885077:274:The Oatmeal].
That's it, all staircases should come with optional slides on the side! 
Top Posts on 9Gag this Week!  : http://goo.gl/ZiIMe

Meet @[302896416450257:274:WellDoneStuff.Com]
Sent to me by a student.
Have a great weekend!

Feb 10, 2013

Becoming real

After sixteen years in portables, the school where I teach moved into new classrooms last week.
The addition is attached to our gym/office building, which means I was front-and-center watching the construction. My room was right next to the new hallway and it was great to see each stage: the walls go up, the sheet rock hung, painted, the carpet installed. Anyone who's build a house can relate... think of 250 of us anticipating moving in! Our students and their parents were elated and showed up in droves last week to help us move. We moved almost everything - seven classrooms plus a library - in one night and had classes in the new building the next morning. Talk about enthusiasm!

But it was nothing compared to the staff. Years of enduring frozen or burst pipes, wonky heaters, sticky doors, uneven floors, zero storage, poor lighting, constant dust meant a clean classroom with built-in storage and new bathrooms was like heaven. And my own room - although not in the new wing but new to me - is twice as big as the room I left. I was teaching in the old library, complete with shelving pushed to the sides. There was barely room to turn around when my students were in class. Now I have a real desk. With plants! And pretty pictures on my walls! I can walk between  desks without bumping into someone! 

"It's like we're a real school," one of my colleagues told me. Now, the charter school where I teach is one of (if not the) top schools in our district when it comes to test results. Our staff has won numerous awards and many of them are pioneers in the field of education in our state. We have a waiting list of students dozens long for each grade level.

Yet it took a building to make them feel real. Like they'd finally arrived. Validated.

I felt validated as a writer back when I was getting paid to write. And even then, I had my doubts. "You're a journalist?" one woman asked me once when I was covering a story. "Isn't that what people do who can't get published?"
Ouch. And here I'd thought I was getting published...

Four years later, do I still feel validated? Sometimes. Do I feel like a real writer? *stares at huge rejection letter pile* Yup.

How about you? When did you feel you were a real writer?

Feb 8, 2013

Friday funnies - Feb. 8

This is more cool than funny. It's long but if you watch two minutes you'll see the coolest part...

Except this doesn't work if you're a teacher:


Have a great weekend!