I will start off by saying that yes I probably am a terrible mother for saying this, but here goes. Why on earth do we celebrate kids being proficient at school? This goes along with the whole participation trophy syndrome that we as a society encourage.
I hate to say it but life isn’t fair. Just because you try your hardest, do your best, show up every day and express great enthusiasm, you will NOT always win. Often the jerkiest people who rarely show up are the ones who win. But guess what? That’s life. It is what it is. I am not saying that you should stop trying. I am not saying to give up before even attempting. I am not saying go crawl in a hole and cry until it’s over. I am just saying that not everyone is going to win. Not everyone can be the best. Not everyone deserves to be recognized for just showing up. And that is okay. Life can still be wonderful. Life can still be celebrated. Life can still be lived even if you don’t always win.
At the girls’ school’s end of the year awards ceremony I was a bit perplexed why kids were being called up and presented certificates for being “proficient” in reading? Isn’t that why we all went to school? Isn’t the goal at the end of the year to be, at the very least, proficient and move on to the next level? Why do we celebrate kids doing what they are supposed to be doing? Learning, growing, reading, understanding math, appreciating the history of this great country – these are all things that I expect my kids to complete at school. They don’t need to be recognized for doing their job.
Yes, as kids, their job is to go to school. It’s what life is about. School is meant to set the framework for their adult lives. It’s about problem solving, learning responsibility, taking care of yourself and others. They should be figuring out how to make a budget, complete a project, work with others, be creative, treat people with respect and take care of the earth.
They should not be recognized for barely passing. They should not be recognized for meeting the minimum requirements. Those should be a given. I am not an evil monger, I know that there are kids who might never meet those minimum requirements and there should be programs in place to help them. But there are plenty of kids who have figured out that the bare minimum gets them an award. It gets them showered with praise and celebrated. This mentality is making them lazy. It’s definitely contributes to the entitlement attitude.
Some of these kids are really smart kids, yet they will never amount to much because they don’t have to. We have lowered our expectations of them, and as such they will never have to work hard for anything because we keep handing them whatever they want. By celebrating them for showing up and meeting the bare minimums we are doing them a terrible disservice. We need to be challenging them. We need to raise the expectations. We need to teach them to reach for the stars. We need to encourage them think way outside the boxes.
These kids will be in charge of our world someday. We need their ideas. We need their creativity. We need their medical cures and compassion, we need their technological breakthroughs but we will never get that from them if we continue celebrating them for just showing up. We need to challenge them to rise up and be their absolute best because they truly are the future.
As moms, we all think our kid is the coolest kid around. We find our own children to be funny, charming, caring, considerate, loving, empathetic, etc, etc, etc. But as moms who spend time with other kids, we also know that lots of kids can be jerks. They can be mean, rude, inconsiderate and obnoxious. I mean really, who do those kids belong to?
Anyway, back on track this is not about “those” kids. Today I am going to brag on my kid. I don’t normally do stuff like this. My kids are cool, funny, charming, caring, considerate, loving, empathetic, etc, etc, etc. But they can also be rude, mean, jerks too. But today the Little One falls into the “good” category. Actually most days, the Little One is in the good stuff category. She will literally give someone the shirt off her back. If she overhears you need a couple bucks, she will go to her piggy bank and hand over all that she has. When her school or church youth groups is collecting coins for different causes, she has no hesitation at all about giving all that she has away.
So today is her birthday. YAY! She is 9 years old today. As is typical, she wanted to bring treats into school to share with her entire class. Over the years, we’ve done it all. We’ve brought in cookies, donuts, cupcakes, pizza and brownies. Whatever she has been in the mood for we made happen.
Well this year, she has a kiddo in her class who is gluten-free. I should add that my niece is also gluten-free. So the Little One has tried some GF items before and not been a fan (most especially the gluten-free Toffeetastic Girl Scout cookies, they are gross). The Little One is well aware that gluten-free does not taste the same as gluten-full stuff!
So I asked her what she wanted to bring in to class for her birthday. She announced, “BROWNIES!” without hesitation. Then she paused and said, “Can you make them gluten-free so that Ian doesn’t feel left out?”
I asked for clarification. I assumed she wanted “regular” brownies for everyone else and a gluten-free one for Ian. But nope she said this:
“Mom, he always has to have something different than everyone else. He can never just eat what people bring in. I just don’t want him to be left out this time.”
Oh, my heart. This kid. She is a rockstar. So thank you Betty Crocker for having a gluten-free brownie mix that “wasn’t really that bad,” according to the Little One. And thank you Little One for just being you.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that it is Girl Scout cookie season! I know that you are probably feeling inundated with requests from cute little girls asking you to buy some Thin Mints or Savannah Smiles. We all appreciate your support of Girl Scouts nationwide. If you have not yet indulged and purchased you freezer stash of cookies or donated cash to send cookies to troops overseas, we’d like to ask for your support.
This year, the Big One is trying to sell 650 boxes. Her typical goal is 525 to earn a free week of camp (something she has achieved for the last three years!). This year she upped her goal for the opportunity to spend the night at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Now y’all know the Big One is going to be the first person to step foot on Mars. She will gladly share her plan with anyone who will listen! She wants to attend the Air Force Academy, earn her pilots’ wings and then apply to NASA, get accepted and trained, and then blast off to Mars when the Orion spacecraft is ready! She’s got it all worked out!
If you’d like to help my future astronaut earn the opportunity to sleep overnight among some of the coolest aircraft around, please help us out! If you need cookies, we will gladly deliver in San Diego. If you are out of town, we have digital cookies, where you can order cookies online or make an online donation to Operation Thin Mint. Don’t know what Operation Thin Mint is? Well watch this video and the Big One will tell you all about it.
We will also gladly accept any donations locally. Any questions, let us know!
We have these eight varieties this year. Each box is $5 each. For Operation Thin Mint, we take cash donations of any amount!
Y’all know that I am not a huge Common Core fan. I think the concept is good, however the implementation has been awful. The teachers have not been adequately equipped to succeed and as such, the kids are struggling.
One of the techniques that my girls’ school uses to help enhance reading skills is called Achieve 3000. The school pays a hefty amount for a subscription. In turn each student is given a unique user name and password to get them into the system. The kids read an online article based on their reading lexile level and then they have to answer a series of questions to gauge their understanding of the text. The questions are a mix of comprehension and fact retention. I don’t know the exact process for evaluating them but it seems that after they achieve a high enough score on a certain number of articles, they move up a level.
The Little One has struggled with reading from the get go. She is so busy that the last thing she wants to do it sit down with a paper book in her hand. She would rather be playing with her dolls, riding her scooter or playing games online. So I do think that Achieve 3000 can be good for her. It’s online, which is fun for her. The article are quick and there are a million topics that she can choose to read about.
It’s a good concept but again, the execution is the challenge. The articles are often boring. The questions are often confusing. And often there are typos in the article and/or questions.
For example this morning, the Little One was struggling with the following:
Here’s the article she read: (click the picture and it will get bigger)
And then this was one of the questions: (click the picture and it will get bigger)
How would you answer the question, based on the article?
For a child who is struggling with her reading to begin with to then be faced with a vague question she gets extremely frustrated daily. There has to be someone way smarter than me who can come up with a better program or system to help kids achieve. I am certain that I could write more interesting stuff. I think I can write better questions to gauge her comprehension of the article. And I can proofread to avoid some of the typos. So who’s got the golden ticket, so to speak, to create a better way to teach kids like mine to love reading?
Just for fun….One of many typos that I read daily when trying to help! (I know typos happen to the best of us, but it’s a program to help kids become better readers. The irony is funny! Click the picture and it will get bigger)
All parents know that as the kids get older, hiding the Christmas gifts can get harder and harder and harder. So in addition to having to search for random things on the computer in an attempt to “fool” the Amazon and Google algorithms I now know that I need to hide my phone!
So we listen mainly to Christian music in our household. AIR1 is our radio station of choice. As a result my kids love to listen to artists that many of you have probably never heard of. They like For King and Country, Lauren Daigle, Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline and their most favorite is Toby Mac.
The Husband and I have seen Toby Mac in concert a few times. Each time we go, the girls beg to go with us. We know he puts on a great show but it is crazy loud and action packed. So we wanted to wait until they got a bit older. Back in September the Hits Deep Tour was announced. Toby Mac is the headliner. The kids have heard the ads for this concert on the radio for months. And each and every time they hear the ads they ask if Toby Mac is coming to San Diego and every time they ask, I …. hedge a bit.
I put them off.
We are usually in the car and I tell them to “remind me when we get home.”
I pretend to not hear their question and quickly change the subject.
Okay, I lie. I admit it. I lie to my children.
You see the day the tickets went on sale, I was online purchasing them. Toby Mac is indeed coming to San Diego on February 28.
The Husband and I decided we would get the tickets as part of the girls’ Christmas gifts, so we needed to keep it a secret until Christmas. Did I mention we decided this back in SEPTEMBER??? So I have hedged, lied, redirected and stalled all this time. And then my stupid smart phone failed me.
We were in the car over the weekend and the ad again came on the radio. The Big One asked, “MOM! Have you checked yet to see if TOBY MAC is coming to San Diego??”
“Hmmmm,” I said. “I’m not sure I’ll check when we get home, if you remind me.”
And then the darn Little One pipes up…. “HE IS COMING! It’s in FEBRUARY!!!!”
“How do you know?” I asked trying to act surprised that she knows this information.
“MOM! I saw it on your phone. It’s on the calendar,” she says smugly.
DAMNIT! Stupid phone. Forget hiding presents in the closet or under the bed, now I have to hide my darn phone too.
We live in a jacked up world. People are dumb. People are selfish. People are rude. People are disrespectful. And that’s just what I saw today while picking up the girls from school.
It is really is beyond fathomable most days. The girls’ school does not have buses for the general population of kids. The kids either walk from the neighborhood or parents drop them off. The school is in a residential neighborhood. The school is on one side of the street (taking up a whole block) and there are houses across the street.
The street in front of the school is marked “3-minute Loading Zone” with some room at one end for the buses that pick up the medically fragile kids who attend. Then there are two small lots marked for faculty/staff. Parents are supposed to park across the street from the school or on one of the side streets surrounding the school. Sounds simple enough, huh?
Yeah, well not so much. The Big One has been at the school for going on six years now (kinder- 5th grade) and I am still shocked most days by what I see each morning at drop off and each afternoon at pick-up. It really is hard to believe that people can be so plain stupid.
They make U-turns wherever they feel like it along the block. They park in the loading zone. They park all over the faculty-staff lot (often blocking in other cars). They park in the red zone. They block the residents’ driveways. They park in the two handicapped spots without handicap placards. They stop in the middle of the street and holler for their kids to run across the traffic to where they are blocking traffic in the other direction. If it wasn’t so dangerous it would be comical.
So today, a woman whose child is wheelchair bound couldn’t park in the handicap spots because they were both full. One car had a placard, the other did not. So the woman parked in the fire lane to get her wheelchair-bound child and then went into the office to complain. The principal came out and stood by the illegally parked car waiting for the parent to return.
Once the parent returned, the principal was respectful, yet firm while educating the woman about who can use handicap parking spaces. The woman, instead of swallowing her pride and admitting her mistake (or laziness) instead used some choice words to basically tell the principal that she could park wherever the heck she wanted. At this point, the poor kid was horrified and said, “MOM! That’s the principal!” Then the mom continued her 4-letter word tirade as she drove off with her 6 or 7 year old planted in the front seat of the car! What the actual hell is wrong with people?
I should have taken a picture to add to my collection of stupidity, but I was just shocked by what I had witnessed.
So for their Bronze Award, my 5th grade Girl Scouts have decided that they are going to try to fix some of this mess. We have a traffic engineer coming to talk to the girls at our next meeting. And we’ve made friends with a police officer who has been trying to come by and educate folks individually (both verbally and in the form of tickets) about what a “3-minute Loading Zone” actually means. But I am getting worried that no amount of education, enforcement, or signage can fix the problem of stupid people. Heaven help us all!
Anyone had any luck fixing the traffic problems at their kids’ schools?