Category Archives: Parenting

My Truth.

When I get emotional, I don’t talk. I process. I go within and examine my pain. I ask the questions, “Why am I feeling this way?” and “What is this about?”

Three of my students have been placed in foster care. They are siblings and one has been separated and placed in another city.

After learning the details of the situation, it triggered and stirred up many memories from my abusive upbringing. I remembered my interviews with judges and CPS workers. I remembered having to go see Protective Services while they photographed my injuries and bruises. I remembered going to the judge and him granting more visitation time to my father after seeing the proof of what happened to me while I was there. I remembered being threatened by my mother if I were to call CPS on what was happening in the house with her. I remembered daydreaming about being removed from the household. I remembered feeling like I had no choice but to remain silent while the social worker questioned me at school and the therapist grilled me in the evenings once or twice weekly. I remembered my mom telling me not to discuss family business with anyone at the school. I remembered my dad telling me not to tell a soul what was happening in his house. I remembered being caught between both of them and having nowhere to go for help. I remembered being the same age as my students and having to hold all of that emotion and information within my little body and keep my mouth shut.

Thinking about how their guardian could do the things that she allegedly has done, I realized that I have had some thoughts that are extremely brutal in nature. I have had them since I was a kid. I didn’t understand at the time where they were coming from, but this situation has cleared that up for me. I remembered asking my mom to put a steak knife in my throat and spin it around when I was seven. I remembered fantasizing about being told to cut the grass with scissors. Those thoughts were unexplainable and as I got older they did not stop. I learned to push the thoughts away and choose happier ones instead. I learned to make choices and decisions that were the opposite of things my dad would have done. I have become the parent that my parents never were. However, until this crisis arose, I never realized how much mental and emotional healing work I had to do in order to accomplish that feat.

It is still difficult to discuss deep feelings of vulnerability and emotion, even with people that I know love me and I can trust, but writing has always been therapeutic.

Being a teacher is hard for me because I once lived a life that is similar to the lives of the students in my classroom. Although it makes it easier for me to connect with and understand them, it makes it harder for me to support the system that employs me. For me, the gaps are so obvious. I can see clear as day where we are coming up short and why. However, who am I? In the grand scheme of things, I am no one. The decision-makers and stakeholders have no interest in what my views or opinions are. They don’t care if I’m hurting. They don’t care about keeping our kids from hurting. They only care once things have already happened and they are no longer in control. It makes them sad, but they don’t do anything different. The system remains the same…. no matter what. In many ways, I feel that my career is my new abuser. There is nothing I can say, nothing I can do, and I’m better off if I just put my head down, do what I’m told, and keep my mouth shut.

If you are in my inner circle, please don’t ever take it personal if I stop talking for a little while. It’s just the way I have learned to cope. It is the only way I know to remain safe and keep my sanity.

Advertisements

​Hearing God’s Voice.

This morning, Tino asked to come outside and meditate with me.  He grabbed a peacock ore crystal and a mat.  I grabbed my mat and amythyst.  We chose a spot in the sun.  He connected his mat to mine.  I reminded him that when we meditate, we are listening to God. I told him to feel God in all the nature that surrounded us.  I pointed to a bird flying in the sky and reminded him that God lives inside and takes care of all living things.  I called his attention to all the abundance of life around us….  The trees, squirrels, bugs underneath the ground, fish in all the lakes and oceans, and even the fish and critters living in the yucky Flint river.  A helicopter began flying overhead toward the hospital.  I pointed to it and told him that God is taking care of all of us…. The pilot who’s trying to land safely, the nurses on board trying to take care of the sick person inside, and the sick person who is probably praying to get better.  God hears all of us and gives us all that we need, just at the time we need it.  Then, we rubbed our fingers through the grass.  I told him we were like one tiny, little blade of grass among all the billions of people and other life existing on Earth.  He pulled one blade of grass up and looked at it.  I reminded him that even that tiny blade of grass needs the right amount of sun, rain, and nutrients to survive and God gives the grass so much love and care that it grows back every year, even after I cut it every week in the summer.  Then, he looked at his crystal and remembered that God makes them too.  I said, “they are found deep in caves and they’re really hard to get to, but God grows them and created them to give off energy to help us feel good.”

I told him to close his eyes, breathe deep, and feel the wind and sun touching his face, listen to to the birds and other sounds of life all around us.  We both did it. Together.  Side by side, in lotus position, crystals in hand….   We sat in silence for about 10 minutes.  We opened our eyes and then, something really powerful  happened; I taught him how to hear God.

“When you have a problem, and you need God’s help in knowing what to do, just sit down, close your eyes, and speak to God with your heart. Say how you feel and ask a question, then, listen for the answer.  It won’t sound like a big deep voice coming from the sky because God lives inside of us.  It will probably sound like your own voice, but instead of hearing words in your mind, you will feel it come from your belly and heart. It will probably be something different than what you would normally think, and it will feel really good.  You will feel strong, confident, and peaceful.  The answer will make you feel a warm sense of joy and love.  When you open your eyes, you will know exactly what to do.
If you ever feel icky about something, stop what you’re doing and sit down to ask God what you should be doing instead.  When you feel that peaceful answer rise up, be obedient.  Do what you saw in your mind and follow what God showed you in your heart.
Lastly, the most important thing to do is to say, ‘Thank you’.  The more you listen, the more you will be able to hear.  The more you are thankful, the more God will bless you.”
At that moment, I realized, this was the most powerful lesson I could ever teach my six year old Sun:
Hearing God’s Voice.

​Conscious Parenting

When the boys (4 & 6) do something they know they’re not supposed to do, and I feel myself becoming frustrated and not sure of how to get them to get the message, I don’t yell, spank, or threaten.  

Instead, I ask them in a very calm voice, “What are you doing?”,  “Are you supposed to be doing that?”, “Have I told you not to do that before?” “How many times?”   

After providing the obvious answers to these questions, I remain calm.  Then, without  any physical reaction to their answers I say, “Okay.  I need to go listen to God.  Give me 5 minutes.”

I leave the room and go meditate.  

They are silent! They are frozen and nervous.  They know the Most High don’t play and whatever He/She tells me to do is what I’m going to do. 

I tell them that sometimes we don’t always know what to do, but God always does.  If we listen to Him/Her, we will always do the right thing.

There are consequences for breaking rules, and no rewards for unacceptable behavior.

So next time you get angry and you want to put the fear of God into your kids, don’t yell or reach for the belt.  Instead, tell them you’re going to meditate and you’ll be back in a few.  

Watch how quickly they tighten up when they realize that God lives inside of you and you are able to let Him/Her take over any situation at any moment.

Then, watch how they thrive when they begin to follow your example.