“Children are hardwired for struggle”

I had watched a TED talk with Brene Brown several years ago and it brought me to tears.  She is a “shame researcher” whose story is very powerful.  She did not expect to get the amount of views or attention it received.

She stated a few items that really dug deep into my heart regarding how we deal with others.  We hide our vulnerability because we are do not feel worthy of love and belonging.  We hide our authentic selves because we do not want to be rejected.

She stated that “children are hardwired for struggle”.  We want to take away all of their pain.   We are all imperfect but we are worthy for love and belonging.

No one wants to see our kids struggle or fight through anything but we want them to develop a fortitude of resilience and strength.  Where do they get that from if we don’t want to accept it is just something they have to get through.

We can all blame our parents for different things that caused our adult lives to be not quite as perfect as we wanted them to be.  Brene says that “blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort”.  It doesn’t help to blame the way you are on anyone.  The fact is you lived through whatever you did and you came out of it with knowledge and a certain feeling gives us the sense of battle scars that were earned.

Raising my daughter, we have talks that she will have to work for whatever she gets.  Yesterday she told me she wanted a volleyball scholarship in order to avoid student loan debt.  How crazy is the world that she is already thinking about this?  I am unsure where she got the idea that she would have to pay for her college education or why we wouldn’t help her and everything is on her whether she goes to college or not but I sort of like it.

She is already taking on the possibility of engaging her future.  It is interesting how children change.  Last year she said she wanted to go to an art school because that is what she loved.  After speaking with some college graduates of the cost of art school and what sort of career she would have after the end of it plus the fact that it is now 40,000 per year to go, she is not thinking of art school any more.  The art school does not have a volleyball program.

We tell her she will need to first choose a career path in order to venture and then select the school.  Now she just wants a scholarship and she really doesn’t care where it is as long as it covers the cost of her student loan debt.

Of course we will help her with college but gave her a realization of coming out of it with a marketable, employable skill needed to happen.

She will have to work hard. She will have to be competitive.  She will also have to have some compassion with herself in case this does not happen.

She will not be alone, we will do everything in our power to make sure she feels worthy.

 

Surprising things over holiday break with the tween

My daughter had a friend come over yesterday.  They usually spend the day laughing, eating, showing each other different things on apps and games they’ve played.  They especially like musically.  It’s a different time for these children.

They no longer have toys they play with.  Technology and other devices keep them entertained.

They had pizza for lunch.  My daughter is now very adept of turning on the over and baking a frozen pizza without burning the house down, leaving the oven on or creating a mess on the baking sheet because she has discovered aluminum foil.

A few hours later I hear plates clanging around in the kitchen.  I went to see what they could possibly doing because pizza plates really don’t require much noise.

They were unloading the dishwasher… the clean dishes… without being asked.  Without being asked?  What was this about?  They said there was no place to put the dirty dishes because there were clean ones in there.  Kudos to them.  I have never seen her initiate a job by herself like that.  I thanked her profusely.

Later, I realized that they didn’t know you should at least rinse a little bit of the food off the plates – mainly because they had cookies and cream ice cream cake that had dripped and hardened all over the inside of the machine.  Minor tweeks to a great initiative.

Loving little girls that are taking responsibility for the mess they create.  Way to go girls!

Math and Napkins

A while ago, I told my daughter to learn to like math.

Math is something you will use every day.  You will use it in shopping, cooking, dining, calculating what type of space you will have for your furniture placement. You need to know math for your data plan for your smart phone.  Math is definitely something that makes your mind work.

Math should come as second nature.  Multiplication tables should just be able to pop into your head.

I am sort of dyslexic so math is not easy for me and I definitely need to see a lot of numbers on a page so I may make sense of it but I still agree with the fact that Math is something that you need.

Of course with a smart phone, math is made so the pressure may not be so hard to calculate a tip for your server while you are out.

I was at lunch at the cafeteria with she and her best friend who had chocolate all over her face.  I told them both they would need math every day of their lives…. and napkins.  Not your sleeves, dears.  Napkins.

That is my philosophy = use math and napkins every day.

The first week of sixth grade

“Mom, sixth grade is so hard.”

My always snappy reply to anything that my daughter states is hard is “Honey, everything is hard before it is easy.”  In this case, I didn’t say that because I get it.  Sixth grade IS hard.

What is hard about it for you?

“They give us so much work and there are so many books that are so heavy.  That boy that annoyed me is in every single one of my classes and he won’t leave me alone”.  And, the real kicker, there is a girl in my class with the same name!  Why do they have to put us in the same class?  I was the only one with that name in the whole school, now she is in my classes.  When we went for seconds at lunch the girls there threw off our cups and plates on the floor.”

I have to take one of these issues at a time.  I told her that her name might have gotten popular and thus going to her real first name or hyphenated first and middle name.  In the south, most people go by their middle names so this is not unheard of.

As far as the bullying girls, there is always going to be a pack of girls vying for who could be the biggest “b—-“.  My daughter is lucky that she has some very good long term friends that will stick together through all of this b.s.

That boy that bothers her, well, she will have to deal with him only when he is next to her.

As far as the school work, yep – suck it up.  It has been a piece of cake for the past 6 years at the school, now time and attention have to come into place.  When schoolwork comes easily, you can slide through without putting too much effort into things.  When there is a lot of it, you have to hanker down, get in there and focus.

Hormones, you-tube videos, musically, and all of the other distractions of social media dissolving brains will cause her to do anything other than study.

The good news for now is she has a physical outlet of having physical education every day and since she has made it onto the volleyball team, she has to focus there as well.  Physicality is good for kids.  Exercise makes the blood flow and makes them think about the task at hand.   A change in the environment is always good.

Encouragement of yes, I have been there too as far as everything she is going through.  Listening to her talking, I go through the same things she does even now.

Yes, honey, I wanted the prize and that woman wanted it too.  I didn’t stand up for myself and she took it right out from underneath of me.  (this happened 2 weeks ago to me).  I realized it didn’t really matter and I didn’t need another flower vase anyway.

Sometimes I just go and sit in her room with her.  I figure eventually she will want to talk.  I do have to encourage her to be nice to her dad.  She became uncontrollably upset when he thought the sandwich he had gotten her was still warm when it wasn’t and no sauce which caused her to throw the sandwich against the wall.  I had to let her know that we are there for her no matter what but nobody is going to be in her corner more than her dad at this point.

Raging hormones, changes in classes and changes in environment.  We still have a long road ahead but I know just being there through the storms of her changing will help us grow together.

 

 

Are you cool or funny? What does it take to be likeable?

I asked my daughter if I was funny. She said yes. I asked how funny? She said “medium”. “Can you write a joke for me and put it into the lunchbox for me?” I asked if she wanted a medium funny joke. She said yes. Ten minutes later, she said she didn’t want it. I asked if she didn’t think I was funny any more. She said, “you’re still medium funny but I just don’t want a joke.”

She is 8 right now. So, she finds me amusing. I am sure by the time 13 hits, I will be a complete and utter embarrassment to her. Not funny, not cool and I think in her eyes my I.Q. will plummet. I am getting ready for it. Right now I just like to hear the answers.

I ask her a lot of questions and then say, “tell me more about that.” Trying to teach her a little bit about the Dale Carnegie system of how to be interesting by being Interested. She doesn’t really understand that right now.

I am trying to teach her about not having to compete with other people’s stories. This is called upping the ante. She doesn’t need to do that. We all want to do it because everyone’s favorite subject is about themselves. If you are the one asking the questions, you are the one in control of the conversation. No one likes a bragger. Well, maybe it’s just me. I don’t like a bragger but I understand it is out of that persons need for significance and connection so I play with it and acknowledge the need by giving it to them. Likeability is huge in the marketplace. If people don’t like you, you are going to have a tough time. People don’t want to deal with you unless they have to deal with you.

Keys to being likeable
don’t lie
don’t be the smelly kid
don’t brag
don’t be a conversation hog
limit your complaining

OK, that’s enough of what not to do
Here’s what to do
Be genuine
Be nice
Be a good listener
Ask people about themselves
Be generous
Be thankful

By the way, her dad is also medium funny, so we are in good company. I find him medium funny as well *but I think I am more funny than his medium funny.

Friends are like underwear

Coming home from a family vacation last year, my daughter was talking about her friend, Chloe. They had been in the same school for 6 years together and she was wondering about the likelihood of friendship for the length of time.
In my brilliance, I said to her, friends are like underwear, sometimes you grow out of them.
This led to a whole new list of how they correlated which after a while just plain annoyed her, but I will be happy to share how, indeed they are like underwear:
Some times they just come in the pack
Some you have for a long time because they are reliable
Some just don’t match
Some make you feel good
Some crawl up your butt
Some just make it out for special occasions
Sometimes you lose them
Some are cheap
Sometimes it’s easier to go without them
Some don’t fit
Some you like and don’t care what others think about them
Some keep up turning up
Some are holy
Some rub you the wrong way
Some are tight
Some are loose
Some make you feel uncomfortable
And, some are just your favorites.

The brilliance of this is you get to decide.