Loving patiently while they learn…

baretrees
Waiting patiently in silence for the returning spring of life-giving love…

Judging vs. discerning; rejecting the person vs. employing wisdom for daily-living

There seems to be a common theme here in the blog-o-sphere, around which humanity has obstacles of communication for developing a unifying understanding. And yet, perhaps we are growing closer.

I found article on the website TheOverwhelmedBrain.com that beautifully illustrates how a form of judgment can destroy relationships. (Click or tap the link above for access to the article. The website itself is linked here, inside the “Daily Balance” of my Starfish Mission.)

A teacher with whom I once worked seemed to have struck this beautiful balance. She often remarked that her mother, also a teacher, had repeatedly instructed her to “remember to always be kind”. Continue reading “Loving patiently while they learn…”

Fragile: vulnerable, morally-weak deplorables

Fragile

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Red Cedar Trees: fragile, vulnerable

Red Cedars once flourished on the banks of the Cedar River, perfectly adapted to their environment. Sturdy, naturally water-repellent trunks fell prey to 19th-century homesteaders in desperate need of fuel and protection. Conservationists’ targeted efforts now cultivate and protect the remaining, the fragile, the few.

Fragile, vulnerable, deplorable, hungry, crafty, consumers

Continue reading “Fragile: vulnerable, morally-weak deplorables”

Bullies: just longing for Boeles?

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Bulls? Bullies? Boeles? Or the elephants in the room?

Apparently my bully-ish thought-stream decided that a raging waterfall would be more appropo tonight. So, here goes…

Earlier today, I discovered that bully was, originally, a 16th Century term of endearment for a friend or lover (spelled boele). You’ll have to hang with me here to follow my spaghetti-brain logic. Continue reading “Bullies: just longing for Boeles?”

Stop Bullying at Zero

wikibully

My risk. Your gain.

I am probably taking a big risk with this post, but I am just going to say it. Parents have the power to eliminate bullying. Furthermore, it must be accomplished before children even set foot in a school.

Studies dance around the issue, because empirical scientific methods are geared for testing a limited sample and a single variable at a time. It will always be a limited sample, even if it is a meta-analysis. Researchers must always leave the door open for further studies to be conducted. That is the scientific method, and science will continue to gather evidence interminably.

Not everyone is going to agree, but, on this, I’m taking a stand.

Continue reading “Stop Bullying at Zero”

Meditations for Young Children

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(From my page Meditation for Children on Starfish Mission)

We already know that the parent-child bond can be locked into place by age 1, but as little ones start to pull away and exercise independence, I have wondered whether there might be a way to begin to teach children at a very early age how to begin to take over the task of calming themselves. Continue reading “Meditations for Young Children”

Assertiveness: Parents + 2

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Armor of assertiveness

Very few of us escape our young childhood years without at least a few effects of misguided parenting here and there. And even if we had the greatest parents who made sure we felt love and supplied everything we needed, there may have been another whole realm of skills–assertiveness–that was overlooked. If you find yourself wishing that your assertiveness skills were a little beefier, this is for you. Lack of assertiveness is a chief cause of the bully/bullied syndrome. (If we are the products of parents who were quite off track–somewhere on the spectrum between the abusers and helicopters–we will also benefit by doing some work over in the Starfish Mission area. We need to heal our damaged souls to avoid passing on the hurt.) Continue reading “Assertiveness: Parents + 2”

Assertiveness: Mirror + 1

Mirror

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The source for breaking through my wall:

Running on Empty by Jonice Webb

This post is going to be a departure from my usual blurb about emotional health. Since this is a journey-in-progress, you have gotten glimpses of the process of climbing out. Today is a turning point: I am moving into the topic of what to do once you have a sense of escaping the hole–to see what is above ground. My next series of posts might be of particular value for those interested in the world of bullying, power, and control: how bullies develop as well as how victims become vulnerable. We are going to be exploring what it means to be assertive, as well as how to avoid becoming aggressive. Continue reading “Assertiveness: Mirror + 1”

I can see clearly now…

Vice

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Matthew 13: 11-33

Pain. Somehow, it seems to take on a life of its own. What you thought was hurting there, is really hurting here. I am beginning to understand. Coming here–into this world filled with pain–has sometimes felt to me as though I’ve had amnesia. Like I should have known this before. Didn’t I? How did I forget? Relearning. All of the tedium. Ugh.

Physical pain is one thing. Emotional pain is quite another. A personal who can soothe emotional pain has a gift: the gift of true love. Love is not always easy to find. Love is borne on the backs of habits– born of pain, gathers droplets through compassion, spreads across calm waters where there is no judgement, and rises from the mist into the sunshine. Love does not hold vice on its calm surface. Vice sinks quickly and disappears into the depths. Only through pond inversion will vice get another chance to become love.

Occasionally, when meeting someone for the first time, I feel as though I’ve known them my entire life. I felt like that when I met my husband. It still feels like that, most days.  Do you know this feeling?  I have been having more of those moments recently. It’s not such a coincidence, really. Retirement provides opportunity.

Several days ago I wrote a post about feeling lucky to have been unlucky. I have also been doing an online book study with friends. We have been reading the book Self-Esteem by McKay and Fanning. Throughout the book so far (it takes some time to work through that thing!), there had been no reference to geography. But then–it was there–the name of a town. MY town. The town where we have spent the greatest share of our lives. Frantically, I began searching. Was there a connection? Yes, but not what I expected.

Dr. Matthew McKay, I discovered, has written a book that he never expected to write. He is a man of science and committed to adhering to sound research practices. McKay experienced the kind of pain a parent fears the most: his son, aged 23–full of promise and excited about his future, was murdered. McKay began a highly unusual quest to try to connect with his son on the other side. He found a way. What he learned–what I read last night in his book Seeking Jordan–consumed my dreams. This morning the mist cleared, and my life seems sane again. Mostly.

You would need to read the book–and even then you would need to be in a certain place in your life’s journey to allow it in. We are just as we suspected. We are in this together. We are all connected. Pain provides us opportunity to link arms (as one reader recently said to me–so succinctly) and to learn collectively. Through our pain, we learn love–better.

I am here with you to breathe through our pain, to connect, and to learn love better.

Love,

Mira

*I am not a licensed therapist and will never claim to be such. I have retired after working 20 years as full-time, elementary-classroom teacher. I’ve taught it all: reading, math, science, and the social studies. (That does NOT mean that I have learned it all!) What I have to offer (and what I have yet to fully understand. 😉  ) is a lifetime of experiences and a spaghetti-brain full of randomly-connected information. 🙂 Most importantly, I care.

 

 

 

When Bad Luck is Good Luck

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My original thought for this title was more like Blessed to Be Cursed, but that heaviness has already filtered down to a lower water table–quite a ways down there, in fact. Honestly, I didn’t want to go the trouble of installing a new pump to haul it all up again.

In my world of education, rote learning is an accursed term. (I guess cursed may not be all that far down–it just kind of bubbled up–sorry!) We know rote as drill-and-kill: the learning of math facts, memorization without deep conceptual understanding, last minute cramming, and just surface-level regurgitation. In my journey of trying to understand why I have felt so different from others–why I was sad and empty when others around me always seemed perfectly fine–I am beginning to feel that I have received a gift.  Continue reading “When Bad Luck is Good Luck”

Mistake

Mistake

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I had gone to bed at a reasonable time last night, wanting to make sure I could get up and not be late. Once a month, a few of us meet in the parking lot at 6:15 am to drive downtown to serve  breakfast. But it was only 2 am. My eyes popped open. Ugh. Going to bed early was a mistake. Highly unusual. I never wake up in the middle of the night unless a storm is raging. Going to bed early? Big mistake. Now, I was hungry. I stumbled downstairs and made my emergency comfort: chicken broth, a bit of frozen corn, sliced cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes–topped with a handful of mini-saltines. Now what? Eyes still popped.

I knew that one of our sons had been giving himself a crash-course in Italian for an upcoming trip. He was stressing out, worrying that he wouldn’t be able to reach a point of engaging with locals. So, I did a quick random search about languages (always the curious one). I don’t even remember what site I was on, but I’d taken note that Thomas Jefferson had been fluent in six languages: English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. John Adams knew five: besides English–there were French, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. The part that caught my eye was “The Jefferson Bible”. Jefferson had carefully constructed what he considered to be the essence of practical wisdom, cutting out words, phrases, paragraphs–gluing and making his own. It wasn’t intended for anyone but himself; he used it late at night or sometimes in the morning. I smiled to myself thinking, …”maybe at 2:00 am when his eyes popped open.” He especially liked Matthew. Oh well, sleep again, finally.

Workers filled the steam-heated serving pans. Lines formed. Thin Styrofoam plates. Paper towels for napkins. The organizer gathered a few of us and asked if anyone would be willing to read a few verses and lead the group in the Lord’s Prayer. “Um…I can do that.” I flipped through Matthew and thought about what Jefferson might have chosen. I decided to read the first few verses of Chapter 18.

The organizer gave directions as the hungry ones jockeyed for positions–then, my turn. What to say? What would be meaningful? My teacher voice took over and explained a few things about what I’ve been sharing here: the origin of evil means “uppity”, that we are all the equally important and deserving of validation–meant to see and meet each other on common ground. I talked about Einstein’s words, “The more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” I shared about Jefferson’s Bible and the words from Matthew…”unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom…”– (the importance of listening intently to every word spoken to us–leaving preconceptions at the doorstep). I was feeling all eyes-but more. There was synchronicity. Everyone has their own story. Every story counts. 

As they came through the line we caught each other’s eyes. Some commented with affirmations. In that moment I knew–2 am had not been a mistake.