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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell
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Anecdote For a Bad Day

It has been a series of long days this week - home long enough to start a load in the washer, dryer or dishwasher but not long enough to complete any job.  Yesterday we all arrived home just in time to get ready to leave.  8 year old had a Jump-Rope Team family night in 20 minutes.  12 year old and 17 year old started giving reasons they were not going.  I told them that it was a “family night” and that I expected everyone to attend.  12 year old went to get ready.  17 year old stated that he had had a very bad day, he just wanted to eat something and to rest.  Not worth an argument, we went without him.

 

Expecting to come home to a napping teenager what I saw amazed me.  No laundry waiting to be folded and put away.  No dishwasher waiting to be emptied.  No back-packs dropped in the entry.  17 year old standing at the sink finishing the last of the dishes.  When 17 year old saw me he said, “I wanted to make my bad day better.” 

 

I think it will be when 17 year old has a 17 year old before he truly understands what his actions and words did for me.

Favorite Gift

We celebrated J's 17th birthday today.  He recieved many nice gifts but his favorite was from his grandfather.  Unbeknownst to us, the day J was born my father kept the front section of the newspaper.  He sent it to J for this birthday.  J was impressed and touched that his grandfather, who is not a saver, cared enough to save this momento of his birth.

10 for every 1

As a student teacher my college professor told me that for every negative phone call a teacher makes regarding a student ten positive calls should be made.  So as a teacher when I called R's parents to tell them that R had chosen to wear underwear on his head during class.  I called K's parents and told them of K's consideration and helpfulness in class.  I called E's parents and told them how well E was doing in our probability unit.  I called H's parents and told them how much I appreciated her happy influence in class.  I called T's parents and expressed admiration for his diligence in working until he understood difficult problems.  I called J's mother and related how impressive I thought her son was.  I told her that if I ever had a son I planned to name him J because of her son (which, by the way, is how my oldest was named).  I stopped after five calls but I could see the benefit of thinking through each of my classes looking for positives, especially after a negative.

Mowing my back lawn today I ran over a garden snake.  It made me so sad.  I cleaned it out of the yard but could not get it out of my head.  Then I remembered my professor's advice and looked for things to make ten positive "calls" about.  Although I am still sad about the snake I appreciated the impetus to really be aware of the wonders of being out on a spring day.

Any Way You Can

Parent / Teacher conference for my 8 year old today.  The teacher said if she had to list a concern it would be that sometimes he is a little competitive and rushes through his work so that he can be the first one done.  Not a surprise seeing that somehow my kids make seemingly everything a competition.

 

Our last Family Home Evening the boys wanted to play “Tell What to Do”.  My brain was tapped out for ideas so I suggested that we take turns and each come up with two ideas.  Because they were a part of the suggestions the boys wanted mom and dad to be part of the action. 

 

B       “See who can do the splits the furthest.”  B could.

C       “See who can sing ‘Be Our Guest’ the best from memory.”       Seeing as C was just in his school’s production of “Beauty and          the Beast”, C could.

J        “See who can stand on one foot the longest.”  J could.

Mom“Do a bridge.”  The boys added, “The highest.”  Mom couldn’t.

Dad  “Do 5 push-ups.”  Smart man to set a limit.  We all could.

 

Second round:.

B       “See who can keep their balloon in the air the longest.”  The boys had been “juggling” (or trying to juggle) balloons earlier so we had enough for one per person.  J could.

C       “Crab walk forwards down the hall and backwards back, while       being timed.” J, C and B all did it in well under 20 seconds. Mom and Dad took well over 40 seconds – in our defense, it is really hard to crabwalk and laugh at the same time.

J        “Crawl forward down the hall and backwards back, while being    timed.”  Ditto the crabwalk.

M&D “Get down the hall and back anyway you want as long as it is on all fours.” We all did it in under 20 seconds (with the help of furniture sliders under mom’s and dad’s hands, thank you very much.)

 

 

Appreciation

When I was growing up there was a woman in our church who had been a professional opera singer.  I plugged my ears every time she sang a solo.  In my 20’s, moved away and home visiting, I again heard this woman sing a solo.  It was beautiful.  I could have listened to her all afternoon.  I asked my parents when her voice had changed.  They said it was my ears not her voice.

 

Two nights ago my 8 year old and I went to listen to my 12 year old and 16 year old play in a combined band concert.  Each Middle School grade (grades 6-8) played 2 songs, the High School band (grades 9-12) played 2 songs and then all 210 kids from grades 6-12 played 2 songs.  It was fun to hear the progression between grades and amazing to hear them all together.  I loved every minute.  My 8 year old was bored, bored, bored.

 

Yesterday many people commented to me how great the bands sounded.  One person commented that she saw my 8 year old and me at Dairy Queen (familially  referred to as “The Hot Lemon” thanks to my 6 year old niece).  I am surprised more people did not comment about Dairy Queen.  Our DQ is located on the corner of a busy intersection.  Between the building and the sidewalk is a tiny patch of bark-dusted earth with a tiny picnic table.  The table is all but in the intersection.  It had been raining for days and my son wanted to enjoy the brief cloud-break by eating outside.  There we sat at the tiny table at a busy intersection at 5pm.  I was acutely aware of the traffic and noise around us.  My son however, oblivious to all around him, enjoyed every moment of our “picnic”.

 

It is interesting that as we grow we gain appreciation for some things and lose appreciation for others.  I am glad for the reminders to more appreciate all that life has to offer.

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