BLOG

Day 7. Goal setting starts early.

Day 7. Goal setting starts early.

Today is our final day of intentional conversations within this journey (hopefully not your final intentional conversation with your child! :). This series of questions for today helps model goal-setting and intention-setting – something that will be beneficial to them for their entire lives. You 

Don’t forget… the First Week Fatigue is coming…

Don’t forget… the First Week Fatigue is coming…

At some point during the first week of school, you or your child are likely to melt down. Many times perhaps. And that’s okay. That is to be expected. None of us have been used to this level of engagement or energy for months. And 

Day 6 – When we can encourage EXTRA kindness.

Day 6 – When we can encourage EXTRA kindness.

“Light fosters life. You have light to share, which means you have life to share. Don’t hide it. We all want to make a mark on the world, but oftentimes we talk ourselves out of it because we’re too busy or we assume we’re not talented enough. Hear me today: Your light shines brighter than you think it does.” -Car window poetry devotional

I read this devotional a couple weeks ago and think we could help our kids this week focus on how they can be a light to share with others.

Check out Car window poetry. Or search up “random acts of kindness.” Share this idea with your kids and then ask them specifically what THEY can do to be extra kind today, tomorrow, and on the first day of school. Share with them what you are going to do to be extra kind. Have them write it down or help them write it down to help remind them. Ask them about it later that day and see how they FELT when they were extra nice. Share how you felt and remain in the present moment of experiencing this with your child today!

Stay well, friends.
Until tomorrow,

Beth

Day 5 – When academics look different.

Day 5 – When academics look different.

This year is going to be totally different. In so many ways. Likely to include the academic part of school. It may be easier. Or harder. It may be stricter, or looser. We just simply don’t know exactly how all of this will work until 

Day 4 – Extending lots of grace to teachers

Day 4 – Extending lots of grace to teachers

Our teachers have been such troopers all summer and as we are entering the new year, they need our support (and the support of our kids!) more than ever. Today’s conversation is about explicitly teaching our kids how to choose empathy, compassion, and grace. Before you 

Day 3 – Mask (and school-choice) shaming.

Day 3 – Mask (and school-choice) shaming.

We are on Day 3 of continuing conversations with our kids about shaming. Shame is such a hard word. An even harder emotion. Yet, we all have experienced it and know how horrible it is.

The trickiest part about shame messages is that we often don’t mean to invoke shame. Most times, we truly believe we are helping teach or guide those around us. However, if you are sharing a message with your child (or anyone else) that originates in a place of fear or insecurity AND is an attempt to get them to change their behavior (in a manipulative way), it might be a shame-based message.  Take a moment to evaluate how you might feel if someone shared the same message with you and that might give some perspective.

Below is the video for today’s conversations. Hopefully y’all are doing well!

Stay well, friends.
Until tomorrow,

Beth

Click HERE for the Day 3 video.

Day 2 – Being a good friend without being too close

Day 2 – Being a good friend without being too close

So for Day 2, I want to talk about being a good friend without getting physically close to one another. Despite any of our own opinions about social distancing, it is clear that being 3 to 6 feet away from one another is a better 

Day 1 of the 7-day intentional preparation for school to “start”

Day 1 of the 7-day intentional preparation for school to “start”

In this time of uncertainty and unpredictability, it is natural for us to feel anxious about the upcoming school year. When I am feeling anxious about something, I try to be even more intentional about conversations with my kids – knowing that if I am 

Somewhere there is a child…

Somewhere there is a child…

My dear Make Words Matter family.

This post is not like my usual, uplifting messages (at least at first glance). In fact, this post may be more than you want to imagine is true in our communities right now. That’s okay. Please do not feel bad if this feels prickly. Trust me…I have felt all the feels about this in the last 24 hours.

But. I know for sure there are children out there who fit these descriptions. I have seen them. I have known them. I have loved them from across the therapy room. And while my time with them was not during a time of coronavirus crisis, it was during a similar time of despair specific to their family’s situation.

I pray you will be moved by this. As I have been in sharing it.

The overwhelming loneliness

Last night, I was kept awake by the overwhelming heaviness of knowing somewhere there is a child, many children, too many children… living in this quarantine alone.

Somewhere there is a child who lives with a parent or parents who cannot fully care for that child because the fear and hopelessness of COVID-19 has caused them to relapse. To turn to drugs and alcohol to cope because that is the only way they know how. And all that is left of that child’s parent is the shell of a person they once knew as mom or dad. That child has become independent and self-reliant, though for his 8-year-old brain, he simply cannot fathom why things have gotten so bad again. He cries at night wondering if they will wake up from “sleeping” on the couch. If he should run out into the unknown of the nighttime sky. If there will be enough food for tomorrow. He is so terribly alone.

Somewhere there is a child whose parents were simply not ready to be parents themselves. And so when they become stressed, they turn to anger, hatred and shame outbursts toward anything nearby. They hurl insults and curse words, gut-wrenching shame-filled words at that child who simply made a mistake in the kitchen. The smallest mistake has now lead to a verbal war between parents and a child who begs them to stop. He scurries behind the table to avoid the glass that has been thrown in his direction before running out into the cold with tear-stained cheeks. He is so terribly afraid.

Somewhere there is a child and her single mother who just 3 weeks ago left the most abusive boyfriend yet. As they escaped the man who hurt them daily, they lean on one another for comfort from the cold. Crashing on friends’ couches and scrounging for food wherever they can. The mother knows free food is available for her daughter from the school’s food program, but because of transportation issues, she cannot gain access to this invaluable resource for both of them. Life has always been hard for them. And now that she is five years old, this child feels like she can carry some of the weight of her mother’s troubles. Right after dinner, she falls asleep on the hard floor from sheer exhaustion. She is so terribly tired.

Somewhere there is a child whose parents have been working paycheck-to-paycheck since her birth 12 years ago. She has 4 younger siblings, all of whom relied on the daily structure and support of teachers to make academic growth. The family has one laptop computer that was gifted to them from a friend 6 years ago. Although she knows e-learning is happening, her parents are rarely home and she is often left in charge to care for her siblings. Their daycare closed, and as minimum-wage essential workers, they simply cannot afford to stay at home, or hire a sitter. There is no wifi. There is no cable television. There is some food, but certainly not anything for a “balanced” meal.  She is so terribly hopeless.

Pray, remember, honor.

My dear friends. I share this with you to help all of us (myself included!) to remember that not all children are loving the extended time at home. Staying at home could be the most hopeless requirement for children we may never know. They do not want our pity. They do not want us to feel sorry for them. They just want to be kids.

I pray for our children who don’t get to be fun-loving and light-hearted today. I hurt for our children who have been required to grow up way too fast. I hope for our children who have resiliency that I probably have never experienced.  I dream of a day when they can run and play outside with friends without a care in the world.

Please join me in honoring these children and their families. Check in on your neighbors and their children. Risk the uncomfortable to do the vulnerable to reach any kids you may know. Our kids need all of us.

 

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

The good and the bad about being an essential worker

The good and the bad about being an essential worker

So you are an essential worker. Some will see you as “lucky” to be able to work. Others may believe it is better if you “just stay home regardless.” You may go back and forth between feeling grateful, happy, anxious, guilty, angry, and scared. Like