Monumental Day – end of the school year and end of public school for our children. Yes, many may not agree with our decision, but have resolved they are OUR children and really only our opinion matters!
It has been a hard year emotionally for Mary. They talked yesterday as she won several awards about her character. How she accepted challenges and over came. How she saw a problem and always a solution. How she encouraged others to best her to get them to do more. When you hear that you know you have done well at home. Many children can get good grades and awards, but not all of them past the test of character. I went to the award presentation, unfortunately Mary did not. Unfortunately, some “friends” in life did not pass the character test last week. At thirteen, that is hard to process – betrayal of some friends and lack of reaching out to help from others.
As a parent, we always worried about our children’s safety – when they are little are the bites too big they can choke, when they learn to walk we pad everything in case they fall, when they ride a bike we use training wheels and still hold onto the seat, when they go to school we worry about them riding the bus, when they drive we worry that they will get home safely, etc… But, we don’t prepare them to protect their emotional wellbeing. In fact I remember my children falling and saying oh, you will be okay. Or how many times have they been called names or made fun of and I sweep it under the rug and say they don’t know better or they are just jealous. In reality all these attacks are at their heart – I need to prepare to PROTECT HEARTS! However, last week, my husband really stepped up and it made my heart melt. Sure he is a fireman and would lay down his life for his family (and complete strangers for that matter). Not every dad will say enough and go into school late to spend a morning in the principals office – but he had an important job to do – protect her heart! That morning he showed his daughter that her heart was first priority (not work, etc..) and that he will not sit back and let her heart be harmed. Actions spoke louder than words! It is a shame that more dads and moms don’t protect their child’s heart and self-esteem. It is a bigger shame that we have to because other parents are NOT doing their jobs! I hear of even bigger bully stories that have happened in schools locally and across the nation and let me just say Jim or I would be in jail!
The last full day of school Jim and I sat in the principal’s office. Sometimes God gives us signs to guide us that maybe painful to endure but is like the big arrow you need to make a decision to move forward. We had been debating cyberschool for Mary because she loves the teachers. However, I know that learning can be interrupted when your mind and heart is sucked into unnecessary drama. It is sad that with technology, your child can be a victim 24/7. It is even worse that parents don’t teach their children character, which leads to their children believing it is okay to attack another’s self-esteem and character
Last week, I also went on Samuel’s field trip. We had already pretty much resolved Cyberschool with it’s technology would be a better fit for Sam. But again, some arrows lit up that day for me, not because of any bully issues. However, he is a different child in a chaotic environment. I can look into his eyes and know he is in “his world” or a “melt down is about to occur” or “he gets it”. Samuel is a mini walking encyclopedia of facts about trains and dinosaurs and prehistoric times, etc… when he tells you a story it is based on a factual program he has watched usually. So he turned in a sentence earlier this year “A liger is a rare cat”. The teacher proceeds to circle the word liger and corrects it to be tiger. But Samuel came home and said she marked it wrong mommy, but there really is a liger (in case you are wondering it is a cross between tiger and lion – google it). I usually send a note back just to let them know his concern – it wasn’t his body hurt by getting it wrong, it was his heart. To him, she didn’t believe him and he knew he was right. It is not that it is a bad system for all children, but for our son, it is not the best system. Sam is such a gentle spirit with a huge mind, it is our job as parents to protect his spirit and heart.
But protecting hearts is not just a parent’s job to their children – in our house it is a family job! As much as Mary and Sam can be siblings, I dare someone to bully or hurt Sam with Mary around. You do not hurt her buddy and she will come at you full force! As a sister, she knows to protect him! If Mary is upset and sad, Samuel is the first one to come full force with a big hug of comfort to Mary. It is not okay for our children to talk back to us – ask Mary about being grounded for a week when she was younger. Yes, we disagree and sometimes things are said that are taken as hurtful. But, in this house we apologize! It is my job as a wife to protect Jim’s heart – to support him, to build him up, to respect him, and be faithful. Sometimes I am guilty at making little joking remarks about him in front of his friends and I need to be careful. It is his job as a husband to protect my heart – to support me, love me, build up, be faithful, etc. Yes I get the occasional “are you wearing that”, but he would never say something mean to hurt my heart. I even cringe when I watch a movie when the man is telling their girlfriend they are fat or dumb, etc… Children learn by example. We want our children to know what a good marriage looks like so when they look for a mate they will know. Jim drew a line in the sand for Mary last week by saying when someone treats you like this it is NOT okay. If we do not talk to you like that, then no one else can either!
Protecting a child’s body is the easy part – protecting their heart is hard work! But without a protected heart there is just an empty shell of a body. Our goal in our family is that all hearts are safe and protected… you can fix a broken bone but healing a broken heart/spirit is not so easy.
“Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with those who are reckless with yours.” – Mary Schmich