Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday 2-16-09 in Richmond...

I'm writing this note while visiting an orthodontist with grandson #2, Stephen, and my other 3 grandchildren in tow. There are so many options for occupying our time while here that we could spend all day I think and still have new things to try. This is the new way to attract patients I imagine. Two children are in the video game room, one is on another computer catching up with her Webkinz and if they tire of those things, there's a video vieweing room. I'm set up with fresh coffee and the computer.

This won't be too long because the appointment is already finished - the broken headgear won't be replaced as Stephen no longer needs to wear it but will continue with constant rubber bands. But he needs a turn to "play" so we'll stay a few more minutes or can we make this last all day? Actually we have piano lessons at 4 so we'll have to leave before then. We'll see what the offer is for lunch here. Maybe pizza or Chick-fil-a are brought in? I had my children a generation too soon.

Later I'll tell the story of the most surprising, amazing, awesome Valentine gift ever I've ever received but for now I'll just communicate that we all survived the weekend and are doing well.

Phillip has fully recovered from the flu and no one else has gotten sick!!! That is a huge praise!!!

Our weekend was a combination of chores - laundry, room cleaning, grocery shopping... - and play. I've been "creamed" in basketball and UNO multiple times. I'm trying to convince everyone that they have inherited all their skill from their Grandma Lee or they wouldn't be so good with their games.

Valentine's day was a sweet time to open a gift that arrived from cousins and later a card and gift from grandparents. The activity sheet I downloaded from the computer and put in the card was a big hit and occupied some good time after dinner Sat. pm.

We enjoyed the DVD I brought with me - SNOWBALL EXPRESS - an old Walt Disney video we watched when our son was young. We all had pop corn, snuggled on the play room sofa and laughed through the antics of the family who has just moved to Colorado from NYC. That was Fri. PM.

Made it to church Sun. AM and included a stop at a Goodwill (my grandchildren's favorite store - mine also) and McDonald's with a play area in the afternoon. With no school today, we indulged in a 2nd video for the weekend and watched FLYWHEEL last evening - good movie.

FLYWHEEL allowed an important learning moment from our afternoon to be reinforced. While shopping at GOODWILL, Phillip located some binoculars. He asked if we could buy them. I decided we could if they were priced right but they weren't marked so I didn't know what the verdict would be. We shopped awhile and then checked out. We were on our way down the street when Phillip asked if we had paid for the binoculars. I thought back to check-out and realized I didn't see them in the items we purchased so I told him we hadn't paid for them so they must not have made it into our basket and into our stash. I told him I didn't know what had happened to them. His response was, "Well, they're hanging around my neck!" So I said, "Oops, we have to go back and pay for those." We headed back, waited in line and then explained our situation. The check-out gal was so impressed by our honesty that she said she'd let us buy them for $.50. We paid and continued our day. In the FLYWHEEL movie, the main character returns money he has dishonestly gotten from his customers and that action brings about an unexpected blessing for him. So without a lecture, our day included an important life value to be taught. I'm thankful.

OK, we better say "Farewell" to this kid friendly zone and head off to the next stop. I'm having fun and feeling very blessed...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Visiting Grandchildren in Richmond, VA...

My flights to Richmond, VA yesterday were smooth and only delayed 45 minutes in Atlanta due to a storm east of there which backed up traffic for awhile.

I have come to Richmond in February for the past nearly 9 years as it's when the annual Chick-fil-a Seminar is held each year. My son, John and his wife, Diane, attend the seminar and I stay with their 4 children ages nearly 6-10. Unfortunately, it has also become a tradition that the children get sick while I'm here. We've weathered stomach flu and colds - this year will follow the routine apparently as Phillip, age 10, was diagnosed yesterday with Flu B which wasn't covered in his flu shot. He's on his 3rd day home from school and still has a temperature nearing 102. I learned of his diagnosis en route yesterday so my husband was able to contact my Dr. and a prescription for RELENZA was ready for me to pick up on my way from the airport to the house. Hopefully it plus my flu shot will keep me from picking up this bug. Prayers are also appreciated. The other 3 children had flu mist and hopefully have immunity to this strain of the flu.

John and Diane will head to LA tomorrow afternoon. I will attend Grandparent's Day with Stephen, Joanna and Lydia at Veritas Classical Christian School tomorrow during their half day of school. Hopefully there will be another time to attend school with Phillip after he has recovered from the flu. I will also be subbing as an aide in a Kindergarten class to cover for Diane while she's away. Should be lots of fun if we're healthy and if I go to bed early at night. My day will get going at the crack of dawn each day.

This is experience #1 on my resume these days. What a blessing to have children and grandchildren plus the health to be involved in their lives. I'll try to keep a post of life here for the next week plus.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Teacher's "Observation" Experience...

A teacher friend of mine had one of her professional observations today by the school principal. It was scheduled for last Thursday, then moved to Friday but happened today.

Getting ready for these observations is time consuming as well as anxiety producing. Waiting, wondering, anticipating - all add anxiety. And today had the added elements of recovering from a bad cold and being the day for the final review prior to the year's standardized writing exam which will take place tomorrow. So the observation moment was stressful but is over. A couple of the 8th grade students in the classroom decided to pass notes during the lesson which only was noticed by the principal observer as it happened. My friend sent a note communicating how upset she was with herself for missing that action which she feared would receive negative review by the observer. I ached for her situation. I remember well those observations when I taught. I know how easy it is to find things that could have gone better and then to fear the reaction and response of the one required to observe and evaluate the performance of many lesson elements.

I responded to my friend with the following comments and insights.

This is so like something that would happen to me. We just don’t see what’s right in front of us – maybe because we are so focused on what we’re doing, thinking, experiencing, whatever… we just are oblivious to more than one thing at a time. It’s a strength and a weakness – we can remain focused despite turbulence around us but we miss the obvious at times. We can attempt to train ourselves to be different but it’s our default mode so when the conditions change, we can’t respond in the moment. So you were looking at the class as a whole and keeping your focus and stride – the note passing happened and you didn’t allow it to disrupt the lesson and the class as a whole. You will be able to address that action with the specific culprits in a timely manner – appropriate for the crime. Your decision in the lesson was to keep your focus on the whole room and your important lesson material which trumped the front row distraction. You can thank the observer for helping you with distracting, inappropriate classroom behavior and assure her that you are disappointed that a few chose to disrespect you and her at such an important moment and you’ll continue to seek ways to change inappropriate behavior and engage them in the future with acceptable class participation.

Last week when a friend and I got in the car after being in a Goodwill store, she said to me, “There were so many people in line for help. Did you see them?” I replied, “No, where were they?” She said, “They were right by where you were looking at those 3 ring binders.” Well, I remember the 3 ring binders but I have no memory of a line of people. I have no doubt that I completely missed something going on right “under my nose.” It just happens to me and I can’t really figure out the reason – it’s just the way I’m designed I’ve decided.

Sometimes I beat myself up for not “being” something/someone different but I’ve decided that is futile. It’s how I am so I’m choosing to hold my head high and embrace this element of my design and try to figure out a way to understand and accept this as God’s best for me.

In your case, I think Satan knew your point of insecurity and he orchestrated a way to attempt a “sink her ship” moment. But he cannot control and destroy and weaken you with his lies which bring fear and distrust if you don’t let him. You can speak God’s truth to his attempts at espionage. God’s truth says:
Gen. 50: 19-21a Joseph said to them (his brothers), “Don’t be afraid… You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid…”

Josh. 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.”

II Tim. 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Messages from the evil one to us are intended to silence and weaken us so that we are ineffective in the work God has for us to do in His kingdom. We have to face that fact and fervently seek to sabotage Satan’s ammo. It can be done!

Teaching is the front line in molding minds and it is a vulnerable position for attack. But you have armor within to deflect attack and guide you through the mine field at your feet. Real truth is what can help you keep your head high, can help restore weakened self confidence and can give you the hope to continue on even with classrooms full of “toughies”.

I’ll be praying that you will be able to think through your response to the classroom observation and be ready for the follow-up interview with divine confidence and energy. God does not want you to cower in fear but to boldly rest in His power which will “set you free” John 8:32.

Your strong, confident, loyal, cheerleader friend...