Reminders

It’s funny how a story or a memory sneaks up on you. This morning, as I was trying to leave for the gym, both kids needed to ask me something. Their father is standing right there, next to them. Yet they need to ask me. This man who has changed diapers, taken them fishing, cooked 95% off the meals that have kept them alive, and will be taking them to school was not allowed to answer any questions. So late to my class I was, all to answer questions he could have.

Which reminded me of this sweet moment in time with my youngest.

My house has an open floor plan. When you walk in the front door, you enter the family room. The living room is up four steps to your left, the kitchen/dining is straight ahead and up four steps. Beyond that are the kids bedrooms (six steps). My bedroom is up another six steps from that. I joke that it is a tudor on the outside, a split level in the middle and a two story at the back. There are no walls until you go upstairs to the kids bedrooms.

My son, who was 8 at the time, wanted a glass of milk. He was in the living room. He walks up 4 steps to the kitchen, walks through the kitchen and up 6 steps to his bedroom level. He turns and goes up 6 more steps to find me. I am in my room folding laundry.

“Mom, can I have a glass of milk?”

“Sure, go get it.”

“I can’t.”

“Why can’t you? I’m folding laundry. Where is your father?”

“It’s too heavy. Please can you help.”

“Where is dad?”

“Don’t know.”

“Ok. Give me a minute.”

He goes downstairs and starts pulling out a glass and the gallon, which was full. I enter the kitchen to see my husband cooking dinner.

“Have you been here the whole time?”

“Yes why?”

“Jack walked past you to ask me for a glass of milk, and to get it for him.”

To which Jack smiled and said, “I didn’t see dad.”

So this morning when only mom answers will do, I was reminded of this moment, when only mom pouring the milk will do.

Advertisements

Alexa

I was sick 2 weekends ago. The kind of sick that you don’t move from bed for two days, binge watching whatever you are awake you see. While I was quarantined from my family, my husband purchased an addition to our family. We now have Alexa. I do not understand the necessity of having such a device. But he and my kids both think it is cool.

“Alexa, what is the news?”

“Alexa, what is the weather?”

“Alexa, play _______.” (Whichever music said person enjoys.)

My husband also says christmas is from after thanksgiving until it ends on January 2 when we put the lights away. I often turn on the outside lights in March just to mess with him. Now we have Alexa.

“Alexa, play christmas music.”

Hearing his exasperation when he walks in the room makes me laugh. I now see the necessity of such a device.

Today

Today was a day.

An ordinary, extraordinary day.

A hang with my daughter day.

A volunteer in my community day.

A be excited about reading day.

A Wrinkle in Time day.

A perfectly ordinary, extraordinary day.

What would you tell a future teacher?

Earlier in the week I wrote about being on a journey.  At the end of the month I will be testing for a Master’s Rank in Martial Arts.  One aspect of this test is that our Grandmaster did not want to produce empty headed warriors.  At Black Belt students are required to write 1,000 word essay and answer a 100 question test on history, terminology, etc.  Within our studio, we have taken this requirement and broken it down into smaller steps so that all of our students have been working towards this goal (ie 50 words, then 75, then 100, etc for the essay and smaller tests in the beginning, gradually getting longer and more in-depth)  But I have digressed from my point.

This essay that is required at black belt is also required at Master’s Rank.  Only at Master’s Rank it is a 20,000 word essay.  After much contemplation I have decided to write mine on an instructor’s box of tricks, a toolbox if you will.  What does every good instructor need to know or be able to do in order to lead a class?  What do we as teachers do really well to make sure that information is passed to our students?  How do we go about teaching the next generation of leaders so that they may be better than us?  Here are just a few of my thoughts:

  1. Know each child by name
  2. Always find the positive before you offer a correction
  3. Greet everyone with a smile, a hello at the door, etc.
  4. Body language is important
  5. Be kind on purpose
  6. Know your audience
  7. Have a plan B, and C, and D, and E
  8. Offer different ways to teach the same skill
  9. Have 3 reasons why you are teaching in a certain manner
  10. Use focus anchors to bring everyone back
  11. Have clear expectations
  12. Practice zero downtime.  Even downtime has a purpose.
  13. Always look for professional development

I would love to hear your thoughts.  My goal with this list is to then design skills and drills to enhance my students understanding of what each of these mean.  They are our future leaders but they need to know how to be leaders. Too often we put people in positions of leadership who don’t understand how to lead, how to communicate, or how to pass on knowledge or ideas.  My goal is to change this, one person at a time.

War

I went to war today. My war is personal. My war does not involve blood, but does involve destroying.

This is a staged attack. Last week I tried dish soap and baking soda. That removed the smell, but not the stains.

This week I attack on a second front. Clean the slop sink and prepare for battle. A long term skirmish of an oxyclean soaking is in my future. There my white uniform will lay while the oxyclean goes to work. Will this be the time my uniform goes from dingy to sparkling white?

If this does not work, I will regroup, research, and study the enemy closely, determining another attack. I have heard of peroxide, and liquid bluing. One thing is certain, I cannot use bleach.

And when this war is over, the gray of my white uniform will be no more.

Last weekend

Last weekend I was reminded of how great my husband is. He cooked, he did all the laundry, he got the children to help him clean. He went to the grocery store. He mopped the floors. He loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen. He took the children to where they needed to be. He did everything, including let me sleep because I was sick.

Journeys

Journeys

nounplural journeys.
1. a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip:

a six-day journey across the desert.
2. a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling:

a desert journey.
3. a period of travel:

a week’s journey.
4. passage or progress from one stage to another:

the journey to success.
I have been thinking about this word a lot lately.  Though I never typically think of it in terms of a long trip.  My husband and I love to travel.  We took 2 weeks in Alaska seeing the sights, 3 weeks out west seeing national parks, and cities, and have seen all but 6 states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, and Hawaii) together. When my husband and I travel, we typically call it going on an adventure, or getting away, or going to relax, or taking a vacation.  We never refer to this as a journey.
I have instead been thinking about “journey” in the 4th definition.  A passage or progress from one stage to another.  Being a former classroom teacher I often saw my students journey through elementary school and into junior high.  Their journey would take them into maturity, puberty, and all the other crazy emotions that this growth entails.  Being a business owner/karate instructor, I now see students journey through different ranks, growing and maturing along the way.  But this journey is different.  This is now my journey.
My journey has led me to practice martial arts for 18 years.  My journey has led me to test for my black belt while pregnant with my 2nd child.  My journey has led me to test for my 3rd degree black belt 2 months after we opened our studio 6 years ago.  And now my journey has led me to be invited to test for a master’s rank.  Not everyone is invited and no one is sure when/if their invitation will come.  In fact my invite is a story that I will share another day.  But I am on this journey and whether I feel ready or not, I have the honor of attending camp and testing.  And so I give myself pep talks every day.  I tell myself the same things I tell all  my students.  “You got this.” “Go out and do your best.” “This is the total of all the practice you already put in.” “I believe in you.”
And yet I am on this journey, and I don’t know what the final destination will be. It is scary, and exciting, and fabulous, and nail-biting, and so entirely welcome.  And even after the test is done, this journey, for me, will continue.

Go away!!

Do you ever have one of those moments?  The “GO AWAY!” and leave me alone moments.  I was laying here in bed, listening to the dryer ding that it was done, watching the spinning wheel of death on my tv because comcast wasn’t working, thinking about what to write about.  I had begun to generate a now forgotten list in my head when my husband sits down next to me.

Him: “So is the tv still out?”

Me: “Yes.”

Him: “Do you want to watch a show downstairs?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “What are you doing?”

Me: “My blog.”

Him: “I’m thinking of watching SNL, or do you want me to save it for you?”

Me: “No, I’ll watch it later.”

Him: “When is later, because if this thing keeps acting up, we may need a new one.  Should I save it for you? Never mind, I’ll watch something else.  I’m going to feed my fish, are you joining me downstairs?”

Me: Look of death with a blank screen.  Then I type the title.  Go Away.

Him: “So that is what you will write about today.”  He leaves the room.  Does something in the hall, and comes back to peer over my shoulder as I have begun to type.

Him: “I think I will watch you type and comment as you do it.”

We both start laughing, and, thankfully, he leaves.  If not, I may have thrown the remote at his head.  Now I have to generate the since forgotten list of ideas and moments I could reflect on, and/or write on.  But this moment will be remembered, laundry is calling my name again, and he has gone into the laundry room.  That can only mean one thing.  He is going to be coming back.  🙂

My girl

1am.

I am here in the dark thinking about my day while my 2 kiddos are asleep in the hotel bed next to mine.

Today was no ordinary day. Today my daughter pre-tested for her black belt. This is a day she had been hiding from due to fear and uncertainty. This is a day she had been worrying about because of who her parents are and to quote her “I don’t want to let anyone down.” This is a day that came despite her attempts to avoid it. Does this surprise me? No. We often avoid tasks we deem difficult, scary, unlikable, disgusting, or anything else negative that we wish to avoid.

But today was no ordinary day. Today my daughter pre-tested for her black belt. Despite her fears, she gave it her all. Despite her uncertainty, she showed her skill. Despite her worry, she held nothing back. And at the end of the day, when she left that room smiling and excited, I asked her if she was proud of herself. Her response was YES!

Today was no ordinary day. Today my daughter pre-tested for her black belt. Her dad and I couldn’t be there. We weren’t allowed to watch. This was behind closed doors. She had to do this on her own. We knew she was ready. This was her time to shine. She had put in the work, practiced her skills, but did she know she was ready?

It’s 1am and as I reflect on the smile my girl gave and the hug I received when I saw her after the pre-test, I would think that she did. She knew she was ready even if only for a brief moment.