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Sweet Land of Liberty

Well, today I am going to write about something that may make a few people mad.  It’s something that I have been feeling and wanting to write about for awhile now, but I’ve had to approach it in a constructive way.  I already have a few people in the world who can’t stand me for whatever reason, but I just need to vent a bit here.

I’m sick and tired of hearing people constantly criticizing the United States.  I don’t hear the same type of constant criticisms about other countries the way I hear about our country.  I know…..Americans are viewed as arrogant, and I know quite a few arrogant Americans, but I know a lot more Americans who are kind-hearted, and loving.  I know….our government has some major flaws right now, and I for one, cannot stand the man in the White House…..but he does not represent everyone, or what I see as the “American Dream.” I get it. We are a big, powerful country, which makes us a target.  But I’ve had enough.

I recently read a blog about what we do wrong, written by a European, now living in the USA.  First of all, if we are such a horrible country, then why is this person living here?  The criticisms I’ve heard are that we are too friendly, we dress too casually, our restaurant dishes are too big, we have free refills on drinks, we tip, we have “to go” boxes, we ask strangers, “how are you?” in our greetings, we drive too much, our children drive too early, but drink too late, guns, healthcare, and blah, blah, blah.  If I addressed everything he wrote about, I would be writing all night.

So….I love living in a friendly place.  I know people will help me, if I need it, especially if they have presented me with a warm smile.  I’ve received compliments from total strangers in public before…..sometimes a little creepy, but most of the time, I welcome a kind word and someone asking how I am.  I usually respond with, “I’m fine, thank you!  How are you?” Why is this wrong?

Dressing casually….well, why not?  And what is considered casual?  I don’t approve of the pajamas at Walmart, but I don’t like shopping at Walmart anyway!  But we can dress up when we want to, and most of us do.  My father wore a suit and tie to work every day, and seldom wore jeans or sneakers.  I live in a beach community.  It’s 90+ degrees every day with extreme humidity, making it feel like a 110 degree sauna.  I wear sun dresses or jeans with a nice shirt, cute shoes (always!), and jewelry to work every day…..is that too casual?  Why wear a suit in this weather?  You’ll MELT! And really, why does anyone else care? It’s not like I’m going to a wedding in a bikini!

Al and I went to lunch today, and we spent less than $50 (including dessert and tip).  Yes, the portions were large, but we didn’t eat them all (some Americans aren’t obese either).  I brought home enough leftovers for at least 2 more meals! This is extremely cost effective, common, and smart!  And our service was excellent, because our wait person was working for a tip!  The better the service, the better the tip, so she probably makes more than I do as a teacher! I’ve been to some countries where the customer service is crap, and I wish they were working for tips….maybe they would be more attentive! Oh yeah, and we also got free refills in “to go” cups for our tea because as our waitress said, “It’s about 130 degrees out there!  You’ll need something cold to take with you!” See how that works?  Reasonably priced meal, great service, leftovers, and a nice dining experience.  How is that wrong?

Driving….well, if you live in a city, you are more likely to have access to public transportation.  Let’s face it, this country is HUGE, and we are very spread out.  We like the space!  In order to get places, we do drive, but we also love road trips, and exploring our country, and you can’t get that in a taxi or a subway.  We don’t all drive gas guzzling vehicles, and enjoy learning about the diversity and history of our country.  Our children drive young (not something I necessarily agree with) because this country was built on family farms.  Farmers had a lot of children to help, and they needed to drive trucks and farm vehicles to help.  My father started driving at 12 years old (in 1936) from necessity.  So licenses at 16 or 17 (after a period of restriction) isn’t all that strange to us.

Alcohol….this one I have to agree with.  If our young men and women are able to fight for our country, and our boys are required to register for the draft, then yes….they should be able to have a beer!  I remember when the drinking age jumped to 21 nationwide.  Before that, the states had their own age limitations.  In Kansas and Oklahoma, you could buy low point beer at 18, but liquor at 21.  In Iowa, it was 19 for everything.  The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers were behind this, if I remember right.  They wanted to keep it out of the hands of high school students, which I understand, and can sympathize with too.  But if the kids want it, they will get it.  I thought 19 was a good compromise. And I have read that teenage drinking has dropped in recent years.

Guns and healthcare….well, we do have a problem.  I will not argue with this.  But some of us want solutions, or at least compromises, to these issues, and some of us don’t.  Please don’t lump all of us in to being part of the problem.  It’s a real concern for many.

A few weeks ago, I met some people on the beach from a European country (I won’t say which one, because I don’t believe in doing that to anyone….just like us, they do not all think and act alike).  They had flown to Washington DC, drove south to Miami, and were now on their way to New Orleans, stopping in our little community for a day or two to rest. Now, how many European countries can you travel that distance and still be in the same country?  Like I said before, our country is vast, and I think they were surprised by that, but how cool!  But they had nothing nice to say about us or our country!  I was really annoyed.  Here they were, sitting next to a total stranger, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (free admission and free parking), complaining about everything, and saying we had no freedom.  And by the way, this American was more than happy to take their picture with the water in the background, and watch the lady’s purse while they went for a stroll on the beach, but you couldn’t do that in every country. They complained about where they stayed, thinking it was ON the beach.  It was on the Sound, and just over the bridge to the beach.  They complained that they had to drive to the beach.  I told them they could have walked over the bridge…a lot of people do.  They were afraid of the traffic….there is a walking/bike path.  Americans eat too much and are fat….these folks weren’t particularly skinny!  Black people shouldn’t be on the beach….I really had to hold my tongue with this one…..but then they complained about the racism we have.  I told them that my husband and I are teachers, and what we teach.  When I said that my husband works with students in the behavior unit, they assumed they were just “brats.”  I had to inform them that the majority of them suffer from some level of autism, and can’t help it.  Believe me, by the time I was finished talking with these rude tourists, I wanted to ask them why they bothered coming here if everything is so horrible!

I love my country, even though we are really in the midst of some awful things right now.  It was a safe place to grow up and raise children, and my parents encouraged all five of their children to go to college. We aren’t tacky, stupid, rude, or lazy.  Obviously, I have manners for not criticizing these individuals, or their countries.  We have a lot of freedoms here that many of us take for granted, and we should always protect.  But one thing that I will not stand for is someone telling me how we are “wrong” because we have a different culture.  This is OUR culture….like it or don’t.  There are a lot of things we do right, and some things we need to work on.  We are not everything you see in the news and on television.  As much as I struggle at times to understand what is happening in our country, it’s still MY country, and if it isn’t something you like, or can appreciate, or say something nice about, then go away…..you need to learn some manners!

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Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Fear, Happiness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Make a Difference, Misconceptions, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Understanding

You Don’t Always Have to Be Strong

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lately.  It’s really heartbreaking for their families, and leaves so many unanswered questions, but it seems that only when something like this happens do we really understand how much pain (emotional or physical) someone may have.  Of course, it’s too late to help them at that point, but how do we help someone who is hiding their pain from those they love? How do we know?  Some people love playing “the victim,” and love getting the attention that goes along with that.  Others of us, however, don’t want to be a burden on those we love.

My daughter had a friend who committed suicide a few years ago.  They were very close in high school, and then this friend ended up pushing away my daughter, along with a lot of other people who had been her friends.  Of course, it makes sense why she pushed everyone away now, but at the time, how could anyone know that she was hurting so much?  She pushed people away with meanness and made them not want to be with her.  I guess in her way, she was trying to protect them from the pain she knew she may eventually put them through.  Even when it happened, my daughter was not mad at her.  She hurt for her.  She still loved her.  She understood then that her friend had needed help, and didn’t know how to ask for it.

We all need help from time to time.

Last summer, I found myself in a dark place.  I was not suicidal, but I was sad.  I was afraid.  I was hurting.  And I was feeling a lot of pressure from so many different places.  I had been diagnosed with a medical condition that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I was alone when I got this diagnosis because my husband was in New York with his family.  I had recently been terribly hurt by some people I really cared about. I had no idea how I was going to handle another year of teaching with this type of medical diagnosis.  I was bogged down with some very difficult, important paperwork that was pushing me to my limit.  I was overwhelmed, alone, confused, sad, and hurting a lot.  I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to disappear for awhile.  I laid down on the kitchen floor, and cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And finally a calmness came over me, and I got up and finished my paperwork that had been frustrating me so much.  I was still upset and alone, mad and frustrated, but I knew I had to pull myself together to keep going.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me, or how anyone was trying to hurt me.  I had to keep at the paperwork, no matter how confusing and difficult it was.  Al would be home in a few days and we could begin exploring our medical options, and he would be home to comfort me.  It would all be okay.  I was entitled to a meltdown for all I was dealing with.  But I had to get up and face these obstacles.  I had to be strong for my husband and my children.  I couldn’t disappear.

Al and I had a discussion earlier tonight about how when either of us is hurting or sick, we try not to let the other one see how much we’re suffering.  We try to protect each other, even through our own pain.  I didn’t tell Al about my major meltdown last summer until recently.  I didn’t want to worry him, or put any added stress on him.  He worries enough about me….why cause him to worry more?  Why cause him added pain?  When he is sick, he tries to conceal how bad he feels so I won’t worry.  It hurts to see your partner hurt.  We are strong for each other, but we also know that sometimes we can’t handle everything alone, whether it’s a physical illness or a giant weight on our shoulders.  We need help from each other.  We don’t have to do it alone, and it has taken me awhile to learn this.  It isn’t something I’ve been used to.

Those people who are in so much pain that they take their own lives, aren’t trying to hurt anyone else.  So many times they have been protecting their loved ones for so long it becomes too heavy of a burden to carry.  They’ve had to be strong for everyone while they hurt.  They’re really quite selfless, even though some will argue just the opposite.  They’re funny, compassionate, and caring, but they have hidden their own feelings in order to protect those they love.  We know to take care of those who ask for help.  But let’s take care of those who seem strong too.  Let’s be there for the ones who always seem to be there for everyone else.  Let’s be there for the ones who start isolating themselves, even if they don’t want us.  Let’s be there for the ones who make us laugh when we want to cry.  Let’s be there for the ones who say, “I’m fine.”  They may be the ones who are suffering the most, and don’t know how to ask for help.  We are all human, and every human needs help at some point in their lives.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Acceptance, Be Kind, Egos, Insensitivity, Karma, Kindness, Lies, Manipulation, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, That's life, Uncategorized

Here Comes the Karma Bus!

I’ve always been a believer in karma.  Some people don’t believe in it, and that’s okay for them, but I’ve seen it too many times to dispute it in my life.  If you do good things, good things will come back to you.  Just as, if you lie, cheat, and steal, it will come back to you. Sometimes we have to go through some very rough times before we feel the effects of karma, but it’s usually quite satisfying when we finally see it pan out!

I’ve known people who have had their hearts broken, and they claim they did all the right things.  They treated their former partner with respect, spoiled them, doted on them, etc.  Now usually, a breakup is a two way street, but occasionally, it is true that one person gives more, and gets taken advantage of.  They can’t understand why things didn’t work out when they were doing all the right things.  Well, of course, it’s a life lesson, but the “karma bus” will most definitely catch up to the one who did the hurting!  It may take time, but I believe it will happen.  And, the one who got hurt usually ends up with someone a lot more suited for their personality and needs….someone who treats them with respect and reciprocates the good care they have given.  Soooooo….karma has come back to them in a positive way.  It works both ways.

If someone has been a liar and cheat for most of their lives, it’s not usually an easily broken habit.  They get away with it for as long as they can, and when it catches up to them, they still don’t take responsibility for their dishonesty.  In their minds, it will always be someone else’s fault.  There are people in this world who make a living cheating others….their spouses, neighbors, family, customers, the government….  They’re greedy, arrogant, lying cheaters.  Instead of compromise, they tend to bully their way through life, using money to get their way.  And when called out and proven that they’re in the wrong, they still refuse to admit it…..didn’t happen….fake news……  They’re somehow above the rest of us who have tried to do the right things, and they continue their shady ways.  Don’t worry…..karma will catch up to them.

I try to always be nice and understanding to people.  I make mistakes, just like everyone else, but I try to remedy it in my actions every day.  I’ve always believed that if you are kind and nice, warm and friendly, generous and compassionate, you will get that in return.  Not everyone treats me the way I’ve treated them, and it really does hurt.  That’s when I tell myself that I have to step back and try not to care about their poor treatment.  Their karma will get them just as mine will reward me.  I’ve made a point to “be the bigger person” so many times.  It sometimes sucks (a lot!), and I admit, I get tired of it.  I have done things for people who I know will never treat me with the same kindness and respect.  Sometimes I have to protect myself and just walk away…..no hate or anger….just self preservation.  Karma can take care of that too!

Be good to people.  Be good to those who are good to you.  To the liars, cheaters, arrogant people and meanies….sit back, rev up the engine on the karma bus, and watch what happens.  Let karma take care of it.

Attention Whores, Get Over Yourself, Growing up, Let kids be kids, Lies, Making life interesting, Manipulation, Self respect, Storytelling, Teaching Responsibility, Uncategorized

Big Little Liars

I have students who tell outrageous stories (lies), and manipulate situations to get what they want.  Of course, part of it is that they have active imaginations, and they are only 6 and 7 years old.  As entertaining as the stories may be, they do need to start realizing that their words/stories will have consequences.  Just this year alone, I have been told that a student’s mother wakes her up in the morning by putting snakes in her bed, a child claimed she had gone to Disney World the day before…..Disney is 7 hours from us, and she hadn’t missed a day of school, “I got braces yesterday, but the dentist took them off again,” etc, etc, etc…….  So many times I just have to tune out the stories, but they can be very entertaining!

These are funny coming from children, but when adults lie, make up stories, embellish, or manipulate, it isn’t cute anymore.  There comes a time when we have to grow up and tell the truth.  We all want to sound more interesting than we probably are.  I have always thought I’ve lived a pretty boring life, until I talk to other people, and realize that through moving a lot, having a large family, and traveling, I’ve been able to experience some pretty awesome things, and my life has been very full and interesting.  Maybe those who haven’t led particularly interesting lives feel the need to gain attention by lying or manipulating events and people.  You know them…..attention whores.

I’ve known adults who thrive on drama, and with the drama, usually comes some sort of embellishment of the stories they’re relaying.  I mean, I get it….they need to make it as interesting as possible to hold someone else’s attention.  The longer they can hold an audience, the more likely they can gain sympathy, and let’s face it, they soak up any kind of admiration, no matter how they have to get it.

I guess my comparisons here have to do with maturity.  It’s fairly common, and sometimes cute, for children to tell (and sometimes believe) big stories/fabrications.  But there comes a time when everyone should outgrow this.  We slowly start correcting them, and helping them to understand that they can’t keep telling falsehoods for attention, or to hurt someone else….these are the first ones in my class who accuse others of doing something that hurts them.  These are the children who are busy talking, and when you call them out on it, they deny it’s them.  You see it with your eyes, and you hear it with your ears, but they’re looking right at you, denying it’s them.  I know we can try to channel this imagination into some type of creative writing, because they DO have great imaginations!  It would be a shame to completely waste it as they grow up.  However, some adults never reach that level of maturity, where they care about the consequences of their statements, or who they might hurt.  I hear it nearly every day in the political world, and even those claiming to be of some religious faith, manipulating scripture to fit their agenda.

Everyone wants to have their way.  Everyone wants to impress someone.  Everyone wants and needs a certain amount of attention.  But let’s try to do it honestly, without having to make up stories, manipulate, or embellish to satisfy our cravings for attention and sympathy.  Be fair, objective, diplomatic, compassionate, cooperative, and honest!  Leave the big entertaining stories for a novel or blockbuster movie, or just let the kids entertain us.

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Hocus Focus

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately.  Part of it is because I have a hard time typing with a brace on my wrist. Part of it is just because I’ve been a bit distracted with a few things lately.  I start to write, and I find myself not wanting to finish the topic because I get worried how some people might react.  I try to keep my posts positive, and try to inspire people to do their best, while maybe sharing some experiences from my life, or funny stories.  I know I shouldn’t worry about that, because I know if I’m doing the best I can, that’s all that matters.  I have a level of sarcastic humor that not everyone gets, but I can’t worry about that either.  I’ll try to give you an idea of what my mind has been like lately….

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today……let’s keep moving forward.  Even my 1st graders think racism is awful.

Broken wrists suck.

Vertigo sucks.

I have a secret crush on Tom Jones.

Migraines suck.

Free movie passes are great.

I, Tonya was a good movie.

Catch the movie, Mudbound on Netflix……eye opening, and should tug at everyone’s heart.  Let’s not ever go back to that. Mary J. Blige does an excellent job in it.

I love Kansas City at Christmas.

I love warm weather.

My dog is the sweetest, snuggled next to me as I type this.

The Vikings had an awesome game yesterday, and I hope they go all the way, especially for my best friend’s sake…..she loves them!

Some people really take advantage, and are attention whores.

I would never have the nerve to set up a Go Fund Me account for myself…….

Therefore, medical bills and trying to get by through this really sucks.

Donald Trump sucks.  Yep.  I said it!

What happened to manners?

Why can’t people respect your time and your finances?  It’s not up to anyone else how you spend these things, and if you have the time or money for something.  I would never tell someone, “You have time for this,” or “You can afford that.”  No one’s energy level is the same as someone else’s, and no one knows what your financial obligations are.

A man complimented me in the elevator in the medical building for the boots I had on….then he asked if that was okay because he wasn’t sure it was acceptable….compliments should always be acceptable.

Work/teaching is exhausting.

Trying to get my foot in the door with real estate is next to impossible while teaching full time.  Taking my post license course now.

I don’t like one of my medical specialists…….at all.

Sometimes no matter how nice you are to people, they just won’t like you.  Be nice anyway, but protect yourself.  You can’t make them care.  Their actions will show you how they feel.  Be kind.

Seizures suck.

My family is wonderful.

I don’t get to see a lot of Al this time of year because he works at lot with youth basketball, so we spent today together.  He helped me with groceries and put gas in my car…..helping me with that wrist thing.

My kids are great…..and goofy, and I worry about them all the time.

Social anxiety can be crippling……try to smile and get through it.  I feel it every day.

Youth basketball games are fun to watch, especially when they’re scrappy little kids.

Some people are heartless.

I’m addicted to reruns of Bewitched.

Spring and summer need to get here soon. I need summer now!

So you can see……my mind is all over the place…..writer’s block, because I can’t focus on anything.  Not feeling bad or depressed….I’m just overwhelmed with a lot right now, so my mind is a busy place.  I wonder if I have adult ADD to add to the list of conditions? Maybe if I am able to reduce the stress in my life and get the rest I need, I can focus!  For now, I will rely on exercise and meditation (and Bewitched) to get me through!

I hope you all have had a great Martin Luther King Jr Day.  Did you do anything to give back? I didn’t this year.  I just don’t have the energy.  My justification for this is that I give back each day when I walk into my classroom. Every teacher does……

Get focused! Now back to studying….

 

 

 

 

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Love and Laughter in 2018

Happy 2018!  Last night, we returned from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City, where we spent the week with my family for the first time in years.  It really was a great time, even if it was cold, busy and chaotic.  That’s kind of the way my family is during the holidays….. NOT cold, but busy and chaotic!  Laughter, kids, memories, and constant activity is pretty much the norm for us.

My family is big……maybe not big by some people’s standards, but my parents were each one of 5 children, and I am also one of 5 (all girls).  My parents have 11 grandchildren, a few of them have spouses, and there is one great grandchild (my grandson). My daughter’s boyfriend has 2 children, who only added to the fun!  My sister also had two other guests, who were visiting from Japan, and they added to the fun and laughter.  Between all of the people, 2 dogs, the great food, cousins leg wrestling on the family room floor, Nerf gun fights, building train tracks on the floor, pretending to cook (and eat) the Fisher Price food, and our excursions into the city to visit the Nelson Atkins Museum (Picasso, Monet, Pollock, Warhol, etc), Union Station, Crown Center, ice skating (just the kids….not me!),  breakfast with my aunt and nieces, Al and I going out with a childhood friend of mine, and Al going out for a jazz night at Plaza III with our brother in-law, it was a packed few days!  The cold temps didn’t stop the fun!  My family welcomes everyone, and treats everyone with love and acceptance, if they are willing to put up with our noise and silliness!  This is really the first time Al has had a chance to spend any real time with a lot of my family.  He got to see first hand how loving and accepting they are.

I thought back on times when my sisters and our families would all gather at my parents each year (either on Thanksgiving or Christmas).  At times, there might be around 23 of us packed into their little ranch home in Springfield, Missouri.  Noise, laughter, children, food, games, movies, sports on TV, and just spending time together laughing and reminiscing was such fun.  Or the times when we would gather at my grandmother’s house in Wichita with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins……times change, families grow, and loved ones leave us eventually…….but no one can take my memories.

2017 was not easy on me in a lot of ways.  I’ve tried to stay positive, and grateful for all I have, even when I’m physically struggling.  My first trip to Europe, which I was so looking forward to, turned out to be very hard because of a lot of the physical problems I was having, without knowing what was wrong with me.  I tried to do what I could, but I ended up spending a lot of time unable to enjoy a lot of it.  Once we got back, and I got a diagnosis (a benign brain tumor, called an acoustic neuroma), I had to figure out a lot of things.  I dove into information, trying to learn all I could about it.  But mostly, I counted my blessings.  It could have been a lot worse.  My emotions went into overdrive……I can cry at the drop of a pin, and I have a few unpleasant symptoms that are the new normal for me, but I started appreciating things I hadn’t even noticed before!  I also told myself I would not waste time on people or things that were negative or tried to drain my happiness.

I’ve had a lot of hard times in my life, but I’ve also had a lot of very happy times.  My big family has provided so many happy moments for me, and the memories of the love and laughter keep me going.  I always try to stay positive and not let negativity bring me down, but that seems so much more important now.  So, like every year, I will vow to keep my chin up, stay positive, be nice, friendly, compassionate, and happy.  Even though I have been presented with a new obstacle, it doesn’t change my outlook on life.  It may be a new year, but it’s the same love and appreciation that I always strive for.

The important things in life are love, loved ones, laughter, memories, and good health.  Laugh and learn to enjoy everything you have.  Cut out the negativity and negative people who don’t love you back, don’t care about you, or don’t appreciate you.  Stay positive.  Stay happy.  Enjoy the chaos and laughter in life.  Don’t waste time sitting around getting old. I’m so thankful I come from a family who loves to laugh and have fun…..it keeps us young and healthy!

It’s great to be home where it’s a little warmer, but I have some great new memories of this trip, and of my big family and friends.   Happy New Year, and here’s to a fun 2018, filled with love and laughter……curing all that ails us!

Acceptance, Be Happy, Childhood Innocence, Growing up, Growing up too fast, Innocence, Let kids be kids, Self respect, Uncategorized

Protecting Innocence

Yesterday at school, one of my little girls ran up to me at recess to tell me in an exasperated manner that her mother won’t let her wear high heels.  She had a friend with her, who exclaimed, “Can you BELIEVE it???” I think they were telling me this in hopes that I would talk to her mother, and convince her to let her wear them.  They also informed me that her mother won’t let her wear makeup.  Now, we are talking about 6 year olds! I remember playing in my mother’s lipstick, and wearing her heels, and playing dress up with some of her old dresses in the toy box. Little girls love pretending, and love imitating their mommies.  That’s natural (please no one start a gender identity argument with me….this is not about that).  I think I surprised (and disappointed) these girls by telling them that I agreed with her mother!

I have real issues with encouraging our children (especially girls) to grow up too soon.  The innocence of childhood lasts for such a short time.  Why do we want to rush them through it? Make up? High heels? To me, this feels like we are sexualizing our little girls, and teaching them that the only way to be cool or lovable is to have them dress like Barbies for attention.  Am I being too critical?  Maybe. Yet, I have a student who comes to school in 1″ heels at least two or three times per week.  She can barely walk in them, she slips on the tile floors, and she can’t participate in PE or recess the way she should.  These shoes would be fine for a special occasion or church, but not at school.  I have students who wear makeup.  Why?  Their skin is so perfect and pretty at that age.  Their bodies are like little babies.  Why do we want them to look grownup?  It’s creepy.

I didn’t allow my daughters to wear makeup until they were in middle school, and even then, it was very basic.  They’re pretty girls…..why would they need much makeup?  They’re also pretty enough without it to get attention from boys! Fortunately, I feel like I have been able to help them see that their inner beauty, and the way they conduct themselves, is much more important than any outward beauty (or the mask of a ton of makeup).  They’re REAL.  They’re genuine.  They’re originals.  They’re nice.

My oldest daughter got her belly button pierced when she was 18, and sent me a text to tell me because she was afraid of my reaction.  I guess I’m scary!  Ten years later, she has let it close up, and realizes it was just one of those youthful phases that really doesn’t fit her personality. I’m glad it was something that could be easily remedied!  Everywhere we look, there is pressure on our girls to grow up too fast, and to be looked at in inappropriate ways!  Makeup, heels, piercings, inappropriate clothing…..there’s even a television show that glamorizes teen pregnancy.  There will be plenty of time for all of this, as childhood goes so fast…..it really does slip away.  Why are mothers doing this to their daughters?  Let the girls make their own bad decisions when they’re old enough (like I did)!  Don’t make the bad decisions for them!  Grow up, moms!

Give your daughter the confidence to be herself without wanting to hide behind an artificial mask.  Teach her that brains, ambition, sincerity, and genuine care and love for others will carry her much farther than wanting to look like every other sex object in the world.  Teach her humor.  Teach her compassion.  Teach her humility.  Teach her to value her own self worth, gifts, and talent WITHOUT needing to pretend to be something else.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty.  We all enjoy it, and it’s fun to get dressed up.  There’s nothing wrong with makeup and having your hair done.  There’s nothing wrong with heels.  But there’s also a time and place for it.  Once the innocence of childhood is gone, it will NEVER come back!  Value your daughter’s innocence and natural beauty.  Protect it.  Let her know that she’s just fine without it.

And last of all, here’s a shout out to those moms who say no! Good for you!