Saturday, December 29, 2012

My World With Boys!

Yesterday I attended a friends wedding and as I sat at my table watching 'mostly' little boys running around, I could not help but study them. Boys are so interesting and truly I believe men will always be little boys inside. But it also inspired me to think of the power, strength and determination mothers hold within. Whether single or married.

I would say in the last three to four generations, a mother has raised her children with little to no hands-on support.In many cases her extended family is nonexistent. Her husband / partner may work long hours away from the home, or may be, in divorce, pushed away by the ex-spouse or opts away on his own. More and more moms are working themselves and taking part time even full time courses in College / University. A huge percentage of children are born to unmarried women. More than half of these children spend part of their childhood in a home run by a single mother.

I have got to give it up to "us" moms! I see plenty awards shows but not much to recognize MOMS! Please mark my word, I will host an awards show for moms one day soon. Actually I am working on the details of an event for 2013.

Single moms have done an incredible job balancing their lives and raising healthy boys. Alone. I can speak for myself in raising my 20 year old son who I am so proud of today. Oh what a bright young man he is :-)And to see what my soon to be 5 year old son is becoming just brings great joy to my heart. I thank God for his hands on dad.

There are a few basic values and principles that despite how dysfunctional my parents were, they, along with my Avo (grandmother) instilled in me and in return I have passed them along to my boys. Then there are values and things my parents DID NOT give me or do with me that I have discovered on my own and made it a priority to pass onto my boys. Both my biological and foster boys; discipline, rules, structure so that they know their limits; engage, when my boys need me to, be hands on involved with their activities, whether sports, school or hobbies, be available and open to discuss topics, like sexual and aggression oriented questions; and being able to love them unconditionally.

There are so many things I have learned about boys / men through my relationships with ALL my boys including my former husband. The dreams I have for my boys are pretty simple. I want them to be husbands; husbands of not only their own families, but husbands of communities, husbands of culture as a whole, husbands of others around the world, husbands of earth itself, and husbands of their own life journey. Boys, even in gangs seek to husband something, some one or some sacred goal.

Given what I know about how a boy is built and how he is socialized, I have no choice but to notice that without a sacred role to grow into, he will, as he becomes a man, be more likely to join a gang, abuse his lover (mentally, emotionally or physically) cheat on his wife, abandon his children, live in emotional isolation, become an addict, lonely or unhappy. A boy needs structure and discipline in order to discover himself. I know this by looking back at the relationship between my ex and i and why he had so many issues. They are issues that were built during his childhood. I also know this from studying my teenage foster boys. Boys needs to live a journey that has clear responsibilities and goals. HE NEEDS A ROLE IN HIS LIFE! Without it, he does not know his important objective in life. He will roam around only suspecting he has some.

Truly their destiny is in the palms of our hands. We have got to be willing to do the hard work of making our boys into loving, wise and powerful men. Moms, we can't sit back and expect that dad will do it all. No. Let's do our part entirely. Watch videos on raising boys. Read informative books on raising boys. Get involved in your community with other moms who are raising boys.

If you take care of your boys, they will also take care of you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Do Your Part

I am still in shock and will be saddened over the events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday of last week.

I just want to first acknowledge the bravery of staff, parents, and community partners who reacted immediately to protect the children.

I was doing some research online and put together a list of tips to help support your children and family in this time:

- Recognize that children may become concerned that something bad will happen to themselves, family or friends. Explain that safety measures are in place and reassure them that you and other adults will take care of them.

- If your child is not focused or does not know about the tragedy, do not inform them or dwell on it. Try to avoid having detailed conversations regarding the tragedy in front of the children. However, be available to answer questions to the best of your ability. Young children may not be able to express themselves verbally. Pay attention to changes in their behavior or social interactions.

- Please limit exposure to media coverage. Images of disaster or crisis can become overwhelming even for us adults, much less children, especially if watched repetitively.

- Maintain normal family routines as much as possible. Routine family activities can help children feel more secure.

-Be aware of your own needs. Don't ignore your own feelings of anxiety, grief and anger. Talk to friends and family members but above all, talk to God and ask Him to remove the Spirit of fear from your life. There is no one I'd rather speak to than Him in prayer. You will be better able to support your children if you can express your own emotions in a humble and productive way.

Please do not allow fear to eat you alive while you are trying to focus on your day to day job duties. I know that the school's top priority is the safety and well being of each of our children.

If you are concerned about your children, help is available through the schools. If you are concerned about your child or feel he os she needs additional help, contact the school principal, social worker or psycho-educational consultant.

Take care of yourself and of others.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You Have Got To Make the Time!

I believe strongly in structuring a daily study time for children as early as the age of four and five. It may be only fifteen minutes a day, but should grow to thirty minutes the older they get. Our children cannot possibly learn everything they need to know in class. There are too many distractions preventing them from focusing entirely on the lessons being taught. It is up to us as parents to establish a schedule study time.

My LiL Captain is turning five in March, and I started scheduling homework time with him the start of this year. And it is the same time everyday. Now please don't think I am talking about Mathematics and work that grade one's and two's are doing. He is in JK so we spend twenty minutes a day Monday to Friday practicing; writing his full name, phone number, his family members names, alphabets, numbers, art and crafts, coloring, reading (every night), cards etc. Because of this, he is advanced for his age. Most of the kids in his class are not writing their names yet. I am telling you, it makes the world of a difference. Captain spends little to no time watching TV, unless he is with dad (lol). He walks through the door after school and wants to get right into activities.

Another thing I strongly believe in as apart of "study" is life skills! At a very young age my mother had me cleaning and cooking. At the time I wasn't always happy to assist her, however, today I thank God for it. While I am cooking and cleaning Captain gets right in there with me. He seasons the meat for me, he stirs the pots for me, he assists with baking and while I am cleaning, he is next to me wiping and sweeping. Despite whether or not I have to go over it (when he is not looking lol) what matters is he is learning these skills at a young age. Life skills can also be taught outdoors. Apple picking is one of our favorite pass times. You would be amazed how much they learn. If we decide to introduce this to our children at twelve or fourteen, they will become rebellious.

I strongly urge you to have some study time of your own. It may be reading, writing or crafts, but doing some activity similar to your children's will enable them to see study time as a normal pattern for life. During this time, eliminate all distractions. Turn off the TV and any music playing in the background. Even if you want to gather your own reading books and writing materials (as I do) and sit next to him in your chosen study spot, just sit there with him / her and do your homework together. Create the ideal atmosphere you're looking for.

Once you establish this this routine, stick to it daily! Even skipping out once or twice a week to this schedule will mess up the flow and make it more difficult to reorganizing it.

Because of my disciple and determination to have study time with Captain, he now reminds me after his dinner and shower, "mom let's do our homework now" he says with excitement in his voice.

At last but NOT least, pray every night with your children. I can't express how important this is and the foundation you are setting for them at an early age. My Avo (grandmother) prayed every night with my sister and I as children, and then went into my brother's room and prayed with them. She instilled that fear of God in me and no matter what direction my life took, I had a connection to God that I ended up coming back to as an adult.

Your Beliefs and relationship with God influence what you impart to your children.