Monday, April 22, 2013

Living a Normal Life in Traumatic Times

First the Newtown murders, now the Boston Marathon Bombing - is your family on overload? It's hard enough to steer your family through the push and pull of living with an out of control kid. Add to it a national trauma that may well involve someone you know, and your own family members could easily spiral down to a very bad place.
September 11, 2001 was such a time. We were all stunned. The skies were silent, except for the occasion scream of fighter jets flying low on patrol. We gathered round our televisions for hours at a time watching airplanes crashing into towers, and the towers collapsing, over and over.

The FlyLady ( sounded a note of encouragement. Turn off the TV and pursue comforting family activities – pull out board games, tell stories, read favorite books out loud, go for a walk together, prepare comfort foods.
Early this week blogger Nancy Schwartz ( quoted Mr. Rogers; “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”.

Of course that was what we saw at the Boston Marathon – runners and all manner of first responders running towards the bomb blasts – their first impulse was to help. Then a few days later the hunt for the bombers began and the first casualty was MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. What got my attention was a news picture of a mom and her two elementary aged sons being escorted by officers as they brought flowers and food to the Collier home.

Our world is full of trauma – nationally, locally and personally. I would like to be that person who is helping. Taking a meal, getting together for a game night – being there. I would like to help my friends and family do normal things along with reaching out to the victims. I will pray for them, look for opportunities to donate to organizations that will help them. How about you?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

When Traditional Schools Just Don’t Work

Our local StandUp Parenting support group has a long history of children of all ages attending alternative schools. They come in all shapes and forms – and we are thankful!

Currently, we have children in two charter schools and an alternative school.

One charter school serves elementary children, focuses on basics and lots of group repetition.

Another charter school is also elementary school, but is adding a grade each year. It successfully serves children with Sensory Integration Disorder, creating a specialized environment where they can succeed.

The third school is a high school alternative school which allows for variety of student needs – one area where they are particularly helpful is giving students who have a hard time functioning before noon the ability to start school later and make use a number of different methods to accomplish the course load.

It is not uncommon for the children of our parents to take five years to get a four year high school diploma. Of course, those are the kids who manage to stick it out.
Personally, I had one child who needed the help of a public industrial arts alternative school to secure a diploma by the age of twenty one. A second kid got a GED by the age of twenty seven, because of the help of a very specialized program.

One of our StandUp group parents, in an effort to get their young adult kid to follow through on a GED course, went back to school in their 50’s to get their own GED certificate. That’s what they call, ‘Putting your money where your mouth is!’

Don’t give up on your child’s education. It may take longer and look different than your neighbor’s or your sister’s kid’s experience – but with patience on your part and perseverance on your kid’s – it can happen!