Guiding our children to shine their inner LIGHT by being our absolute best!

Posts tagged ‘youth’

The Oreo Cookie Theory

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The end of the school year is quickly approaching and many believe that the kids are ‘acting up’ because they are done with school and ready for summer vacation. I have a different perspective on this…

As soon as June 1st hits (sometimes earlier) the kids suddenly appear to have forgotten the rules and have no motivation to work. They also seem to be fighting with one another more than ever and disputing the tiniest issues that didn’t seem to matter just a few weeks ago.

Ten years ago I saw this happening in my classroom to my sweet, loving, well trained 2nd graders and I was baffled because this group of kids was truly like a family. They were loving to one another and worked well cooperatively so when this ‘change’ occurred–literally overnight–I had no idea what was happening.

I reinstated the rules, tried to make learning as fun as I possibly could and focused on projects that would hold their attention, yet they were still constantly arguing with one another. Then The Oreo Cookie Theory came to be…

The kids just came in from recess and there were several requests for a ‘Community Meeting‘.

*A Community Meeting is something that we hold in my classroom when we have a problem or concern that we need to solve as a group.

We went to the ‘Meeting Place Rug’ and sat in a circle. They were all familiar with the rules; if you didn’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears you were not to judge, but instead listen mindfully. One child raised their hand to use an I Statement regarding their frustration. Then another and yet another. I sat back and wondered what was going on with these kids. They were literally like a family. We were all so close and we always worked out our differences together but lately it was a nightmare after every recess.

As I listened to the kids venting their feelings I myself was feeling helpless because I wanted them to enjoy our last few weeks together instead of nitpicking at one another. I interrupted the conversation and explained that perhaps we were all just ready for a break because it was a long year and we were excited for the summer. The kids kind of shook their heads and then there was an uncomfortable silence in the room.

Oh I got it then. The kids heard me say the words, “Let’s enjoy our last few weeks together instead of fighting” and the flood gates opened.

Several of the kids had tears in their eyes, as did I, as we all realized we were bracing ourselves for our end. Yes, we were excited about Summer, but we were also sad to leave one another.

At the time I worked in a school that was a primary center. We hosted grades K-2 and then the kids went to two separate schools across town from one another for grades 3-5 depending on where they lived.

The kids began to speak about their sadness of leaving and how scary it was that things were going to change. I did my best to reassure them that they would love 3rd grade and would all see each other again in 6th grade, but then one child raised her hand and the ‘Oreo Cookie Theory’ was born.

She looked right at me with tears in her eyes and spoke with a soft and broken voice. She said, “Well, Ms. Scalzo (that was my name back then) it’s sad that we are leaving and going to 3rd grade but you don’t really know why.” Of course I inquired and she responded, “It’s kind of like we are an Oreo Cookie. We are each the chocolate cookie ends. One cookie goes one way and the other cookie goes the other way.” I literally began to hold my breath to hold back the tears and then she said, “The worst part is that you are the fluffy stuff in the middle and we’re never gonna see you again.”

At that point we were all crying and then, of course, hugging.

I am proud to say that those 2nd graders are graduating from High School this year and I can’t wait to attend their graduation. I have thought of them often as the years have past and I especially think of them every June when my kids show the same signs of separation anxiety.

If you are a teacher or a parent and you’ve noticed a change in your child in the past few weeks that may be a bit frustrating please consider this ‘Oreo Theory’ and give them a break.

Instead of getting angry or annoyed with their behavior, give them lots of extra love because now you know that although they are excited about a new beginning and sunshine, they are also sad about an ending.

Be gentle. Be understanding. Be loving.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

 

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When Our Children Speak Their Truth

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Last week was a busy week.  It was the first week back from vacation and somehow, I always feel like I need a vacation from a vacation.  I may have been a bit distracted during the week as I multitasked to get things done to catch up from the week before and prepare for the weeks ahead.  Perhaps I didn’t realize that I was becoming a human doing instead of a human being until my six year old gracefully pointed that out to me…

I had just finished yet another load of clothes and I was checking email when my sister came up on Skype.  I hadn’t talked with her in a while so I accepted her video request.  My son was playing a computer game in the home office so I went to another area of our house to chat with my sister.  Within a few moments of our conversation, my son screamed, “Mom!  I need you! This crazy computer is stuck again!!”  Our office computer is quite the dinosaur, but it’s good for games on the computer (or so I thought).

I calmly called up to him, “Hunnie, I’m Skyping with your aunt right now.  I’ll be up in a few minutes.”  A few minutes later he screamed again, “Mom!  I n-e-e-d  y-o-u-r  h-e-l-p!”  This time I replied, “You just have to wait until Mommy is done, and then I will be up.”

Apparently, that wasn’t good enough because moments later I heard him stomp down the hall and slam his bedroom door.  I just shook my head and continued my conversation.  Finally, I told my sister I need to go check on my son and up the stairs I went.  As I climbed the stairs I was thinking how nervy it was of him to slam his door in frustration, but then I was thinking how frustrated both my husband and I get on that computer as well.

I slowly opened his door and saw him on the floor playing with a toy.  I looked at him and said, “Nico, I was talking with Aunt Bri and I couldn’t come to help you in that moment, but slamming your door, seriously, who do you think you are?”

He turned and looked right in my eyes and very matter-of-factly said, “I am me. That’s who I am.”  For a brief moment I was stunned.  I work very hard to teach the children in my class and my very own child to speak their truth and that is exactly what my kid was doing right in front of me.  I smiled and said, “You’re absolutely right.  I appreciate that you are you and that you can say that with pride.  What I would like to know is, do you think slamming the door a good choice?”  He looked at me and replied, “I’m sorry mom.  I was just so frustrated.” 

We then talked about what he could do when he feels frustrated again instead of slamming the door, like possibly walking away and playing with something else to settle down (like he did after slamming the door).

While talking with him over the next fifteen minutes of so I realized that he was not only frustrated about the computer.  More importantly, he was frustrated because he felt like I wasn’t there for him.  He had been entertaining himself quite a bit as I caught up from our vacation and me sitting down to check email and then Skyping was likely, the last straw for him.