Thursday, September 2, 2010

Children Will Listen

The other night I went to my daughter's high school for a meeting that the college counselors were having with the Junior class parents.

I sat in the meeting and pinched myself that Ke$ha Barbie is lucky enough to attend her school because she is getting the most amazing college counseling in the world. They (the college counselors) call themselves the "deans" because they not only help the kids get into college but they are also their schedulers, problem-solvers, advocates and, basically (and especially to the juniors and their parents)....THERAPISTS.

These people give a damn...


I remember when she (Ke$ha Barbie) was a freshman and we survived Hurrican Ike. The deans were in a panic because the server for the school was down and they needed to be in communication with "their" kids who were seniors. So they used facebook. Because kids will check facebook. Because the deans give a damn...and anyone who has ever had a kid who was a senior knows that mid-September is a time that you NEED to be doing some "get my kid into college" stuff.

My college counseling pretty much consisted of her (the college counselor) telling me to take the PSAT (I did because friends were taking it...and I think some boy I liked told me to take it because he was), her telling me my scores were good (months later), sometime during my senior year she asked if I was going to college and where I wanted to go---I said "A&M", she said "you are top 10% so as long as you put your name on the SAT you will get in". That was it...pretty much it...No recommendations, no talk of campus visits...that was it.

At the end of the meeting at Ke$ha Barbie's school I started crying because I cannot believe that my daughter gets to have Goddess Dean (her amazing) as her hand-holder and helper. Because Goddess Dean is crazy-good at helping her kids get into the RIGHT place for them. I plan to have a marble statue made in her honor...of her as a goddess...I will crown it with laurel leaves and leave roses at the base if she gets my kid into a school that won't make me crazy for her to attend.

I am an Aggie. Ke$ha Barbie's daddy is an Aggie. We don't like burnt orange very much. It is not in my color "season"...I am way better in maroon (or "wine" for my sorority). Orange does not flatter natural blondes.


I learned a few years ago from a friend that if I brainwash my daughter about A&M one of 2 things will happen. She will either:
1) Believe that A&M is the ONLY place to go (and then maybe not get in...)
2) HATE tu (ok, for you UT people I will call it UT...but to Aggies it is always "tu"), she could end up hating UT so much that she feels that it is not acceptable for her to go there and it might just really be the RIGHT place for her to go, but she might refuse...because she is brainwashed.

That happened to some friends of ours. Their child grew up with a bias against A&M. Then he didn't get in to UT. And this kid, above all kids I know SHOULD have gotten into UT. He is an amazing man. He had great grades and great test scores. He won awards at camp. His parents went to UT. Family went to UT. Someone in the family once was a big wig at the university. People, the boy was an EAGLE SCOUT. I would marry him off to Ke$ha Barbie in a heartbeat. He is a child I would happily claim as my own and I have watched him grow up. This kid would be a credit to any college.

But he didn't get into UT

But he would have been an amazing and great Aggie. He would have been a better Aggie than 99% of the kids at A&M. He would have been a better Aggie than Longhorn. It was probably a better fit for his personality.

But he just couldn't do it. And his dad said "don't do this with your kids"...don't allow them to rule out a school that might be right for them just because of an age-old rivalry.

So he is a senior at an out-of-state college. They (the out-of-state university) are lucky to have him.

Children will listen to what you say about things and places and people...and your opinions will mold them...

Another perfect boy I know decided against A&M (even though his parents went there and he has deep ties) and considred UT. His mother and family (and I) were having heart attacks. But his parents let him decide for himself. He is at an out-of-state school. They are lucky to have him. He can also marry Ke$ha Barbie. I learned from his family and how they handled it...I hope I can be so lucky.

So Ke$ha Barbie is saying she thinks she wants to be an engineer and maybe UT is where she wants to go. I'm going to roll with it but her father isn't so sure.

I loved going to TAMU. It was perfect for me. I got a great education. Albeit, it was an agricultural economics degree and not very useful to me, but I had fun learning about fertilizer ratios and tractors and how to judge pigs and slaughtering animals (ok, that was not fun because I hated hated hated that) and the creamery at the university was the BOMB! I even got to take a class, for credit, in flower arranging...

I excelled at drinking at the Zephyr club...could have had a 4.0 in that...

I made great friends. I joined a sorority (shout out to my Pi Phi girls!) and got "sisters" that I love and still communicate with to this day. Not that I NEEDED any more sisters (I have 6) but these sisters have been very special to me and I am so happy to wear the arrow with them.

Ke$ha Barbie can go to college wherever she wants...she just has to pledge Pi Phi.

She better listen...

So the talk with the deans also got me thinking about my teacher friends and how wonderful they are and how blessed my children are to be taught by them. GOTT has given many a child way more than acting lessons...many of his former students will tell you that they went on to do some amazing things in high school because he put them on the stage in middle school. One kid said so this week in a speech he made to the middle school. Amazing kid. He credits GOTT and TTG. I agree. Again, GOTT is a is TTG.

My son has my friend Bacchus this year for a class. My son hangs on his every word. He listens to him. Even when he says crazy things like "ice cream sandwiches are the hot dogs of the ice cream world"...he has an explanation for that I refuse to share. Bacchus talks really fast. I don't know how my son keeps up. Sometimes I get lost in our conversations and I think I might need to take meds if I am going to be his room mother this year. But I love love love him...

Children will listen...even to the silly, crazy stuff...

My son can pretty much quote everything Precious and Adorable History Teacher said to him last year...and this year he regularly visits him because he loves do I...any man that can get my son to love history AND teach him how to be a better man (all while being Precious and Adorable) is someone to love love love

The Cutest Boy in the World can also quote GOTT and TTG...

TTG is also the EYC (church youth group) leader...he says REALLY GOOD THINGS to the kids...I am so glad they love love him too...

Chilren will tell them the good stuff...

And Science Goddess 1 and Science Goddess 2 and Science Goddess 3...well, they are just flat-out incredible women who know how to stand up in front of middle school kids and get them to not only pay attention but WANT to learn what they are teaching. How do they do it? I don't know, but I wish I was their student...

In fact, pretty much all of my kids teachers are or have been amazing and wonderful and I am grateful for the things they have said and taught my children.

Except for one crazy one or two...thank goodness they are gone gone gone...bottom line on the crazy ones---they had poor communication skills and said WRONG THINGS.

Children will listen...

While at the college counseling meeting the deans told the parents that they wanted all the kids in the junior class to take the Strengths Finder test. It is a test that you can do if you buy this little book that talks about your strengths. They pointed out that using your strengths is a whole lot more effective than trying to change your weaknesses...

I totally agree...

BUT...right now I am trying to overcome some weaknesses...but they aren't so much personality weaknesses as they are PERSONAL eating badly and not exercising. But I HAVE changed that...

I noticed GOTT had the book. He told me that the teachers all did the test during inservice this year (yet another reason to love the amazing headmaster). He told me his results. I was not surprised at all. He told me I should take the test. I told him I thought I knew where I would end up---he wasn't as sure but said "yeah, perhaps..."

So I bought the book and took the test. I was so not surprised by my results.

So so so not surprised by my results. GOTT will laugh. I nailed it.

I hesitate to say what they were, but since one of my "strengths" profiles says I have a tendency to be very open, I'll summarize it by saying that it said that I am a person who likes to win others over, loves to communicate, has empathy, is positive and, strangely---strategize. Yep, that is me.

So when my friend V told me to blog, she knew what she was doing. Part of my "action plan" says that I should write...tell stories...put my words down...communicate...

and with this I hope I am doing so to win others let you know that there is someone out there struggling like you...or wants to hear your struggle and help you...

I need to be liked and accepted...

Said it before and I'll say it again:
I am Tinkerbell...I need applause to live!

I need to be liked...loved...

I am so Sally Field at the Oscars...

There is someone I know who I don't think likes me. More than one friend has told me to get over it. I'm trying...but it is hard on me. At least this person likes my son. And my son listens to him so it is good that they like each other.

So where does all of my strength stuff tie in to the children? Because I like to teach. I wish I was a teacher. That is why I love working at the school and love working with GOTT and TTG and Bacchus and helping Precious and Adorable with projects...because I love teaching the kids...but only middle school ones...the little ones try my patience.

I wanted to be a teacher but I listened to my father and didn't do it. He told me that I would never make a good living out of being a teacher. He wanted me to be a lawyer...because I like to argue and talk. I listened to him. But instead I got my very useful (ha!) degree that Daddy later referred to as "the worlds most expensive real estate license" (because that is what I did for years). I would have been very happy as a middle school teacher. But not a math teacher.

Maybe science...or history...I love teaching art history...I love communicating with the kids. I love hearing them tell me what they are thinking.

When I help GOTT I am often the shoulder for the kids to cry on...I dry a lot of leading ladies tears. They mess up, GOTT calls them on it, and, because they are 14 years old, they cry. HE doesn't make them cry...they cry because they are 14. And I remind them that he is being their doesn't mean he doesn't love and care for them...empathy...communication...positivity...that's me...

So I tell the kids things that support GOTT and what he does. It is easy for me because I know how he works...

Children will listen...

But sometimes the kids hear stuff we wish they hadn't heard...



they hear you talking to another adult saying something the other adult understands but they misunderstand it.

I have a pet name for a teacher friend. A kid overheard me using the pet name when I talked to his mom. So the kid tried it out and called the teacher by the name. Not good. Teacher wasn't mad (he knew I called him that) but kid shouldn't have tried it...especialy around other children. But I shouldn't have used the pet name when kids could have overheard me. Not fair to anybody. The kid thought he was being funny but I called him out on it and told him not to do it again because although when I said it, I was just talking about my friend (my ADULT friend), children can't call adults by pet names like we can because it is very disrespectful. I will be more careful now...

Children will listen...

Now if only my daughter would listen to me...

Here are the words to the song...beautifully written by Stephen Sondheim...I think it is way better than anything else I can say on the subject...the deans played this at the end of the meeting...I was a puddle of was napalm to this musical theater mama...

How do you say to your child in the night?
Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it might not be true?
What do you do?

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
Co learn what to be
Careful before you say "Listen to me"
Children will listen

Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen

How can you say to a child who's in flight
"Don't slip away and i won't hold so tight"
What can you say that no matter how slight Won't be misunderstood
What do you leave to your child when you're dead?
Only whatever you put in it's head
Things that you're mother and father had said
Which were left to them too
Careful what you say
Children will listen
Careful you do it too
Children will see
And learn, oh guide them that step away
Children will glisten
Tample with what is true
And children will turn
If just to be free
Careful before you say
"Listen to me"

Inspiration Song: "Children will listen" by Stephen Sondheim...any version you like...I like Barbra ( there any other?) or Bernadette (Peters? is there any other?) or any "Into the Woods" soundtrack...

bye darlings...

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