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Showing posts from June, 2015

When #lovewins So Do Future Generations

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples to be married.  All over social media, profile pictures changed to the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ flag.  People celebrated and declared it a great day for America.  It is a bright shining moment because it means that people can, according to the law of the land, love whomever they choose.  It is a moment that people who had been denied the rights of married couples should celebrate.  They saw that #lovewins in the United States in their lifetime.  For so many young people struggling to be accepted for who they are, it is proof that in this country they have the right to be treated with dignity.  It is a ray of hope that shines through ignorant hatred.  For future generations, it is even more.
Future generations of Americans will be born into a country where their right to love anyone and to benefit equally will just exist.  They won’t know any other way.  They won’t grow up asking for the sam…

In Defense of the Middle School Graduation and Other School Milestone Rituals

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This time of year every year, a debate ensues in the press and among my friends about the necessity of graduation ceremonies for students under 12th grade.  It seems that every few years from the time children finish preschool until their high school graduation, we are sitting in the heat listening to speeches that are too long and taking pictures with our children who never quite look right in the cap.  I live in a town that has ceremonies at the end of preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school.  That’s a lot of tassels and diploma paper.
I agree that calling every step a graduation may be an overstatement.  I have one friend who likes to point out that these lines of demarcation are remnants from a more agriculturally  based society when at any point, the children may have needed to stop their formal education to tend to the family farm.  He also accurately states that even as recently as our grandparents’ generation and before there were child labor…

Lessons from My Son’s Emergency Surgery

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On Monday, I rushed my son Michael to the hospital. He had been having mild pain off and on, but mostly off, for a few days.  He woke up Monday morning and was doubled over.  When my cell phone rang at work, I instinctively knew something was wrong.  I answered not with hello but with, “What’s wrong?”  He described his pain and we decided that it was time to go to the hospital.  In what was a short time in hospital hours, he was diagnosed with appendicitis and taken into surgery. 
We were strangers having to follow unfamiliar rules in an unfamiliar setting.  I couldn’t help but think of how similar this must feel to young children in their first school or any child who has to move to a new environment.  We were vulnerable.  Michael is 22 years old but this was his first experience with a major health issue.  Even though he is legally an adult, I am still his mother and simultaneous wanted the medical professionals to make this better and be careful to do no harm to my child.
Every s…

It’s Okay to Skip the School Trip

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When my eldest son was in elementary school, I worked part time and volunteered to be the class parent.  I was at school for his class parties and had the first option to attend class trips.  I purposely skipped some trips.  I told the teacher to give someone else a chance.  Actually, I did it less for the sake of other parents and more for the sake of my son.  I wanted to give him the chance.  He needed the opportunity to see that he was capable.  He needed to know that he could manage without me.  It was okay to skip the school trip.
Children learn that they can be successfully independent from being apart from us at every age.  From the first time they leave their parents at preschool to their departure from our homes after high school, there are a multitude of times they can learn that they can manage without us – if only we don’t let our own fears stand in the way. 
On the first day of kindergarten for both of my children, I cried.  I wanted to protect them.  I wanted to see wh…

Have You Noticed The Loss of Formalities?

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When I was a girl, there were formalities.  I miss some of them. 
When I was a girl, the first day of school was quite an occasion.  During the summer, we shopped for our school clothes.  We made sure to buy one very special outfit for the first day.  We bought our school shoes and they stayed in the box from the time we purchased them in August until that first school day in September.  An anticipation built from having that box of shoes and bags of clothes that we weren’t allowed to wear.  The first day of school was so special.  Our parents didn’t have smartphones to take multiple pictures of us leaving the house to post on social media.  That first day wasn’t about posing and parental posting.  It was about feeling special in our brand new outfits.
There were other days that were made special with clothing.  We dressed nicely to visit family.  We wouldn’t dream of attending a religious service in jeans or shorts.  We had special clothes for birthday parties and outings and those…