Archive for April, 2010
It’s tomorrow (April 30)! Please consider taking part.
Did you know you are four times more likely to get into a car accident if you are talking on a cell phone, even hands-free? That is the same as being legally drunk! And, if you are texting while driving, you are EIGHT times more likely to crash.
Just today I watched a neighbor texting while driving her SUV through our townhouse development, barely looking up at all. On the streets my kids will theoretically be riding their bikes on one day. Not cool.
We are intelligent people. Let’s stop making the honest-to-goodness stupid decision to use cell phones while driving.
I know it’s hard to break the habit, trust me, I know! And I’m bummed to promote this when I have loved ones who I get to talk to while they are on their commutes (and I adore talking with them when they call). But, bottom line, I love my loved ones, and I want them to be safe. So does everybody else.
So, OK, enough with the cell phones and texting while driving. Enough.
Maya Frost, who wrote The New Global Student, has launched a new Bold Parent website, all about “another way” of raising kids — to be happy, capable, confident, self-possessed, adventurous, and conscious. We can, she says, help our kids keep and build their innate love of learning and their desire to embrace different kinds of people and explore new places.
How do we do this? Firstly, notice when we are making choices based on “fego” (fear and ego) and stop it! And a whole lot of other uber-conscious and totally loving ways that Maya articulates way better than I am right now, writing with two kids underfoot.
Check out her Bold Parent Credo for yourself, and see what you think! I, for one, am going to post in on my fridge. Thanks, Maya!
I have three nephews, sons of my brother and sister-in-law. Two of the boys visited here with their parents this New Year’s. My other nephew never got to visit. He only lived nine days.
Today, Spenser would have been nine years old, had he made it. But, he was born way too early, weighed less than two pounds. It’s a miracle he held out more than a week in the NICU before he died in his parents’ loving arms.
This year, Spenser’s passing has hit me harder than it has in other recent years. Perhaps it is because I now have a little boy of my own, who I am getting to know, who arguably looks more like my eldest nephew (Spenser’s blood brother) than he looks like his own sister, in coloring at least. All day today, I looked at my son and thought of the little boy who did not get to join us for this life. I know my brother and sister-in-law look at their boys all the time and remember the third, and imagine what life would be like if he was here, too.
They started a non-profit organization, Spenser’s Hope, that raises awareness and money for research on pre-term labor. They tried to turn their loss into something that could at least help others.
My family did the same when my dad had heart surgery ten years ago. We wrote a book about it, about the emotions of it, for a family. It’s a good book, it can help people. And it has been sitting on the shelf, so to speak, for several years, waiting for us to do a final edit and self-publish it, as has been our plan, so it can at least get into the hands of people who can use it.
This book, as Spenser’s Hope, is not about anything but supporting those who will go through what we did. It’s not about anything but taking a harrowing experience we had and turning it into something we can learn from. The manuscript is on my desk now. My family has passed it to me this year to do the final edit and ready it for publication. To complete the project. I’m posting this so I hold myself accountable for it, so I motivate to do it this summer alongside other projects and daily life as a parent of two little ones.
My family has taught me some great lessons about success. One lesson is that we face the hard stuff, we don’t sweep it under the rug. We don’t just put on a happy face and buck up, but we don’t just sit there and wallow either. We stop, and we acknowledge what is painful, what is meaningful, what is moving us. This is not always neat or easy, definitely not always pretty, but I am proud of this legacy, and I hope to pass it on.
Another lesson is that what gives us the most satisfaction in life are not always the things that give us the most accolades, the biggest paychecks, or the gold stars. Success, my family shows me, is living inside of the real stuff of life, the relationships and how we affect one another.
Each year on Spenser’s birthday, my brother and his family have a celebration, they choose together something they think a boy that age would enjoy. Each year on my dad’s heart surgery date, I know that he takes stock of all that he has experienced in his “borrowed time,” as he calls it. Spenser’s Hope reminds us. I hope I will get this book done to remind us, too.
A legacy of success — not of fame or financial gain — but of living each day looking for ways to be real, to make a difference, and to remember what we have lost and gained.
Which, always, always, comes down to the people we hold closest to our hearts.
Happy Birthday, sweet angel Spenser. Until we meet again…
I was talking to a mom in the park last week as we waited for our daughters in their 45-minute art class. Having found out a bit about my background and my husband’s, the kind woman was sincerely asking me what to do about the fact that her four-year-old was “having trouble with the numbers 10 through 20.” She was asking me how my daughter’s drawings are (“chicken scratch, but she is having fun, so who cares?” I said), and if she can write her name yet (no). This mother was clearly seriously worried about whether her daughter was “behind.” She is FOUR. I asked her, “Where’s the race? And what’s at the end?” I asked if her child was happy. I asked how she defines success.
A few days later, my husband tells me that he (with several other San Diego County Teachers of the Year) is helping to arrange a screening in San Diego of a new film called Race to Nowhere. It is pretty much exactly everything Having Enough is about and why I started this blog three years ago, citing the same books, pumping the same critical message: We must redefine success! We are driving ourselves into the ground! We are losing our kids to an unrealistic, unhealthy cultural standard! From what I can see, this film asks the same questions of its audience as I asked the fellow mom at the park. Hallelujah!
Mother-filmmaker Vicki Abeles saw her own kids caught up in the stressed-out culture of achievement, and decided to do something about it. I can’t wait to see her film, Race to Nowhere (even though she totally beat me to it! you go, sister!) — I hope everyone in America gets a chance to see it!
As a voice says in the movie’s trailer, “to change, we must all change together.”