Posted in Education, Social Change, Uncategorized

Finding hope for at risk students

Generally I try to keep my two jobs distant from each other just for the sake of not liking an “open concept” work life. However, we are doing a day of giving for the nonprofit I am the Executive Director of, Horizons Salisbury, May 16th 2018, and I feel compelled to shed some light on what that means exactly.

1. 132 students will not have Summer Learning Loss.

For those who do not know what summer learning loss is, it’s a phenomenon that has been studied since 1906. They found that during long breaks (be it summer, vacation, lapse in traditional instruction) students would actually regress in their education. Low-income students are generally more at risk for summer learning loss (or “the summer slide”) and year after year this will result in an achievement gap, putting them at a disadvantage to their peers. Programs like Horizons Salisbury is trying to close this gap through educational programming for these students.

2. 132 students will get the chance to swim, many still learning how to.

Swimming may not seem that important to everyone. However, there’s two major reasons why it is indeed crucial for our program. It’s a life saving skill. Again, low-income are more at risk for drowning. Why? Well for one, their access to swimming pools and instruction is limited, if available at all. Secondly, swimming is a skill that takes time and patience to develop. It’s harder for some children to learn it than it is others. But once they do (and they do learn to swim, it’s not just free time in the pool!) It’s a confidence builder the students take back to the classroom with them.

3. These at risk students will get “out of school time” education that generally is a privilege for students in higher socioeconomic households.

As stated in point one, without these initiaves our low-income students are automatically put at a disadvantage. We need to give them a fair chance at success in their academic careers.

4. These students will be one step closer to graduating high school.

Studies have shown, again and again, for the reasons mentioned above, that low-income students are more at risk for not graduating high school. Our goal is to get them to graduation to be college or career ready. In today’s competitive work force students need their diploma to have secure financial future to be able to end the cycle of poverty.

5. A small community like Salisbury, MD, will be stronger.

Even if you are reading this and you do not live in Salisbury, our community is probably very similar to yours. We have good points and bad. We’re not a huge city with ample opportunities for our students but were not small either. We consistently fall on the lower end of the scale when looking at the wealth in the state of Maryland. (Wicomico County)

Horizons Salisbury has dreams of expanding to all the shore but we need to keep the Wicomico County program strong first.

Our students are the future of our communities, and the more we support them and get them the education they deserve, the better we will all be as a whole.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions or concerns about the above information email me at Bglenn@horizonssalisbury.org. we appreciate your consideration in helping this cause and remember, no donation is too small to make a huge difference for at least one student.

If reading this after National Giving Day, you can support us anytime at http://www.horizonssalisbury.org

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Posted in Family, Holidays, Mother's Day, Opinion, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day around the world

The root of our traditionally known “Mother’s Day” may be all American:

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Ahem, it may be thanks to Woodrow Wilson establishing the holiday in 1911, and it has since spread to other countries. BUT we may not technically be the first country to celebrate moms though (sorry, have a seat please), and not all places celebrate Mother’s Day the same.

One of the most similar celebrations is probably “Mothering Sunday” in the UK. This day, the fourth Sunday after Lent, has been around much longer than Mother’s Day, so maybe the U.S. should calm down. Back in the 17th Century Mothering Sunday was established as a day of reverence for the Virgin Mary. It has now meshed with Mother’s Day and is celebrated with cards, flowers, and expressions of love. There is such a thing as a Mothering cake, which is a rich almond cake.

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In Canada Mother’s Day is celebrated the same day it is in the U.S., the second Sunday of May. However, it seems to be a much bigger deal there. Phone traffic is at yearly high, card and candy sales sky rocket, and again, cakes are baked for mothers. No mothers allowed in the kitchen on Mother’s Day. Australia also has very similar customs for their mothers.

Also celebrated the same day as the U.S., Brazil celebrates mother’s the second Sunday in May. They exchange cards and words of affirmation for their mothers. But it seems the sweets flow aplenty in Brazil on Mother’s Day. Businesses stock up on pastries, baked goods, and candies. Gifts are a general staple to the day and recently there has been a trend in giving (and wanting) electronic gifts for Mother’s Day like tablets.

Ethiopia kind of puts us all to shame, they celebrate mothers for three days instead of one. Antrosht, as it is known, creates a time of remembrance and celebration with a large feast. Daughters bring vegetables, butter, and cheese, while boys will bring some kind of meat. The mother then prepares “hash” that the family enjoys together. There are special songs for the day and bonding, especially between mothers and daughters.

If three days seems a lot, Durga Puja is a celebration that lasts ten days. It’s a celebration of the Mother Goddess in India. It also celebrates the warrior Goddess Durgas’

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defeat over Mahishasura. All women are celebrated at this time and mothers seem to be extra appreciated. This event is very detailed in nature but I will at least say there are statues erected, parades, music, dancing, and plenty of rituals. Food is also a huge part of Durga Puja.

 

Probably the creepiest Mother’s Day tradition I have found has to be Yugoslavia. I would love to know if anyone knows if this still goes on, but apparently the tradition is that the children sneak into their mother’s room, tie her up, and she has to tell them where gifts are hidden in order to be released. Not a fan, js.

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Posted in Family, Mother's Day, parenting, Uncategorized

Tangled: A love/hate story about hair

I knew something was amiss. It was too quiet.

I heard in the sweetest voice “mommy, where do you want me to put my craft scissors?”

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Oh no.

  1. She shouldn’t even have her craft scissors
  2. She never cares or asks where I think she should put anything
  3. If she is asking it’s because she wants me to know she indeed has said scissors
  4. She wants me to know and wants to get caught because that’s a thing now

A little breadcrumb trail of blue and purple hair led from the dining room into the playroom, then up the stairs where she ran to when she heard me get up from the table.

At first that was a relief, she just cut up her doll again, no big deal. It was her troll doll and that makes me sad, but whatever.

But as I got closer to her room I saw the bundles of long blonde strands sporadically sprinkled in.

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Sure enough, her mini bangs that had just started to finally get long enough from the last scissors incident were again mini and spiky. Her hair line now looks like an M.C. Escher painting with snips here and pieces missing there.

Every kid is going to cut their own hair. I had a bowl cut in the second grade because of playing barber shop with my cousin and failing miserably.

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(Note: This is not me, this kid is actually pulling the bowl cut off better than I did)

HOWEVER, this is the ninth or tenth time we have had this conversation. No scissors, no hair, no cutting hair, no cutting your brother’s hair, please for the love of God stop getting sharp objects. Again, this is an impulse control problem that I know we will continue to deal with.

So, we are cutting her hair. Her hair is down to her waist almost and all it does is cause us pain. She screams when it’s time to brush it, no matter how gentle and soft you are. She never keeps it up or keeps in barrettes to get her bangs out of her face. It’s a knotty mess most of the time and now I can’t get her to stop cutting it. So off it goes.

Well she was not happy with this decision to say the least.

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(Note: This is a real note from my real child on a real door)

Hair cut is happening this weekend. Hopefully we both make it through the ordeal.

Posted in Family, Mental Health, Opinion, parenting, Uncategorized

The importance of ignoring

When I see the breakdown starting; the clenched fists, the low growl, the slanted eyes, my first reaction is start figuring out exactly what happened to trigger her. Sometimes I have to know. We were having such a nice time, and boom. But through the past two years of dealing with emotional disorders in my child I have learned that sometimes it’s best to ignore it. Ignoring is a controversial topic and I’m not here to change your mind about it necessarily, but there are pros to learning when to meddle and when to let be. Image result for preschool tantrum

Last night we had a tantrum starting. It was late, close to bedtime, and she wanted to watch a movie. Of course she knew it wasn’t going to happen but as soon as I start explaining why she fell to the floor, kicked her legs, and yelled at me “no, no, no, movie”. She did this lovely little regression she does when she’s not getting her way. She’s five now, so this kind of behavior is getting to be not age appropriate. I started trying to talk over her but decided to use the ignore tactic instead. It may or may not have helped there were other people there at the time. My husband and mother were both standing, watching her little body flare on the floor.

“I can’t talk to you when you are acting like this so I’m going in the other room until you’re ready.” (Note: I could still hear/see her she wasn’t in any danger for anyone who automatically goes to the worst case scenario). I expected the usual heightened screaming and yelling but I heard nothing. She stayed on the floor and kicked a few

more times, then got up and calmly said, “mommy can I just have my bedtime snack?”

I hugged her and told her how great of a job she did calming herself down and gave her a snack.

Ignoring has it’s time and place. Some people think you are sending the child mixed signals. That ignoring their negative behaviors is showing them you only care when they are being “good”. I used to think that’s what ignoring her would mean. To me though, there’s a difference. If she’s having a panic attack or is uncontrollably upset about something, no I would not leave her alone to figure it out. If she’s angry to the point of losing control, no I would leave her alone to define her inner emotions herself. If she’s having a tantrum or a fit over something like a snack, movie, etc, yes I will. The main argument I have seen, is that the child is trying to get attention and that ignoring will only make it worse or make them feel isolated and

unwanted. I do think this would be the case if that child is ignored daily or if the child is too young to understand. If you aren’t listening to their stories and questions, and then ignoring them AGAIN when they’re having a breakdown, yeah they’re going to feel like they just can’t do anything right. However, there is such a thing as negative attention. I know, *gasp* this is life altering, but in an age of helicopter parenting and children not being capable of ever doing wrong, it bothers me that this is overlooked. I also feel that a one year old having a breakdown and a five year old are two very different things. Look at the age appropriateness of your child’s behavior and don’t ever leave an infant or toddler alone.

The perks and benefits of ignoring:

    1. You won’t lose your sh*t- you shouldn’t yell at a toddler or child having a tantrum. I do think “monkey see, monkey do” is a thing. They see you yelling at them yelling, then they in turn need to yell at you, because they’re yelling, and it’s just so loud. Losing your cool is going to happen but in the case of a mini meltdown, just say “we’ll talk when you’re ready, I’m right over here” and walk away. No yelling, no threats. Related image
    2. End the need for negative attention- once your child realizes ‘hey, mommy isn’t going to sit here and stare at me and give me what I want’, they will stop.
    3. Resist the urge to over explain- if you ignore the tantrum then you are not as tempted to sit there and try to have a reasonable conversation with them while they can’t even comprehend their own feelings. Talking it out only works AFTER the tantrum has subsided.
    4. Teaches appropriate responses- when your child starts to realize that they get nothing when they lash out but conversation and better end results when they communicate, they will try to communicate more effectively. Just keep in mind again the age appropriateness of what you are expecting your child to say/do. “That is not how we behave” is pretty much the staple explanation to tantrums in my house.
    5. Self soothing- again there’s mixed feelings out there but I think self soothing is a HUGE plus for children to learn. I don’t have someone around all the time to hug or hit or yell at or talk to or whatever I may need at that time. You have to learn that sometimes you have to soothe yourself. Children with emotional needs even more so.
    6. It’s not cute or funny- one recommendation that drives me bonkers is to use humor to diffuse the tantrum. I love humor, we use it a lot, but how is that teaching the child to deal with their feelings? “Hey I know you’re angry and sad but let’s just forget that for minute and look at this funny face I’m making ahhhh so great okay let’s go play”. Um, what? That’s not a great life lesson and I don’t want my kid throwing a fit every time they want play and be funny with me. Just you know, say so.Image result for kid laughing then mad gif

AGAIN, you know your child and you know what is a sad cry, angry cry, frustrated cry, and “I just can’t believe you aren’t giving my ice cream for dinner” cry. You can decipher better than anyone else when these tactics should be used. I would use more support and physical contact when the tantrum seems uncontrollable and the child really needs your guidance. I am talking from dealing with emotional disorders but obviously all children can benefit from knowing what to do and when.

The best way to ignore it in my opinion, is to stay close but act like it doesn’t phase you that your child sounds possessed. Start cleaning or straightening up the room next to him/her. Check on them, make sure they aren’t escalating. But don’t give in to the demand. That’s the biggest part of this whole scenario. Make sure they understand that you love them dearly, but reacting that way is harmful and hurtful and most all not effective.

Posted in Family, Opinion, parenting, Uncategorized

Explaining Death to Children

Not the best topic in the world for a blog post by any means, but thanks to some unfortunate circumstances in my life I have been thinking about this a lot lately. How to explain death to a child. Some children unfortunately experience it early on, some don’t

until they are older and arguably more able to deal with it. Some people like myself, don’t lose anyone close to them until they are an adult. Everyone grieves differently and everyone processes the idea of death differently. Kids included.

Having a five year old that I have to explain this concept to is not something I am super excited about. You can’t really avoid the topic of faith and spirituality on some level when death becomes a point of conversation. For someone like me (I’m sure some of you can relate) who struggles constantly with their faith, it becomes even harder sometimes. I know what I need to say in so many words but how? and what do I leave out?

I know her little inquisitive mind is not going to be okay with “well he’s in heaven now”. “Where in heaven? How do I see him? Can he see me? Can he hear me? Should I yell louder so he can hear me? What if wants to come back? What if he gets lost? What if he’s not there? What if…how come…when does…”

I can’t answer all of her concerns honestly and I’m a terrible liar trying to make up the answers as I go.

I did find some good resources I wanted to share in case anyone else might be going through this situation as well:

How to Talk to Kids About Death

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2018

 

While I get my stuff together I love these lists for ideas of what to read next. Currently, I’m reading The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne but will check some of these out after.

Image result for Nicola Barker "The Idiot"Image result for Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist has been announced today. The 16 titles are: H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker The Idiot by Elif Batuman Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar Sight by Jessie Greengrass Eleanor Oliphant […]

via The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2018 — A Little Blog of Books

Posted in Uncategorized

Updates

I just wanted to apologize for the delay in posts. I am currently changing career paths and it is in full swing at the moment. However! I have been taking notes and seeing some things that I think would be of interest so I will have some updated posts shortly.

 

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