Friday, June 29, 2012

Discretion Is The Better Part Of Valor. Unless Someone Cuts In Line.

Yesterday I really just had too much to think about. Ann Curry leaving the Today Show, the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare mandate, the fires in Colorado, an appointment with the crazy pill doctor, and my son telling his camp supervisor that "my mommy said that if someone hits you that you can hit them back."

Thanks for that, Will - totally not what I said. Mostly.

Monday of this week I posted on Facebook about an altercation that Will had with another child at camp. The long and short of it was that Will kicked the other kid because he was ripping his necklace off, hurting his neck and halfway choking him. On the way home we were talking about what happened, and how it possibly could have been handled differently, and Will was very worried about being in trouble at home. I finally looked him in the eyes and told him that "Daddy and I will never punish you for defending yourself. Try to settle a problem with an adult or by walking away first, but if someone is hurting you, you are allowed to fight back."

Maybe this is not PC or whatever, but I am not going to teach my son that he has to let someone pummel him, or in this case, rip a necklace off his neck. Especially one that he got at buddy camp with his dad and had owned for less than 48 hours. I assured him that starting trouble or bullying would most certainly land him in very hot water and tried to be sure he understood the difference. And I do believe that his tendency towards, shall we say, ending a problem rather than starting one will serve him well as an adult man but teaching him the discretion it takes to understand what to do or not do in situations like this is trully challenging.

The next day after the necklace incident, he did great. The day after that, I got yet another note and was pulled into a mini-conference again. This time involved a pushing contest with another child who was, in Will's estimation, cutting in line. Again, in trouble at camp, and this time in trouble with us as the other child is five or six years old and Will is almost nine. I tried to explain to him that a line cut by a first grader was in no way reasonable grounds for pushing and shoving, even if the other child pushed him first.

However, the coup de grace was when the supervisor asked me about his "hit them back" statement. Ugghhh.

Some of parenting is easy. Don't steal. Be honest. Treat others as you would like to be treated. But it's the intangibles that are so difficult. Don't kick - unless someone is choking you, then it's okay. Don't hit - unless someone tries to touch your penis (yes, that happened earlier this school year). Tell the truth - unless it is an unnecesary statement that will hurt someone's feelings. For a hyper-literal child like Will this is like speaking a foreign language. Cecilia has that kind of innate people sense to understand these things but my son's thinking is so black and white that grey may not as well even exist. I really hope that continued teaching and explaining will help him learn the difference because I really don't want him to get his block knocked off and I really, really don't want him to think that physical solutions are the only ones.

How do you guys teach your kids the difference? Do you find the space between wrong and right to be clear? When is it standing up for yourself and when is it using poor judgment?

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Monday, June 25, 2012

So I've Been Kinda AWOL. But Whisper Made Me Do It.

So in case all seven of my regular readers haven't noticed, I've been a little absent lately. Or a lot, if you use typical blogging standards, which I don't, so I guess in some weird way, this makes total sense. Note: if you followed that, please seek help immediately.

Anyway, first I hit a slump. Then I wrote this good post and I thought Blogger ate it because it just vanished. Really the fault was mine but it sounds better blaming Blogger, fair or not, so that's what I'm going with on that. Then I had a good long sulk about said disappearing post. Then my husband had the plague, which needs no explanation. Then I got the same said plague and now here we all are.
So. What have we been up to? Mostly the usual stuff - end of school, summer child care insanity, garden stuff etc. However, I am excited to report that we have found a family interest that we are all thrilled about. I have been wanting to find some kind of organization that we can all volunteer with so that giving back to our community becomes simply a part of our normal (hahahaha!) family life. There are so many worthy organizations in our area and I am happy to promote their causes via Facebook and word of mouth, but in order to really be able to dedicate serious time and effort, it needs to be something that resonates emotionally with all of us.

I'd like to introduce you to L.E.A.R.N. - Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network. Here is what they are about, from their website: "It is our mission is to educate our youth, prospective owners, and owners concerning the proper care of animals. We also support the local Animal Control departments with the care and housing of abused and neglected farm animals. We are dedicated to the management of reported neglect cases and work with law enforcement to insure the animals receive the care and feed needed for optimal health."

Obviously, there are numerous organizations dedicated to the care and well being of animals but the problem with large animals is that it is difficult to have the space, the facilities and the very specific knowledge base needed to intervene for them during a crisis, and even less of those factors necessary in order to rehabilitate them both physically and psychologically. Through the tireless dedication of their director, board, and volunteers, LEARN has been standing in the gap for these animals officially since 2009. They had operating in horse rescue for over twenty years but upon taking in 33 horses in one day, the need to change to a non-profit became obvious.

These folks made their way onto my radar when what is probably the worse case of horse abuse I've ever seen was broadcast via local news and Facebook back in March. I began following along with the story of Whisper and Traveler, and like many others have been thrilled to see the progress that these beautiful horses have made under outstanding routine and veterinary care. About a month ago, I decided that just cheering them along on social media was not enough - it was time to be involved.

Whisper, about ten days into coming to LEARN. This picture is not nearly as horrendous as reality.

Whisper, about a month ago.

For those of you who don't know, I have been an avid "horse person" basically since I could walk but since marrying, having children (time and money - yikes!) and a major injury, my horse love just got pushed off the table. In the last year or so, I found myself really wanting to reconnect to my equine roots but not sure what to do since I neither wanted to compete or take lessons, and definitely could not afford to have my own. Y'all, let me tell you what. LEARN has scratched that itch. The people are wonderful, the cause couldn't be better and to me there is just nothing like a horse.

However. You know the best part of all this? My entire family is all in. Lawton is not exactly a horse lover but got out in the heat yesterday and helped move bags of feed. Will and Celi have helped clean stalls, carry water buckets, sweep, feed  - you name it. They are learning about horses, and I have to admit that I am re-learning a lot of things I've forgotten, but the best part is the giving back. It's just good for everyone involved, and I plan to hang around for as long as they will let me. I'm very content with this and that is an extremely rare state of being for me, which is my mind, confirms that it's right. I'm home.
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