Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Grown Up Christmas List

You know, the stuff I'd really like to ask Santa for:

10. $100,000

9.   For all the kids in my class to get just what they asked for

8.   My driveway paved

7.  Tickets to the World Junior Hockey Games (any games played by Canada)

6.  For my sister to have her baby sooner than later so she won't be cranky over the holidays

5.  An evening with Drew Barrymore: drinking wine, in jammies on her couch

4.  Tickets to see Ellen

3.  Housekeeping for a year... (for life would be greedy)

2.  No debt. NONE!

1.  Shemar Moore & Matthew McConnaughy under the tree.... bow and all ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From Nugglemama's Handful

Julie, the kind keeper of Nugglemama's Handful recently featured me as her Canadian Blogger of the Week.
Awwwww, thanks, Julie!

Here's the link:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Never underestimate children and the true meaning of Christmas

Since having children I'm a sap. (Thanks @AnneLouiseC for pointing that out for me on twitter.)
I get emotional over the slightest things, especially at Christmas. (Yes, I'm the one tearing up at the Santa Claus parades... sigh)

Here's how today's moment went (as told to me by a co-worker).

Background info:
The local shopping mall teams up with the police service and school board to offer a day of shopping & dining for about 40 children each year at Christmas time. (The children are generally those who would be in some way "disadvantaged" and could benefit from the positive experience.) The police escort the students to the mall, act as chaperones for the shopping event, and generally just provide a good role model to the students.

I had the honour of nominating my school's candidate for this program this year. I thought about the students in my class and got stuck on one particular little guy. While he doesn't lack material goods, I thought he was someone who could benefit from the "role model" aspect of the experience. And, he's someone who I know would truly appreciate the opportunity and remember it for years to come.

Well, my little man went to the event. A staff member drove him to the mall, and while in the car, she was asking him if he had a list of things he'd like to buy with the $100 gift certificate. He indicated quite clearly, that he would be buying something for his mom, and his dad for Christmas. My co-worker reminded him that he should have something in there for himself, as well. He agreed quietly and away they continued on the ride.

They made it to the mall. He was merrily and proudly on his way through the mall with his escort/buddy/role model for the day. At the end of the event, Mister was no where to be found. My co-worker was waiting and waiting. No sign of him. Then, out of the corner of her eye she saw him coming. They waited for some prizes to be drawn and then, as it was time to leave, she motioned that he was forgetting his jacket.
"Um, just wait. I have to go somewhere with these 2 guys (his policeman escort/buddy and another person)."
A little while later, he came back... beaming, but unassuming as well.

See, Mister took the $100 gift certificate and went on the shopping trip through the mall and bought not one thing for himself. He spent the $100 on gifts for his mom and dad and sister. Not one gift for himself. Nothing. He's 12 years old.

His escort/buddy for the day was so touched by this act of selflessness, that he and another escort both took him to a store and bought him an NHL jersey & hat; so he'd have something of his own... and in a way to express their pride in what he had so selflessly done.

But, wait... it doesn't even stop there! Each child was given a stocking full of gift certificates, gifts, etc. One of the gifts in his stocking was some kind of perfume. He asked my co-worker what it was. She told him, "perfume. Your sister or mom would probably appreciate that, you know." He continued looking through the stocking.
When he was finished, he took the perfume, held out his hand, and offered it to her saying, "You know, I really appreciate you driving me down here, today. Thanks."
With tears in her eyes, she assured him that his sister would love to have it, but "thanks."

That, folks, is one of the reasons I'm a sap at Christmas.
That will probably go down as one of my proudest teaching moments.
That is the true spirit of Christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yes, your kid is great, but...

In light of some things I've heard, witnessed or experienced, I've been thinking a lot about being a mom and wanting the best for my children. Think about it. We all want the best for our children. We expect the best for them, and in some cases, we demand the best for them. But, is this the right thing to do when it means someone is getting hurt in the meantime?

Pause for a second and think about how involved you may be in your child's education. As a teacher, I see varying degrees of parental involvement. I'm very lucky that my daughter goes to a very reputable, small school where I have chosen to send her because I know the quality of education she's receiving is second to none. This school offers many unique learning opportunities for all students. And, frankly, some people (parents) have been abusing this fact in a manner that in the normal classroom setting would be called "bullying". (I will graciously and professionally leave that at that.)

The other event that led me to think more about this is a piece that was aired on our local CBC radio station. It is the story of a young mother who has witnessed  the worst in "hockey parent" behaviour in local rinks. She's speaking out to stop it. She wants parents to step back and look at their behaviours when it comes to their kids. She has a reason to speak that you need to hear. Please take the 5 minutes to listen to her story... especially if you have kids in organized sports. Her message is clear, succinct, and heartfelt.

So, although we all want the best for our children, I think it's time that many of us step back as parents and look at out actions, listen to our words with a fresh perspective, look at our children and hug them, look at the children around our kids and realize they are someone else's pride and joy. More importantly, we need to remember the messages we as adults are inadvertently sending our children when we lash out as a hockey mom, when we chastise another child, when step on the high and mighty pedestal and expect the world to bow to our orders.

Please, listen to one woman's story.
Please, take time to reflect.

They are all children.
They are all our children.