While I am still figuring out how to set the correct time on my Blogger account to the correct time, I cannot stop thinking about how wonderful it is that this blog is slowly growing. I do not know who is reading this or how long this will keep going but makes me smile to know that the +50 people who have read my blog have (hopefully) been encouraged through this.
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One of my greatest loves has always been books. They were my first real friends. Book characters never cared what you looked like or what the kids at school said about you. Book characters always had the most wonderful adventures and never minded if you came along.
I was bullied terribly as a child, so bad in fact that I had to switch schools. I was always thin (as stated in my first post), had curly hair, and an imagination bigger than the sky. Why did other kids not like me? Because I wasn't like them. I wouldn't make the kind of jokes they did. I never was mean to other people for being different. How could I do such a thing? I knew what it felt like and I didn't want anyone else to feel that way.
Empathy was something my grandmother taught me through the strangest, most ingenious way I have ever witnessed. She would always watch me while my parents worked so learned a lot from her. While we were reading or watching TV, she would always help me to connect to the emotions of the character. If one got hurt she would say "Oh no! How sad" and I would always feel sad because I didn't like the feeling of being hurt and I didn't want the character to get hurt. If the character did something great she would always cheer. It may seem silly but I encourage parents and caregivers to try this. Interact with your child's TV or book characters like they are real people and show your child how they should feel when something (good or bad) happens to them.
As a teacher to middle school kids I am getting to see everything from the other side of the desk. I am fortunate that we only have three girls in our three classes that are old enough to have drama. The best part is that they are all friends, and I mean true friends. There are no squabbles, no drama, just drawing hearts all over each others paper. I know this will not last forever but I am savoring it for as long as I can.
Being in a private school I have more freedom to impress morals and values than I would in public school. I use this the most with my girls. I teach them that beauty is not how thin you are, the clothes you wear, or the way you present yourself. Beauty comes form a soul that is pure, kind, and honest. One of my girls had to write a sentence with the word beauty. She wrote "Pain is beauty." I instantly pulled her aside and told her that beauty should never be painful and f it is then it isn't true beauty. I have thought a lot about that sentence and how it is a travesty that our youth have to believe such nonsense in order to feel worth something.
With my middle school boys (all six of them) I get to witness an evolution that is so remarkable I am constantly in awe. When I first met these boys three years ago, I would have never expected them to bond the way they have. They are all like brothers and I could not be more proud of the gentlemen they are turning in to.
Yesterday there was a monsoon that greatly inconvenienced us during dismissal. The youngest boy in the class got out of his dad's car and removed a huge tree branch that had fallen across the driveway, consequently blocking us in. He never asked for help because he didn't want anyone else to have to get wet and be uncomfortable till they got home. I was so impressed with his act of chivalry that I gave him bonus classroom bucks (our class currency in order to buy items in our class store) even though school was over.
Children are such a blessing. When I see a child that isn't being given what they need to succeed my heart just breaks. I told my husband that if we ever got rich I was going to adopt as many foster children as I could and homeschool them. If you have children I encourage you to enrich your child's life as much as you can. I once heard that adults should fill their child's basket so full of self-confidence that the world couldn't poke enough holes in the basket to effect it. Take some time out of your day to encourage a child. Give them a hug and let them know that they are wonderfully loved.