Posts tagged ‘school-aged children’

Why I Do What I Do

I never really understood what my mother went through with me as a strong-willed daughter until I had my own children. After the childhood I had, I never wanted kids of my own. Kids were worrisome, needy and a pain in the neck! And they were yours forever! No I didn’t want children of my own. However after 3 -4 years into my first marriage, I knew I wanted somebody that looked like me. Sound selfish? Yes I’ll admit it was probably selfish. It didn’t help that my parents and my in-laws were constantly asking – “WHEN ARE YOU HAVING KIDS?”

So my parenting journey began. From the beginning I believed that children were little adults with opinions and thoughts of their own. As idealistic as that sounds, I always wanted to give my kids an opportunity to speak openly and honestly. My parenting ideas were not well-received by my mom and her generation, because children were seen and not heard when she was a child. An out-spoken kid was considered a disrespectful one. As a mom, I was more concerned with raising leaders and critical thinkers, not followers.

While my parenting journey began in the middle ‘80s, my career as an author began a decade later. A painful divorce and family relocation left me with co-parenting responsibilities as well as the challenge of parenting with adults who had entirely different philosophies of what being a parent meant. I was an old school parent with 21st century parenting ideas. Basically, I believed in eating dinners together, kids that obeyed, and bed times with technology turned off. I also encouraged my kids to talk because I wanted to hear what they were thinking and that they had a right to be heard. It’s hard to run a company or manage a city, if you’ve never been taught to think on your own.

This time of COVID-19 quarantine is a challenging time for many reasons. Men and women are working from home and parenting from home. For some parents, that’s a new skill-set that you are building. Normally you spend 5-6 hours per day with your children. With the quarantine in place, you’re spending 24 hours per day with your children AND you’re trying to work coronavirusfrom home. How’s that working? Not so bad, if your child is school age and can work on his or her own. You can put together a family plan that gives your child time to complete school work, family time together and mom/dad work time.

If your child is under five years of age, your parenting skills are getting a great workout. Your day is structured to include lots of interactivity with your child, nap time and consistent meal times. I know work is important, because that’s how you support your family. However, if I had to choose between working or spending time with kids, I’d say make the time with your child first. Build memories that your son or daughter will talk about for the rest of their life. Have as much fun and meaningful time as possible. If your job requires daily online meetings, work around that work meetings and do something physical with your children every day.

So why do I do what I do as a parent? I do what I do, because my children are part of the next generation and I care about their success as humans.
Stay safe and healthy!

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C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Parent Coach, Author & Speaker

April 10, 2020 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Did I study? No. I was trying hard not to freeze. Or starve.

Guest blogger, Paul Gamboa


With the early calling off of school, it allotted a lot more time than I had expected to have to cook these last few days. Figured spaghetti would work nicely. We had most of the ingredients lying around. As the water boiled for the pasta, I watched the condensation on the kitchen windows begin to freeze before the pasta was even done cooking. Moments like that can easily get lost, but they’re important.

I’m pretty thankful to have a warm place to live.

As we all know, though, this isn’t the case for many of our students.

The school that I work at is routinely amongst the top performing schools in the state. We received a Blue Ribbon school award from the Department of Education last year for being high performing but still showing growth. We also have demographics that would show that this should be the case.

We have less than 5 percent of our students labeled economically disadvantaged. I have very few students who take time each day worrying if they wore enough clothing to make it home safely or if, when they do, they will have enough to eat.

This isn’t the case with other buildings in my district. There has been a steady increase in free and reduced lunch kids in my district. The school with the highest, at almost 65 percent, is literally on the other side of the tracks from my school, less than a mile away.

I was teasing my wife about her fascination with this storm. She also teachers fifth grade at a suburban school. However it is a very different world than I teach in.

Her school has slightly more than half the students coming from low-income households. It took me awhile (I’m not always a quick study) to realize why the fascination, bordering on panic, was occurring about her district not announcing cancellation. She has students that don’t have coats that can handle this weather.

This wasn’t mass hysteria over #Chiberia2014. She was truly terrified what could happen to some of her students if they had to try to negotiate the cold.

Sadly, this isn’t even close to the schools with the biggest needs. It’s the dirty little secret that is plaguing our country, and as a direct result, our schools. How are students going to learn when they are coming from homes, if they have one, that are struggling to meet their Maslow Level 1 needs?

You’d be hard pressed to find a teacher anywhere on the planet who hasn’t experienced this in some capacity. However, the fact that a sickeningly large number of our “low performing” schools also have the highest numbers of poverty-stricken students shouldn’t really come as a surprise. It’s the topic many people don’t want to talk about.

When a kid is wondering if they are going to be able to safely make it home, or if they will eat that night, or if they will see their parents because they’re working multiple jobs to try to get by — learning is not going to be a priority. The same goes for the parents. If the two options I was faced with were: desperately find a way to make sure my children’s basic physiological needs were met or make sure that homework was done, I know which path I’d lean towards.

Yet this is something that teachers are faced with every day. Educators see students coming into our classroom and we will do anything we can to try to help them. Almost without exception, this is done without fanfare, without acknowledgement and seemingly not even cared about by most of our country. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating. It’s impossible to argue that poverty doesn’t have a direct effect on education.

One of the things that my school is actively engaged with is the Green Harvest Food Pantry. It is a charity that deals exclusively with getting food to the working poor. It’s a wonderful thing for my kids to understand what it costs to live around here and how hard it is even for those with a job, or two, or three, or four. Even many parents with full time+ jobs are having trouble making ends meet.

I make sure that my kids understand this as part of our school’s food drive. At times though, I wish that I could take this out to more people. The steady growth of poverty in our country is what has been crippling education. If we don’t make sure that our kids have proper nutrition, clothing and shelter, they have very little chance of living up to their potential in the classroom.

Watching law after law pass which tries to “fix” the problem gets more and more frustrating. All educators have seen the impact on students when their biological needs aren’t being met. Sadly, most of us are seeing it more and more. We will continue to do what we can to help the kids when they’re within the school’s walls, and outside when we can.

I find it funny that a major candy bar company has an ad campaign based around the slogan, “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.” Yet when it comes to schools we’re supposed to completely ignore poverty and blame any low performance purely on bad pedagogy and corrupt teacher unions.

I’m going to go ahead and disagree.

These last few days are cause for a genuine reason to be thankful (those of us who have sufficient clothing and shelter) and also a genuine reason for outrage (many of our kids don’t). I just wish that the narrative were more focused on this.

As always, your comments, feedback and stories are welcome in the comments section. Stay warm everyone and here’s to a great 2014!


January 9, 2014 at 2:29 am 4 comments

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