My blog has moved

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Thank you:)

Epic Fail Fall Cake

Epic Fall Cake

This post can be found on my new blog. Kdrausin.com/blog/.

It all began when I was perusing the Martha Stewart dessert site and I spotted the most colorful cake I had ever seen. It was called the Super Epic Rainbow Cake.

Of course in true Krista fashion I decided immediately I was going to make this super epic cake but with the colors of fall instead of rainbow colors. What better way to begin the season than with a super epic cake? That’s what I told Arielle and she replied, “but you don’t like cake. Maybe you should make recipes you want to eat.” Nah, someone will eat my cake, the fun is in the challenge of making it. That’s what I thought.

I watched Martha’s video. I went to Whisk’s Kid’s page and printed out her directions. Then I went to Publix and bought all the ingredients. Did you ever have one of those days where you felt like everything you did ended up in frustration and there’s really no reason for it? You woke up perfectly happy but as the days events unfold you realize you would have been better off sitting on the couch reading a book. Labor Day was one of those days for me. I woke early and worked on my new blog with Eric. We sat for hours trying to design the header and it wasn’t happening. We discovered we both need to improve our visual spatial intelligence. When given all the tools and skills to decorate, we have trouble seeing where everything should go. Finally, we decided it was time to walk away from the computer and we went to our separate gyms to run and refocus.

As soon as I got on the treadmill, a man I hadn’t seen in a long time came over to talk to me. I didn’t want to be rude, so I took out my earphones. He decided I was going to be his sounding board for all that is wrong in politics. I hate talking politics. I also dislike constant complaining. The negativity that surrounds a barrage of complaints permeates through my skin to my heart and feels like a weight bringing me down. This man wouldn’t stop so I added two sentences to show him I wasn’t going to join in in his bashing, blaming session. Two calm nonchalant sentences meant to show him that not everyone thinks the way he does. Suddenly, a loud voice to my right startled me. A stranger who was listening from the treadmill near me, loudly spoke up after hearing what I said. He was one angry, angry individual who needed to run on that treadmill instead of walk in order to get rid of all his hostility. I had that jumpy energy surge through my body, I smiled, threw my hands up in the air and gave a little speech about how I came to the gym to work out and I certainly didn’t want to upset anyone… everyone is entitled to their own opinions… blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile I’m thinking, how is this happening? What a day I’m having. I just want to run three miles and then make my epic cake.

Now, since I had trouble visualizing exactly what I wanted on the new header of my blog, I decided to use colored pencils to design the layers of my fall cake.

A good example of someone lacking visual spatial intelligence. (I'm no artist.)

Arielle and and her friend chose the winning color combination. Even though I was still feeling a lingering uneasiness about my day, I decided to stick to my original plan. It was around four pm. when I pulled out all the ingredients.

White Cake Ingredients from a coconut cake recipe... See Whisk Kids recipe

If you want to make the epic rainbow cake, click on Whisk Kids link above. She’s already listed all the steps. I’ll show you some of my pictures.

Maroon 5 is on the radio and I'm dancing and mixing.

I can alternate flour and milk while mixing and taking pictures. I rock!

Do I really need to line all the pans with parchment paper? Nah, that's a pain. I'll experiment and try three with and three without.

Look at all the colors of fall. This cake is going to be epic for sure.

This is awesome! I can't wait to make one of these with Valentine's Day colors.

O magazine had an interesting article on intuition last month. I read it. Did I listen when my little voice told me something was wrong. Nope. Did you spot it yet? This could be like Where’s Waldo of cooking. Where’s Krista’s mistake?

There are absolutely no egg yolks in that egg white mixture. And there was absolutely no swearing during the separation of egg whites and yolks.

Lots-o-butter!

It was around this time that I decided to take a little break and eat a tofu burrito from Moe’s.  When I returned to my baking, I was elated because my frosting went from soupy to fluffy.

Putting it all together. Hey, this looks more like a pancake than a cake.

This is when I knew. I had a sinking feeling that the mistake I made could not be undone. The cakes were not fully cooked – possibly not edible. My instinct told me to insert a toothpick and see if the batter was still sticky… I ignored it. I had cooked the cakes five minutes longer than the recipe stated. I assumed they appeared small because I had separated the batter. Opps. There was no turning back. The cake could still look pretty.

Or Not!

Note to self... self, make sure there are equal amounts of frosting in between the layers.

Whatever you do, please don’t click over to Whisk Kids page and compare our cake frosting skills.

Unless you feel like laughing.

It was ten pm. and the cake was finally done. Yep, I spent six hours baking and taking pictures of my Epic (Fail) Fall Cake. The family gathered together and Eric assured me that I was worrying for nothing. (Nice supportive husband.) Then he took a bite and said “oh.” Not what I wanted to hear after six hours in the kitchen. Soon, laughter followed.

Laughter...

Laughter...

And more laughter.

Our cat, Edison, literally made a face and ran away when Arielle offered him a piece of my cake. That’s what sent everyone into hysterics – including me.

I had great expectations on Labor Day for how my blog header was going turn out, going to the gym and making a fabulous cake. None of those expectations came to fruition. The only thing left to do was laugh at myself and know that tomorrow’s another day. And understand that I should stick with boxed cake mixes and canned frosting if I want to make a cake in under six hours. Oh, there will be another six layer cake. I’m determined that way… I’m thinking cream cheese frosting with my favorite football team’s colors. All I need is a favorite football team… Philadelphia Eagles or maybe Miami Dolphins?

Congratulations to Lisa! She won the drawing for last weeks giveaway. You’ll also be happy to know that the new blog design is almost complete. We’ve been working on it every evening and stretching our visual spatial intelligence. Feel free to let me know if you try this recipe and have more success than me. By the way, you don’t need to use parchment paper. Crisco will work just fine.

Show and Tell Love

A teacher with her students.

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. Always has been. Maybe it’s all the pretty red hearts, giving of cards, all the smiles, or maybe it’s the chocolate. Valentine’s Day always makes me feel joyful.

So that’s why I was frustrated when I couldn’t seem to come up with a topic for my Valentine’s Day blog. I love to write, I love Valentine’s Day… there shouldn’t have been a problem. I read poems, searched the internet, meditated, and completely stressed myself out with worrying about what to write. Finally, I reminded myself to take my own advice and “let go.” If I had something to say, it would come to me. This morning I received an email that sparked a topic. I did have something to say. Love = Kindness

Yesterday, while in a convenience store buying water after a long hot parade, I overheard the clerk say to a customer “I’m sorry that happened to you.” When the customer left, I said to the clerk “You were really kind, I’ll have to remember that phrase.” I’m not usually one for speaking to strangers but her words were genuine and the moment touched me. Then I saw the smile on the clerk’s face. My words had made a difference in her which in turn made me feel good. Kindness.

Earlier this month I went out to dinner with some teachers. One teacher told a story of how she had received a phone call from her son’s school. She felt instant dread. What had her son done to elicit such a call? Her son’s teacher surprised her and told her she was calling to say what a wonderful, kind, helpful boy, she had. Shocked, it made her feel so good to receive the call that she decided to do the same with her own students. The next day she called several parents to say positive things about their children. Afterwards, a student came and thanked her and said because of her phone call, his parents were taking him on a special fishing trip. Kindness.

The email I received this morning was from a teacher expressing to me how she was questioning her value to her students after many years of teaching. Unfortunately, this is a common feeling among teachers. The emotional stress of being in a classroom of students with varying abilities and personalities and being responsible for their success on standardized tests is incredible. Teachers can do one hundred tasks right and receive no acknowledgement but as soon as they make a mistake no matter how small, they can have parents and sometimes administration reprimand them, leaving them feeling very unappreciated. There is a lot more I could say on this subject but for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to ask parents and students to remember teachers-and teachers to remember students and parents. A simple sentence showing kindness or appreciation can make someone feel loved and that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about. Well, feeling loved and eating chocolate! You can never have too much of either one.

Fire In the Heart by Deepak Chopra: I can remember words people told me years and years ago that changed how I saw myself. “You are a good person” is an incredibly powerful statement from the right person, someone you really respect. “You’re so thoughtful” or “I like the way you say things” or “I’m glad I can count on you” are all words of appreciation that someone wants to hear. When people sell a house and get more than they expected for it, they say it appreciated in value. The same is true for human beings. If you appreciate them, they will increase in value before your very eyes.

“I Hate You!” Parenting Teens


There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having your child mad at you. This precious being that you have devoted your life to and love more than they can comprehend, glares at you like you’re an evil sorcerer who has cast a spell of unhappiness upon them. Then the door slams and you’re left standing there asking yourself what happened. Didn’t you make yourself clear? Was there a better way to communicate, “The trashcans must be brought up from the curb as soon as you get home from school?” Or “Please clean your room by 4:oo pm.” Or “It is your responsibility to do and turn in all homework assignments.” So when these rules aren’t followed, there’s a consequence and somehow it always comes as a surprise. How dare I keep my word and follow through with what I said. This leaves me baffled. Was there a time when I was inconsistent and didn’t follow through with a consequence when a rule was broken? Did they think I wouldn’t notice the trashcans or the messy room?

Still the questioning, emptiness is there when I’m on the receiving end of a deadly glare. Even if I know I’m right and it’s my job as a parent to help my children learn how to be disciplined and responsible. Thank goodness for that old T.V. commercial where the parents practiced slamming a door in each others faces while screaming, “I hate you!” Be the parent the commercial stated-or something like that. Every time a door slams in our house, I remember the commercial. I’m not torturing my teen-I’m being the parent.

There was a time when I was very scared to have teens in my house. I’d look at my children when they were little and try to picture them in middle school or high school. I couldn’t do it. It felt as if it would be forever until they got that big. I was wrong. My son’s voice is deeper than my husbands and when he lounges in our Lazy Boy his legs drape off the sides and I am left staring at the size of his sneakers. Parenting is different. I have two budding adults and little time left to teach them how to be the happiest, most content people they can be. All the while still trying to learn how to be the best person I can be.

I took my teens to a Get Motivated seminar because I wanted them to hear speeches of individuals considered to have had significant leadership success in their life. General Colin Powell surprised me with having a great sense of humor and the ability to laugh at himself. He joked about missing his jet. He would walk the red carpet and wave to everyone as he boarded, someone would serve him a Diet Coke on a silver tray and as soon as the soda hit the table, the jet would take off. If that’s not an ego rush, I don’t know what is. And it was refreshing to see a man who held the positions of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State tell of how his wife was not all that excited when he retired and was not going to be getting up and going off to work every day. Or to hear him talk about trying to learn how to communicate with his sixteen year old grandson in a world of Facebook and Twitter. “Why is it called tweets and not twits?” General Powell refused to get a Facebook account until his grandson told him someone had set one up for him and he already had thousands of friends. Well, then it was okay, he joked. “Just because you possess a title doesn’t mean that you obtain the respect of those around you. True leaders gather a following through vision, determination, wisdom, expertise, compassion, and integrity.” General Powell.

As a parent, I am a leader responsible for the lives of two individuals. Even if they glare at me, slam doors or go for a day without speaking to me, it is my job as their leader to help them learn skills such as effort and self-discipline. I am not their best friend that title belongs to their peers. I am someone they can always count on for support and guidance. It is my job to learn how to set and enforce rules and still have the respect of my children. The great thing about teens is that you can talk to them like adults, explain your point of view and listen to theirs. Listening is key. One of my favorite times of day is after my kids get home from school. I make myself available to sit and listen to them talk about their day. As they talk, I am so thankful to have the time with them and I am constantly amazed at the incredible people they have already become. I wonder how I could have ever been scared to have teens in my house. They’re so much fun! And they can carry a lot of grocery bags. I no longer have to make several trips to the car. Bonus!

The message I heard most clearly from General Powell and the other speakers was that leaders know they are human. They have experienced failure and success. They question themselves and question others with opposing views before making a decision. They do not see themselves as dictators imposing rules because it supports an egoistic need. They see themselves as public servants. They have a vision and pursue that vision with great determination but never forget that those they are leading are valuable individuals that must be listened to and respected.

Feeling the uneasiness when my children are upset with me means I’m human and I’m questioning my parenting ability. As hard as it is to say “no” or take away a cell phone or video game, it is my job as a parent to help my children understand that there are consequences in life when rules are broken. Better it be a video game or a cell phone than a jail cell.
K.D. Rausin

What’s Your Strongest Intelligence?

There is little that upsets me more than when I hear a child say they aren’t smart. Unfortunately, I hear it often as a substitute teacher and it always breaks my heart. Sitting in the back of the room, arms crossed, the high school sophomore blurted out “This is an ESE class. That means we’re stupid.”

Not wanting to lecture, but wanting to help, I gave a brief lesson on multiple intelligences. According to Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory, there are eight intelligences.
• Linguistic Intelligence
• Musical Intelligence
• Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
• Spatial Intelligence
• Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
• Interpersonal Intelligence
• Intrapersonal Intelligence
• Naturalist Intelligence

I explained that our traditional education system still favors students who are strong in the logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence. Those who have strengths in the other intelligences may feel lost at school simply because they are not challenged in the intelligences that show their strengths. I liken it to art class. What if there was a section on standardized tests for the ability to draw. I’m sure with a tremendous amount of practice I could be a mediocre artist but those who would excel would be students with a strong spatial intelligence. If drawing was held in as high regard as reading and math, I certainly would feel inadequate.

From what I’ve seen in my years as a classroom teacher and now as a substitute teacher, our children are feeling “stupid” if they struggle with math and or reading. This begins as early as third grade and carries through to high school.

Please, teachers and parents help your children and teach them that we are all smart in our own unique way.

Henry David Thoreau
Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.

Teaching

Tap, tap, tap, “Mrs. Rausin.” Tap, tap, tap, “Mrs. Rausin.” One day I smiled and tapped back before I answered-I couldn’t resist. I wondered where he had learned such a habit. He looked at me with bewilderment and laughed. That’s what my days are filled with, moments of silliness, laughter and sometimes exhaustion because third graders have a tremendous amount of energy.

I am reminded daily of how peaceful my life once was. I used to spend my mornings sipping coffee and typing in silence creating characters, now, I have a room full of them by seven-thirty. “Mrs. Rausin did you know that boy humpback whales sing?” “Mrs. Rausin instead of Mozart can we listen to country music?”  “Mrs. Rausin, you have a pointy nose.”

My mind is a tape recorder playing their precious voices over and over long after I’ve returned home. I feel happiness for the students who have tasted success and are flourishing. I feel sadness for the few who have experienced difficulties at such a young age and I search for ways to help them. These seventeen children have found a place in my heart when I didn’t think I had any more to give. Perhaps that is the lesson life was teaching me-there is always more to give when it comes to children.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

He sat in his chair eating Cheetos for breakfast and continued talking to me as if he’d known me for years. I listened, wondering where he was going with his story and for how long I should let him go on before politely redirecting him to his schoolwork that sat unopened on his desk. He was telling me about his uncle who loved to drag race and had built his own car. I knew nothing about drag racing except that it sounded dangerous. I thought perhaps I could add a few tips about wearing helmets or seatbelts. I tried to picture a drag racing car in my mind and kept seeing a parachute pop out the back. Was this what he was talking about? I wasn’t sure. I listened for a few more minutes as the story became more involved and suddenly he was telling me that his uncle had passed away. At that point, I began watching his eyes closely and planning how I would handle tears. He rocked back in his chair and crunched down on a Cheeto. This wasn’t the time to lecture about choosing the school’s breakfast over his own. I tried to convince myself that his uncle must have been old. Maybe he was a great uncle or a friend of the family that they referred to as uncle. Then the boy told me about his uncle’s daughter who was only six. Now, I was stumped. How did his uncle die? Should I ask? Is this the point of the story? Was this twelve year old trying to understand loss at 7:30 in the morning? I’m conflicted between wanting to begin class and making sure this student is okay. I look around. Kids are finishing their breakfast and we still have two minutes before the bell. I ask, ready to give advice about pursuing dangerous activities. “How did your uncle die?” His answer-

“My uncle had problems with his liver and he didn’t have health insurance so he couldn’t get help. We all had to watch him die. It was hard.”

K.D. Rausin

Still Typing

In between dancing with the middle school students and driving my kids to all their activities, I’ve been hard at work revising Mystic. I had hoped to be done by February 20th but discovered I was too ambitious with my work load. Books take time and I have proof. Here is a link to Kristin Cashore’s blog. kristincashore.blogspot.com/2010/03/monday-ruminating.html I had to laugh when I saw the picture of the cows. Eric and Elle were teasing me the other day saying that on one of our family vacations, I took more pictures of cows than of our family. It must be the artist is me.

Thank you for joining this fan page. I’m blessed to have the support of so many people. You Rock!

K.D.Rausin

Find The Fib…..Leave a comment and play along!

March has been my month for new experiences. There was spin class and Latin dance class at the gym to which I looked quite goofy but not as goofy as trying to keep up with the middle school girls as they danced to Tambourine. That’s my other new experience, life as a middle school dance teacher at my son’s school. I’ve found it exhilarating and exhausting. I get to listen to good music and move around in comfortable shoes but there is nothing quite like the energy of a middle school classroom. I’ve come to the conclusion that middle school teachers have to have a tremendous amount of patience, great sense of humor and the stamina of a professional athlete.

 

My daily routines of the past few months have been flipped up-side down and now here I sit in my sweats, barefoot, typing away when I should be watching LOST and eating chocolate.

 

No, I’m not editing Mystic. I have to take it one night at a time as I train my body to write during these late hours. Besides, I took Mystic to school today knowing I’d have time alone while the students finished their FCAT test. I read three chapters of Mystic, pencil in hand and decided they were all junk and I had to start over. I’ll tackle that after the DAC meeting tomorrow night. For now, I’m easing into my new schedule with some easy writing-this journal.

 

And I’ve decided to play a game that the middle school students enjoyed today. It’s called, Find the Fib. It’s a Kagan activity to bring classrooms together. My husband also uses it in his training seminars. Here’s how it’s played. I will list four things about myself. Three are true and one is the fib. Readers of this journal have to guess which one is the fib and post it in the comments section. Then feel free to play along and list three or four things about yourself and I’ll try and guess. Other readers may guess too. Just click the comments button below to leave a comment. Feel free to pass this on and see how many players we can get. I’m looking forward to some interesting facts and fibs.

 

Find the Fib

 

  1. I once broke my foot while playing football at a winery.
  2. I have never had a cavity.
  3. The very first story I ever wrote was about the Civil War.
  4. I refused to dissect a frog in eighth grade.

 

Good Luck!

K.D. Rausin

Mystic

Please visit my Mystic fan page on Facebook

Creating Believable Characters

Many years ago when I performed in plays and musicals I used to create monologues for my characters in order to help me understand them better. I suppose it was during my acting days at AMDA that a drama teacher taught me to give each character a secret that only I knew. For instance if I was playing a young girl meeting a boy for coffee my secret might be that I was desperately in love with him. Or my secret could be that I knew the boy was my step brother. The scene would play out differently using each of those scenarios as my secret.

Jump ahead several years and now I am doing the same thing with the characters in my novel. The chapter I am editing now is particularly challenging because I am telling a story within a story and I need to make sure the two are linked together. There must be a clear relationship between the two stories. This morning I took my character Sri, and gave her a journal. I needed to hear her voice tell the background leading up to her story within Mystic. Does that make sense? In other words, I always knew what happened in her past leading up to her appearance in Mystic but I needed to write it from her perspective. It is amazing what little gems appear when characters are allowed to speak for themselves.

What does Sri have to do with Amelia and Greg? Well, you’ll have to wait until the book is published to find out. I can give one little hint…Sri may be related to one of them.

Sri’s Journal

Entry: I have learned to calm the mind of a wild beast, to turn a stick into silver and to fly amongst the Seer Dragons but I cannot stop the bursting excitement that flows through my body every time I see him. It’s as if a breeze brushes over my heart and I must breathe deep when he is near in order to keep my composure. He is only a man not a wizard yet he appears to have placed a spell on me. This is unacceptable and I must stick to my path. My future has been carefully planned. I have great gifts. I am Queen Fredonia’s only daughter. A daughter in need of a spell to wipe away thoughts of handsome strangers.

Entry: I have decided to speak to him. My jumbled emotions are getting the best of me and I cannot focus on my studies. Surely when I speak to him I will learn of his daftness and get over my sickness. Enough is enough. Ralient has been odd lately. Our friendship seems strained. He looks at me with distant eyes. Though I have given him no reason to believe I have feelings for the stranger, I worry he knows my heart too well. His desire for me is no secret. I feel only friendship for Ralient and I don’t want to hurt him, yet fear I will.

Entry: There is a light shining from within me that I cannot dim. No spell can replace the happiness that colors my world that once was clear. James, his name is James and he is kind, intelligent and brave. We have spent the past month together and I have learned much about his world. It is not a place I wish to visit. When James is with me I feel content, safe, at peace and my mind is far from my studies and full of only him. We spend our days escaping to the forest and the White Mountains. I have shown him Mystic’s beauty in hopes that he will want to stay. Today he took my hand during our walk. I had to remind myself to breathe. Then I felt a tinge of annoyance that Queen Fredonia’s daughter could let herself become so vulnerable in the presence of a man. I thought of my great power for only a brief second before James interrupted me. He stopped, took me in his arms and kissed me. I felt the stubble from his beard on my chin and that familiar breeze across my heart. My tears dripped onto his collar.

Suddenly, I felt piercing heat on my back like arrows shot from a distance. A pair of eyes were watching us, cursing us.  I stiffened and turned to face them. I felt his pain and knew that I had hurt Ralient deeply. A line had been crossed and my once perfectly planned life was now unpredictable. I knew I could no longer allow myself to act like a helpless child. James was in danger. Ralient’s power was only surpassed by his jealousy. Now, my only concern is whether or not my powers are strong enough to protect the man I love from the man who was my best friend.

K.D. Rausin

Mystic

Please visit my Mystic fan page on Facebook

Milestones

I was asked to write about three milestones in my life for a magazine article. Here are the three I chose.

Milestones: K.D.Rausin

1. Being on the set of the movie, Ghost, with Patrick Swayze: I grew up in a small town with big dreams. When I was nineteen I took a plane to LA with absolutely no plan. I got in a cab and said, “Take me to the beach.” A few weeks later I was on the Paramount Studios lot as an extra. They sent me to wardrobe and put me in three inch heels. As I wobbled back to the set, a trailer door swung open and a shirtless Patrick Swayze called out for….well, I don’t even remember because I couldn’t breathe. There in front of me stood the star of Dirty Dancing. Even though the entire scene we shot that day ended up on the cutting room floor and I never saw myself on screen, that moment, seeing Patrick Swayze will forever be a reminder that dreams are worth chasing.

2. My first day as a classroom teacher: I stood in front of my open door with a huge smile and a queasy stomach. I had spent the past three months learning, preparing, decorating, and memorizing names. I don’t know who was more nervous, me or the twenty seven third graders that called me, Mrs. Rausin. My first day teaching was the beginning of a journey filled with love, compassion, frustration, patience and respect for all those who want to make a difference in the life of a child.

3. Finding the Reeve Foundation and becoming an ambassador to advocate for those with spinal cord injuries: I will never forget the phone call that changed my life. Watching my ten year old daughter lying in bed, crying, because she couldn’t feel or move her legs was devastating. Five years later hearing that my daughter as a wheelchair athlete could not participate in or even wear her school track uniform was infuriating. The Reeve Foundation showed me incredible support as I advocated for my daughter who eventually was allowed a position on the team. It is my hope that one day Florida will permit disabled athletes to compete on school sports teams along with able bodied athletes.

Fern

I’m home….sweet home. This morning the kids are back in school and the house is quiet. I fed the cats to keep it that way.

Ideas ricochet in my mind. Where do I begin…editing, journaling, or a new adventure? Since today is volunteer with third graders day, I have chosen journaling. I’m cheating a bit and posting someone elses writing.  Kimberly Willis Holt :  http://apenandanest.blogspot.com/

Good news! It seems I have had two articles published. I received a check from Gannett Publications. Now, I am curious to find out which two articles and where they have been published. I’m putting my research skills to good use.

I read two good books last week- Crash by Jerry Spinelli and Tiger Rising by Kate Di Camillo- Both were excellent! Teachers, if you have any boy reluctant readers, give these books a try.

Gulls are gliding past my window, peeking in to see if I have any bread. They sit on my roof and wait. My writing buddy has returned once again and is bouncing on a thin branch staring into the canal.The ducks have increased in number and sit at my front door. Who knew ducks liked sharing their meals with cats. Mama duck will show up any day now with a trail of ducklings. She would lead them right into our house if we let her. Our dog sitter told us that the otters have found a way into our fence. I think they share a cramped home with the racoons. I have always wanted to be a Fern….now I am.

I chose to write this instead of mopping my floor.

“I always say, when the voice and the vision on the inside become more profound, clear, and loud than the opinions on the outside, you’ve mastered your life!”….Dr. John DeMartini

I have been a mentor and teacher to children for over ten years. Over and over I am reminded how vulnerable children are in the world of adult business.What adults say to children matter more than we realize in our rush to get things done. I wonder if some adults have grown up clinging to misconceptions about themselves that were planted as tiny seeds when they were young. Now, these seeds have grown into massive weeds that slowly strangle them from within. These adults have no vision and allow outside opinions to master their life. Is this what we want for our children? Or do we want our children to grow up with direction, confidence, and peacefulness within?

Teachers know this is true. Children will often blurt out whatever is making them feel the most insecure. Within minutes of  first meeting a child who has failed a grade, they will be sure to tell you how old they are and what grade they failed. This has happened to me numerous times and always makes my heart ache. How awful that at such a young age this child defines himself as a failure. Unless, a caring adult intervenes, he will grow up holding this belief. If he thinks he is a failure on the inside, how will this influence his behaviors on the outside?Please don’t leave it up to teachers to mend this mistake. Teachers are overwhelmed. It is a societies responsibility to heal it’s children.

How do we teach our children to have a positive image on the inside? Every teacher learns the importance of modeling. First, I would say take a good look at yourself. Are you positive, confident, disciplined, knowledge and goal seeking? If the answer is no then get to work. Children are carefully watching. Next, compliments are like flowers, give them away and see faces brighten. I learned this from my friend Elena. Years ago when we first met, we spent a lot of time out an about with our little ones.Elena complimented complete strangers even if they had a scowl on their face. I was constantly amazed at her ability to make people smile. Finally, we must teach children that while all the pictures of perfect bodies and all the material gadgets may appear as though they will make you happy, happiness comes from within. If we teach our children about the multiple intelligences and give them tools like discipline to practice skills that they find difficult, they will taste success. One of the greatest rewards I had teaching was seeing children gain confidence in their ability to succeed.

This holiday season may be unique because of our economy. There is a lot more we can do for ourselves and our children then purchase stuff that will bring us temporary happiness. If we are parents or teachers we can give gifts that will last a lifetime…time, encouragement, praise, stories. If there aren’t any children in your life then there are a lot of foster children or school children who need a grown up to tell them they are smart, kind, worthy human beings. The wonderful thing is, once you start helping a child, you will find you have also helped yourself.

The Picture Book Review

Picture book reviews, reviews of books with pictures, and pictures of books!

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