To Pierce or Not to Pierce—this is the investigation…

And I would like your thoughts and opinions….

My 13-year old is begging for piercings- septum and industrial (I had to google them).

I know in my mommy gut, 13 is too young and I sense this is the usual teen dilemma of trying to find oneself . To encourage her idea that it will make her more herself seems silly….BUT I see how important this is to her and I recognize I don’t get the whole piercing world even though I have my nose pierced. I have never wanted any more than that and honestly I don’t find it attractive to have certain piercings- like the septum for instance.  This is of course my opinion and not hers and so I told her I would take two weeks to investigate the world of piercings—calling studios and asking others for their thoughts and opinions.

So—- to pierce or not to pierce. Remember she is 13, turning 14 in June….Thoughts? Opinions? An offering of insight from those who are into body modification?

Thank you,

The Soul Reporter

Gotta Do It.

Good thoughts will produce good actions and bad thoughts will produce bad actions. Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love. ~Buddha

 

“They” say write what you know. I will add—write what you don’t know, but desire to know. I also say, write what you experience. This is what I do here at The Soul Reporter, and specifically I am going to begin to focus in on what I experience day-to-day—somewhat of a new focus here at The Soul Reporter. 

Daily, I am with kids (our future)—middle-schoolers—my own and the ones I work with who have been labeled by the education system with various learning disabilities and also EBD (emotional/behavioral disorder).

I remember our daughter, Lilli’s third grade teacher telling us she wasn’t reading like the other children. I recall the day I sat in a room with teachers, psychologists and specialists telling me she had a learning disability (unspecified).

Tonight at dinner, Lilli told me a special ed teacher pulled out a group of kids to take a test in Social Studies. Lilli said, “And I wasn’t one of them.” It’s been a long road. Lilli now only qualifies for special education for math (frankly, at 41 I would qualify for this too). However, we aren’t out of the woods yet.

At Lilli’s last IEP (individualized education plan) meeting where she was reevaluated for services, they tested her to see if she qualified for the EBD label. She didn’t, and had she I would have protested. “They” tell you this label will allow the educators to take better care of the child’s needs. Although their intentions may be in the right place, I have seen this label also mean it is the beginning of the educational system giving up on that student.

The issue with this is many of the kids are already giving up on themselves. And, so I don’t get burnt out and give up on them, which I run the risk of daily, I am going to use this blog as an outlet and my hope it might become a resource for others. Therefore, to begin here is what I discovered today:

We must build—in small ways—toward courage, wisdom & greater self-esteem.

I worry about the kids I see who walk out of class and wander the halls. I worry about my own who asks to stay home at least once a week and skips gym class. There was a time I still worried about my own adolescent self as an adult, having constant dreams about trying to get to class but not being able to. I skipped most of high school. I hung out at Burger King, in cars or the grocery store—anywhere but class.

It remains one my greater regrets. It seems almost impossible to have a 13-year old care they will regret skipping class someday. And sometimes I hope they do regret it. If they regret, it means there has been a shift in consciousness for them. If they don’t regret it, to me it means they are still lingering in old patterns. For me, skipping class was a pattern of not showing up I worked on every day I didn’t show up. Everyday, I also told myself the next day I would show up, but I rarely did.  I get that math and science and other subjects seem like a big waste of time, and maybe they are. But, showing up is a good practice, which can begin in school.  To show up is a discipline that is needed to build character, courage, wisdom and greater self-image.

It is why I use the quote from Buddha above. The bad thoughts we have about ourselves as teenagers can be so severe our actions make us hide and act out negatively. This, when practiced continuously will weave us into a life we may or may not get out of. I did. I went onto college. Not necessarily for the degree, although it helped me get my current job, but to show myself I could do well in school.  I made the B honor roll every semeseter. I showed myself I wasn’t dumb. I learned my issue wasn’t brain power, it was a lack of using my inner power.

It helps me to relate to the kids in this way—to see they lack confidence. Because this seems like something, which can be worked with. For instance, Lill still asks me to order for her at restuarants. She lacks the confidence to look the waitress in her eye and tell her what she wants. I asked her today to consider doing small things, like order for herself. Doing these small things daily (and she may need to start even smaller) will work her inner courage. These small things will eventually be what increases the inner power she already has and will be a great power, which can and will move her beyond negative thoughts, and therefore negative actions.

If you find this topic helpful, please pass this blog on to parents, educators—anyone who is interested in our future, which are these kids. Thank you.

The Soul Reporter

Making A Difference

Perhaps it is middle-age—that time where we reflect upon our lives and know we haven’t as much time to do what we want to do—that caused my current bout of dissatisfaction. I realize what I truly want is to affect change, to be a change agent in my own life and the lives of others—and I want to see the changes and know I had a part. I also realize this is partly ambition and ego. Yet, it is also a real ache to feel and know the reason I am here.

In my mind I don’t think I have done enough to express this desire to be a change agent. And maybe it is I also don’t acknowledge the influence I have had on affecting change in myself and others. But, since realizing this about myself I am starting to notice how I am  of service, and also how I might of more service to affect change.*

I work at a school. My job is to assist students in the classroom to stay on task, redirect behavior and provide academic support. However, I find there is another kind of support some students are in need of.

Yesterday I knew I would be unable to perform my job in the classroom with a particular student. I knew there would be no work that would get done. Instead she needed to leave the room. She wanted to show me something. She lead me to the front doors, and I had hoped she wouldn’t try and leave. She stopped at the doors and looked out. She wanted to watch the snow fall.

As we both sat and watched, she began talking. I listened and asked some questions. A part of my mind was also rambling about how I should get her back in class and at least look productive. Yet, the wiser part knew this moment, watching the snow fall while she shared what was on her mind, was also productive—in an even greater way perhaps, than learning about weight and gravity in Science class.

Before her next class she took me to another window to look at the snow. I told her she needed to get to class and she did oblige. I sensed she needs more moments looking out a window with someone willing to listen. Today, another student wanted to show me pictures her father drew and a picture of him. She has only met him twice. The envelope with the pictures was from a correctional facility. I told her I would love to look at them as soon as she did her work, which she did and I thanked her for sharing this part of her with me.

Later in class, the student who needed time to look at the snow wrote my full name on a piece of paper in her diary. By each letter she wrote something nice about me beginning with the letter. The words she chose for me brought tears to my eyes— words like Divine, Real, Kind, Ordinary. Phrases such as like a kid (because I understand kids, she said).

If you recall my previous post, I was seeking a connection to someone (or myself or God) who knew me— who saw me for who I am. I never thought it would come in the form of an 11-year old girl. I plan to ask her for a copy so I can remember.

This list and the trust these two young girls have with me— sharing their thoughts and pictures of and from their father lets me see in small and ordinary ways I am making a difference.

Here is a woman I recently read about making a difference in a simple, yet profound way by giving hugs: http://amma.org/

Nikki

*What I mean by change is having the courage to go against the current norms of our culture and connect with a richer, truer part of ourselves.  It is not necessarily change as much as it is turing toward something that is always within us, that is real and lasting. This is the movement I choose to be part of for myself and others.