Sleeve Notes 101: 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Parenting Challenges!

It is really easy, in my opinion, to get caught up in the rantings of unhinged and unbalanced people. With just a few clicks of the mouse, I can easily become engrossed in the writings of those who believe that "showing their ass" isn't a bad thing. A few Sundays ago, Ty and I were in the car coming back from a "counselling" session (and I use that term ever so lightly) when we managed to get into a fight about something that was NOT said (but probably should have been) during said session. When I asked why it wasn't said, Ty said "why would I show my ass to___________?!" What Ty really meant was "why would I say something that shows what an asshole I can be?!" There are a lot of people in this world, and in the blogosphere who like to "show their ass"! A lot of them are part of the Americanized version of the Christian Taliban that would like to re-shape America into another Afghanistan (not that they would admit it). Some are like the Nazi's who believed that gassing people who were different to be a good thing.

It should be noted that the Religious Ultra-Right does not have a monopoly on showing their ass though! I think they only difference is, they like to evoke God as a scare tactic and to add "weight" to their arguments. Of course using God can be a bit tricky when you are using it against people who don't believe in God. That's when respect and all those other virtues (which seem so lacking in today's discourse) come into play.

As parents, how do you deal with this onslaught of bigotry and hatred, often perpetrated in the name of God? I don't have a clue! Especially since so much of me is tied so intrinsically to the very theology that has given rise to some of the most nutty among us. Fight it? How? And how do you fight against something that uses the same base as you do? It's confusing isn't it?
Next week, Paris starts the Third Grade. On the 16th, he will turn 8 years old! It's so crazy to me that this little man who came into my life when he was 3, has been in my life for more than half his life. I love the idea that I've been able to have an influence in the type of person he will eventually grow up to be. But some problems showed themselves quite real! Last year, more for our benefit, we got Paris a TV for his bedroom and then allowed him to come home, grab a plate and eat dinner in his room, by himself, in front of the telly. This past week, I opened the letter for his standardized tests and realized that, while he shows real promises in math (tested above the state average), in reading he was far below the average. We also had serious problems last year with "doing what he's told, when he's told!"

Over the summer, I've mulled over what the causes of some of our Second Grade problems were and the best way to resolve them. I even involved "experts" in my thoughts. And uniformly, it became clear to me that lack of involvement, at home, has a direct effect on acting out at school. I can't speak for Ty, but for me, spending too much time "showing my ass" to people who don't really matter, takes away from my responsibility of guiding my child (even if he is a step-child) into adulthood as a healthy, whole person. I finally decided that if we want Paris' Third Grade year to be better than last, then it will require a change on our part.

Last night I sat down with Ty and made a proposal. Ty threw up the usual impediments ("Paris bedtime should be 8:00p!" My response "Paris goes to bed at 8:00p that is true, but is allowed to watch TV until 10:00p or later!"). Luckily I had already anticipated his arguments and had rebuttals ready. Finally he looked at me and said, "let's give it a go!" YAY!!! One of the changes is that we will eat dinner at the table. Of course when I mentioned this, I said "I know you won't join us, but that's my plan." FYI - Ty loves to eat dinner sitting on the guessed it...watching TV. And yet he said, "We'll eat dinner together...around the table!" YAY!!

This is going to require some real work on my part! But I'm willing! More than anything, I don't want my kid to grow up to think that "showing my ass" while ignoring the ones closest to me, is a trait that is desirable. I want him to realize that he's special and that he can be anything he sets his mind to! AND that we will love him and support him...NO MATTER! As such, here's the evening schedule. As you can see, it's going to require a good amount of time on my part...but I'm thinking that's a good thing! Perhaps it will help focus me on what's really important as well!

7:00p Dinner
7:30p Help clean-up from Dinner
7:45p Review Homework
8:00p Walk Shiba
8:20p Reading
8:45p Bath/Shower
9:00p Bed Time
10:00p TV Off/Lights Out

I'm hoping this year to show my ass a lot less and show true love as is evidenced by my involvment, a whole lot more!