Sunday, 22 March 2015

Joanne Grineage: Give It to Get It

Joanne Grineage: Give It to Get It: So often I hear people talking about this generation of teenagers and young adults in such a negative manner. Never really showing them resp...

Give It to Get It

So often I hear people talking about this generation of teenagers and young adults in such a negative manner. Never really showing them respect for who they are, or the choices they are making. Always assuming the worst before they even have a chance to show themselves better , and often just not giving them the benefit of the doubt. I get very frustrated by this because I feel that many of these teenagers would give respect if they were shown respect. It has been a method that has proven itself very true in our home. I have always shown respect  to my children, and expect it in return.
I had the privilege of spending this past weekend with my three oldest daughters who are 16, 18, and 20, and my 24 year old niece. We spent the weekend hanging out together in Toronto, and I was able to enjoy being around four very amazing, unique and intelligent young woman. I watched them, and listened to them, and felt very proud. I had to sit back sometimes and not engage in the conversation, but just listen and learn from them.
Sometimes as adults, and especially as parents, we just do not give our kids the time they need to be heard. It is so very important to communicate with our significant others and if not just to improve and strengthen our marriages and friendships, then to demonstrate the importance of communicating and let our children see that happening in a healthy relationship every day.
When you stop and listening to your teenagers, you soon learn that they are very smart. They know a lot, and they learn a lot from the things that are happening around them every day. We live in a very fast paced, tech filled, go go go, society, and things are advancing at a pace that is nearly impossible to keep up with. I am just blown away at how much this generation knows at such a young age when it comes to technology, but also how young they are learning about all aspects of adulthood.  I don't want to seem like I don't want this to happen...I don't really have a choice, but our children are forced to grow up so fast, and learn so much more then we ever dealt with growing up. It was simpler and slower, and I think easier for us. Our teenagers and young adults have to deal with so much more, and I must say, the four girls that I spent the weekend with are doing a great job dealing!!
We talked a little bit over lunch about raising kids, "bad" kids, and how they were disciplined growing up. As I listened, the girls explained how more than anything, they did not want to disappoint us as parents, and if they knew that my feelings were hurt, or that I was disappointed with them, then they would feel disappointed in their own behaviour, and change it. Ultimately, they would base their choices on feelings, mine and theirs. They wanted me to feel proud of them, or pleased with their accomplishment, but I think they were building character in themselves. Trust, respect, caring, responsibility.....all things that I saw in these girls this weekend.
What I wonder, is do we care that much about their feelings? Do we trust them, respect them, do we care enough and are we showing them responsibility as adults? If they see us being disrespectful to the elderly, or the cashier at the grocery store, or the slow driver in front of us, do they learn to then be disrespectful? If they see us being irresponsibly with our choices...drinking, smoking, swearing inappropriatly, do they then learn to then be irresponsible with these things? We all know that the answer to these questions, is yes. We all know that children model what they see, and they learn from the environment they grow up in. Disrespectful parenting breeds disrespectful children. It is on us.
So what I learned from hanging out with these amazing young woman this weekend, is that they deserve to be respected. Even though I have not always modelled the best behaviour as a mother, I have always shown them respect. Even from a very young age, I let them express their feelings, or explain why they were upset, or what they thought the best method of discipline would be. I let them do this, and I would take their feelings into account. It didn't mean that I would always do what they wanted, but they at least felt "heard" and understood. "I understand that you want to stay up later because you are older, but that is too late for you, and your body needs more rest then what you are suggesting." A respectful answer even after letting the child be heard. It works because everyone just wants to be heard.
Spend some time with your teenagers. Give them a chance. Talk to them in a respectful way without judging or assuming the very worst. And do this for all teenagers, not just your own children. Things are difficult enough for this generation these days. Let's support and build up and be positive about what they have to offer, and they will give back to us.

                     So blessed to have spent the weekend with these amazing young woman!!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Joanne Grineage: Update Status....Do You Really Care How I Feel?

Joanne Grineage: Update Status....Do You Really Care How I Feel?: There are times when I would totally like to unplug from all social media and just light some candles and sit around and talk with my family...

Update Status....Do You Really Care How I Feel?

There are times when I would totally like to unplug from all social media and just light some candles and sit around and talk with my family. Not just for an hour one Sunday night,but like...forever. I am beginning to get more and more irritated by some of the "tweets" and status updates that I read every day, and I admit to being just as irritating as the next guy. Who needs to see a picture of my breakfast? Who wants to know that I had a horrible day at work? And who really genuinely updates their status for any other reason  then for some small bit of self gradification?  I love to brag about my children, or let everyone know that I ran 15 kilometres that morning. It makes me feel accomplished and proud to know that others know these things about me. When you think about it, that is just wrong, on so many levels. And do others really care? I think for the most part, they think that I am bragging, or trying to make them feel insufficient or less fit, or less of a successful parent or athlete. That is not my intention, but I just kinda get that feeling. It's that thing when you read someone's status, and you think to yourself..."really...did I need to know that, or see that, or hear play by play of the last forty-five minutes of your life ?"
I seriously never intend to offend or upset people by my status updates, but I admit, I have. I have had people send me personal messages, thinking that I was speaking directly to them or about them regarding my opinion on an issue, and I had absolutely no idea I was being offensive to them or anyone else...but I was. I appreciated that whenever this happens, an usually,  I am able to clear things up, but I wonder how many times this has happened, and someone was really hurt, really offended by me, and just never let me know. I understand that I can't always worry about what other people think but we all have a certain responsibility to be accountable for offending people we associate with. It all just gets to be a little more than what I need to deal with in my day. If I have the time to post every move I make, every meal I eat, every corner I turn, then I am spending far to much time concerning myself with social media, and not nearly enough time living my life without that thought running through my head...."gotta put this on Facebook !!"
How often are you changing your "status"? Do you think about posting every time something interesting happens in your day? If your eating something delicious, or baking cookies, do you grab your camera to get that perfect pic to share with your friends? It almost seems like the first thing that comes to our minds now. We feel the need to share even the most intimate and personal moments in our lives on a social media site like Facebook or a picture on Instagram , and it begins to be a bit obnoxious at times. Do we not have people around us that we can share these things with? Can we not just eat our meal or bake our pie without grabbing the phone for a picture of it? Do we feel such an obligation to our social circle that we will go out of our way to post our feelings about the weather every time it changes. That happens a lot...the weather changes....and so do many of the status updates and posts. And it is equally as puzzling and maybe even annoying. Stormy then never know what your going to get from day to day.
And then there are these ridiculous poles and questionnaires to prove or support some idealistic myth or image about you. I don't think I have ever been more disappointed with the social scene as much as I was this week when all we could talk about was a stupid dress. Children are starving around the world. Wars are being fought, the educational system is struggling, families are splitting apart, and all we can concern ourselves with is the colour of a dress??? What kind of vegetable are you? What is your mermaid name, what precious gem are you? WHO CARES? I swear, it is starting to drive me crazy. I am not a mineral, I am a mother. I don't want to play Candy Crush, I have meals to plan, and I could care less the colour of that dress, let me take the time to care about the lights and darks while I'm sorting my laundry every day!!
I am writing this blog for myself. I am reminding myself of what is most important. I need to step back from constantly jumping on Facebook to see what is going on in other peoples lives, and just focus on living my own. I connect with people through Facebook, so I do like it for that reason. I also like to keep myself accountable  with regards to my fitness goals, and I find that social media helps, but I also think that needs to change. I don't need to be that annoying person that makes you roll your eyes and scroll past my daily updates. I want to encourage and support people and be helpful and creative and inspiring.
We are in the season of Lent, and during this time many of us give up chocolate, or chips, or alcohol for forty days, in the effort to symbolize sacrifice and self control. I challenge  us all, to not just give something up, but to take something, on that might demonstrate sacrifice and self control. We don't do this for self gratification, so it isn't necessary to post what you have done to change. The challenge is exactly that. This is the deal. Whenever you feel the urge to post something or change your status, first say it out loud. Then say it to someone else. Talk to someone around you about what you feel you need to share with the entire fb world. When your meal comes to you at the restaurant, leave your camera in your pocket, and thank the waiter or the chef for preparing such a beautiful dinner for you. And when your cookies are baked, go get your family or your neighbour, and share them with people around you, not just people in the social realm.
We need to reconnect. We need to refocus our energy and our thoughts on the things that matter most. I need to do this too. Because the colour of a dress is totally and completely irrelevant to all of our lives. It matters not, it changes nothing, it helps no one. I just want to get to the things that matter  most in all of our lives.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Joanne Grineage: This Is Why I Homeschool

Joanne Grineage: This Is Why I Homeschool: Follow this link to the 2015 Sex- Ed Curriculum blog. Answers lots of questions and concerns people have. Not agreeing o...

This Is Why I Homeschool
Follow this link to the 2015 Sex- Ed Curriculum blog. Answers lots of questions and concerns people have. Not agreeing or disagreeing. Just sharing a different perspective.

I have read and reread articles and talked about and heard  about this new curriculum that is going to be a part of the lessons that children will learn in their classrooms. I am glad that people are so passionate about what their children will be taught in their schools, and  it is interesting to me to hear such divided opinions from so many families about how they feel with regards to this topic.
I will be honest, I am surprised by how accepting some people are of the changes, and on the other hand, I am just as shocked at those who are against what is happening. More than anything, it shows me that we as parents recognize how important our children.... our future....really are.
I am not going to speak about how I feel with regards to this new curriculum, but what I want to do is share what I know about teaching my children.
We decided after sending the two oldest to JK and SK, that homeschooling was something that we wanted to try. At the time, my sister was homeschooling her family, and she invited me over to watch and see what it was all about. I knew immediately that it was exactly what I wanted for my family. I had four children at the time and one on the way, and I was trying to be in two places at once. I wanted to spend as much time with my children as possible, and just couldn't be at the school and take care of things at home. I let the girls finish out that year of public school, and then purchased our curriculum to start the next school year at home.
People ask me all the time how and why I do it. People ask if it is hard, and people always ask about the social aspect of raising kids in my own home without the regular interaction with their peers. My answers are usually quite consistent. Some days it is really hard. Some days I want to give up and just enroll the kids in school. And some days, I think about how it would be a little bit easier financially if I was working full time to help support our big family. But the positives of homeschooling ALWAYS  outweigh the negatives of sending my children to school.
Before anyone takes offence to this, please understand, that I am very aware that homeschooling is not for everyone. Everyone has their reasons for making the choices that they do with regards to their children, and I respect that. I am not trying to "sell" homeschooling, I am simply sharing why it works for us, and why I decided to teach my children at home. In light of the latest events with regards to the new curriculum, I feel so very fortunate that I have complete control over what I teach my children. Notice, I didn't say "what my kids learn", but what I teach them.
I, like many parents, am very aware of a some of the things that our children will be exposed to in our society. We do not live in a bubble, and I know that there are things that my children will see and hear that may not be age appropriate, but I can also us discretion with regards to what ages is best for each child to learn about specific topics, such as sexuality, religion, prejudice, etc...The homeschooling atmosphere that we have allows me to observe each of my children and recognize their personal teaching styles, level of readiness for each subject, and maturity. Not every child is ready at a specific age, to learn about certain topics....I can decide if my child is ready or not. Not every child can sit behind a desk for a certain block of time.....I can help find the best way to help my child learn. Not every child needs to be surrounded by other children their age to become a strong, independent, intelligent member of our community.....I have seven children who have proven this to me.
I tell my kids all the time that being homeschooled is a privilege. They are very fortunate that they get to stay home to learn. But what I realize when I see all of what is happening in the schools now, is that it is MY  privilege . Every day, I thank God that this is something that we can do. Believe me, there have been many sacrifices. Financially, we have had to give up things, but only to see the gain in our children. Emotionally, I have cried many tears of frustration, but many more tears of pride and joy.  I'll be honest, I hate Algebra, it's hard to switch from momma to teacher, and lots of tears fall on the textbooks at the Grineage school table. There are days when I just don't want the huge responsibility of making sure that my children are getting the education that they deserve because every child deserves to be educated with a curriculum that will propel them in the direction that they want to go. All of our children deserve that.
I posted a link at the beginning of the blog. I posted it because it shows some of what our next generation will learn in the public school system, and I just wonder if it is what our children deserve. Is it what they need to propel them in the direction that they need to go in life. Does it provide clarity or confusion? Is there more grey than black or white areas? Are we coming together as parents, or is there more division then ever.
This is why I homeschool.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Joanne Grineage: Fitness, Fatness and My Flippin' Scale

Joanne Grineage: Fitness, Fatness and My Flippin' Scale: It's has been the challenge of my life to be fit.  To be in good shape and to include fitness and healthy food choices  into my lifesty...