Behind starburst eyes

Reacting verses Responding

It’s easy sometimes to forget how deeply our words impact those around us. It’s easy to forget that what we say and do lives in the hearts and minds of those we love and care for, especially our children. Times when we’re tired and frustrated by a bunch of things that may not even have to do with our child and then they do something, something they’ve done a million times before and we snap. We respond to their actions with our own frustration and upset instead of responding to it in the way our children deserve.

I’m human and I make mistakes, I get mad, and tired, sore and frustrated, and I too can react in a negative fashion. But I try every day to make sure I don’t. I try to respond instead of react.

My “trick” when I’m about to react instead of respond is to look at their hand. Why their hand? Because your closed fist is the approximate size of your heart. I look at their little hand and I see a visual reminder of how tiny their heart is just yet, and I refuse to fill such a small space with pain and words that will haunt them.

Looking at their hand helps me to be reminded that I am here to take their hand in mine and guide them, to show them how to access the great potential that is within each and every single person, their own personal greatness. I take a deep breath as I think of all this and then instead of reacting, I respond.

I respond with love. I try to help them find the most positive way of receiving what they wanted, be it a cookie or a toy someone else is playing with or additional attention. (Any project or chore can wait, but the giving of love and attention should’t be postponed when it’s asked for.)

Why do I say respond instead of react?

The dictionary’s definition of react is to act or do something in reaction to something else. BUT the definition of respond is to provide an answer to a query. In the middle ages respond was a noun for a pillar that actively supported. I feel that especially when they are young, they are looking towards the adults in their life to show them how to act, how to obtain what they want and need, and how to be the best them they can be. They are not purposely trying to “push buttons” or be “bad” they are simply making bad choices because they don’t yet know how to make better choices. It’s up to their adults to answer their unspoken questions and show them how to make better choices.

 

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7 billion verses 1

Photo: Don't let one little person or thing stand in the way of your happiness!

I love this one because I too get caught up in “small things” and in letting one person negatively effect my mood. But when I do that it tends to have a spiralling effect on my day, because then other things that normally wouldn’t bother me, do upset me and so on and so on until I feel really crappy. 

However when I accept that other’s actions are not my responsibility (minus the wee ones until their adults) I am better able to just let go of the situation and not hold onto the negativity that would spiral into more and more. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s well worth it, for my mental health and for the enjoyment of the day that I and my wee ones experience 😀

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No Regrets

 

A friend and I were speaking a few days ago about how much we tend to live with our hearts guarded against the pain we fear we will feel if we love one another with our whole hearts only to end up losing that person. (This was a discussion about dating) But it got me thinking…

In the end everyone leaves, some by choice, others by the fate’s call.

It’s not up to us when it’s going to happen, the only thing we can do is make sure we live life to the fullest, soaking up each moment we can with those we love. 

Because the secret to living a happy life isn’t to make sure we never lose someone, the secret is to make sure we don’t lose out on the time we have them in our lives. 

Laugh loudly, straight from the belly

Be free with kind words, and hugs

Be open to new adventures

Smile with your whole face and heart

Stop worrying about the pain, because like it or not, it’s going to come no matter what. Instead ask yourself, do you want it from regret and guilt over all you didn’t do and say, all the moments you let slip away?

Or do you want it from a heart filled with love, and a mind filled with memories of all the moments you were truly present with the other person? 

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Free Bowling

I recently saw on an online parents group that Neb’s Funworld in Oshawa, Ontario was offering free bowling all summer long to any child aged 15 years or younger. I of course checked it out! 

Sure enough by making a free account on their website I received a pass I could print at home or save on my phone to show the employee at Neb’s from July 2nd until August 31st for each child to be allowed 2 free games of bowling, the only “catch” is that you do have to rent the shoes your child will wear from there still, which are priced at $2.50 per child per day. All in all, I think this is a fantastic opportunity for us as a family to have a wonderful time together! As 5 children at the regular price of $11.50 each for 2 games and shoes is $57.50 for just the kids, as opposed to the $12.50 it will cost this way. A savings for this family of $45 each time we choose to go!

It truly is a great deal for us as I firmly believe what I was told years ago: “It’s a deal when you were already planning on purchasing it and it’s less than the regular price, it’s a bargain if you normally don’t use/buy it but you do so only because it was priced so low” and bowling was one of the things we’d put on our “family fun adventures list” of things we wanted to do over the summer. Now we can go 4 times for the same price as one visit! 

I am also aware of their Special Needs pricing (Save $3 off one game and shoes) and I am well aware of how positive and inclusive the staff are with those that identify with that label. (Yes I know discrimination is illegal in Canada, but just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and as we saw at Mr.C’s break dancing competition not all employees are kind or understanding about special needs. I really do see this as a way they are trying to give back to their community, and to help families have fun TOGETHER! So Neb’s Funworld is the only place I’ll go bowling (yes even after the Youth passes are finished come September 😉   

If you’re in the area and would like a pass for your child/ren get yours today at: http://www.bowlinggivesback.com/index.php/whatwegive/

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Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

What happens when we judge a book by it’s cover?

We think that the mother on the side walk with pink hair and a large tattoo is “sketchy”.

We think that the woman taking a photo of herself (selfie) is “vain”.

We think that the out of work man is “lazy”.

What we don’t have a clue about is the REAL stories behind our snap judgements. 

We don’t realize that the “sketchy” mother dyes her hair pink because her autistic son has trouble recognizing faces, and this makes it easy for him to recognize her as his mom.

We don’t realize that “vain” woman is actively working on her self-esteem that was destroyed over years of abuse you’d be horrified even thinking of, never mind living it. 

We don’t realize that the “lazy” man has health problems that make it impossible for him to even find work, and it eats away at him that he can’t contribute in the main way society tells us men must to matter.

 

The next time you are in a situation where you make a snap judgement about someone you’ve just seen or just met, take a breath, and think for a moment do you actually know the full story? Or are you making a snap judgement on someone that does not deserve for you to sit smug and righteous as you mentally decide where this stranger is lacking or has gone wrong according to you. 

The idiom “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is a very common metaphorical phrase in the English language for a reason, because we lose out on so much when we dismiss those we’ve judged in such a manner. 

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Rebel Gardening AKA Guerrilla Gardening

I first read about “rebel gardening” or as it’s more often termed Guerrilla Gardening ages ago, and it was something I really wanted to start doing.

Below is a link to one of the first stories I ever read about it:

http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/outdoor_living/2008/06/02/guerrilla_gardening.html

 

Since it is done on property owned by businesses, the government or person it is technically classified as a criminal offence according to the Ontario Criminal code section 430  for cases where the damage is less than $5,000 the maximum penalty is 2 years less a day in jail. Most typically for a first offence one receives probation and must pay restitution.

landscapers,landscaping,men,nature,occupations,persons,Photographs,planting trees,plants,shovels,tools,trees,yard work

Can you imagine: people being arrested for beautifying urban spaces, for planting edible plants in and around the city they live in. Yet it’s not a hypothetical thing, they truly can and I find it very disturbing indeed, and feel that instead of being charged with “Mischief under $5,000” people should be thanked for increasing the amount of greenery around urban areas, especially those that are planting foodstuffs people could harvest for free. Imagine, food being grown randomly about your city instead of empty paved lots, or lifeless meridians transformed into beautiful mini oasis’s of colourful flowers.

 

We as North Americans face several major health concerns and yet it has been proven countless times that junk food costs less than fresh fruit or vegetables. How about we truly combat some of these health challenges that come from being unable to eat our 5-10 fruits and vegetable servings a day by changing this section of the criminal code to exclude those that are partaking in “rebel gardening” or “guerrilla gardening”  Lets encourage the random planting of grape vines or various berry bushes that can grow along fences, lets encourage more greenery in our urban areas!

For a great site that is located in Toronto, Ontario check out: http://www.guerillagardening.ca/

Canadian Gardening does a great job explaining in detail a typical excursion for guerrilla gardeners, as well as providing many different sites one can go to look up local groups in their area if they don’t want to cause mischief alone 😉

http://www.canadiangardening.com/gardens/specialty-gardens/guerrilla-gardeners-waging-war-on-ugly-spaces/a/36586

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Autonomy is an intrinsic right.

 

A week ago I was putting away Miss. G’s laundry when I heard Mr. C in the next room asking her for a kiss. I heard her cute little “no” and I heard him continue to ask and try to get her to give him a kiss.

I called him into the room I was in to talk with him about it. I gently explained that she has the right to dictate what happens with her own body. That while I understand him wanting kisses from her, she has the right to decide when and with whom she will share physical affection with. I told him that when a child is forced to give affection it’s one of multiple ways they can be taught that they do not have the right to decide what should happen with their own body. That someone else, someone bigger, or older, or whatever has more say over their own body than they do.

I explained how that can later on make it much more difficult for them as an adult to state openly when affection or advances from someone else are unwanted. I told him how it can make it difficult for her to feel comfortable saying “no” to others when she’s an adult, if she’s never allowed to do so as a child.

I asked him if he wanted her to feel that she had the right to decide who would touch her, who would kiss her, when she was an adult. I watched as he fiercely told me that no one better ever think they had the right to tell her what her decisions would be when she was an adult. I gently explained that in order for her to know in her heart with full confidence that her body is her right she had to be raised that way from the start, not just told that once she was an adult.

I explained that the media and society in general often (not always, but often) will tell her the exact opposite, and in order for her to have the vital strong sense of self she will need to stand up and state “My body, my choice, in all things, in all ways” she had to grow up with that intrinsic right.

I then made sure to explain to him that he had the same right, that while he wanted to give Miss. G a brotherly kiss, as he got a bit older others might see his handsome face and want to kiss him in a romantic way, but that he too had the right to say “no”. That even though the stereotype is that a guy will always want to kiss every girl that likes him in a romantic way it’s not accurate. And that he shouldn’t just accept the media’s inaccurate portrayal of what it means to be a man. That it’s okay for him to say “no”, and it’s okay for him to say “yes”. That he and Miss. G and every single person on this planet has the basic right to say “My body, my choice, in all things, in all ways”

A couple of days later he came home from playing with a friend, and I was told about a friend who had wanted to sit too closely to him, simply because they liked being his friend. But Mr. C wasn’t comfortable and so he told his friend “no, please move over”

Yesterday when he asked Miss. G for a kiss again and she said no, he smiled, genuinely accepting her answer, and asked her if she wanted to play with a wind-up horse with him instead, which she happily agreed to.

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