Monday, February 20, 2012

Things we "GET" to do

Leah came to me the other day and said, "Look at this." She showed me a blank answer on a piece of homework.

Perpetually positive Mr. Olson

She said, "I asked Mr. Olson if I had to do this problem. I didn't think I should have to do it." 

"Well, what did he say?" I asked.

"He said I GET to do this problem, so I HAVE to do it," she sighed.

"No, you GET to!" I laughed.

She groaned.

The power of positive thinking. That is what has kept Mr. Olson teaching elementary school for 34 years.

Thanks Mr. Olson for your kind answer to an interminable question. Thank you for patience when those questions come, the ones you have answered several thousand times during your teaching career.  Thanks for building your students' self-esteem higher than any parent ever could. 

It's a good lesson for all of us. We "get" to do lots of things every day. If we "get" to do them instead of "have" to do them then they have the potential to become great things. If our daily tasks are a privilege to perform, then we perform them with more pride, skill and success. 

I don't know if I will be able to apply this principle to cleaning up dog throw up, or other detestable chores, but there are a thousand other tasks that I "get to do" today by virtue of the fact that I am alive in this world where each day is a gift. 

Mr. Olson has known this secret for lots of years. I am glad he was able to teach it to Leah, Nathan and Sammie, three of my children who GOT to be in his class during their 5th grade year. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Poptarts for Breakfast

Today my kids had Poptarts for breakfast, and thus I am living true to the Slacker Mom title that I bequeathed upon myself many years ago.

Tuesday Feb. 7 To Do List: Be a Slacker Mom. CHECK. Success comes in many forms.

Explanation if there is one:  I didn't sleep well last night (sadly, not an uncommon thing) and so when the kids were wondering what to eat for breakfast, I was still foggy, groggy and not even upright. But I wasn't  groggy enough not to yell, "Just eat some Poptarts!" when they called upstairs to ask what they should eat. The word Poptarts knocked them flat, and I could hear nothing for a bit; I am sure because they were stunned into silence. Then there was a bit of rummaging around in the pantry, and then some paper rustling, and then a "Pop!" sound from the toaster (thus the "pop" in Poptart--clever).

Then I remembered my scruples. I shouted,  "At least have some milk with them--a whole glass!" And as an afterthought: "Some vitamins, too!"

High and Mighty Mom Mantra 10 years agoPoptarts are strictly for an after school snack so as not to deprive the body of valuable nutrients before a school day. Having a high carb sugar rush first thing in the morning is not conducive to learning. I do not want my kids to tell their teachers they had Poptarts for breakfast. That looks poorly upon me as a mother. I will not be a white trash Mom. There will be no Poptarts or Frosted Flakes for breakfast and no Hamburger Helper for dinner. 

Back then I hadn't yet succumbed to being a Slacker Mom. I am proud to say, however, that despite the Poptart incident, Hamburger Helper has never taken up space on my pantry shelves. But my life is only half over. Who knows what the next 40 years might reduce me to.

I finally got up to go downstairs. Even Slacker Moms have to redeem themselves sometimes. I figured I had better make some nutritious lunches to counteract the negative affects of the Poptart breakfast.

As I thought about what might be the most healthy option for lunch, I thought about my father. He passed away years ago, but I wondered if he was watching me now, and if he was, I am sure he was laughing to beat the heavenly bands.

After all, he was the one who taught me to eat Cheerios with chunks of cheddar cheese floating around in 2% milk. But we usually only ate it for a bedtime snack.