The Princess Problem, Officially Solved!

Perhaps I am thinking a little too far ahead on this one. The Peanut has yet to reach her second birthday, and the only thing the Rooster currently wants to do with sparkly pink shoes is gnaw on them. (Seriously, Elvis the Elephant, Eddie-Frogruerro, tossed aside in favor of shoes that are occasionally still on your feet. Mmmm.) But I have three nieces and a not so secret feminist agenda. (I have a recurring conversation with one of my students where he continually calls me “one of those people” and I tell him the word he is looking for is feminist, it isn’t an insult and my hair cut has very little to do with my ideas about gender-roles.) The princess thing makes me nervous and I haven’t even read Cinderella Ate My Daughter yet.

My sister Emily does a good job at her house, of allowing her girls to be whoever they might be, which means the Star gets to be a S-T-A-R in all of her glitz and glamour and show-boating glory. The Scientist will join in, but she also is allowed to take apart the fish tank and see if the addition of play dough will contribute or hinder the filter mechanism of the tank. (Well, perhaps not all of the Scientist’s experiments are explicitly sanctioned.) The third kid (who I have yet to name on here. I am open to S suggestions, Seer? Sage? I don’t know help me out here family!) is pretty much just interested in being with Mama. But the point is that Em doesn’t monitor the amount of pink plastic versus the amount of red plastic in her house like I do. She doesn’t fret over the implications of her daughters liking nail polish. (which duh I currently have a fascination with the Sally Hansen nail stickers so couldn’t it just be that nail art, like all art, is super fun and colors are pretty. Or perhaps, I want to be like Mommy. I am clearly over-thinking this bit.)

She doesn’t worry about any of that, and Em’s kids are fine. All kinds of girls are encouraged to be just the kind of girl who God made them. My nieces are healthy and happy and I don’t think anyone is worried that they are not empowered to feel like they can make their own choices. Some days I bet Emily is looking for the book on how to un-empower your girls so that they will just do what you want and not question you this one time for Pete’s sake we are late to church! I know I am.

Maybe I am over thinking it, and watching Em parent makes me confident I am. But first I get nervous when the Peanut develops a fascination for my make-up and then think that is stupid because it is my make up after all and what am I trying to say I don’t want her to be like me? Then I think about how make-up is essentially getting to draw on your own face and the Peanut is way into that. The other day she went at it with red and brown washable marker and she looked like she had been in a fight. She managed to color red up all visible parts of both nostrils. And yet, I still worry

Basically the whole princess thing boils down to this. If I get past all of my issues with the pink, glittery, plastic stuff. I have one concern remaining: I don’t want my girls to think that they are incomplete without a man, that they are not fully whole until they get married. (If they even want to get married. I believe the Apostle Paul when he said singleness is a gift from God.) I want my girls to believe that God thinks they are incredibly value just for being them, and not only in the role of  wife or mother.

I want my girls to grow up believing in their own white horse, hitched to a carriage with the Holy Spirit driving. And if God has it for them, I want another rider, with a white horse of his own, together they would choose to ride into the sunset, because they believe that God has for them an amazing adventure and a partner in crime. But no one has written that story book, and Disney hasn’t picked it up. There is no two-hour movie complete with happy meal toys to tell it. The Princess Problem indeed.

But today I read a blog post and something happened in real-life that I have only dreamed about Julie Andrews solved my problem. Julie Andrews, just like when she played Mary Poppins, swooped in and told me which spoonful of sugar I could utilize to make the whole princess thing go down smoothly with me. Real Princesses. They speak foreign languages, they dress beautifully and modestly and sometimes funkily (give it up for those crazy hats!) they stump for good causes and make sick people feel better. They are the light of the world and they sit up straight.

Yes ma’am you can wear that tiara. Now tell me, which foreign language will we be learning today? What worthy cause would you like to shed light on? Sign me up for this tea party. One lump, or two?

Advertisements

Sometimes on Saturday

Sometimes all it takes is making coffee with the french press to be reminded;  Out of what looks like muddy water to us, God makes beautiful things.

Sometimes your friend sends you a text message with the word “ass” in it and it makes you think: “She has grown so much since I have known her!”

Sometimes you wake up to your oldest babbling through the baby monitor. She tells Teddy all about J, and M, and S each in turn. You are reminded how blessed you are that God saw it fit to give your daughters a whole bonus family.

Sometimes you are sitting in the bathroom waiting for your child to agree to get out of the tub when she stands up and announces “All done!, Towel.” When you wrap it around her, she insists on crawling into your lap and having you rub the towel close. You learned how to do this from your mom. You tell her that this is the very best part of the bath and she agrees.

Sometimes both kids take a nap at the same time and the dog insists you sit outside with him. You agree so you don’t have to clean the house.

Happy Saturday! Hope yours is going just as swimmingly.

Thoughts While Zumba-ing

I have been to Zumba twice this week. I seem to think a lot during it. Here they are those thoughts

This is what I like to think I look like doing Zumba.

This is probably more accurate.

– This song keeps saying “I found love in a hopeless place.” That right there is an accidental devotional if I’ve ever heard one. I did find love in a hopeless place. This has to be talking about the cross…right? Even if it wasn’t, it is now.

-I cannot figure out what this instructor wants me to do. Yelling “rhythm” at me certainly isn’t helping anything. I wonder what I yell at my students that is not helping.

– She said she needed to see more booty, but this is the East Lake Family Y. I see plenty of booty in this classroom.

-Oh, that is what she means. White booty don’t shake like that.

-Why do I have a repeating track in my head that says “you can’t dance, you can’t dance.” Who put that there? That is stupid.

-The Peanut definitely thinks she can dance, and the Rooster already spends her time bopping around. I wonder if I can do something to protect them from that sound track. It sure is stupid.

– See, look at her. I am not the most awkward person in the room. I need to get over myself. No one is in here thinking about me.

– Here comes the nursery worker, I hope that is for me. I am dying. Nope, not me…guess I have to finish the workout.

I Got to Be There

One of my students worked really hard to memorize a poem. This is not something that comes easily for him. He recited that whole poem. Every word. He even volunteered to go. And at the end of the poem he was so proud he shouted the last line. Jenny Kissed Me I don’t know if he will remember that poem for the rest of his life, but he will surely remember that moment. And I got to be there.

A week ago a student was called down to the Principal’s office to see his dad for the first time in 6 years. He came back to my classroom tears streaming down his face. The full-grown body that houses his 16-year-old soul visibly shaking with emotion. And I got to be there. I got to tell him how proud of him his dad must be. I got to be there.

I got to be there when a student came into my room under the guise of asking about an assignment. Really she just needed to talk to someone about the fact that she was seeing a therapist, and it was helping. She didn’t know what to think about it. I got to tell her that I saw a therapist in high school, that by the time she is thirty at least half her friends will have seen one at one time or another. She was just getting her issues worked out early, ahead of the curve. But mostly, I got to be there.

I showed a student an article that my friend had posted on Facebook. He actually read the entire thing. Then he looked me straight in the face and told me, “If I could write things like this I would be a journalist.” Later that week his study hall teacher gave him her copy of the magazine that article was in. When I asked him about it the next day he pulled out the magazine and told me about the whole thing. Not only did I get to be there. I got to help.

The coming and going of days, the terrible commute. It is exhausting some days. But it is important to remember, that it is a privilege, getting to be there. Watching students grow into their best selves. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

Everyone Wants to Be a Tim Tebow Christian

I talk to parents. It is part of my job. When people find out I teach High school (and like it) they sometimes talk to me about their kids. Tim Tebow has come up a surprising number of times. It seems everyone’s kid has Tebow potential.

Disclaimer: I’ve never spoken a word to Tim Tebow. From what I can gather based on the person that he presents himself to be, he seems legit to me. I hope that God is doing a great work in him for all the world to see. That would be wonderful. I don’t really have anything bad to say about him. I would however like it on record that I would love to see him do a really crazy thing like drive a used car, live on $100,000 a year (which is way over the average family income of $46,000 and change) and give the rest to charity. I know that may be a little much to ask, but a girl can dream.

Everyone wants to be a Tim Tebow christian. To live a big life in front of millions of people all for the glory of the Lord. We want a big car and pool and a compelling story. We want to be a football star for the gospel, a quarterback for Christ. We want to call the shots and save the game with millions of people screaming our name….for Jesus of course. We want a chance to proclaim on ESPN that it really isn’t about me, but my savior. As our name scrolls happily across the bottom of the screen. I know I do.

Everyone wants to parent the next Tim Tebow. To watch their kid succeed on the football field or the stage. To be succesful in front of a huge crowd. Everyone wants to cheer in the stands as their kid proves to the world, the haters, themselves that God made them special. Everyone wants their kid to be the one that is the light to the world in the most obvious of ways, with Jesus written on their state champion tennis shoes. Or perhaps as the child thanks God (then the parents) from behind the podium in their valedictory address on commencement day.

We know that Jesus said we would be persecuted. That our children might be as well. We would like that persecution to come in the form of some eye-rolls and being the butt of Jay Leno’s jokes. That’s the kind of persecution we can get behind. The one that comes with the fame enough to be mentioned on a late night show and everyone in America gets the joke.

Even if we can accept the fact that we are not a Tim Tebow Christian, what parent doesn’t desire the very best for their children

A Tim Tebow kind of life: fame. fortune, friends, all to the glory of God. Yes please, sign me up for that faith and I will take one for the kids. The one where God calls them to do something extraordinary that society values. And for some this is where he calls them, but for most this is not where the narrow path leads.

If Jesus thought that the Roman empire was rough, He should try choosing a seat in the average High School cafeteria. I am grappling with the fact already that there is a distinct possibility that God’s best for my child will not be very popular, will not make them very popular. What if my kid goes and sits next to the weird smelly kid (provided they are not the weird smelly kid) and then no one else wants to be their friend? How will that not be hard for me as well? It seems like in that moment I would wish for them to be the popular kid for Jesus.

There are a few of those in the Bible, but mostly not so much.  The Bible doesn’t give us instructions based on getting people to like us. It gives us instructions to abandon all that popularity and take up our cross. Rarely does this happen on television. Mostly we are called to serve quietly and humbly. (I have heard Tebow does this quite well, but we never hear about it because, you know, he is quiet and humble about it.) Most of us will never make it to the front page for the good works that we do. And that is hard for me, and perhaps you to be reminded that mostly the Christian life isn’t about us, but Christ.

I still need to grow up

Pinned Image

This pretty much sums up my maturity level by seventh period....

We were teaching limmericks. And there was a kid who kept suggesting names that would get me into trouble. Like “there once was a young boy named chuck, how about itch Ms. Norman,” then he would start cracking up so I would start cracking up.

And my 6th period class came up with this as a class that I wrote on the board:

There once was a doctor named Bill
Who wrote a prescription for Jill
She only missed one
And she now has a son
She now always remembers that pill.

One of my students misspelled the word tests. I laughed until I cried when he asked me to proofread his poem “Girls are like school, you have to study before they put you to the testes.” I didn’t recover for the rest of the day.

I love Freshmen. Probably because I am one.

The parable of the popcorn (thrower)

One day a mother was making popcorn just because she thought it would be fun. But she spoke too quickly and out of turn. She suggested said popcorn as a snack before the not-yet-two-year-old was finished with her sandwich.

“Don’t want it!” “I no WANT sannwhich” called the not-yet-two-yearold. “Pop, pop, pop!” The mother tried to encourage the not-yet-two-year-old, but alas, there was no reasoning with her.

So the mother pulled the popcorn pot from the top of the cupboard, put the oil and popcorn in, and began to heat the whole thing up. “Pop, pop, pop!” cried the not-yet-two-year-old. The mother tried to explain that there would indeed be popcorn but the stove was hot and the not-yet-two-year-old was not to touch it. But the whining escalated as the mother was forced to hip check the toddler so the toddler would not be harmed. “MIIIIINE! MY POP! NO! MINE,” whined the toddler clawing desperately to get to the popcorn pot on the hot stove.

Finally, the popcorn began popping, and just as quickly finished popping. The mother had been so overwhelmed by the behavior of the not-yet-two-year-old; she had forgotten to acquire a bowl for said pop. So she picked up the hot-pot and held it in the air as the toddler continued to claw at the mother’s legs. “Mine! mi-ha-ine-ha-ine-ha-ine,” she sobbed.

The popcorn finally made it into the bowl when the not-yet-two-year-old immediately found a chair and pulled herself up to the counter. She was quickly placated by her mother who suggested she fill up her individual a few kernels at a time. When this was over the toddler immediately picked her bowl above her head and dumped all the popcorn on the floor.

After the popcorn was picked up the not-yet-two-year-old took her bowl into the living room to eat with the other kids, where she picked her bowl up over her head and despite her mother’s screams of “NO, STOP, NO!” flipped it upside down and let it rain popcorn.

And when the mother tried to pick it up she stomped all over it so her mother could not get to it.

I have no idea what this parable has to teach me….any takers?