Friday, February 27, 2009

Family Update- (long and possibly upsetting)

I thought it might be time for another family update and let y'all know what's new with us :) You might have read last week that Jay was able to get a new truck. This has been a tremendous blessing and burden off of him. For him to be able to leave out for work in the mornings and not have to worry about whether something pops up like a kid getting sick at school, if something comes up at work and he is not able to get home in time to pick up the kids (thus having to depend on my parents to jump in in an hour's notice some days ..). With having his own vehicle, he is able to do his job better, and that actually, for us, brings in more income for us- which is a HUGE bonus!

Speaking of income, I am currently pondering my resume and plan on applying to Gymboree for a part time job while the kids are still in school. I'd appreciate prayers concerning that, if you think about it. That is where I love getting Hannah's clothes and the emplyees always pick around when I'm in there cause I squeeze our dollars so tight and get such good deals there, lol If employed, I'll be able to get a 40% discount off regular price, which is awesome considering there have been a number of outfits I've really liked, but missed getting because they sold out before the discount was good enough for me. I really believe this will be something I will enjoy doing a lot. I already have dealt with the staff quite a bit and they are all really friendly, especially the asst manager. The store manager assured me she was able to work with my availability, and no weekends if I was not available- which is huge for me.

My mistake the last time I "went back to work"- it was a good opportunity, a wonderful job, but more than our family really needed to take on. I wanted part time and they were only willing to offer full time. The pay was higher (by dollars) than what I would be making with Gymboree I'm sure, but I believe when you're honoring God with your money, He will honor you, too.

Our goal with the extra money is going to be getting the kids back into private Christian school. Until this school year, they had only been there, then this school year the Lord led us to take a break to regroup not only our finances but our family. It has been an interesting school year, and I have no doubt we're in the Lord's will right now with the kids in the charter school, but it's one of those situations you think sometimes "why me? why do I have to do this?", but there have been many things revealed, many blessings, and our family has come much closer as a result of this change.

The change has not been without challenges. The main one, is Jackson. He is struggling with school in a big way. Now that we're in third quarter, the pressure is really on him, and he is showing it. It's become apparent he has lost a lot of respect for his teacher, and it hurts to see. He's not a disrespectful child, there are reasons behind his thoughts, that I do not doubt. From some things he has said, I can see it through his perspective. My conclusion is the school''s educational philosophy is not conducive for him.

You cannot take a child that has made straight A's the first four years of his life, effortlessly; going into the 4th grade with a 7th grade reading level; having attended a school whose test scores were GRADE LEVELS above the national average (his class was two grades above); and watch his grades plummet into Bs, Cs and Ds, and say it is the child. You cannot just claim "irresponsbility" against the child, when there's TOO MUCH for said child to have to keep up with! I agree a child needs to learn to be responsible, but there is such a thing as "too much". WE have a hard time keeping up with his work and what hes expected to do! Why is there just as much emphasis put on whether worksheets are turned in, as there is tests? Don't the tests prove whether the child is learning?

I just disagree with the way things are done. He used to enjoy school, and enjoy learning. That has been completely sucked out of him. So, I'm trying to encourage him to do his best. I am not going to tell him they are going back to their old school because right now, I still do not know 100%. I just know, that is what we want, and are praying for.

Speaking of praying, this has been such a big a hit to him- the other day I said something about praying for something to happen and his response was "what good does it do to pray? nothing ever happens!". Oh that broke my heart. But that showed me he's at a point in his life where his relationship with the Lord is his own, and he's going to have to work that out hisself. I do know, that if he does get back to the old school for next school year- he's going to be a completely different child. That I have no doubt. He will never forget this experience. His burden for the lost is much stronger, but his personal relationship is weaker, if that even makes sense. I found a kid devotional website yesterday, and plan on implementing that in our days. We talk about spiritual things and the bible every day, but I'm thinking this might put more of a narrow focus for them.

Hannah is facing her own challenges now, and I'm watching her carefully. About two-three weeks ago, she spoke up and said the kids were mean on the playground. Now, anyone that knows my Hannah, knows that she is a heart a thousand miles wide, and will give anyone the shirt off her back if she saw they needed it. She shares everything. She is friends with everyone. She meets NO strangers. She was recognized at the end of second quarter she was recognized for forgiveness! So to hear people were mean to her? That grabbed my attention.

I asked her how people were mean to her, what happens, etc ... She said "The African American kids tell me every day they don't want me on their team because I'm white." :-O I asked if the teacher was watching the teams getting picked and she informed me it was free play type of teams. So you have these first graders (!!!) on the playground, deciding to play a game, dividing into teams- all healthy, normal as far as social development ... and yet, somehow, racial bias has already been taught either by word or action in the lives of these children. and it's not the white kids!

So Hannah is coming home each day for Lord only knows how many weeks this had been going on before she decided to tell me (she just says they "always" do it, no telling with a first grader, kwim?) wondering why kids don't want to play with her because she is white. It just bewilders me, how parents can ... NOT know, their kids say these types of things. Then I think about the comment our new Attorney General said last week about us essentially being a "nation of cowards" when it comes to race.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot,
in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many
ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said.
Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as
average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about

Well I have the answer to ALL of the hoopla- if you teach your children that God created us ALL to live up to our God given potential in life, that he died for the WORLD, that God sees NO COLOR~ then we won't really have racial issues in this country now will we!!?? When are people going to GET OVER THIERSELVES!!?? Seriously! I think we talk TOOOOO much about race!

My kids don't care what color the skin is of another child, they look at the content of the heart. and even then- they forgive! Case in point, the racial comments come home over a week ago. Day before yesterday, we're sititng at the table eating and she said "B got on RED today.". Red is the worse offense you can get, it calls for a trip to the principal's office, and a call to the parents. Usually, "M" is the one that gets in that much trouble, and Hannah has been praying for M quite often this school year. But this boy, I don't really recall hearing much of.

I do know, that there's only one white boy in her class and his name is A. As she's sitting there eating her mashed potatoes I ask why B got put on red ... "He hit me on the playground." :::deep breath::: I ask her to share what happened. "We were on the playground and I told him the chicken joke. He said he didn't like it and he punched me in my head and ran off. It hurt, too." Her teacher promptly handled it and done exactly what I would expect a teacher to do, except B refuses to apologize to Hannah (but I don't believe in forced apologies either), and I was informed by Hannah, and not a note from school. I know it's elementary school, but I still believe it would be appropriate for teachers to have that kind of communication with parents. I realize she did not have a black eye, or a bruise, or a bloody lip, but, she was still hurt.

So she's told by the black kids at school that they don't want to play with her because she's white. She used to be buddies with one of the black girls, but they're not close any more because her friend is playing with the other black girls. Hannah was, at the beginning of the year, one of two white girls in the class, since the beginning there's been another white girl put in that class. She's being isolated because of her color, and now, a black BOY hits her. There's another GIRL, the same one, that is apparently telling Hannah she has fat legs (she doesn't, she's not a string bean, but shes not heavy by a mile!)
This is after a number of days of her coming home "tired" and ready to go to bed early most nights. and she's "tired" when she wakes up. I mean she plays at home, but overall, she's complaining quite a bit about being tired. She sleeps ten hours a night, too.

Is Hannah becoming depressed? Fatigue is a symptom of depression, and frankly, racial tension for a first grader is a bit too much. I'm not sure when it's time to speak up and say something. I know kids will be kids, but if the situation were opposite, I can't help but to wonder if something would have been done by now :o(

So. That's what's going on with us. pray as you see fit!

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