Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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What American Sniper Taught Me

A few years ago, my husband and I read a wonderful book, American Sniper. It was co-written and about the U.S.’s deadliest sniper, Chris Kyle. The book was an emotional read and it truly gave me a newfound respect for the men and women who serve this country, their sacrifices and those of their families.

This past weekend was the box office debut for the movie. My parents came to watch the kids, so that my husband and I could have a date night and enjoy the movie.

First off, I must give two thumbs up to Bradley Cooper. His portrayal of Chris Kyle was spot on. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see Bradley Cooper while watching the movie. I saw Chris Kyle. Every interview I’d ever seen Chris Kyle in, Bradley Cooper was able to flawlessly imitate this man. It was eerie.

Second, I’m so excited and pleased to hear that the movie smashed box office records for a weekend in January, beating out Avatar, which I also saw opening weekend in the theaters. It’s nice to see that a story which can seem somewhat controversial in this day and age, was able to receive such astounding support from the general public. It’s nice that a true story can trump fiction.

All weekend I’ve relived scenes from the movie in my mind. I’ve thought about what he endured, what his family endured and how tragically life can be cut short. It’s made me appreciate what I have more and focus on not taking it for granted quite so much.

The movie ends with Chris telling his family “goodbye” as he goes to help another veteran suffering from PTSD. He tries to entice his wife into a quick 4 minute lovemaking session, but she playfully pushes him away. Little did she know that she would no longer be able to feel his arms around her again. His son wants him to play video games with him, but Chris tells him he doesn’t have the time, but maybe later when he returns. He never got the opportunity to play another game with his son, or cuddle his little girl. He never thought that once he left the house that would be the last time he saw his family again.

How often do we all just assume that our family and loved ones will be home when we get back? How often do we put off doing things with our children because we assume that we have tomorrow? How often do we women feign a headache when our husbands want some intimate time with us because we always have tomorrow? Yeah, these questions have crossed my mind and it saddens me that I’m guilty of all of these.

Yesterday I made the effort to hug my husband more, to kiss him more, to be more affectionate with him. I made a point of telling him how blessed I am that he’s my husband, that he comes home to me, and that I get to share this life with him. When our oldest wanted daddy to go play outside with him yesterday, I reminded my husband that he can’t put it off to tomorrow just because he wants to watch football. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.

It’s highly unlikely that I won’t have days where I “put it off” until tomorrow anymore. I know the boys will get under my skin or that I’ll really just want to take a bubble bath in peace and quiet instead of enjoying family time. I’m aware that today I’ve already told Davey that I can’t color with him because I have to work, but I can promise to do better.

So many people took away from this movie a story about a man killing insurgents. So many people didn’t see the movie for what it really was. It taught me a lesson we all know so well…life is short, it’s not guaranteed, and that some things in life are “trivial” and shouldn’t be considered.

I’m two years older than Chris Kyle was when his life was tragically cut short. I may live until 90 and experience a house full of grandchildren one day. I may also walk out the door, climb into my car, and be involved in a tragic car accident. Live life to it’s fullest. Appreciate every second of every day that the Lord has given you on this earth. Love like it’s your last day to love. Hug those who need a hug and even those who don’t.

Appreciate your life and those who are in it. That’s what Chris Kyle and American Sniper taught me.