Archive for Everett’s Blog

Diary of a Marine Recruit Mom June 16, 2014

Week 5                June 16, 2014

So it was Friday the 13th, Jordan Ervin was practicing taking my bp for EMT class, didn’t answer the phone twice. Then Jordan’s phone rings and it was you and NO emergency!!! Don’t know what you did to get that special privilege from your DI…but we were soooo happy to hear your voice. Although my Mama hearing detected stress, you sounded so strong!

Only 54 days til graduation. You know we have the countdown going on. So many of your Marine friends have befriended me and are so helpful helping me understand what you are going through and their support. Staff Sgt. Robert Lariosa and ALL at the Elk Grove RS are phenomenal-cannot ask for more support. The Marine Parent website is great too. It’s almost time to order all my Marine Mom stuff yahoo! Yes my dear son, Marines was the correct and best choice for you. The clock is ticking and soon all your weeks of training will culminate in The Crucible

………….I know you are looking forward to it, but I am that Mama Bear

So glad you are hanging tough and your true colors are showing…you got this Ger…as the weeks continue to pass the pride Jordan and I, as well as the rest of the family, keeps growing.

I LOVE YOU

STAY STRONG

OOH RAH—–feeling proud.

Diary of a Marine Recruit Mom June 9,2014

Week 4                      June 9, 2014

Today is the beginning of your 5th week already…yahoo! On the Marine Parents’ Website it states this is Martial Arts week. I remember your looking forward to it. Each week that passes gets a bit easier with you gone because I know you are getting closer to reaching your goal of gaining the right and title to be called a Marine. I am proud of you.  I know I fell apart like a “Mom” and cried a river of tears when you chose the Marines instead of other branches of the service. I am glad you followed your soul and your heart. It is the toughest of all boot camps but I have no doubts you can meet the challenge.

Your brother, Jordan Ervin’s EMT class is today–two sons in uniform. (smile) Nothing worthwhile comes easily. You both have to endure struggling to obtain your goals. It will make reaching them and your successes all the sweeter.

I love you, Ger

Stay strong-you got this!

Ooh Rah!!!

 

Diary of a Marine Recruit Mom June 2, 2014

Week Three

Well, you have been gone three weeks and are beginning week four of boot camp. Finally got letters from you and my “Mom” fears were confirmed, but my belief in you and your strength was also confirmed.  Jordan Ervin got his license Friday and is driving your car just like we planned. He has all his paper work ready for EMT class beginning 6/9.

May was waaaay emotional for me…May was waaaay emotional for me with both of my sons with such big life events, but I know I could not be any prouder. I used to want you to call but now know calls are generally not allowed for good reasons so letters are fine.

Several Marines have told me that after the next week and a half, although it will still be tough, it will begin to ease up somewhat. Glad you have friends and that the food is decent. I am looking forward to cooking all your favorites in August when you get back.

I love you

Stay strong

Ooh Rah

Encouragement for Single Mothers

They grow up fast.

Update-Jamie Says Good-by

Well! It’s been one week since my son, Geramie left for boot camp. My youngest son, Jordan, continued to add to my ever growing Mama’s pride with academic awards. What a month. The lesson being taught is that love is what really matters in this world. The mutual love and respect between my sons and me means everything as does love of the rest of my family. Struggles and sacrifices as a single mom are now distant memories as I see my boys who are now men choosing such noble paths to take. I am beyond proud of them both and thank all who helped us get to this point. Praise to God who has been and continues to be my rock —-feeling blessed.

When Do Parents Intervene?

Carla Starts Kindergarten

Our four and a half year old, Carla, could hardly wait to go to school. Youngest of three children she watched her brother and sister go off to school each day. She was a few days too young to begin Kindergarten in public school so we looked for a good private school. We found an excellent school nearby. A kind competent teacher taught Kindergarten. We enrolled Carla. She loved school.

An Unexpected Change

About six weeks after school started, Carla’s teacher unexpectedly resigned. Another teacher took her place. Very soon we saw a change in our little girl. She didn’t want to go to school any more. One day after school she walked slowly toward the car, her eyes on the ground. She wouldn’t talk. Alarmed, I tried to find out what was wrong.

That night when I tucked her into bed, I said,”Honey, I know something happened today. Do you want to talk about it?” She burst into sobs. “Oh Mommy, I must be very bad.”

I was shocked. “Why did you say that? You have never been bad.” “Because,” she blurted tearfully, “The teacher spanked me today.”  “What?! Why?” “I don’t know.” By now she was in my arms shaking with sobs and I was furious. She really didn’t know why the teacher spanked her.

Finding Out

The next morning Carla did not go to school alone. I planned to find out what had happened and stay all day to watch this teacher teach. When I confronted the teacher she said something like this: Carla is so shy and afraid she will make a mistake. When I told the children to draw a cat under the letter C, she  just sat there and started to cry. I was shy like that when I was a little girl. I thought I might shock her out of it by spanking her.

She Shocked Me

I spent the day in the classroom. I told Carla on the way home her father had decided to get a puppy if she wouldn’t mind staying home another year. He needed her to keep the puppy from feeling lonely. She agreed to do it. The teacher was fired a few weeks later. Most of the time parents need to help their children learn to solve their own problems age appropriately. Sometimes, as in this example parents need to be their children’s advocates.

How Children Learn

 

Children learn from each other

Trust Children to Learn

Sitting on a merry-go-round in a neighborhood park your daughter and a friend are talking to each other. A boy comes up. “Get off. I want to ride,” he demands. Your daughter responds, “No. We were here first.” The girls reluctantly get off when the boy, now angry, comes toward them. What do you do?

Nothing unless the conflict escalates. The children had a conflict of needs and they resolved it without anyone getting hurt. Too often parents step in giving their children an unspoken message that they cannot protect themselves and hold their own with peers.

Children Learn from Their Peers

Children learn not to be bossy when they feel disapproval of their bossiness by their friends. They learn to tell the truth because doing so gets back trust. My six year old daughter came home from a birthday party amazed because the birthday girl didn’t take the best chair or the biggest piece of cake. That impressed her so much she began to copy her friend’s generosity.

Reflective Listening Works

I didn’t try to teach her the lesson. I simply reflected the feelings she shared. “”That surprised you.”    “You thought she should have the best piece of cake.” “You are noticing how much everyone likes people who are kind to others.” Invest time with your children and they will be more likely to come to you when they have problems. Trust them to learn how to solve them with your help.

 

Parenting Grown Children

My daughter saved quarters to hear Amy Grant

 “Are You Wearing That?”

Not long ago I read a book with that title. I smiled because I have heard parents talk to their grown children in a way they would never talk to any other adults. “What have you done to your hair? When is the last time you got a haircut? Do you think you can afford that?”

I began to pay more attention to how I talk to my children. Once when we visited one of our daughters who was away at college, she eagerly showed me a jar full of quarters. Her eyes sparkled as she said proudly, “We are saving our quarters so we can go to an Amy Grant concert in San Francisco.” I started to open my mouth to say, “Didn’t you have trouble paying your P.G.E. bill last month? How can you afford to go to a concert?” Instead, I said, “What a good idea.” To myself, I said, “How lucky I am she still shares her joy with me.”

How Do Your Parents Relate to You?

Your parents may never have made the transition to an adult to adult relationship with you. Can you remember how uncomfortable it felt to be given advice you weren’t asking for? You may even have received criticism for how you live. Remember those feelings when you feel compelled to point out mistakes you think your children are making.

What If My Children Need My Help?

If your children still expect you to support them or rescue them when they make foolish choices, you need to set boundaries and negotiate ways for them to pay you back. A rule I try to follow, “never give advice that isn’t asked for” has worked well. On the occasions I didn’t follow that advice, I paid a price in lost trust and closeness. People learn from their mistakes.

Learning to relate to grown children adult to adult will bring many years of continued love and relationship. Your children will interact with you because they want to, not out of obligation. You will be surprised at how often they will ask for advice, because they will feel free to make their own decisions without offending you.

 

 

 

Empty Nest Syndrome

Jamie will say goodby to son Geramie in 5 weeks

Change and Loss

Most people don’t realize the frequency and impact of change and loss. From the day we are born until the day we die, we all deal with loss. Change and loss are an important part of the life cycle. We give up the safety of the womb to begin life in the world. We give up the bottle or breast. The arrival of a new brother or sister may mean the loss of priority or attention from our parents. A best friend moves. Our family moves. We leave a favorite teacher. Our dog dies or becomes lost. An outing we have looked forward to is cancelled. A bicycle is stolen. We lose our glasses over and over and over again. A parent leaves. The list goes on and on.

The Birth of Children

Nothing changes life as dramatically as the birth of a child. Children bring joy, but parents experience new challenges and losses as well. Priorities change. The way couples relate to each other changes.  Understanding how we deal with change, grief, and loss is important to understanding life. Increased awareness of what we do and why helps. Self understanding can increase our choices and possibilities. It can shorten depression and give hope. To be fully alive and functioning well we must be open to accepting and experiencing our feelings. To be afraid or unwilling to grieve shuts down the ability to experience wonder, tenderness, excitement and joy.

When Children Leave

When children grow up and leave, it creates another big change. We have to be willing to feel the pain that comes with accepting the truth of impermanence. Our children do not belong to us. They are entrusted to our care for a relatively short period of time. Learning to live well means learning to let go. We have to grieve and let go of the loss before we can see or feel the gain. If we can accept our feelings and work through them, the clouds lift and we can feel the gain.

The next step in this ever changing parenting process is to learn to relate to our children as adults to adults. We will talk about that challenge in another blog post.

 

 

Don’t Talk Back

Talking back--Good or Bad?

Do Your Children Talk Back?

I am guessing this admonition began in the era of parenting when children were to respond, “Yes sir. No sir.” Sounds close to what was required of slaves. Is there a difference between unquestioned obedience and honest questioning? On the face of it, “talking back” could be a good thing in some situations when the child honestly wants an explaination for what he is expected to do. On the other hand, when the child is being manipulative, whining, or disrespectful it can be very annoying.

Model Respectful Behavior

Tired, overworked, short of time parents can be vulnerable to losing rational control. Easy to say, staying calm will get you the best result, but it is much harder to do. If you can manage to stay calm and talk in a firm voice, you can repeat your request a couple of times with no explaination. It is important not to give in and not to defend your position. Avoid saying, “you need to….” Modeling respectful behavior is far more effective than demanding it.

Whining

Whining works only if it gets attention and leads to getting a response. Try to avoid giving the child attention when whining other than saying, “when you talk in your normal voice, I will be able to hear what you are saying.” Lower your own voice rather than raising it.

We want our children to share their feelings and thoughts, but we want them to learn to do that in a respectful way. If parents do not talk to their children in a respectful way, chances of children learning to do it are slim.

 

Teach Children to Identify Emotions

Children learn to manage feelings

Why Don’t They Talk to Me

Children need to be allowed to own and express their own feelings and perceptions. A Kindegarten student said, “When you ask me how I feel I’m the only one who can tell you. I like that!” Respect for a child’s feelings is respect for who the child is. When you dictate the feelings a child should have, you ask him to give up ownership of his personal internal experiences. He can’t do that unless he represses or pretends.

Respect Children’s Feelings

When my daughter, Carla, entered junior high school, she had to change schools. A few weeks later I ran into a friend whose son attended the school Carla attended.  “Chris, how do you like school?” I asked. “I hate it.” “Oh Chris,” his mother responded, ” You don’t hate it. You really like it.” I looked at Chris. “Carla hates it, too,” I told him. Immediately, his sullen face lit up with a big smile. It feels good to have your feelings validated.

Feelings Must Be Identified

How can you teach your child to manage feelings if he/she is not allowed to identify and own them? Feelings are not good or bad. They just are. How we manage them can be good or bad.