Monday, May 21, 2012

Gratitude not attitude

How hard is it to say thank you? Two words. Two syllables. Not that much effort you'd think. But, for some people, those two little words are harder to say than any others. I was just chatting with a friend who, like me, has given a lot of her time to Girl Scouts. Now, some of you may think that's not a very big deal. But, we're not talking just being a troop leader and having six girls every other week make pot holders, sing songs and braid each other's hair. This is a different type of volunteer. This is the type of lady who has a dozen girls in her troop, who schedules field trips and sleepovers and hikes and rock climbing and all of this other stuff. Then, she goes beyond her group and volunteers for all the troops in her area, acting as a consultant, organizing activities and events like dances or camping trips for 100 girls. This is no easy job. Oh, wait, it's not a job, because there's no pay. But you do it because you like it or because you've been called to serve or because you're just a glutton for punishment. And you do it for free. But, wait, there is an added perk. Sure, you don't get paid, but you get criticized! Hooray. How wonderful! It's so great that I give up my free time and you treat me like a glorified babysitter. And then you tell me all the things I could be doing better so that your daughter can have more fun. Oh, I'm so happy you joined! I'm so happy that I have someone to point out my shortcomings and remind me that I'm really not all that and a bag of chips. It's so awesome that I get to process cookie orders during my work breaks and prepare for meetings during my lunch hour and answer your inane questions when you text me during dinner time and homework time and shower time and bedtime. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, you come along with your comments. It's so nice of you to take time away from shopping/reading/texting/upgrading your status to let me know that I don't deserve your gratitude. Boy this just gets better and better. I know most of you ladies reading this right now are nodding your head because you know the type of person I'm talking about. Do me a favor - print this out and secretly hand it to her. Just a nice, friendly reminder to say THANK YOU to those who volunteer to help your child. You won't melt.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

By the rules

Sometimes I wish it wasn't so easy to break rules. How do you teach your children to do the right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing?
One day this week, as I was driving my daughter into school I saw three cars pull into the front of the school. Now that normally wouldn't be a bad thing but it was 9:05 (yes, I was late). There's a sign that clearly states no cars in circle between 8 am to 9:15 am.
My daughter wanted me to pull into the circle because it was raining and being in the circle makes you closer to the front door. Of course I wouldn't do it because that's breaking the rules and she couldn't understand why I wouldn't go into the circle when everyone else was.
Because it's wrong to break a rule. There's a rule in place for a reason. That rule is not just for the school buses. That's for the safety of our children as is the sign that says no turn on red right outside our school but wouldn't you know it people do that too. I guess they're in a big hurry to go and get their Starbucks or do something else but it doesn't matter. Those three seconds that you're going to have to wait at that red light? Wait. Would you want someone breaking that law if it was your child on their way into school? Don't even get me started on how fast people drive in the parking lot and in and out of the driveway (but, that's a whole nother show Oprah).
Maybe some people think they're special. Maybe some people think the rules don't apply to them. Or maybe they think it's not really a big deal to disregard the sign and just do whatever they want because, really, what's the harm?
And I know a lot of us think that rules are made to be broken - that some rules are silly and that they don't make any sense. Sometimes you're right - sometimes some rules are silly and don't make any sense. Sometimes they're outdated and don't apply to circumstances today.
But it doesn't matter even if the rule of stupid - it's there and you have to follow it and as hard as it is to follow it you have to do it anyway and you have to teach your children to follow rules. They have to listen to the teacher and listen to their coach and they have to listen to the principal and they have to follow rules.
Obedience is hard - it means humbling yourself. Many times, too many of us think "Oh, that's not meant for me." They disregard rules and act in a self-centered universe. But what are we teaching our kids? We're teaching them to undermine authority. We're teaching them that we are better than other people. I know, you're probably saying, "Really? Aren't you comparing apples to oranges talking about a silly parking rule and comparing it to obedience and disrespect?" Um, nope - both apples. So, stop breaking the apples!