On bullying, swear words, beautiful music, kids and honey badgers (Part I)

That’s some kind of heading, huh? It all started whilst I was pondering stuff in the shower and thought I’d better get some of this stuff written down. So here’s my shower brain dump, people! Read on if you will.

It was in the shower that I was listening to a song that’s been on high rotation round these parts over the past few months. Caught in the Crowd, by Brisbane’s ahmaaazing Kate Miller-Heidke is a song which should be played in every school once kids hit the upper years of primary and into secondary.  It’s the poignant tale of a girl who, bound up in the cruel and cool layers of high school hierarchy, fails to assist a boy who is a victim of bullying, then regrets it in later life. It’s also a beautiful song in its own right; this lady is opera trained and has the voice of an angel!  Listen here.

I have three gorgeous kids who attend a beautiful school with a very sound model on bullying.  But that’s not enough.  We parents need to be continually making more time to create kids who have empathy along with that overused but necessary word, resilience.  Let’s face it though, if we all had more empathy by golly it’d lighten the load, no?  I’m an educator and I’d have this song in my classroom as a study piece for sure.  As a parent I’m doing my darnedest to keep that conversation going. I have the strongest need to teach my kids to respect and admire everyone’s differences and to sometimes bat for the underdog.  There are so many children out there who don’t ever seem to have lost their egocentric natures, which are to be expected during toddlerhood. This morphs and creates a myriad of other issues as they grow. This is so sad for both themselves and those around them.  I’m not naïve and know it’ll get trickier as my brood gets older, but I’m prepared and armed!!! Hope this doesn’t sound preachy; heck, I’m not perfect nor are those around me; who is?  These are just my observations as a teacher and a mother, and I just want to give out another little tool which might prompt a discussion between parents and kids.

So as soon as I was captured by the beauty of this song and its powerful message it was promptly downloaded and played to my kiddies (11,9 and 7…..I don’t think you can ever be too young for such messages).  They adore the music and it has created amazing discussion in our house.  There’s always music playing at our house, and when on high rotation that stuff sinks in! My eldest was tested the other day when she received a friend request from one of the less popular boys in her year level. I was proud of her response. I was grateful that we had this song as a reference point, too!

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Just keep on doing this, kids. You’ll be alright.

As I write this, gorgeous blogger Ruth of Gourmet Girlfriend comes to mind.  She and her husband have a wonderful parenting philosophy, and together they’re raising five beautiful sons on a cocktail of love, brilliant food, tunes, hard work and fun.  There are days I’d like to live there too. If you’ve not already done so, go visit her. You’ll come out all the richer for it!

* I discovered Kate Miller-Heidke through Janine of Shambolic Living.  She’s a lovely, great humoured mum of two teenage girls, and the story of how she managed to get them to the Kate M-H concert is really a post worth reading!!

It was a veery long shower….and we don’t have mains water round these parts. It’s either rainwater or it has to be trucked in. So I may be in trouble if the hubs reads this. There’s so much more that I’m going to have to turn my shower brain dump into a Part II; then we can get stuck into the honey badgers, I can’t wait!! Stay tuned…….

 

Have you ever used music as a tool?

How are you travelling with discussions with your offspring?

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Girl of the Year – in our household, anyway

Almost twelve years ago our household was gifted with a beautiful, blue eyed fair princess.  Our guinea pig child, the first one to pave the way for two more.  Actually that’s a bit inaccurate; we practised on the hound for quite some years.  Almost twelve years ago we had no idea how that time would fly by.  We looked at parents of slightly older children (a whole 5 or 6 years old!!!) and thought how big those kids seemed (and how haggard much older those parents looked – eek), and couldn’t for a moment imagine that we’d be there sooner rather than later.  All of that stuff was forever away.  I blinked.  That little fair princess still has eyes which are a brilliant blue in some lights, fading to a lovely soft grey in others.  She still has milky white skin.  The baldy look has been (thankfully) replaced with the thickest mane of blonde hair.  She’d rather not be called a princess. Oops.

That blonde mane fresh out of its Bali braids earlier in the year.

That blonde mane fresh out of its Bali braids earlier in the year.

She is smart, funny, quirky and strong.  She is sensitive, empathetic and wise.  She has enviable ethics and a sense of social justice possibly beyond her years. She has overcome some big health obstacles and continues to triumph.  She is in her final few weeks of primary school.

Cue helpless inner wailing.  I now look at those parents of school leavers and know that it’s just another blink away.  That’s scary on so many different levels.  But you know what?  I’ve also decided that the kids are pretty perfect at any stage of their growth.  I’m just the privileged one to help them share their journey.  They’ll always be there, just continually morphing into someone bigger and better (I hope!!! No, I know.).  Still wailing on the inner though.

So in a few weeks’ time I’m going to clutch the hub’s arm and walk into that church with sunnies firmly planted and tissues in hand, to witness her graduate and to watch her dance that poignant dance that the Year 6 kids do each year.  God knows I’ve teared up each year for everyone else’s kids, heaven help me.

Wish me luck.  She won’t need it.  She’s just fine as she is.  A perfect specimen.  Our special girl.

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PS Writing now as won’t need another excuse for more soppiness when the time comes.  Send me good luck vibes, people! And virtual wine.

Growing up is hard to do…….specially if you’re me

IMG_4345Have you ever wondered if you should be more grown up? I do on an almost daily basis. That is, just long enough to then hide behind a doorway and pop out to scare the unsuspecting eleven year old, before snaffling her for a hug. Or to give an award winning rendition of “What Does the Fox Say?” over the breakfast table to my long suffering offspring. They pretend they don’t love it, but I’m oh, so sure they do. How could they not??

I still ring my parents most April Fool’s Days. It might be just to let them know as a courtesy that the road they’re to be travelling that day has experienced a natural phenomenon, whereby thousands of kangaroos have congregated and that the local council has had to divert the traffic…..

Turns out the hubs isn’t much better. He’ll glide past the house windows on his prized John Deere mower, making ridiculous faces for all onlookers to admire. He’ll even occasionally do this whilst standing up and facing backwards. Twas a shame he didn’t see the corner of the house jump out at him on one occasion. Naturally that incident became gold to us and it haunts him to this day.

When the eleven year old concussed herself and ended up in a Bali hospital earlier in the year, we were all momentarily petrified. Within a couple of days, by which time we had been much relieved to find out that her injuries were of a temporary nature, we had all coined a catchphrase which now plagues her. “I was in the pool?” chimes out at her whenever she is the slightest bit forgetful about any small thing.

I ponder what our family code would look like to an outsider, if they were ever a fly on our walls. They might well be…..we have so many of the bloody things where we live; it’s probably a downright invasion, come to think of it. Anyway, what I was grasping at was that my little tribe has such a language that even just a look or slight movement can convey peals of laughter (or an eye roll, depending on the recipient). Its always in the name of harmony and good fun, and most always at home. It’s a therapy and a balm to us all in stressful times. To the outside world, we’re a nice normal family. I think.

So should I grow up? Not today. Nor tomorrow. I don’t think I’m at all capable. For I adore that our family have the ability to laugh together. I adore that we all love being in each others’ company. There’s no one else in the world I’d rather hang out with than with them. And it’s a complete bonus if I can keep on being silly and absurd in the meantime. Heaven help the people who are landed with me in the retirement village, though.

Have you grown up yet?