Thursday, April 22, 2010

Let's Just Be Friends

When I was growing up, my dad used many Spanish proverbs to teach life lessons. One sticks out in my mind even to this day: Dime con quién andas, y te dire quién eres. Translated it means: Tell me whom you walk with and I will tell you who you are. In essence, who you choose to befriend says a lot about YOU.

Let's take that modern miracle of socialization called Facebook! Many of us have facebook pages and have been successful in re-connecting with old friends as well as making new friends. It's been used as a marketing and networking medium for many of us, as well. I'll go out on a limb and throw out a random stat: It is 90% good! But that 10% of bad stuff can be pretty bad. Scary, even.

I don't know about you, but I am Little Miss Friendly with just about anyone who wants to be friends, online. This practice has gotten me into some trouble, lately. First, not everyone is as "nice" as they want to let on. By nice, I actually mean... SANE.

Now granted, I haven't run into any honest to goodness bunny-boilers out there, but there have been some weird messages from people who may have confused the actual meaning of "Hi, nice to meet you! Let's be friends online and get to know each other!" for "Let's be BFF's forever and ever...pinky swear... YOU complete ME!!"

Like any healthy relationship, if things are taken slowly and progress steadily(read: sanely) for each party, then a solid friendship can be formed. But sometimes we realize that the most we can ever truly be to one another is a facebook buddy. And in this wacky world we live in, there IS now such a subgroup. A facebook friend, and nothing more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Dreaded Test

This week we are doing the state mandated, Stanford Standardized testing. I am not a huge fan of anything "standardized", since I encourage my children to be individualized in the ways God has wired them to be. But I understand what these tests are geared to do. I understand because I am an adult, and have gone through the high school entrance exams and the college entrance exams and the SATs. They are peptic ulcer inducing tests. As young adults we sometimes see these exams as a means to measure our worth and our potential. How awful when that thinking is allowed to perpetuate the minds of our young children!

This morning I was reminding my very perfectionist-driven son, who is in the 6th grade,and very obviously nervous about this test, to just breathe. That this is just a state mandated test and it in no way means anything to us or the course we have set. But, very upsettingly,I found out that a former teacher, somewhere along the way in his public school education, had told him that these standardized tests were what they used to decide whether or not the kids would be promoted to the next grade level! Holy moley! No wonder the kid was nervous!

To think that some person, who was thought to be a trusted educational advocate of my child, had decided to lie to my son...and to make that lie something that gave him unnecessary anxiety, at such a young age, just makes me furious! When I explained to him that this test in no way was the litmus test he thought it was, he physically calmed down. His shoulders, which were up around his ears, relaxed to their normal anatomical position. He was able to breathe! May I add, he will probably do fantastically well on this test NOW, since the anxiety is gone!

As adults we must be mindful of what we tell our kids.As parents we need to know that there are others who we entrust our little treasures to, daily, who may not take that job as seriously as we would hope they would. We mustn't use anything, even IF it would end up being for our perceived advantage, to kill their spirit. Ever.