Thursday, May 22, 2008

End of the Year Celebration

We had our end of the year assembly and celebration today. Students with great attendance were honored, and then the students wrote something for their teachers as well. Here is why my students think I am the best teacher.

"Ms. J is good at teaching math. She tells us funny jokes and always makes us laugh! She helps whenever we need it for our centers or morning work, and lets us watch movies and compare them with the book. She brings things and people to show and tell, like her iPod and her Mom and Dad from Wisconsin. Ms. J tells us stories, and we wonder if they are true! She brought us cheese curds and kumquats for us to try-those are both foods. She is very nice, and sometimes acts silly and funny. You're the greatest!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Being Nasty, But Nicely

How to be passive-aggressive: An out-of-stater's guide

I've always thought that the ultimate passive-aggressive move for people who grew up in Minnesota is to act like they don't know what passive-aggression is. "Me? I am not. Whatever that is. Gee you look tired."

It's a natural outgrown of the non-expressive communication style of the Scandinavian, German and British cultures. All those built-up toxins have to be released somehow. Web definition: "Indirectly and unassertively expressing aggression towards others, masking resentment or hostility." American Heritage: "Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder characterized by habitual passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness and inefficiency."

Thank goodness the American Psychological Association took passive aggression off the list of personality disorders as "too narrow to be a full blown diagnosis." Narrow is what it's all about, and besides, it's not a disorder---it's a way of life.

Body language is an important tool. When delivering an insecure compliment, cock your head, raise your brows slightly and hold your mouth in a half smile while delivering the compliment. The recipient will know you didn't mean it, yet you needn't fear reprisal as you've just said something perfectly lovely.

A play book for the novice passive-aggressive:
"Well, I hope everything works out!" (Translation: "I can't wait till your plans completely fall through and you return a total failure so I can say I told you so.")
"That's an interesting dress." (Translation: "If only you would stop following trends and just shop Talbot's like a grown up.")
"You look tired, are you okay?" (Translation: Out late again last night hmmmm?" or "You're just not aging as well as I am are you?") By the way, this is NEVER, under any circumstance, and appropriate thing to say, except by a parent to a child. If you really care about the person try "What can I take off your plate today?" instead. Then actually do it.

Taken from the Star Tribune - May 21, 2006

As funny as that article is, and as much I as I appreciate the truth in it (being from the Midwest) I am learning that I tend to be a bit on the passive aggressive side. I can make snide remarks that serve no purpose other than to get a dig in and pass the blame. I had a friend tell me once, after I said I was just joking, that there is truth in every joke. I am working very hard to not be this way, because it always comes back around to bite me in the butt.

Friday, May 09, 2008

For My Mommy

Dear Mom,

I don't know where exactly to start, so I am just going to jump right in. I don't know if I have ever told you, or if I tell you enough, but you are one of the most amazing people I know. I am so blessed to have an example like you. I was thinking back recently over my many memories of you, and I don't think I can remember a time where you have complained about anything. You exude grace and humility in each and every situation I see you in, and despite any obstacles or challenges, you take them on fully with a positive attitude.

I remember all throughout growing up and especially living in Czech and having you be a constant in my life. I know that all of our experiences there were lived together as a family, but you are a huge ingredient in what held us and continues to hold us together. You have made choices, that other people may have seen as not the ideal, to stay home and be first and foremost a wife and mom. Thank you. I hope that Zach and Christi and I are living examples of your years of work, love and dedication to our family.

Thank you for making me pay back the grocery store man when I stole from Bonson's. Thank you for picking me up after I skinned my knees riding my bike in my swimming suit. Thank you for letting me swim in the lake when there was still ice on it, for cooking crayfish and for encouraging my imagination. Thank you for teaching me to read. Thank you for cooking so many dinners and making meals a family time. Thank you for taking me to church. Thank you for letting me ride the bus alone in Chomutov. Thank you for letting me skip nature school after my one and only horrible experience with it. Thank you for sitting through long, monotonous swim meets. Thank you for letting me have FCA at our house. Thank you for letting me make mistakes. Thank you for helping me move, countless times. Thank you for being the voice of reason in my many emotional moments in life. Thank you for supporting me in all I do. I could go on and on, but I don't think that there truly are words to express to you how grateful I am to you and for you.

Mom, one of the things that impresses me most about you, is your perseverance. You have never given up, never thrown in the towel when things got tough. Instead, you hold your head up and keep going. I am so proud of you! You are truly an amazing person, and all those who come into contact with you are blessed by your quiet grace and Godly example.

I love you Mom, Happy Mother's Day!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Delicate Balance

It is important to our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to friendship that we are not.
— Mignon McLaughlin
Friendship, well relationships in general, are a delicate balance. I think we all are learning this constantly. It is interesting to learn how you can interact or act around certain people, and how with others those same comments all of a sudden become hurtful or cause tension in the relationship. I've seen this with myself and friends lately, not our interactions with one another, but our friendships with others. My team and I can act a certain way and it's all in good fun, but those actions don't always transfer over to my other friendships. Beyond that, I think that good intentions can cause pain and misunderstanding between friends. The delicate balance is, how then exactly do we be honest and transparent with one another without causing pain.