Monday, September 24, 2012

Let's NOT Do That!!!

From El malestar en la cultura.     
My cousin posted this on his Facebook and it made me think of me as a teacher of the younger  generations. It made me think as a mother to a new family generation. And boy do I have a responsibility on my hands!

I need to always be thinking of every seed that I plant in the childrens' heads. I need to be cautious of how I pick my words and string my sentences, what opinions I share with them, what feelings and what beliefs for children are very impressionable and would, to a certain age, believe anything I tell them. The size of the responsibility that lies between our weathered adult hands is highly underestimated.

As Freshmen and Sophomores, Arts student at the American University of Beirut, we were required to take four courses (12 credit hour worth) of Civilization Studies. They consisted of a study of every philosopher that I could imagine under the Beirut sun; from Descartes to Hume, Lock to Plato, Aristotle to Al Ghazali. We discussed the existence of God, life and death, how to rule states, ancient epics and many more which was why, after I finished all four, I took another philosophy course. I loved them all however, one philosopher stuck in my mind more than others , John Locke. It was because of a simple idea that we were born with empty sheets of paper for minds and that our experiences were what started that black ink writing on those pages of life.

It made me visualize a dark black pen writing on every page of my life's book. How there were,-and still are- so many people who held that pen and were in full control of it at many points in my life. And now, because I am a mother and a teacher, I could be that hand holding the pencil filled with black ink waiting to make a mark on one of a child's crisp white pages.

This cartoon made me think of how I do not want to be like that teacher, chipping away at children's dreams, beliefs, imagination, goals, opinions and above all I do not want to be the one shaping their thought bubbles into the square I have. I do not want to be the one who molds them to think exactly the way I do. I want them to grow up to think for themselves since that is what helps build character and uniqueness.  However, I would very much like to be the one behind them supporting them in every step that they make, coaching them- but not too protectively- on which road will teach them good lessons and be there for them when that path hurts a little. 

I want to be the one carrying a brightly colored crayon when it is my turn to make a mark.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I am outraged at the slander and the over-reaction to it. I cannot imagine how people can be so hateful and write or direct something so disgusting. I am outraged by the reactions and killings that it triggered. 

When are people going to wake up and see that we are ALL HUMAN... that if we slander, spread lies, disrespect others, kill and go absolutely nuts, that the world will never move forward.... that there will be a rift (not that there isn't one right now!) between the East and the West which will continue to grow until something massive will come out of it that will annihilate everyone.

It's madness, I tell ya... madness... just live and let live people.... allow people to believe what they want and respect everyone and every religion. Stop pointing fingers claiming that you are right while the others are ALL wrong. Stop going on a killing spree and murdering innocent people. Stop name calling... stop stop STOP! 

I honestly think that there is no way out of this craziness if we do not control ourselves by ourselves AND stop people and media from brainwashing us into doing crazy things. It will only stop if we just stand in front of someone, look them in the eyes, smile, without asking him/her where they came from or what they believed in ... simply have a friendly chat about the weather, our dreams, our work, the love for our children and family, our hobbies and the like.

It is exhausting watching the news!

OK... I have almost got it out of my system... 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Living with an Exceptional Learner

My Jad kissing his cousin. His love and care for babies is like no other.

 Last week, I attended a support group for parents of exceptional learners and what a relief I tell ya! For a few years now, I have been suspecting that my son fell under the gifted learners' umbrella but since I taught children who fall on the other end of the continuum I had little knowledge of all the characteristics of such children. 

Jad, came across as a very sensitive, emotional and intense boy (example: Mammoth Story) whose questions and reasoning were way beyond his years.We, many times, were not certain how to react to his fluctuating behavior; in a span of minutes he could go from high to low with no apparent reason why. Here was a boy who could argue his way out of a paper bag (Example: Reasoning)  and then cry incessantly if he lost his treat for not following a rule. His questioning and continuous probing seemed, to an outsider's untrained ears, as being rude. He always thought and felt at a totally different level than his peer group (Example: X-rated Knowledge) which provided him with endless social struggles. A brush on the arm by a peer walking by, seemed to him like a punch thus bringing on a reaction from him that would get him into trouble. To sum things up, EVERYTHING is exaggerated in my kid's life. 

My heart literally ached every time I heard that he was having trouble connecting with other children as I knew what a kind hearted caring boy he was. I longed for his teachers, classmates and parents to see him through my eyes (Example: One understanding parents compared to the others). I could not go around telling people that they should be more understanding towards him as they are with the physically or mentally challenged students.

Attending the support group gave me an insider's look at what other parents experience and go through in their daily lives with their exceptional learner children. A sigh of relief escaped my troubled body every time one of them shared something that was remotely close to Jad's descriptions. My feelings were verified, validated and shared. He is a normal, happy go lucky, caring, smart and gorgeous boy whose needs will thankfully be understood and met at school. As parents, our need for support and strategies will also be met and I am relieved. These sessions brought me some insight on what goes on in my boy's head and would provide me with tools that I need to be able to handle difficult situations. My husband and I have been trying our best but there is always room for improvement. Please wish us luck!