Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Back to school, back to social garbage!

August 23, 2012

So, summer’s winding down. I broke my arm, but at least I was enjoying a bike ride when it happened. Hopefully you didn’t have that kind of break. Instead, I hope you and your kids shared some quality, unplugged time and reconnected, as a family.

If school hasn’t already resumed in your community, it will soon. On the plus side, that means your children start a new chapter with new opportunities to learn and grow, academically, creatively and socially. A positive attitude from you goes a long way in easing any of the kids’ nervousness or anxiety about the new school year.

Maybe I let it slide last year, but this year, I'm saying NO!

Unfortunately, for many kids, back-to-school also means heading back into the same sea of social garbage from whence they escaped in June. And thinking about all of that is stressful, as you can see from this email from an 11-year old who is worried about what’s in store for her:

I’m going into 7th grade and there are these girls in my grade that think they are better than everyone. All last year, they  judged me because I like this one boy that likes me back. I think they are just jealous but they made up this rumor telling people that I am jealous of them!  I’m just average. But they think that school is for getting boyfriends and being rich! (They each have like 7 boys now!!) School is starting next week. Please HELP ME!!
—Alone and Scared

Dear Alone and Scared,

Sometimes the people around us are not very nice. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s hard to relax and enjoy yourself when people are judging you. These girls may believe that talking about you and giving you a hard time, is “no big deal” or that somehow you deserve to be treated this way. But they’re so wrong. Cruel’s not cool. What they’re doing is hurtful and not OK. Maybe if someone told them to “Stop the hating” they’d wake up and change their behavior. Or maybe not.

You signed your letter “Alone and Scared.” I get that you’re scared, but you’re not alone. There are adults who care about you. And other kids too. If this situation starts up again, let your parents know what’s going on. They can help turn this around. Talk to a teacher or have your parents call the school and set up a meeting with these girls and their parents.

I know this sounds like a bold move, and it is! But I also know that you have what it takes to stand up for yourself. If you stay silent and don’t get adults (at home and at school) involved now, chances are pretty good that this situation is going to escalate throughout 7th grade and beyond. (That means things are going to get worse.) On the other hand, but if you push through your fear, and be brave enough to get the help you need, you  can help yourself and any other kids who’ve been targeted. You can also help to change your whole school!

Go for it and have a great school year!

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , , , — Annie @ 1:40 pm

Guest blogger: Hiking with Daryl

August 14, 2012

by Susan Garrett

Susan Garrett is a Hospice volunteer and a singer with the Threshold Choir

Mt Tamalpais The sleeping princess who does not sleep

I hiked up from my house to the open space high above Red Hill, switchbacking my way through Sorich Park to Tamalpais Cemetery. I was looking for something and I expected I would find it. As I walked, the rhythm of my gait, arms swinging, beat out a poem’s cadence, one I’d learned decades ago, that surfaces in me today:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

My feet crunch through late-summer eucalyptus leaves and I climb higher and higher until I begin to see the polished granite and onyx headstones of the Jewish Cemetery. Names are readable now: Irwin, Schneider, Haas, Goldberg, Stein, Gluck and hundreds of others. Stars of David and small photographs adorn many of the flat, cool surfaces. Chiseled lettering tells of a “Beloved wife and mother”… “Too quickly taken”… “Son, husband and cherished father,” “Holocost survivor.” Then I see what I came for. Red dirt, newly turned. It is heaped high next to a plank-board covering. (I’d wondered if they’d dig today, this being the Jewish Sabbath.) They did, for here it is, Daryl’s grave, made ready.

I begin singing Oseh Shalom without thinking to do this and now I’m trying to make the tune and the words come out right through my tears. I crumble into a squat but the singing keeps coming, stronger and more sure now. And that’s what is–me here at his grave, weeping. Weeping, even though I know better, know that he is not here–will never be here–will only ever be the fresh scent of bay and eucalyptus that blows through this space, the crunch of the leaves underfoot, the soil and rock and wood that are the materials he was so adept at working and shaping to create his art.

Thank you, Daryl, for coming into our lives when you did. And thank you for letting me stand at your grave and weep. You are mist, and…you are missed.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star-shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

~Mary Elisabeth Frye, 1932

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