Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why we write

After reading a blog post from The Write Practice, this came to my mind: I think the amount of creative writers in the last decade comes down to the lack of support of this type of creativity and other outlets of creativity in our public schools. 

Hardly any schools focus on the arts anymore, so we get to college and we say things like, "hey, I've always loved to write, (draw, read, whatever) at home. I'm not sure if I'm good at it to make a living, but I think I am. Why not give it a try here in this massive institution?" Or, "Where are the jobs? How do we figure out what we want to do with our lives? We were just given the freedom to be ourselves without a parental pushing." 

These are comments I heard all over campus last semester. These young adults are scared, they see their parents struggling with a crappy paying job (or in our 12% unemployment town —no jobs) and they don't want to live like that, so they turn to their creative outlets. It's easier for students to seek and play with their creativity when they are told they can work part time and use Federal money to live off of. 

The students who played games on their laptops, drew in their sketchbooks, read books, other than their textbooks, sat in the coffee café on campus. This was great because it was where we talked about their lives and what they expected to be able to do after they graduated. Most of the young adults (as we had oldies like me also; never in the café though, they weren't cool like me) I talked to had high hopes for their future, but more than a handful were scared out of their minds; deciding that they would take their time going through school, even if it meant going for more than the 2 years it usually took to get an Associates degree.

They would take their Florida Bright Futures scholarship they earned in High School, which in most of their cases was the lower level monetarily wise; lets say a scholarship that paid only 30% of their semester, and go for as long as those scholarships hold out. These are the kids that don't just drop out because it means that they would have to pay back every single penny of that scholarship and they can't afford that option. 

I was proud of these kids as if they were my own kids. I tried to help them make sense of what they were learning when it came to their harder classes. Never Math though, they, helped me with that. I swear the best musicians as the best mathematicians.  One girl, let's call her Michelle, told me that I was the smartest student in our Political Science class and wanted to know if I was going into that field. Heck no!  Though my professor wanted me to. It isn't going to happen. Too much politics in the hubs job for me already.  I told her that I would love to write for the politicians but not to be one of them.  I can't lie, so I would never be a good one. 


Monday, June 16, 2014

What's a Motto with you? Me, I'm a Brower.

What makes you, you?  Is it your physical features: say your blond hair, your hazel eyes, or your tiny hands? Or is it something deeper? Is it your belief in God, your perseverance or just sheer luck? Have you ever wondered where your values come from?

As children we were taught by our parents what is right and wrong. When we lied, we were punished. Sometimes the punishment didn't fit the crime. Other times, the punishment was non-existent. Parenting is hard. I mean we don't get handed a textbook when the first defiant act comes our way, but we do the best we can. Right?
Matt and I talked about what kind of standards we wanted our children to have. We knew that our religion would back up what values we wanted to instill. The moral fiber of their lives would come not only from what we taught and gave as an example or the church teachings, but also what they considered important to themselves.
We decided that we wanted our children to be proud to be a Brower. Being a Brower meant that you worked hard, shared everything you owned and made other's welcomed into your midst.  So I created a card: a family motto of sorts. I typed up our motto bordered around our family picture and magnetized it to the inside of the door.
This was to be a reminder as they walked out the door that they were loved, even after we kissed and hugged them. I created an emergency card with the same picture and the motto on front, and all their pertinent information on the back. The kids took this card to a sleepover or when Matt and I went on our anniversary trips. A copy of this card was given to the family who was taking care of them. If there was an emergency they would have the correct information.
The family motto: Be kind, loving and respectful to others. Go out and do good. Remember you are a Child of God and a Brower!  This motto helped them while they were playing or at school.  According to my oldest, "no one wanted to disappoint the family. We were Heavenly Father's children AND a Brower, so we tried to live up to that." 
We wanted to remind them to be loving and compassionate to other people in their dealings each day. That was the point of our motto.  Could we do better than that?  Of course. We needed to be a good example for them, so that they knew we really meant what we were saying. As an adult it was hard for me to be what we were asking. I am not even close to perfection.
As I worked on myself it was easier for me to help my children. I knew it would be hard for my children, so they were given leeway to mess up. They are children, they make mistakes, they forget other people have feelings so we teach them and explain to them that we are all allowed to make mistakes so that they don't carry failure on their shoulders if they feel they are disappointing us. 
Yes, they get disciplined if something goes too far, but then we teach again what the expectation is and that trust is an important issue between family.
My childhood family helped me to become who I am, I hope that I have done enough with and for my children to continue being the awesome people they are.

Q: Does your family have a motto, or is your child rearing a-wing-it type of deal?  What is important for your children to carry forward from their childhood?