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The Ukulele Parade

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The Ukulele Parade

*I know what you are thinking,”It has been a year since she posted!” Rub it in, why don’t you? Yeah, it has been a year since I wrote here. Let’s just chalk this up to not being a terribly prolific writer or ADHD or raising three daughters or some combination thereof. I had something really important to share and this is the best venue so I. Am. Back.

I had the opportunity to receive some perspective last week. A bit of background is necessary here: My daughters attend different schools because they are very different people and require different types of environments. My middle daughter attends our locally zoned public school, Wunderlich Intermediate. She enjoys the large, diverse school because it has many competitive opportunities. My youngest daughter attends The Banff School which is a small, culturally diverse, private school. She enjoys the ability to work with her teachers more closely and the fact that the school is multi-age/multi-grade allows her to work more at ability rather than her age/grade correlation. In her words,”I like that everyone gets their work done without all the drama.” No middle school is drama free but it is a more comfortable level for youngest. I am all for utilizing the environment that works.

Last Tuesday, I received a call from O (middle daughter) saying she had missed the bus through sobs of sadness. Now O is incredibly private and not one to cry easily so my alarm bells immediately began ringing and my inner Mama Bear was on the move. Upon arriving at school, I was fairly horrified to find out that a teacher (who doesn’t even teach O) had caused her to not only miss her bus but had also bullied and shamed her in front of another teacher for not being conversational. Important to note here, the incident she was referring to occurred at the local grocery store over one month before. O wasn’t rude, just chose not to converse which is her right outside of a school setting. O hadn’t done anything dangerous or broken any school rule yet this teacher chose to flex her authority and detain her. I was amazed to hear the assistant principal helped to stop O from getting on the bus and to hear him say that because O isn’t an adult she needs to learn to respect adults simply because they exist and are older than she. I reminded the assistant principal that respect can not be taught through fear and intimidation. You may reach compliance but that is far and away different from respect. Respect is earned and not just because you reach the age of majority. Respect is taught by modeling respectful behavior. We didn’t demand this assistant principal and teacher see negative repercussions, rather we asked they be trained in the research that we know to be true: Teachers who bully students are more likely to be bullied themselves. This Twemlow research shows the negative outcome of teachers and administrators who bully students. Please bear in mind, I do not think these adults were being malicious; I believe they were unaware.

Fast forward to Friday!

I received this photo in E’s (youngest daughter) school newsletter with the following caption: ‘The most exciting event of the week for 6th and 7th grade is a little hard to understand if you are not part of the Banff culture. If no one “signs the sheet” for an entire week in Mr. Crump’s World Culture class, he leads the class on a ukulele parade around the building.  Fun and quirky, but if it works…’

Ukulele Parade

I asked E about the Ukulele Parade and she says,”Oh! If no one has to sign the sheet (gets in trouble) then Mr. Crump takes us on a Ukulele Parade where we march, dance and sing through the school.” I couldn’t believe the timing of this information. You see, Mr. Joe Crump is doing something wonderful here. He is using a currency that is meaningful to the students rather than imposing his currency upon them. There is mutual respect happening here and the kids are responding positively. Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware that large schools don’t necessarily have the ability to have a ukulele parade but the teachers do have the ability to use currency which is important to the students. Then the teacher is part of what builds students up and not part of what tears them down or makes them feel inadequate or embarrassed.

I know many teachers practice positive classroom and student management. I love having the opportunity to showcase teachers doing awesome things. Mr. Crump renewed my spirit with his ukulele parade and I wasn’t even there.

We adults have the power to be a positive or negative influence on the children we are involved with. Childhood is hard; people can be mean. Be one of the people who builds up instead of destroys.

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Going Live from Houston in 3….2…1….

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I’m going to kick off this blog with one of my favorite subjects: food. As a busy Mom to three girls; wife to an ever-globetrotting husband; caretaking human to three large dogs and three cats who aren’t clear of their species of origin…..well….I try to cook as little as possible. Mostly, I am lazy and I’m pretty sure other people are better cooks than I with the exception of mixing drinks and making coffee. I excel at coffee making and creative cocktails (We all have our talents. Ha!). I like to travel and try new things. Many moons ago, my girls and I started on our very own adventure called “Around the World in Houston.” I am a small town girl who is still on her big city adventure (yes, ten years later) so I get really excited about all the countries I can visit without ever leaving Texas. Adventures don’t have to be far away. Adventures can be just around the corner. I am always on the lookout for a great adventure and my girls will tell you I drag them with me as well as any friends brave enough to ride along.

Today, I am going to share with you one of my favorites. Cafe Pita is a small Bosnian restaurant in Houston. That’s right, Bosnian http://cafepita.weebly.com/ . Why did I start here? Well, this was a great way to teach myself and the girls some geography and a delicious reason to learn more about the culture and food. Bosnian is an easy introductory ethnic food for kids. The atmosphere is casual and the food will be familiar but different. In checking out Cafe Pita My first thought was,”Hmmm….I’m not entirely sure I know where Bosnia is located.” That’s the great thing about the internet, one stop shopping for all your information needs and some information you didn’t really want OR need. I will save you some time and give you a link to Virtual Tourist so you can explore Bosnia more closely: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina/TravelGuide-Bosnia_and_Herzegovina.html . There are loads of great tourist and information sites so this isn’t the only information out there.

I haven’t been to Bosnia-Herzegovina but after eating at Cafe Pita it is high on my list of places to visit. The appetizer definitely highlighted the Mediterranean flavors of Bosnian food. We started with a Meza platter because it had a bit of everything and it was delicious. It is also served with perhaps the most heavenly bread I have ever eaten. It is similar to a pita but fluffier and a bit more sour tasting. Unique and amazing. A surefire entree is pljeskavice, pronounced ple-ska-vee-che. It is sort of like a hamburger but on the yummy bread and this amazing creamy cheese and red pepper dip. I would show you a picture but we dove in and devoured it before we remembered we were taking pictures. Yes, all three times. Oops. For dessert we opted for Bosnian coffee and it came in beautiful pots. They also have delicious Nutella crepes which are great to share and delicious with the coffee. No, I didn’t give the girls any coffee. It is my only edge these days. It could be caffeine is the branch I hold onto trying not to go off the cliff.

We also looked up some Bosnian music to see what it was like. Get your kid’s feet (and yours too!) moving to this fun Bosnian music video! 

If you have a Bosnian restaurant in your area check it out! If you don’t, the country has an interesting history and I am glad I know where it is on the map now. If you have favorite Bosnian dishes or music, please share them with me in the comments!