Friday, September 30, 2011

Taking Two Steps Forward...and Then Two More Steps Forward

Happy Friday, everyone!!

Ah, what a week it has been.  It's gone by so quickly, hasn't it?

It seems like just a day or two ago I was taking Butter back to the hospital from his weekend pass - and already it's the day to go pick him up again.  I'm so excited!

After work, I'm heading to the hospital to meet with his counselor.  I'm not sure, but I think today will be the day we start talking about discharge plans.  He's had two successful passes - the first being a day pass, and the second being a weekend pass.  He has another weekend pass for this weekend.  I'm not sure how many passes he gets before they decide to discharge him - but I've got a feeling it will be soon....and it makes me very excited.

I've spoken to him on the phone every night this week, and every night he's told me how excited he is about getting to come home again for the weekend.  It's amazing how true the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" really is.  I can hear it in his voice how much he misses being home.  I think this whole experience has given the whole family the chance to really realize how much help he needed - and has definitely made Butter realize how much he wants to be at home.

Not wanting to be at home was one of his biggest problems.  At first, I just couldn't understand it.  Almost every day I would hear how much he hated being in the house with us.  He would tell me how he wished I would beat him so that DHS would take him away and put him in a foster home.  He tried running away several times - even if he did only get as far as the neighbor's house.

In the beginning, I just put it down to him wanting attention.  Then I started believing that he truly hated me.  That lead to me thinking that I wasn't a good mother.  I doubted myself, my parental abilities.  How and why could a child as young as Butter have so much hate for his own mother?  Well, I've been given that answer, now.

His problem wasn't that he hated me, per say.  It was the fact that he knew things needed to change - but he felt that the only way things were going to change was if he wasn't a part of the equation.  He thought my life would be better if he was gone.  He truly felt that the only way to make things better would be to completely change his surroundings, get a fresh start....and that would mean a new family, a new home.  Heartbreaking, isn't it?

Now, with the help that he's been receiving, he realizes that getting a new family wouldn't change his situation.  He truly understands, now, that he has a medical condition - and the only way to get help was to go to the hospital, and understand that his condition is manageable...he just had to learn the tools he'll need to cope.  It's so much for a 10 year old to deal with - but my Butter is a warrior...and he's come through it stronger than ever.

Wow - I really hadn't planned on spilling that much... but I guess it was something I needed to get off of my chest.

Switching gears just a little....

Yesterday, I had an epiphany on how I can get some fitness minutes added to my weekly tally.  Remember me telling you that I was shooting for 15 minutes a day during the week?  Well, I got my 15 minutes in yesterday.  Check out my running log!!

Each day, the kiddos that haven't followed the rules are given laps to walk at recess.  It's a consequence to bad choices - but it doesn't take away the physical benefits that recess is all about.  As an education student, one thing that we were taught...continuously...was to NEVER take recess away from a child.  They need the time to burn off some energy.  So, at my school, if the kids don't behave - they walk laps.

One thing I've always tried to do for the kids that I've taught or worked with is to show them that whatever consequences they receive for bad decisions are not "punishments".  I think it's important to explain consequences versus punishment.  I explain that by often participating in whatever consequence I've given, right along with the students.  It gives me a chance to talk to them about their choices, and shows them that if I'm willing to do the time for their crime...that I expect them to make some positive changes.

Yesterday, I did just that.  While the kids were walking the track - I thought "hey, this is a super opportunity to get in 15 minutes of walking".  So, that's what I did.  I walked around the track three times with the kiddos (which is 3/4 of a mile).  I talked to some of them about their choices and their decisions.  I talked to them about the benefits of walking - using it as a release to think about what they've done, and how they can change things.  It was funny, because the kids that were only given one lap ended up walking all three laps with me.

It raises some concern that they're not getting the consequence value.  Some kids may think that if I'm walking with them then it's more of a reward than a consequence.  I disagree.  I guess only time will tell.  It's something I plan on trying out several times a week.  I think that there are several kids that will benefit from getting the chance to talk to me during their walking time.  If it appears that's not the case - then I'll walk with different kids, or by myself.  The point is - I get 15 minutes to walk...and that's 15 minutes I can add to my fitness tally each day.

OK, this ended up being much longer than I planned....I must be bubbly today or something.  What's happening to me?  Oh, yeah - I'm back in the game, baby!! That's what's happening to me.

Till next time. ;)
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1 comment:

  1. You can also explain to them that exercise gets oxygen to the brain and that with more oxygen, their behavior will improve! I am so against making kids feel BAD when they have misbehaved -- I think it's great that you're explaining the difference between consequences and punishment. But you could just as easily call it "gathering oxygen for my brain" time!


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