Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Real Life Jesus Teaching

I really love it when church ends up giving Big Answers.It isn't the reason why I go to church. I go to church for connection to the Holy Spirit in a holy place in a community of people who are also seeking something.

We are having drama in 6th grade. Only the 3rd week of school. The details are complicated. My child is in a unique position - she isn't a mean girl and she also isn't their victim. She is friends with both sides.

The parents of the victim seem to have expectation that my child will follow their family values - where it seems that a specific definition of loyalty is the highest priority. That justice must be sought and taking down other students in the process should be understandable. Strike back, strike others - in the name of protection.

I understand this line of thinking. I think loyalty is important in relationships. I also think loyalty is often taken too far and misconstrued into a reason to be over involved or mean to others.

And I'm not ok with that.

The main value we want to pass on to our children is kindness over everything. And sometimes that is really hard to define.

In church this past Sunday, we sang this hymn.

Yup, that about sums it up.

I went and looked at the Scripture that is the inspiration for the hymn. Luke 6:17-38 and Romans 12:9-21

Yup, that about explains it all.

Love others. Put others first. Share with others. Turn the other cheek. Give what you have to others. Love the people who don't love you. Share with people who steal from you. Pray for blessings for those who hurt you. Love your enemies. Do not seek revenge. Join others where they are.

I am watching my 11 year old daughter struggle with what all of this means. She wants to be kind to everyone - but what exactly does kindness mean in a hard situation? Her first instinct is to report back to her friends what she hears other people saying (loyalty to her friend). But that just gets her caught up in the middle even further and attaches her name to things that really have nothing to do with her.

We have talked a lot about this deeper side of what gossip is and how it should be handled.

We have talked about how kindness and loyalty can also mean that if someone speaks an opinion about something or someone, you don't have to run to the friend and tell them what was said. Sometimes it is better to show kindness by keeping things to yourself.

My child has had kids be mean to her. She has been in the pit of being the focus of the negative drama attention. And we have always told her to simply respond with kindness. You don't have to be friends with everyone. But you must be kind.

"Keep loving your enemies no matter what they do. Keep doing good to those who hate you."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

@INStateFair 2016

The Indiana State Fair has been open for 5 days. We have been twice. I am eager to find more days to go!

Just a few of the highlights from our first days include:

Putt Putt (free in the FFA Building)

Meeting Fair Royalty

Conferencing with goats (Goat Mountain by the DNR)

Field of bison (next to the Glass Barn)

Lumberjacks! (Family Fun Park)


Fishing (DNR Building)

Parkour (next to the Grandstand)

TAIKO Project (shows by the 4H Buildings)

Cheese Sculpture (find it in the back of the Ag/Hort Building)

And, of course, FOOD!

The Indiana State Fair runs through Aug 21. There is SO MUCH to do and see - it isn't possible to have the same experience twice! We have gone 2 days and still didn't see everything. You can see lots more of our pics here!

He Can Swim! @GoldfishSwim

At the start of this summer, we were given the opportunity to utilize classes at Goldfish Swim School in Fishers, IN. I was eager for the opportunity because Zach does not swim, is scared of water, and will refuse to participate in fun things if water is involved.

He took 8 lessons.

And he learned to swim.

I tried to convince him that we should sign up for another month of lessons. He wouldn't go for it. But he has said that maybe in the future he would want to do swim lessons again.

Here are the only frustrations we had:

- If you have a time slot you like for class, make sure you stay signed up for that time slot. We got moved after the first month and if I had signed him up for more lessons, he would have been moved again. (This relates to one of the positives, though!)
- Teachers can change unexpectedly. This was especially true at the end of summer - the college kids were going back to school, high school kids were giving up summer jobs. So there are certain times of expected transition where you won't have the same teacher week to week. Zach had his first teacher, a sub, his second teacher, and then a teaching team his last lesson.

But here are things we loved about Goldfish!

- Weekly prizes and ribbons. They are small motivators. But my kid would certainly get excited about them! Weekly prizes are found at the front desk - basic things like a tattoo or simple toy. But Zach would get excited about picking up that prize after his lesson. The other motivator is ribbons. Zach was awarded ribbons for things like swimming independently and moving to the next level.

- Speaking of next levels, I really liked how Goldfish had their levels set up. There was clear communication and set goals to know what skills needed to be mastered in order to move to the next level. In our 8 weeks, Zach went from Beginner to Glider! He would have moved up to that new level if he had chosen to continue.

- The staff at Goldfish were always positive, professional, and kind. Most importantly, the swim instructors in the pool were confident, calm, and positive. This is critical in setting up the kids to succeed!

- Staff to student ratios are never more than 4 kids to 1 instructor. The instructors still have to carefully balance to make sure each of the 4 kids are getting equal attention in the 25 minute lesson. Our favorite lessons were when there were only 2 kids that came that day. It's because of this small group size that the class can fill up very quickly. Just keep communication ongoing with the front desk staff, though!

- At the end of each class, parents come to their child's lane and the instructor has the child show what they achieved that week. It's a great chance for the child to show off and to see how they are progressing.

- The main thing we loved? Zach learned to swim! He isn't a strong swimmer yet. But he knows what to do and is actually eager to go to the pool and no longer afraid to be around water. In fact, he did something we never dreamed he would do. We were at a friends' home and there is a bit of river that runs behind their home. They have canoes and kayaks. The dad took Zach in a canoe for a ride up the river. And Zach agreed to go. Without mom or dad tagging along. He was on the water, having fun, still being safe, and wasn't terrified.

I do think we will go back to Goldfish. Zach needs a little break but I don't want to lose his momentum! I am just over the moon that my boy learned to swim!

THIS WEEK you can have the registration fee waived at Goldfish in Fishers or Carmel by using the code ETERNAL LIZDOM. Call 317-810-0790 to set up your first class or just to get more info! Registration fee waived offer is good through Aug 15!