Monday, May 16, 2016

Kids living better

In the Treehouse:
By: Samantha S Daviss

I do a lot of reading on how to raise kids, especially boys to grow into young men. And the unanimous conclusion is to lead by example, both the mother and the father.

If you take your responsibilities seriously and passionately, then they will see your lead and follow in suite. I understand most people don’t have a very strong work ethic, well I shouldn’t say most; some people don’t. But my theory has always been that you can guide them and teach them at a very young age. Give them responsibilities and if they want something they have to work for it.

As such, my teenage son can’t wait to drive in two more years, but his car dreams are champagne dreams on a Boone’s Farm budget. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t going to put him in some jalopy, but he is looking at vehicles with all the bells and whistles, that I am just now getting to enjoy at 40, on my own car.

So with that, I introduced him to the world of a summer job. I want him to learn accountability, showing up for a job, I want to teach him work ethic, and I want to teach him the value of the all mighty dollar.

I used to feel bad for being a working mom, but I recently read an article that stated the most successful kids are raised by strong, independent woman, who work outside the home. That actually kind of took me by surprise, because I have always felt guilty for working. Even though I am blessed to have a schedule that I get to pick my boys of from school every day, I figured the pre-occupation of a working mom would detract from their ability to feel completely nurtured or tended to.

But in a nutshell here is one of the lists that I have been reading that can help make your child more successful:
   1)      Parents make the kids do chores—this again goes back to the accountability, responsibility and earning things and not having it handed to them;
   2)      They teach their kids social skills—I couldn’t agree more with this one; this is a life skill that everyone needs to have. When your child is a grown adult and knows how to communicate, and not via text or Snapchat, but really talk and communicate, and have good table manners, this are life skills that will be used daily. Whether it’s in a board meeting, a business lunch, or just out for drinks with a client; good manners, make a good impression;
   3)      They have high expectations for their kids—I have never felt guilty for having expectations for my kids, especially in the classroom. If I felt they weren’t capable or couldn’t do it, then of course I wouldn’t force it, but I know my kids can do it, so I encourage them. After all I think everyone needs to be pushed a little bit, even if it is outside their comfort zone;
   4)      The parents have a good relationship—whether the parents are married or divorced, it is so important for the parents to work well together and have a good relationship; as the saying goes (especially for divorced couple) “always put the kids first”;
   5)      The parents have attained higher educational levels—I don’t think this is true across the board, because some kids see that a higher level of education is their ticket to a better life, but kids whose parents do have a higher education know that, that is their only option, they know that an education is and will only be their ticket to a better life;
   6)      Math is taught to the kids at an early age—math is the subject that interjected into the child’s life at an earlier age to start building upon those skills;
   7)      The parents have a great relationship with their kids—I feel this is true, because if the kids feel safe and know they can talk to their parents about anything, then they are more confident and successful, they know their support system is always there;
   8)      Mom’s stress level—they say stress is like a cold, it can be passed from one person to another. So if you think about it, when you are around a friend that is stressed or depressed, you start to feel a little gloomy too, but if the mom is always up and happy and not letting the stresses of juggling work, kids, and life shine through too much, then it won’t affect the children that much;
   9)      Effort over failure—Parents of successful children support them no matter what, all these parents ask for is their best effort, before they fail, they must try their hardest to success;
   10)   The mom works—it shows the kids drive and initiative, it also allows them to help out around the house a little bit more, reinforcing that work ethic again.

So you see there are many factors that play into raising a great kid. Some may affect your lifestyle and your kid, and some may not. But these are just some examples that a drew from an article I read a while back in Business Insider.

But the constant theme in all of these is to put some responsibility and accountability on your child so they are better able to find their place in the world, and have some pride in themselves.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Kids Say & Do the Darndest Things

By: Samantha S Daviss

In honor of all the Moms out there and your recently celebrated special day of recognition, I want to share a day in the life of a mom of three boys!

For those that know us and know our history well, there is never a dull moment in the Daviss household. From broken bones, to split heads, to fights, to lots of fun and laughter, to tons of imaginative play and lots and lots of mud!

Upon our move into our new house one of my big treats was getting new washer and dryer…you know the really big ones, for all of my tons of laundry. But I still sit in amazement that my other washer and dryer, although tired and wearing down, lasted me for sixteen years. And I still sit in amazement that through all the loads of dirty clothes, dirty shoes, and dirty towels always covered in mud that my machine actually lasted that long. Because every time I turn around, the boys are outside, playing in the dirt, building something, creating something, or making a mud hole from the water hose.

There have been countless “long arm carries” by ol’ mom, trying to get a filthy heathen from the backdoor to the shower without mud glops dropping on the floor. And not to mention all the holes in socks. I have thrown countless pairs of socks away, because apparently shoes aren’t allowed outside, but socks are.

As they say sometimes actions speak louder than words, but sometimes their words are just down right hilarious.

My favorite thing recently that has come out of my littlest one’s mouth has been a political concern. Now mind you, my husband and I aren’t extremely political. Every now and again we may discuss something, but for the most part we don’t talk politics too much, especially in front of the boys; but apparently his Daddy has said it enough that it resonated in his head.

We were driving down the street one day, and I was stopped at a stop sign, and all of the sudden my four-year-old asked me, “Mommy, why doesn’t Daddy like Obama?” I think my water, that I was drinking, came out of every orifice. I couldn’t stop laughing. I hadn’t laughed that hard in forever. And then he took it personal that I was making fun of him. So once I calmed him down, I asked him what made him ask that? “I don’t know; Daddy just always says he doesn’t like Obama.” And to that little face I had nothing to say, except to smile and tell him how funny he was.

Then the middle one asked me not too long ago, as we were passing a corner where two sidewalks met, “Mom, what are all those bumps on the ground for”? I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, and then I looked over and realized he was referencing the bumps at the bottom of the sidewalk that leads off the corner into the crosswalk area. “You know what buddy I’m not sure, but I think it’s in case its rainy or slippery and those bumps keep you from sliding.” “Yea I guess so mom, but I think they are for blind people and their dogs (pronounced Doe-oug, by my 6-year-old). That way they can feel the bumps under their feet and know when to stop at the light.” And seriously how can I argue with that? I don’t think I could, it makes perfect sense to me. So to that answer, southern accent and all, I had to concur.

But not only am I caught off guard daily by their questions and ideas, their actions absolutely blow my mind. They are so funny and innocent that I can’t help but laugh.

The middle one figured out that if he takes our horse, it’s stuffed with wheels on the feet, to the top of our driveway that has a slight incline; he can hit the curve pretty fast and raise the horse onto two wheels. It is the funniest thing to watch this kid going Mach three down our driveway on a 3-foot tall horse with wheels for feet.

And the little one is always trying to fit into tight small spaces. Most recently, I came around the corner at the house from doing yard work, and he was sitting all alone in the tiny trailer to his John Deere tractor. “Hey Mom, I’m just sitting here waiting for Daddy to pull me”, when he knew Daddy wouldn’t be home for almost a week.

And then there is the oldest that loves to jump off the roof of the boathouse into the lake, or come home covered in bruises from paintball with his buddies.

I know I will survive raising three boys, but it’s the laughter, the constant surprise, and chaos that truly keeps me going every day. I never know what the day has in store for me, with these three in tow.

Small town, but not small hearts

By: Samantha S. Daviss

Sometimes you catch a little flack for living in a small town. There aren’t as many activities, places to go, places to eat. There aren’t as many attractions; sometimes the economy is a little slower, or the employment rates are a little lower.

But having grown up in a small town, lived in several large cities around the country, and coming home to my small town; there is truly something to be said about the big hearts that reside in a smaller town. So yes, our town is a little larger than a single stoplight community, but it is certainly no metropolitan area.

Through the ingenuity of social media, friends and family we are able to help one another out when we all need it the most. Small towns allow for tighter nit social groups and friends; therefore, we all know when someone we love is suffering, needs help, or just needs a shoulder to cry on.

There are two examples that ring out the loudest in my mind. One was just an amazing display of support, love, caring and kindness. There is a young man that has been suffering and struggling through cancer and chemotherapy for the past three years. And recently he took his last chemo pill, and was able to walk back into his school with pride, a smile, and the joy of knowing that his horrific battle was over.

But this brave young man didn’t just walk back into school, he was greeted by a sea of orange (the particular color used to represent his certain type of cancer) accented by numerous signs, banners and the entire junior high student body was there to hug him, yell for him, and dedicate that particular day to be his recognized day from that moment forward.

I can’t imagine being so young, and having to deal with such an adult issue as the debilitating disease of cancer. But this young man has taken it in stride and made everyone so happy and proud. But where else do you find that kind of love and support, other than in a smaller tighter knit community?

Another situation that has arisen in our community as of late, was the unfortunate accident involving two young teenage boys on the evening of prom. Luckily one was able to walk away with some minor bruising and soreness; but unfortunately the other young man was taken to the hospital and cared for by the wonderful nurses and doctors.

While this young man was in the hospital trying to recover, his community pulled together and created a social media funding account, in addition to selling t-shirts in his honor, to help his family curve their time away from work and some of his medical expenses.

So I ask you, where else can you find such amazing support and dedication to two young men that obviously needed the love and support of not only their close friends and family, but their entire community? Sometimes big things happen in little places.