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Eye-Opening Days

Welcome back readers from last week! Are some of you wondering what my week was like a few weeks ago in order to make me jump out of my comfortable chair and into the world of blogging?

Well, there’s no big dramatic story here. It was more like a series of eye-opening experiences. Here are a few:

You never know what the kids you teach (or your kid’s friends) go home to.

I’ve heard statements like this all for as long as… well, as long as I’ve been teaching. As a high school student on Mission Trips with my church, I taught kids who were dirty and unkempt and it was easy to see. In college I student taught and volunteered as a mentor kids in a low-income area, and it was easy to remember because the kids lived in projects and survived off of assistance from the government. But today, I mainly teach kids from an influential part of town, where kids do not go home to druggie parents that can’t afford to feed them, or parents that break the law… or so I thought. Now, I know many of you are calling me naïve right now. And I won’t disagree with you there. I was completely aware of the needs of some kids. I’ve prayed for families that were going through divorce, for parents who had addictions, and with kids who lost a parent to death. So I wasn’t naïve to the hurts kids endure. But I just got comfortable. Let’s just say – my eyes were opened and my heart broke with what I saw. Some parents don’t maintain their bridges, they hack away at them with a chainsaw! This blog is not always going to be a nice, cozy parenting blog. I will tackle hard topics. Life is hard. Life is even harder if your bridges are crumbling around you.

Some parents just don’t know what to do.

It was time to renew my license and I couldn’t do it on-line. While waiting in the DPS office for HOURS (four to be exact) I saw lots of different people. One family in particular stood out. I try to not judge other people’s parenting. I don’t want to judge, I want to help. And anytime I judge, rest assured that as soon as I do, I will fail miserably in some parenting aspect. But on this day… seeing a mom back-hand a three-year-old, push, pull, and hit them repeatedly, I do get a little judgey. Especially after realizing you never know what goes on at home. As I cringed (along with everyone nearby) while this mom kept “disciplining” her 3 and five-year old daughters, I decided to take action. No, I didn’t report this mom or give her a piece of my mind, I went to my car and found a children’s book. Sitting on the floor of the DPS office, I read to these girls. As the hours stretched on, if they did something while in my “area” I corrected in a firm, yet loving way. Please do not pull on that sign, look at this instead. Can you whisper? Gentle hands. Please put your dress down. At one point, the receptionist came over demanding to know who the kids belonged to. When the lady next to me, who had recently arrived in the crowed waiting area, heard they weren’t mine, she was shocked. Another time I heard the comments, she must be a teacher! I could’ve minded my own business and read or surfed facebook. Why did I spend my time there talking to the little girls? The whole time I was praying the mom would hear how effective it was to ask and speak nicely instead of slapping at or insulting the kids. I tried not to judge the mom, but show her a different way. Ultimately, I just wanted to be a bright spot in the day of two sad-faced little girls. Lesson learned on that day: Sometimes parents just don’t know what to do… or they don’t care. It’s not for me to judge, but if I can be a bright spot, I want to shine! That’s another thing I want this blog to be – a bright spot for an overwhelmed parent.

Moms always question what they are doing!

A few days later, I was in the orthodontist office. I overheard the conversation of several women. They were questioning their parenting strategies. I won’t get into the exact details, but it reminded me of a lesson I learned early in my role as a mom. We question what we do. There are things we are just not sure about – ways we feel inadequate. Sitting in MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) as a new mom, I was surprised that I was not the only who looked at everything I did, questioned things, and doubted myself. Moms do question themselves. They want a place to ask questions, be heard, and get advice. I want this blog to be that place. A place parents can feel a partnership with as we all build bridges to connect with our kids.

About Kimberly Vogel

I am a mom of four beautiful daughters, a writer, and a certified Early Childhood and Elementary Teacher who recently made the switch from teaching in a classroom to teaching her children at home. I am often found in the children’s area of my church where I volunteer and lead a children’s program. Writing is a natural outpouring of my love for my Savior. Follow along while I share my journey as a bridge builder with you. My prayer is that you start building bridges too!

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