Pontiac Parents & Supportive Adults: Talk Early & Talk Often — Connecting with our Teens during COVID-19

Pontiac Parents & Supportive Adults
Talk Early & Talk Often — Connecting with our Teens during COVID-19

We are certainly in challenging times and families more than ever need as much support as possible, especially when it comes to helping our teens adopt behaviors that will keep them safe and healthy.  This gathering space will be a place to receive support, as well as a few strategies on keeping an open and loving connection with your teen.

The facilitator for the gathering will be:
Barb Flis, Founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids. 
We hope you will join us!

Hosted by:
Honor Community Health & School District of the City of Pontiac

February 23, 2021, 10 – 11 a.m.

School District of the City of Pontiac

Yours, His, Hers, Mine & Our: Journey with Education

Yours, His, Hers, Mine & Our: Journey with Education

When my kids started school decades ago, I found September to be more of a milestone for me than their birthdays.  Because my educational experience was less than ideal, I was apprehensive about whether I was going to be able to hold up my end of the educational deal between teacher and parent. Each year, I felt like I was climbing a higher mountain in their educational journey.  Briskly moving from simple colors and letters in kindergarten, to high school physics class, fear became a frequent visitor. 

I truly don’t know what parents are going through today raising and educating a child during a pandemic.  But I do know the fear and doubt that are ever-present as a parent.  Rather than give you sympathy and be a co-conspirator which only serves to feed your fear and doubt, I am going to offer you something much better, hope. Hope along with the opportunity for social and emotional learning for both you and your child that will last long after the pandemic is over. 

What saved me from plummeting down the K-12 education mountain were the teachers.  Thankfully, my fear forced me to crack open the door just a little to admitting I needed help; and there, standing by willing and able, was a teacher.  I have hung around teachers for decades and one thing I know for sure, they’re suckers when it comes to teaching.  They are educators to the core.  They helped this frightened little Momma and showed me the way.  So much so that when my oldest daughter graduated from high school, those same teachers told me now it was my turn. “You are one smart cookie, go back to college, and get your degree.”  This smart and still frightened little cookie listened and soon thereafter ensued a bachelors and masters degree and my twentieth year in business connecting parents and teachers.

I urge you to get your hiking boots on and climb this mountain one step at a time.  When reflecting on my journey here is what I can pass along for you to consider:

Here are a few things you can consider:

      • Know who is responsible for what. You are the parent, not the student. As a parent you’re job is to make sure structures are in place so learning can happen.  Your child is responsible for learning.  The teacher can’t assess how students are doing if the lines get blurry.
      • Be comfortable asking for help. Let the teacher know what you are struggling with and what your child is struggling with.  This goes for personal circumstances that can interfere with learning as well as academics.  The teacher won’t know how to assist or correct things if she/he doesn’t know the backstory.  Hey, it’s also great modeling for your child in identifying and solving problems.
      • You’re always going to be afraid, so rather than resist it, make friends with it. Fear is there to sharpen your instincts and intuition.  It might be telling you to reach out for help, or challenging you to learn something new.  This is the same self-management we want our kids to learn.
      • Make curiosity a part of the journey. It’s not “can I do this,” but, “how will I do this?”  Goal setting and perspective-taking is empowering as well as motivating.
      • Be playful, laugh often, especially at yourself. The gift in laughter is that it breaks open the brain to lots of possibilities and creativity.  The inspiration and insight that appears will astound you. This is why you will hear teachers say “learning is fun.”  Besides it’s impossible to have a positive thought and a negative thought at the same time, so why not go for the positive.

I was with a group of teachers last week, and I can tell you they are feeling all of the same emotions that you are.  As is the case for everyone, life has been flipped upside down.  What came through loud and clear however was a “can do” spirit in each of them.  They are determined to create an environment where students can learn.  They will do the heavy lifting which will be made easier with parents by their side.   

 

Here is to a happy, healthy and memorable school year!

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

This Easter, let’s pretend!

 

 

For the sake of our children, let’s pretend.  Let’s pretend the Easter Bunny is real, and just for Easter Day, lets allow ourselves to pretend there is no Coronavirus.  We can do this for our children as well as for our own sanity.  If you haven’t gone to the land of pretend in a while, I beg you to give it a try.  In Latin it’s “praetendere” which translates to “stretch forth, claim.”  When we let go of the fear, our brain can think outside of the box, imagine and pretend. 

Hey, even Governor Whitmer of Michigan says the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny are essential workers so why not give pretending a try?

I am not a writer of poetry, however, a couple of years ago I felt compelled to write this poem about being a child at play.  I guess I needed to connect to the child in me.  This holiday, we can allow our children to be our teachers and take us back to the land of pretend.  Play is what we all need right now.

Just for today…by Barb Flis

Just for today let me be a child at play
Fresh from a dream filled sleep 

Waking up with a smile
Overflowing with a joy that is mine to keep

Just for today let me be a child at play
Persistently questioning all that I see

Taking nourishment in the wonder
Shameless about my curiosity

Just for today let me be a child at play
Fearless about opening my heart

Heaping love on to others
With an absence of malice if they depart

Just for today let me be a child at play
Where no rush hour ever exists

A giggle in between every word I speak
Demanding more laughter is what I’ll insist

Just for today let me be a child at play
And in exchange I guarantee

Play will be my nourishment
To make sure I never forsake that child in me.