PLEASE! BE THE PARENT!

This world is full of adorable, talented, intelligent and expressive kids. I am a teacher; so, I have the privilege of working with dozens on a regular basis. I teach kids at conferences, drama camps, church and musical theatre.

It takes me about ten minutes, with a child, to know if he or she is from a healthy, loving family; or if, in fact, the child is the one in charge at home – running the family.

On day three of a drama camp, this past summer, a nine year old boy hadn’t been following my directions as to where he was to stand on the stage. I repeated my instructions a third time; because, I seriously thought he hadn’t heard me.
He finally spoke up, “I don’t want to stand there and why are you telling me what to do?”
I calmly smiled, “Because, I’m your teacher”.
He came back with, “You are not my teacher. This isn’t school.”
I continued with a much stronger answer, “I AM your teacher this week and from now on, when I give a direction, you will say, “Okay, Kathleen’- and, do it.”

He was so stunned at my response; he slowly obeyed and never talked back to me the rest of the week. In fact, he became my buddy. By the time opening night arrived, he asked for an extra hug before the show started.

When I met his parents, and saw his interaction with them, I knew the problem. He didn’t respect either one of them. He was ordering them around!

Are You a Morning Person?

I am a morning person.

I honestly love waking up before the sun rises. It feels like it adds hours to my day, and everything is new and fresh!

My daughter is not a morning person.

From the time my daughter was old enough to talk, she wasn’t excited about talking early in the morning. In fact, she wasn’t excited about anything in the morning. I started her on vitamins. I was convinced – by the time she entered kindergarten – I would have taught her to be a morning person.

Seriously, I tried every ploy, bribe and threat known to mankind to train this child to appreciate mornings at a young age. After all, her dad and I were morning people. Her two brothers were early risers. What was her problem?

I remember sneaking into her room to set her clock ahead 15 minutes, thinking this might motivate her to step it up. I planned special mornings to go out for breakfast, before school, just to get her excited. I soon discovered “excited” was not a word in her vocabulary before noon on any given day.

As a young child, she had no energy to move quickly in the morning. Figuring she must have been unusually tired, I scheduled a doctor’s visit. She was fine.

Our kids had an early bedtime curfew of 7 pm, during elementary years; so, she wasn’t lacking in sleep. In middle school, it was 8 pm. How could anyone have been tired after 14 hours of sleep at night?

In the mornings, I would turn on all the house lights and play fun music on the radio before her school wake up call. Yet, I would be met with a glassy stare and few words as she methodically got dressed for school.

There was no breakfast conversation at all.

Getting her lunch made and her to the car, without tears being shed, was a huge undertaking. I never quite had a perfect record; but, I kept trying.

By the way, all my added stimulation in the house had my boys wound up like tops! And, they didn’t need extra motivation!

I will admit, Nancy was as close to perfect as a child could get. She was loving, obedient and careful not to be disrespectful. However, as the sun rose every day, she answered all my questions in two words or less, just to get by. She planned her school wardrobe and always finished her homework the night before. So, her mornings were as stress free as possible.

Maybe, the problem was the school? Should we change schools? No. Saturdays were the same.

Unfortunately, for years I took it personally. I must not have been a fun mom. How is this possible? Of course I am a fun mom.

She was a wonderful student. Her teachers loved having her in their classes. She had a hundred friends and, once she came home from school, she was a happy child!

Her high school years were less traumatic for me; because, I had resigned myself to accepting the truth. She would never be happy about mornings. There would never be any cozy mother/daughter early morning chats over a hot beverage. She was a night person. Her bedroom light was still on as my husband and I retired each night.

She always found jobs that didn’t require early morning clock-ins. I don’t think she had many early morning classes in college either.

It took years for me to accept Nancy would never like mornings.

Her fate was sealed when she married a man who was not a morning person either.

I am now convinced this morning person or not a morning person is an inborn trait, much like the human temperament.

I am also confident it can cross temperament lines, with no specific temperament owning this trait of morning person or not.

Upbringing will not change it.

I doubt one can grow out of it.

Therapy would be a waste of money.

Today, our daughter is still pretty perfect. She is a wife and mom of three girls, and still is NOT a morning person.

I have smiled a lot since her kids were born. Her firstborn is not a morning person either. My, oh my, it is now so funny watching her experience the exact things I lived through with her!

Nancy came over the other morning- on her way to take her daughter to a 0 period class. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The pain on my daughter’s face prevented me from brutalizing her anymore than she was already obviously suffering with it being so early.

Ah, the circle of life.

I am blessed to live close enough to our kids and grandkids that I can have a mother/daughter coffee in the afternoon now.

 

 

Can You Pin-Point Your Passion in Life?

What is your true PASSION in life? I have heard it said, if you spend your life doing what you are PASSIONATE about- you’ll never have to work one day!

Most of my life has been spent working with kids. Kids theatre, kids ministry and teaching church school. I love working with kids. I figured working with kids was my passion.

However, I have a dark secret. A secret I have struggled with for decades and finally I need to come clean.

Over the years, I have had a love/hate relationship with ‘Vacation Bible School’. I dread it every summer. Summertime Vacation Bible Schools’ are intentionally geared to engaging kids for a fun week, with a goal of reaching young hearts for Jesus.

So what has been my struggle with VBS these past decades?

I Have a New BEST FRIEND!

Disclaimer: People with YELLOW Temperaments love people and get new best friends easily.  So, a note to my true best friends: this too will pass.

My new best friend owns the local cleaners. Changing her name to protect the innocent, I will call her Lois.

Lois sees me once a month when I deliver or pick up our cleaning. Sometimes, we only have one or two items in our order. It is not like we are high paying patrons who keep her in business; but, she makes me feel like I am her favorite person in the world.

Last month, I had barely walked through the door when she saw me from the back of her business and hollered, “Mrs. Chapman your hair is so beautiful today!”

She always has something nice to say about what I’m wearing, from my shoes to my earrings.

“Mrs. Chapman, how are you today?”

I tell her, “Please, call me Kathleen.”

Yet, I remain, “Mrs. Chapman.”

“Mrs. Chapman, isn’t it a lovely day today?” “Mrs. Chapman, the breeze is so wonderful in this town.” Mrs. Chapman, you always look so bright and cheerful!”

A few months ago, she saw me at another place of business in town and came up behind me, “Mrs. Chapman, my day is brighter now that I’ve seen you today!”

Okay, admittedly, I may be a bit shallow, loving the positive comments and compliments.  However, you can’t argue with the fact that this woman has power in her attitude and words!

Do You Understand People?

The greatest thing in learning the four human Temperaments is it helps you understand the people around you!

Are they RED, YELLOW, BLUE or GREEN?

I have a husband, kids, grandkids, co-workers, friends, and an assortment of people who come in and out of my life on a weekly basis. Each one has the potential to take me down with an unexpected curve ball.

One friend called, in extreme panic some months ago, because her car wouldn’t start. She had work that needed to be picked up right away, and asked if I could pick up her papers from the printers immediately? Sure! However, she is delightfully YELLOW (like me). So, I felt the freedom to ask if she was “certain the papers would be ready to be picked up if I left right away?”

I would NEVER have asked a BLUE the same question; because, a BLUE would never have set the process in motion if the papers had not definitely been ready. A RED would not have panicked, but rather, methodically, arranged pick up from someone reliable. A GREEN would not have reacted so unnerved, and probably would have let it go until later, whenever, oh well. It will get done eventually.

Are You CRITICAL?

The BLUE Temperament has so many positive traits. One has to look hard to discover an area that needs work. Positive traits, as wonderful as they are, take no effort, no energy and no growing on the behalf of their owners.

BLUES are extremely serious and conscientious, wanting life to be meaningful. BLUES are the planners. BLUES make the best and most loyal friends. These are the people you see reading books in some corner. Usually, they are the more intelligent – deeper and most excellent learners – of all the Temperaments. They are notorious for being hard on themselves because of the perfectionist aspect of their Temperament. This very fact causes them to be critical in all other areas of life as well.

I have a BLUE sister, husband, kids, grandkids, friends and co-workers. They are loyal, honest, diligent and trustworthy. You cannot find a better friend than a BLUE (melancholy) Temperament.

However, try watching a movie with them…

Do You TALK Too Much?

When I was a teen, there was a popular song by Joe Jones entitled,

“You Talk Too Much:”

“You talk too much, You worry me to death You talk too much, You even worry my pet

You just talk, talk, talk Talk too much

You talk about people, That you don’t know You talk about people, Wherever you go

You just talk too much!”

Have I mentioned my Temperament is half YELLOW?

YELLOWS are fun and delightful; but, one blatant negative is their need to TALK. YELLOWS love people, need friends and by nature TALK easily.

My mouth has gotten me in more trouble, in my lifetime, than anything else.

Are You SELFISH?

We all know folks whom we would consider to be tight or cheap with their money. This is not the same as being SELFISH.

SELFISH is defined as (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.  This is one of those quiet, deadly sins that sneak up in our lives without much notice at first.

About a month ago, I was shopping in a relatively new store in our city, a type of décor shop where you can purchase items to decorate your home.

An interesting conversation took place next to me. Two nice friends were discussing a 3rd person’s dilemma of owning a new home and not having a clue as to how to decorate it.

One of the ladies said, “Why don’t you help her? You are a professional decorator and she would absolutely love your help.” To which the woman sweetly replied, “No thanks.”

The conversation escalated, “Come on, why won’t you help her a little? It won’t cost you anything; and, I bet she would pay you.”  The woman sweetly said, “Please drop it, too much effort.”

The story gets better:

ARE YOU RUDE?

Okay, try something.  To the next person you meet today, simply smile and say, “Have a nice day.”  Notice what happens.

My Temperament has an abrupt side to it. I am half RED. Of the four human temperaments, one is more easily RUDE. (To read up on the Temperaments, subscribe to my blog and download my FREE eBook on Temperaments.)

While pushing my cart through the grocery store the other day, I was suddenly bumped from behind by a woman half my age. Immediately, I said, “Excuse me,” as I pulled over- even though it hadn’t been my fault. The woman quickly turned toward me as she walked by, asking, “What did you just say?” I repeated, “I said, ‘Excuse me.’ ” She grunted as she mumbled, “That better be what you said.”

I was stunned. What did she mean? Was she angry with me? That 5 second encounter left a mark!  “I bet she is RED,” I thought to myself!

Why I Do Kids Theatre!

This summer, our older Musical Theatre camp, is presenting:

Every summer, for over 35 years, I have produced Christian theatre for kids.  I also do secular shows, during the school year, for various public school districts.  And, no, I do not do kids theatre because of the money. (This is truly a Laugh Out Loud moment.)

Performing on a stage – in front of an audience – can be seriously life changing for a child.  If it is a bad experience, the child may never be persuaded to return to a stage for the remainder of his or her life.

However, if it is a good and positive experience, it can be a moment of overwhelming discovery for the child. Kids feel empowered, self confident, comfortable in their skin, proud, thankful, appreciated and loved when the audience applauds their work! They also develop comfortable skills, associated with performing in any capacity, as they grow older. Theatre is an investment that keeps on growing and giving.

I remember my first actual play…