Korenisms: Country Edition

07 Dec

“Koren, if you had your own foreign country, what would you name it?”
“OKLAHOMA!”


 
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Posted in Kid Quotes, Koren

 

Korenisms: Fun Game Edition

26 Nov

“Hey Kaelin, wanna play that game where I’m dead and you make a sandwich out of me?”

Sometimes I don’t know whether to be amused or disturbed by my kids’ imaginations.


 
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Posted in Kid Quotes, Koren

 

Kaelin’s Wish List

21 Nov
  1. Webkinz
  2. Accordion
  3. Flowers
  4. Unicorn

 
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Posted in Holidays, Kaelin

 

November Thanksgiving

20 Nov

Day 20

Today I am thankful for weekends.  I know that sounds silly, because who isn’t thankful for weekends, but before I started working again, I really didn’t care much about weekends.  Now, however, I have a real appreciation for the time I get to spend with my family and the free-time I have available to run errands.

I also really enjoy watching the kids enjoy each other.  They play so well together and really seem to thrive on having the free time each Saturday and Sunday afternoon to let their imaginations run wild.  Since they’re both in school during the week, it’s more of a treat to spend time with each other.  Weekends have meaning again for all of us.


 
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Posted in November Thankfulness

 

November Thanksgiving

20 Nov

Day 19

Oops. I’m a day behind.

Let’s see.  Yesterday, amid the drama, I was thankful for Advil 🙂  But besides that…

Report Cards came home Friday, and Kaelin is doing very well in school.  Grading works a little differently than it did when I was in school, but she has the equivalent of straight A’s, and her report included a nice note from her teacher that said Kaelin is a joy to teach, is always engaged in classroom discussions and has a love of learning.

I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.  She’s loving school and her reading skills are really developing.  Her desire to learn is such a blessing and I hope and pray she keeps it for the rest of her life.


 
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Posted in November Thankfulness

 

Santa 2011

20 Nov

This year, I hunted down The Santa (because there IS only one real Santa and this is him) and found him in Fairview.  Since we had nothing to do this afternoon, we made the drive over there and the kids got to chat with Santa.  Kaelin was thrilled and detailed for him exactly everything she could remember about the dog she wants.  She couldn’t stop petting his beard while she talked to him.  On the way home, she informed us that she wants Santa to bring her a beard for Christmas.  Koren did much better than in years past and asked for a monster truck.  I came prepared to wait in line for a while, but evidently Santa’s place is pretty empty at 5pm on Sunday.  We didn’t have to wait at all, and were in and out in about 10-15 minutes.


 

The Gift

20 Nov

We talked about it again this morning.  Today is the day to turn in the OCC boxes, and Kaelin was still having a hard time letting go of the toy she had somehow developed an extreme attachment to, despite the fact that it had never belonged to her.

When yesterday’s blog post hit my Facebook account, I received a few comments from friends that were very insightful.  One in particular struck a chord with me (Paige, I hope you don’t mind if I quote you):

I remember various didactic stories meant to instill generosity that simply didn’t impress me. I *do* remember that the Christmas scenes in the Little House on the Prairie books, and the uncomfortable plots about Nellie Oleson’s nicer doll (and nicer things in general) did make an impression. But I’m also fairly certain that I was very careful not to show it, because I was sick unto death of didactic stories.

In short: even if it doesn’t show, it doesn’t mean you’re not making the right impression.

It immediately reminded me of several instances growing up in which I had done something very foolish and my mom called me out on it.  I don’t have the slightest memory of what I did to deserve the verbal lashing, but the thing I do remember is refusing to give her the repentant reaction I knew she was hoping to get from me while she chastised me.  (Remember the part where my daughter is stubborn?  Guess who she got it from.)  Instead, I acted as though her words were bouncing off a brick wall because I knew it would only make her angrier.  It totally worked.

I began to wonder if that was what went on yesterday – if, instead of rejecting my message, Kaelin was rejecting my negative judgement of her.  So as I talked with her this morning, I was careful to come from a different angle.

She started to tear up again at the idea of giving the toy dog away.  We talked about sacrificial giving.  We talked about how God wants us to be cheerful givers and how the gifts he appreciates the most are the ones we find difficult to give.  We talked about the idea that if you allow your own selfish wants to be more important than making others happy, then the gift is no longer truly a gift – it’s just leftovers.

She seemed to be somewhat more receptive, but each segment of conversation kept coming back around to “but will I get one of these dogs too?”  She got a little frustrated when I refused to answer that question because I found it irrelevant to the task at hand.  We talked about how this gift for children in another country is completely unrelated to what she may or may not get for Christmas.  I did tell her that the dog cost all of $5 so if she was really that into it, she should save up her allowance.  I’m not sure if that was a mistake or not, but she immediately backed off of it.

We talked about how important it is to be a person who thinks of others instead of self, and how nearly all of the world’s problems are caused by people who can’t get past themselves.  People who let their own desires be more important than the needs and happiness of others.  I told her how desperately I want to be sure she doesn’t become one of those people.

We talked about what a good girl she is – that she gets good grades, she minds, she rarely misbehaves, she’s polite, she’s smart, and that I was very proud of her for each of those reasons… but that having a heart for others is more important than all of those things.

When we arrived at church, I handed her the box to bring inside.  She asked if the dog she wanted was in this box and I told her yes.  She was silent for a minute as we headed toward the building.  Then she looked up at me and smiled.

“Mama?  I really hope I’ll be able to buy one of these dogs with my money.  But even if I can’t, I’m ok with it.”


 

I’m Open to Suggestions

19 Nov

As parents, we typically – whether consciously or not – have one or two major character traits that we want very much to drill into our children.

Mine are a generous heart and empathy.  And tonight I’m feeling as though I’ve been a complete failure in both those areas.

I talk to my kids constantly about the fact that they lead unusually blessed lives.  I tell them about kids much less fortunate than themselves.  We do some kind of giving project each year before Christmas.  I ask them to imagine scenarios in which they don’t have their house, toys or enough food.  I tell them stories and show them videos on YouTube of kids in other countries.  I try to explain to them how these children live differently than we do and how much of our lives we take for granted.

And yet… my words and actions seem to have very little effect on my daughter’s heart.

Kaelin displayed a stunning degree of greed and selfishness tonight.  I know 6-year-olds are notoriously selfish, but this – to me – went beyond childishness and bordered on abject cruelty.  Certainly, apathy toward the suffering of others.

I’m not going to go into all the details, but it involved repeated whining about a toy that was intended for the Operation Christmas Child boxes.  When the whining didn’t work, she resorted to stealing the toy, hiding it and then lying to me about being unable to remember where she put it.  (Oddly, she was able to produce the toy very quickly when I threatened to send her favorite stuffed animal in its place.)

Now, that is misbehavior.  I can deal with misbehavior.  I can even deal with the huge tantrum that followed when the toy finally went into the box.

What I can’t deal with is what followed – which I can only describe as a hardened heart.  She didn’t care that these toys were going to kids who didn’t get toys.  She didn’t care that the boxes were spreading joy and a message of salvation that might not otherwise be received.

All she cared about was herself and her own desire for that little toy.  She told me that those children didn’t need toys.  And if they did need toys, they certainly didn’t need THAT one.  I could not get through to her that IT WASN’T ABOUT THE TOY.  It wasn’t about HER.  It was about GIVING because we have BEEN GIVEN so much.  It was about bringing happiness to someone else, spreading joy and the message of gospel.  It was about so much MORE, and that shortchanging a gift with selfishness cheapens it.

I showed her videos of the children who would be receiving the toys, of children who spend every day digging through piles of trash looking for items their families can sell to make a little money for food.  I showed her videos of children in refugee camps.

I walked her through a made-up scenario in which she was forced to live outside in the back yard and Koren got to sleep in his warm comfy bed and get gifts and toys all the time.  And one day we decided to give both kids a toy: Koren got a new shiny bike with a horn and streamers, while Kaelin got a tiny plastic animal.  But then Koren decided that he really liked Kaelin’s tiny gift and wanted to keep it in addition to his bicycle, and we said ‘OK.’  I asked her how that would make her feel.

“I would be fine with that.”

My kid? She is stubborn.

I admit that I had some pretty harsh words for her about entitlement and selfishness and greed.

But it didn’t matter.  Nothing I did or said changed anything.  She was completely unable to get past HERSELF.

Eventually, I lost all ability to deal with this child.  I sent her to her room, where she continued to cry about losing the toy that was never hers to begin with.

After she calmed down, we watched some more videos together about exactly what we were trying to accomplish with Operation Christmas Child.  She was pretty quiet this time, but it’s very possible that had more to do with me threatening her that if she had any more selfish comments to make then SHE HAD BETTER keep them to herself.

She’s asleep now.  I’m still disturbed.  We’re both worn out.

I’m frustrated and hurt and angry.  And honestly, I’m embarrassed.  Sometimes you think you have parenting figured out.  And then you get blindsided.

I have a huge headache now.  But I still don’t know what to do.  How do you cure a selfish heart?  I’ve run out of answers.


 
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