Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sports day

Sometimes it's ok to be proud....

This past week was "sports day" for the primary school campus here
(grade K-6). It's an all day event with different track and field type
events. The kids complete both individually and in teams.

It's a day that all students are required to participate in. Some kids
LOVE it, other kids, not so much... Calvin fits into the later group.
He's just not very athletic Let's be honest... he comes by in
naturally, just take a look at his parents. Not to mention that he's
got a couple of chronic health issues stacked against him too.

In PE class for the last few weeks, they have been practicing and
preparing for Sports day. Calvin hasn't complained, but I know he
doesn't exactly enjoy it.

Anyhow... Sports day arrived and Calvin woke up in a REALLY crabby
mood. You know the kind of mood where nothing positive comes out of
your mouth? Grumbling, complaining, crying, you name it. That was
Calvin. Now, I can't force Calvin to like sports day, I can't magically
make him perform better in the events, and I can't force him to have a
good attitude. I CAN encourage him to do his best and to have a good

I spent the entire morning as we prepared to leave for school trying to
convince his that it is possible to have fun at sports day, even if
athletics isn't your cup of tea. I encouraged him to try his best and
not worry about how he compares to others and above all...have a good
attitude. It came time to leave for school and Calvin had JUST decided
to have a good attitude... we walked out the door and it was raining.
That means a wet, muddy and slippery sports day. In an instant, all
that convincing him to have a good attitude was undone. As we went to
school, I prayed silently, that somehow he would turn his attitude
around. I had a bad feeling about the day. (Calvin is a kid who feels
his emotions strongly.... happy, sad, angry, grouchy, sad, whatever he
feels, he feels it strongly). I was so concerned that I took the time
to talk to the people who would be helping out his group during sports
day and give them a "heads up" about his current frame of mind.

Due to the fact that I had my own class to teach, I wasn't able to see
much of the sports day events (my co-teacher and I did take turns
stepping out of our classroom to watch our kids a bit). When I did step
out to watch him, I was happy to see that he had somehow managed to turn
his attitude around. Praise the Lord!

At the end of the day, one person from each group is awarded a "good
sportsmanship" award. You can imagine the pride I felt when my son (the
one who began the day in such a negative frame of mind) ended the day be
being awarded the "good sportsmanship" award for his group. Way yo go

Birthday for an "almost" teen

It's been a while since I've blogged... I've been feeling guilty about it.

We're now a few weeks into our new school year and things have been busy.

This week we celebrated Sydney's 12th birthday. She is definitely on
the cusp of the teen years. It's been interesting to watch how "playing
with friends" has been slowly morphing into "hanging out with friends."
It used to be, "Mom, can so and so come pay?" now it's "Can so and so
come over today?" A subtle change that signifies a much more
significant one.

My kids have both gotten to the age where they want to plan their own
parties. This year Sydney recruited a friend to help her plan her
party. I was really nothing more than cook and crowd control. The
party was actually a nice mix of planned games and not so planned time.
One of Sydney's gifts this year was Just Dance 2 (for the Wii) We gave
it to her just before her party and the kids had a great time playing
this at the party. There are some songs we have to deem "off limits,"
but for the most part, the game is great fun and great exercise.

One of the things I LOVE about celebrating birthdays here in Ukarumpa is
the fact that you don't have to have to go to the coolest new place,
have the best goody bags, or spend a fortune on food.

Sydney wanted my favourite black bottom cupcakes, some chips, and bean
dip. That and some Tang to quench their thirst was all they needed.
Simple and easy. Well, I did bake the cupcakes from scratch and make
some of the chips-- right now our store actually has Fritos and Dorritos
(thanks to a recently arrive US grocery shipment), but they are super
expensive, so I supplemented with some homemade chips as well.

The other thing I really like about birthdays here is the lack of
pressure to give the best or most expensive gift. In fact, many kids
don't even give gifts. Those that do, it's often very simple things.
For example, a couple of kids gave her a package of candy from our
store. Others have a stash of small gifts brought back from their home
country. We have a drawer full of small items we brought back.from the
US. When a birthday comes, the kids can shop in the birthday drawer to
find a gift. I love the simplicity of it all.

This year is big for Sydney because she is in grade 7, which means she
moved to the "secondary campus" (this is the middle and high school
campus of UIS). For some, this transition is a tough one. For Sydney,
it's been fun to watch her blossom. She is absolutely LOVING middle
school and it really seems to suit her. With the switch to middle
school, she has also entered to world of youth group-- for Sydney, this
is yet another chance to hang out with her friends.

Sigh... she's growing up way more quickly than I want her to.