Monday, August 26, 2013

What good can a 16 year old do?

 At 16, Can anyone expect more than to dabble with nail polish, collect knick-knacks, and display pictures to her friends on facebook?

In 1739 Eliza Lucas assisted her father by managing their family's large estate, while her father was on military travel. 
 Due to her ailing mother, Eliza was the main overseer of inventory and production of three farms.  The daily business transactions would have been the full time job of any man and she proved herself as competent without the goal of trying to prove competency.  She engaged in a work to help her father.
We see the most about the character of someone when we read their own words, as Eliza's letter to a friend reads:
“I think myself happy that I can be useful to so good a father, and by rising very early I find I can go through much business.” 
One aspect of maturity is ambition, a desire to achieve something difficult. 
Another aspect of maturity is diligence, a concentrated effort to complete a task.
She diligently rose early in the day in order to accomplish what needed to be done.

Cultural eyes zeroed in on her family's fortune may miss what this character can teach our youth. 
Those with abundance in resources and those who lack material resources can possess ambition and pursue diligence.  Indeed they must.
 As 1739 unfolds, Eliza's father sends a variety of seeds for trial crops.  One unusual seed was Indigo, and as she experimented time and again for three years, she eventually developed Indigo and shared it with others. It became a cash crop of the South.  Her impact on the economy of the colony of South Carolina led to her fame as the first woman to be listed in South Carolina's Business Hall of Fame.
 Her eighteenth century "letterbook" revealed that business was only one work of her hands and in her heart she was busy about the welfare of others.  Scores of letters were sent to encourage her father and her brothers.  She tutored her younger sister and other children on the plantation.  From her studies of law she was able to draft legal wills for her neighbors.
Eventually she married, weathered the American Revolution, and passed from this life as the mother of a cosigner of the United States Constitution and Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates.  President George Washington was a pallbearer at her funeral by his own request. 
How she started off at 16
led to an incredible story of success.

She seized the current day while it was called today.
She prioritized serving others.
She planted hope and inspiration in others.  
And in that regard, any 16 year old can live up to that example.  And who knows where your story could lead!

Eliza Lucas Pinckney. The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762. Ed. by Elise Pinckney and Marvin R. Zahniser. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972

Friday, June 21, 2013

Making time Mom-to-Mom


There’s something special about being a “mama”

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar/creative commons

We stole a second, just the two of us, time enough to lightly touch her elbow.   How are things going? And she knew the things to which I referred.  Mamas have words and clues they give to one another, but only when they feel it’s safe.
  I can’t say now, she signaled with her eyes, darting around the room, conscious that overheard whispers could wound without her knowing.  All she wanted to say was that things were better, but lately every word she spoke was received as a dagger. 

Hi, I’m calling to see if you knew of anybody that, OH No!. . . One child threw up on her, while the dishwasher door broke off in her hand, smashing another child’s infected toenail.  She couldn’t remember what she was going to say.

If she could take it back, she would.  There are some things that young women don’t understand, nor can relate to, and she forgot who was standing right there.  She felt sick.   Though no one said a word, a hammer slammed a nail; judged.
Mamas.  They don’t need a whole lot.  Just a safe space every now and again, room to sigh or sing with another that knows the song. 
Seldom will someone else seek you, to see if you need to be rescued.  It's up to you.
Plan time for just mom-to-mom in your life.
Call another mom up on the phone and ask, Would you like to get together?  She'll probably say YES!

photo credit:">Tambako the Jaguar
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Yay! for Play!

You know what the nursery rhyme says about
All work and No play...

it makes Jack dull.

And that goes for Jane, and Jill, etc. etc.

Noticing some weary expressions?
What's worse is blank expressions.  
That's when I think *warning*  It's the dullness setting in. 
Not dullness like Oh I have nothing to do, but dullness as in lack of sharpness, wit, love for life.
That's one of the many reasons to school at home.
Play is part of life and at home you can purposefully schedule that in.  It creates space in the brain.

I've been known to find a tree swing and ...swing myself.

Let 'em play.  There's learning taking place even then.

"Play is still the primary occupation of children and shouldn't be pushed out of a child’s daily routine because of a lack of time or structured extra-curricular activities and a long school day.
" Jean Wetherilt

photo credit: ToniVC">ToniVC
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