You don’t know a thing about me

You know what’s fun? Doing what others say you can’t do. I think that’s a quote, and if not, it should be.

Being an Early Childhood Ed Major, I heard over and over again….positive! you must be encouraging and positive with little people! I even had a professor who insisted for every criticism or correction you gave a child, you were to cushion the blow with 3 positive interactions. I pictured it like this:

Jimmy! Stop eating that glue! (correction)

Would you be interested in tape? Tape is super fun, too! (redirection)

I adore your shirt, is that Gap? (positive#1)

I love the way you are not eating your glue stick! Keep it up! (positive #2)

Is that Metallica you’re humming? I love that song! (positive #3)

For children, I think it’s an awesome concept. Everyone knows, if you are only going to get chewed on by an adult everytime you move, or eat your art supplies….you may start to decide that living a life of crime is a good idea. Why not? Might as well, right? So, I comply with this 3 to 1 rule when I teach preschool, or deal with my own kids, or husband, or mailman.

However, I’m starting to wonder if all this positive is good and works for 40-year-old me in the same way it works for kids.  Only because, encouragement these days doesn’t seem to fuel me. Actually, once I got past about 3rd grade, the positives have been known to irritate and bug.

You are fabulous just the way you are!

Don’t tell me that. These words are plain crazy. It’s totally normal to want to always be making yourself more than you are. And I will if I wanna! See? I’m kind of a stinker, and not the normal kind of girl who wants to hear inspiring words from her friends.

I was reminded of how much I love my friend Magen when I lamented to her….”Littlest is so creative. Going to school will suck all of it out him, don’t you think?” and her reply…”Ya, probably”. To which I then spent the next 10 minutes explaining to her that obviously that would NOT happen. I’m a backwards kind of girl.

Except when traveling, because I tend to get carsick.

I remember my high school guidance counselor looking me dead in the eye….”sweetheart, you just aren’t college material” I laughed awkwardly, because what else could my 17-year-old self do? I waited for the punchline. When he started talking about beauty school and learning a vocation, I stopped laughing. He wasn’t joking. I walked out of his small, cramped office boiling hot and in tears.

He predicted my ACT score wouldn’t be high enough, but it was. I never pretended to be a serious, scholarly student, and looking back, I’m sure I fit nicely into the stereotype of ditzy blonde. (My sincere shock in geography class at learning about Australia being its own continent and everything went a long way to perpetuate this image)

I didn’t give off the air of valedictorian. Not even close. But deciding to go to college was a good decision for me.  I’ve told this story a few times, and I always get cries of outrage from my listener. I used to join in, but I don’t anymore, because even though I would be upset if my child were told this from a trusted authority figure, I’ve come to see what the “you aren’t college material” sentence did for me.

I double majored in Elementary Education and Early Childhood. I graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Iowa State University. I DID it. And those words were always kept close to me, and I pulled them out often….to examine them, kinda like you would if you saw a dead animal on the side of the road. Ewwww! What’s that? Yuck.  And it was always followed by, whew! so glad I got a chance to prove that prediction wrong.

Because, truly, whether you go to college, or you don’t…no one deserves to hear that you shouldn’t even try.

What made me think of all this? I’ve been told there’s no way I can make money blogging. I might as well just give up that little dream NOW.

I marvelled at what this does to me. It makes me recall all the times I’ve made stuff happen, mostly because I was told I couldn’t. I could have gotten mad, and put ex lax in the naysayers coffee….but instead, I smiled like a Cheshire cat. Oh really? I can’t make money blogging? I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but by golly….I’ll figure it out.

As long as it has nothing to do with Algebra, I’ll figure it out.

Mr. Know it all by Kelly Clarkson

34 thoughts on “You don’t know a thing about me

  1. And when you figure it out, dear Lis, I’m all ears!

    Interesting what you say about the nay-saying. As an only parent, I was always very consistent about accentuate the positive and ignore the negative…and my kid still grew up with all kinds of insecurities! On the plus side, as she’s figuring things out for herself, she knows I’m not the one to please and she’s finding inspiration within herself…something went right! 😉 xoxoM

  2. I have to admit the story about your guidance counselor telling you that still boils me! I am proud of you for proving him wrong! Thanks for being such a positive teacher- those preschoolers are blessed! Missy

  3. Not everyone is going to win a blue ribbon or be the best at everything and I’m not a parent so I of course don’t know what’s best or what isn’t. Sometimes those failures can lead to huge successes and sometimes those people who say you can’t make you say to yourself, I WILL, I AM. As you did, Lis. I loved your last line — hysterical — and I’m right there with you on that. I hated ALGEBRA, GEOMETRY and I’m still very, very geographically challenged. I freaking ADORE your honesty. Seems to me THAT goes a long way toward parenting. xxoo.


    • Dear Brig,
      Thanks so much.
      I agree. There isn’t ONE way of parenting, or dealing with kids. Part of what I want mine to learn, is what works for THEM. Ultimately, each of us has to find what motivates us.
      Thanks for your always kind words.
      Love, Lis

    • Dear Jenni,
      Not at all!!! hahahaha!!!!
      I actually love kind and encouraging words, I probably went a little too overboard trying to prove my point that the opposite seems to have a good effect, too.
      I expect this making money thing will take quite a while, and I’m ok with that!!!
      Love, Lis

  4. You certainly will figure it out Lisa! Sometimes the biggest problem is figuring out what you want… once this has been sorted the “how” is usually more achievable 🙂

    • Dear Pj,
      You are SO SMART.
      I just know, my friend Jen has completely inspired me. She blogs, paints…gets to make money living out the passion she has for life.
      I’m keeping that picture tucked close to my heart.
      Love, Lis

  5. Great blog, Lis. I know a number of people who have done remarkable things precisely because they were told they couldn’t do it. Perhaps there’s a clue to human motivation there — though it may not work for everyone. It obviously worked for you. And you are right: telling kids they are great when they haven’t done anything is a lie. They know it, and it doesn’t work. But positive encouragement is key. When I coached tennis my rule was taken from John Wooden: tell them how great they are when they do something well, When they screw up keep quiet and encourage them to try again and when they succeed tell them again how great they are. Build self-confidence with honest, positive reinforcement.

  6. I love your writing – your style, your topics, your storytelling. Whether you make any money at this blogging is moot. You are relevant to many. Keep on keepin on. Just an Old Fart’s opinion. Those Hawkeyes were lucky to have you. BTG

    • Dear BT,
      You are one of those kind souls that sprinkles happyness wherever they go.
      Thank you so much!!!
      And,…it was Iowa STATE….so we were the cyclones. The Hawkeyes are our mortal enemies.
      Love, Lis

      • Whoops on the Hawkeyes. I was so proud to have remembered something and I got the wrong one. Well, let me rewind – those Cyclones were lucky to have you. And, so would have the Hawkeyes, if you chose to go there. Have a grand weekend. Red-faced BTG

  7. Thank you for sharing your story about how you were inspired to go to college (we call is Uni short for University in Australia) – I’ve only just started my blog & my 2nd post was of a similar memory, I’m also doing a bachelor in Education Early Childhood. I love hearing other people’s experiences, they inspire me! And I have no doubt you’ll find a way to make this a paying gig – or would you prefer me to say Give up now, you’ll never do it! Lol 😉

    • Dear Slice, O thank you!!! And that’s awesome!!
      And, seriously, it really depends on the day. Somedays I need encouragement….others I seem to need a negative force.
      I am totally wacky.
      Nice to meet you!! Thanks for coming over! I’ll be sure to head over to yours!
      Love, LIs

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