Y’all have probably wondered: “For someone who has so much to say… Jasmine seems to be very quiet lately.”
I’ve been buried in this little thing called the “SoFabCon“. Collective Bias hired me to plan their first conference. I’ve been quietly working on it since October. IT is going to be AWWWWESOME.
AWESOME also means that I have been dedicating the bulk of my time to the planning and execution.
I’ve been BUSY, people!
But I will be back. After May, I’ll launch into some more writing contracts which means words. words. words.
In the meantime….
There are days were I feel like this:
What in the HELL was I thinking?!
Don’t forget about me. I’ll be back! Make sure to enter your email to get my updates delivered to your inbox.
My oldest child is on his way to wrapping up his first year of kindergarten. When we registered him for school all of our friends with older children told us to be prepared for the heartbreak. “You baby will never be the same,” they’d say knowingly. I braced myself for tears and anxiety and all the things that come with realizing your child is making the first steps into a journey that leads to moving farther and farther away from being a baby. When Isaiah entered kindergarten on that first day, I sniffled a bit but I was mostly excited for him. He loves school. He loves to socialize and he is ferociously independent.
Toward the middle of the school year, though, we began to see Isaiah exhibit anxiety about school. He’d beg me not to go. When homework was sent home he fought us. He’d scream and get annoyed and exclaim, “I KNOW HOW TO TRACE THESE LETTERS MOM!” We decided that we wouldn’t do the homework. The kind of battles that had to be waged in order to get it done weren’t worth it. He did know how to trace the letters, and I wasn’t going to have a two hour stand off over it. Isaiah still gets off the bus and asks to be switched to a different classroom. He talks about a particular child who bullies him. He says the other little boys call him “gay” because he likes the colors purple and pink. One day he told me he hated black people. I asked him where he heard people say that and he named off several of his friends who he reported that, “they don’t like black people either.” When I explained to him he was Black, of African American heritage, he was upset and asked me if his friends would know. He cries and tells me his stomach hurts and he doesn’t want to go to school. Once I get him pass the point of anxiety and we get him to the doors of the school he seems okay. When he arrives home he’ll report he had a great time, but then still ask to change schools.
I adored school. It was my safe place. The women and men who taught me inspired me and I excelled. I had really high hopes for Isaiah’s school experiences. It hurts my heart that my five year old has already had such a negative experience. I ask my friends about their experience and they have very little input. It is hard for them to empathize because they have Caucasian child who aren’t learn to form their identity in a minority status. I am slowly beginning to realize that Siloam Springs school systems may not be able to provide the kind of diverse cultural experience my child will need. We had an amazing experience with the Northside Koala Pre-K program. Our teachers Mrs. Sherry and Mrs. Standifer went above and beyond to accommodate our families cultural differences and Isaiah flourished.
So when my friends were preparing me for what life is like with a school age child, they never mentioned this. There isn’t a handbook to help you decide what is the best option for your child’s school experience needs, is there? I want Isaiah to learn to be resilient, but I also want his first few school years to be positive years to build a successful school career on. I know teachers have rough jobs. I am not insinuating that they aren’t qualified educators, I am simply wrestling with the reality this school year was heartbreaking, but not for the reasons I thought.
Have you ever had something that wasn’t a fit for you and your child in their school experiences? How did you deal with it? What do you do when there is something that needs to be a special consideration in your child’s education? How do you make it work?
This content originally appeared in the Siloam Springs Herald Leader
I landed at John Brown University by happenstance. My first choice didn’t work out because I needed to stay closer to home than New York allowed. I asked my youth leaders if they had an idea on quality Christian schools. Larry and Donna Moore recommended JBU, and raved about their son’s experience. I logged onto the internet, emailed an admissions counselor for a campus tour and the rest is history.
When I arrived at JBU I was in a very interesting transition space in my life. I was heavily involved in my local church and a Christian university education was valuable to me. The thing was that when I arrived at JBU I found myself out of place. My sister and I worked full time jobs and our rough backgrounds made it hard to fit in with a lot of the conservative and homeschooled kids. I began to feel as though I wasn’t the “right kind of Christian” for John Brown University. My liberal ideology and support of my LGBTQ friends and family made it hard for me to meld into the culture. I started to feel isolated, jaded about the goodness of “Christian Community”, and mistrusting of the “JBU type.”
Because I arrived at JBU during a time that I was wrestling with identity, it was easy to assign all my angst on JBU as a global entity. If I struggled with feeling alone it was because I wasn’t “JBU enough”. I am not the only one who has had an experience like this. I’ve had the chance to talk to multiple alumni who report having the same experience. When they found themselves in the same places they felt a desire to reject John Brown University along with all the other cookie cutter Christian identities they’d held dear. I’ve struggled not to be embarrassed to admit that I am a graduate of JBU when some of my first launch into discussions about how closed minded people who attend JBU are.
JBU has become a place I, sometimes, love to hate. If I am honest, though, and we are all honest John Brown University has held the mantel of hope for so many of us. Regardless of whatever problems JBU has and what JBU needs to change, the university does this right: JBU is filled with the most gracious and kind people.
When my brother died Andre Broquard showed up at my brother’s service with my RA. Jackie Wright and Becky Lambert bought me gifts during my first pregnancy. I struggled with how to fit in the undergraduate population while being pregnant and married and Holly Allen sat with me for hours at a time encouraging my journey. Melanie Kennedy and Julie McGarrah cheered me on as I raised a toddler and finished up my requirements for graduation. Frannie O’Neal, Edelyn and Tim in the bookstore, Carla Swearingen, Dave Johnson, Carol Maines, Jennifer Pastoor, Rick Froman… all these people loved me and cheered on my success.
It is true that JBU’s campus holds some bigoted and close minded ideals. It is true that people from diverse backgrounds can feel marginalized on the campus and struggle to fit in. What else is also true is that the community at John Brown University is deeply compassionate. The people I have met on this campus wrestle with the tough questions and love fiercely. I am moving pass the period of my life where I need scapegoats. My angst at JBU was and is more about my feelings of insecurity than anything else. If we focus on the broken parts of something we may be too distracted to see the most amazing parts of something. For me, the most amazing parts were the people who invested in me and forever changed my world. I owe them a debt of gratitude. I am thankful to all of you. The future success of my children will be because you helped their mother become a better version of herself. The people I help in my life will be because I was helped by each and every one of you. Your love has been a gift to me and will be the legacy I remember of John Brown University.
ANNOUNCEMENT: You guys! Things have been crazy around this here blog! There was a corrupted file something or other and I lost a lot of my scheduled posts. *sniff* All that hard work down the tube. So I am scrambling to try and get all my content out. Please bear with me as I try to piece things back together.
I love all things Harry Potter! The Walton Art Center is giving away two tickets to Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience by Dan and Jeff. In honor of the show and our giveaway I gathered up all my favorite Harry Potter themed funnies! (You can click on the image to go to the site of the meme)
Enter to win two tickets in the Rafflecopter below and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway