Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘parenting

Temporary Ripple

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There has been a stressful ripple in the fabric of normalcy for our family recently. Out of respect for the privacy of all involved, I am choosing to be purposely vague, but I would like to provide some context that was otherwise missing from my narrations of late.

There is good news in that, other than some residual post traumatic stress that will take time to process, everyone involved is okay, and everyone impacted is on a path of recovery from a powerful dose of hyper-concern.

Yesterday morning, with Cyndie home from Florida, our children gathered at our house for much-needed hugs and a large dose of comfort-food for a brunch.

Trauma has absolutely no respect for time and place, and it does a person no good to live in a state of constant alert for potential threats, so the sudden unexpected rise of calamity is, well… traumatizing. Compounded in this case because the incident grew out of a well-intentioned effort to offer support for a friend in need.

I guess this falls under the adage of no good deed going unpunished.

One thing that our recent experience has reminded me of is this: We can’t always know, in fact, usually don’t know, what people around us have lived through. That person next to you on the plane may have just been to the emergency room before boarding. Or a police station. Or both.

Last week, on my way to work, I approached a sudden slowing of traffic and soon discovered a crash had just occurred. As my mind processed the visual while rolling past, it struck me that the final location and resulting damage to the van indicated it likely rolled before landing back on its wheels. There were still people inside, looking to be in shock.

I was traumatized remotely. One of my first reactions, upon arriving at work, was to tell someone about what I had seen. Talking helps to process the intense emotions of trauma.

At the same time, telling strangers of our personal traumas is not a reasonable practice. Therefore, it stands to reason that we shouldn’t expect that others are freely telling us of theirs.

We can all hope that everyone around us is always having a safe and healthy day, but don’t take for granted the possibility that things might be otherwise. Someone you find yourself interacting with may be using precious effort to maintain a veneer of normal, despite riding an unspoken residual wave of some uninvited drama.

Hope for the best, but be prepared for the alternatives. Always give people space to have unseen reasons for the way they behave.

Sending love in advance to others around us is a pretty safe balm for what might ail a person.

Thank you to all who have offered your love and support to contain this temporary ripple for our family. It is helping to guide us all back to our preferred calm tranquility.

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Written by johnwhays

April 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

Balding Wyandotte

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I don’t really know what a normal day is for raising chickens. Pretty much just like all other normal days, I guess. There’s always something of interest readily available to the observant caretaker. I’ve noticed we aren’t getting very many eggs, now that the short days of winter are upon us.

Yesterday was extremely sunny and mild, as winter days go, and our chickens were soaking up the warmth under the barn overhang.

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Beyond the two Buff Orpingtons who seem to have a problem keeping their butts clean, the most notable anomaly we are witnessing is the balding of one Golden Laced Wyandotte. I zoomed in on a healthy looking hen on the left, below, for comparison to our featherless-headed chicken of interest on the right.

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If this is one of those teenage phases where she is trying a different hair style from the rest of the crowd, we get it. Beyond the one photo I’ve seen of a young Cyndie with a permed afro, and my early attempts to get my hair to grow long and straight against its natural tendency to curl, we also parented two children through experimentations with very creative, and far from subtle, color changes.

Our Wyandotte looks like one tough bird.

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In all seriousness, we don’t believe she picked this style by choice, so she is under observation for clues as to what is occurring with her.

There haven’t been any signs of targeted aggression from the rest of the group, and we haven’t noticed any other evidence of ill-health that might be contributing to the loss of head feathers, so the cause is undiagnosed at this point.

For now, we are standing by and relying on the universal cure-all of the passage of time with hope it will bring a return of normalcy for her.

It would be nice if it could happen soon. Winter officially arrives on Friday, and those feathers will come in handy when the next inevitable cold snap arrives for a visit.

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Written by johnwhays

December 16, 2018 at 9:36 am

Momentum

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Words on Images

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Brilliant Chickens

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Our chicks are growing up almost as fast as the days of the week that fly by in a blink. Ever since that first day when Cyndie taught them how to find a drink of water in our brooder, they have piled on one new accomplishment after another. Sometimes it is a result of them copying each other, and sometimes it is through our gentle instruction.

In order to raise them to be comfortable with our presence and willing to have us handle them, we spent some extended time picking them up and whispering sweet nothings in their direction yesterday. Cyndie spent much of that visit searching for unique markings that will help identify individuals for naming purposes.

I think we should get to know their personalities better, so they can show us what names they deserve. My idea for using favorite chicken recipes was summarily denied, but I still may succeed in getting one of the yellow ones named Parmesan.

We think that the classical music we have on all night long for them is working well to feed their rapidly growing brains with intricacies and emotional depth. They have demonstrated such quick ability to grasp everything we introduce that we are confident we have the makings of brilliance in this flock.

It’s almost like they knew to perch on that stick I put in the brooder before I even finished setting it in place. Now I am working on finding just the right gnarly branches from our brush piles that I can use to carve little chess pieces. With 10 chicks, I’m debating with myself over the need for more than one board. They obviously learn well enough by observing each other, I think they can get the game down by watching a match played by their brood-mates.

Cyndie is busy creating flash cards with images of ticks, flies, and bugs, as well as piles of manure to be scratched apart in a “green means go” motif. The back sides will have a red theme and include threats like the hawks and eagles overhead, fox, raccoon, coyote, the neighbor’s dogs, and yes, even Delilah.

Our chickens are going to be brilliant.

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Written by johnwhays

April 1, 2017 at 9:09 am

Teach or Do?

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Have you noticed a trend? There is a commercial where automobiles being driven by teens are actually being carried by groups of parents to keep them safe. The groups of adults hold the car up in the air and lift it over another car to avoid a collision. In another shot, the adults are bringing a car to a stop at a railroad crossing. If I recall correctly, the ad is for an insurance company and they make reference to having cameras in the car so parents can see how their children are behaving as drivers on their own. How ‘on their own’ is that? The next thing you know, parents will ‘helicopter’ over kids that have left home to be in college. Of course, that is exactly what some parents are doing.

In a way, it seems logical to look at something tragic that happened and react with a plan to prevent the possibility for that tragedy to ever happen again. But I think it always runs a risk of punishment not fitting the crime. It is very sad that children die. I ask, is it logical that we should devise a way to live that will prevent any childhood death, or near-death and the resulting disabilities? I think it is an over-reaction. At what point do we actually become the problem we want to solve? We want our kids safe, but if we get so busy over-stepping our bounds to protect by doing for them, we rob them of the actual, valuable lessons that teach them to make responsible, intelligent decisions that lead to outcomes ultimately desired.

It makes sense to control the urge to over-protect our children and instead, teach them the lessons to discern the right course of action in unexpected situations. Instill confidence in their abilities to best face life’s risks. Risks not dissimilar to the ones that we successfully survived to ultimately become their parents.

Life is lived, it is not controlled.

Written by johnwhays

December 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

Posted in Chronicle

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