Zappy Struggles

For the  past two days I’ve been thinking about what I should share with you all this week. Then, as I reflected on our current series at church it hit me. Hello, #struggles.

I think all parents can agree that we each face challenges and struggles through our kids lives, there are plenty of highs and lows. If you aren’t, e-mail me your secrets. But for the rest of us we jump through some hoops, cry some tears, dance the victory dance at the end, and sometimes do the insanity two or three times because…I don’t know…the first one was cute enough.

I decided I am going to share a story that I can laugh at NOW. At the time of the event I was just trying to not cry the “I’ve failed as a parent cry”. Which by the way, I’ve cried that particular cry A LOT.

Noah has about a million nicknames. Some of them he has had since birth or even before. Zack on the other hand only has a few despite Jim’s considerable attempts at attaching a nickname to him. The one though that has stuck and will forever be his nickname is Zappy, and if you are really loved you can call him Zappy-poo (only his cousin Kylie gets away with this one consistently).

So, how did he get the name Zappy? Picture it: Ocala, 2010. (I grew up watching the Golden Girls, what do you want from me?!) Zack was in the 5th at an itty bitty school. Upon being done with their school work he and another boy were playing with a metal chain that Zack had found out on a walk a few days before. A girl. Of course a girl, right? She suggests to these two boys that they should each take an end of the chain and at the same time put it in the socket.

Sparks flew. Power blew. Kids were burnt. And I got a phone call…

Phone rings. It’s the school.

Me: Hello?

Woman: Mrs. Scholes, this is the principal at your son’s school and I have Zackaree in the office with me.

Me: Zack? You sure? (In my defense Noah is my stinker and honestly more hotheaded.)

Principal: Yes, Zack.

Me: The older one? (He had literally never been to the office before, ever).

Principal: Yes, ma’am. As I was saying Zack is here because he and another boy used a metal chain and caused a small fire and some injuries.

Zack got on the phone and was hysterically crying, so what do I do? I called Jim 3 way and made Zack tell his Dad what happened. No way was he getting off the phone without telling Jim.

In hindsight to this conversation I should maybe again apologize to my youngest for assuming he was the arsonist. Lesson learned not to assume which kid it might be. It is fair to say though that Noah has only ever been to the office once and that was for self defense.

Zack and the other boy got suspended for a day and he spent the day writing the dictionary with the promise that if anything like this ever happened again I’d keep the notebook so he could continue his diligent work.

After school on that fateful day we of course told Noah what happened and I asked him if he would ever do anything like that. And in true Noah wit he says “Mama, I am not that stupid.”

In the days that followed I cried and apologized to his teacher who told me I was being ridiculous and to stop. While I had no problem placing the blame in the appropriate place I also felt like I had somehow failed him, I hadn’t though. So I learned no matter how many times you tell them not to stick things in a socket they may still anyway.

Whats my point? Chin up, people. Struggles happen and often we have to roll with them, but eventually you too will learn to laugh.



Parenting Tips and Tricks

2016 has been a year of ups and downs as parents. We’ve had some amazing highs and some excruciating lows but still we are standing next to our people pushing them on.

Zackaree will be 17 in 16 days and I’ve been thinking about all those parenting tips that I received when pregnant with him. Y’all, how come no one tells you that hair dye is a parenting necessity? How come no one reminds you that though you may feel like you are doing everything wrong you aren’t.

Thank God for people that keep you from climbing in a hole and never emerging again.

So in the spirit of transparency and helpfulness here is my list of things I wish someone had told me:

  1. You will live and die with your kid’s good and bad days. And, it’s okay. You are not over-anything but you are a loving parent. You care. You want the best for them, but on the bad days let them fix them or they’ll never be able to. Listen to them, share wisdom, and then send them back into the world to do better.
  2. Your kid’s mistakes are not yours. You didn’t fail and neither did they. They are learning, show them how to get up and try again.
  3. You will find places to hide from your kids and that’s okay. If they are safely inside the house and away from anything harmful it is 100% acceptable to hide in the bathroom for a time-out.
  4. The teenage years fly by faster than the infant months do. Hold on and keep your eyes open. 17, he’ll be 17…I can’t even. Guys, send sympathy cards to this Mama that will soon have to launch her oldest into the world.
  5. Your kid(s) will try and tell you they don’t care what you think but in truth they care what you think the most. This may hurt but remember that they are protecting their hearts from the possibility of letting you down.
  6. The hardest days that feel impossible will one day be looked back on as a lesson well learned and you’ll be grateful for it. Be grateful for the bad days, they hold the keys to strength.
  7. The African Proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” is almost an understatement, it takes more than just the village. In a world of social media and fast paced life your village will most likely be several villages. Embrace your village. Say “thank you” a lot. Be aware that while others are pouring into your children that you too are pouring into other people’s kids. It’s not just about your village but theirs as well because your kid and their kid will eventually take on a village of their own.
  8. Sweet parent, don’t be their friend. They’ll make their own. Be a parent. Say no. Hold firm to what you say. If you tell your child that they cannot go out with friends if “x” isn’t done, and it doesn’t get done, don’t cave. They won’t die. They will live on to see another day if they are told no. I promise. My kids are still alive and I have said no many, many times. I am that kind of mean and they are welcome.
  9. Encourage your kid to be who they are. You might not get their choice in music, clothes, girls (or boys), hobbies or anything else but think of it as an opportunity to show them again how big of a fan you are to them. Don’t criticize them but rather learn about what they care about. I don’t watch The Walking Dead I try but it’s just not for me (some of it I can handle without sound) But I am for my kids so after each episode I ask for a recap, I find memes based on the show, I find articles about the show…basically I show up in the best way I can. Jim’s way of showing up is he actually watches the show with sound.
  10. They will be nothing like you thought they would be, in reality they’ll  be better. They will exceed expectations. They will clear the high bar. But even if they fall short still be their biggest fan.
  11. A bonus: ice cream, cereal, or some other form of non traditional dinner food is perfectly fine by me on the days when you have no damns left to give. Yep, I said it. I gave everyone of us permission to not only have a less than amazing day but also to not serve a healthy and nutritionally balanced meal. But if you do give them ice cream for dinner, make sure I get the credit for being the amazing friend that suggested it. Remember, I’m in your village too.

It’s safe to say that there are about a million more things that I could add, but I won’t. I’d rather you do. What are things that you wish you had been told? If a new Mom or Dad was sitting right in front of you right now what is the best thing you can say about raising good humans?

An open letter to my “son”

Jim and I have two boys: Zack is 14 and Noah is 11. They are my biggest blessings, my beautiful things and greatest joys. I love having boys! Life is always an adventure around our house. With two sons comes many friends. Jim and I have somehow turned into the “adopted” parents for some. I love all these kids with my whole heart. So today is an open letter to my sons and the sons of my friends. 

Dear Son,

I know as you get older life in your head gets weirder, your perspective on things is getting skewed and it’s all confusing! I want you to know it’s okay. Even girls go through this stage, albeit a little differently, but the confusion is still there. There are some things I want you to know before you step over the threshold that you are so excited to skip across.

1.) Pray before, during and after you make significant decisions.

2.) Remember your actions have speakers attached and they say more than your mouth ever could.

3.) Your words reflect your true intentions so choose them wisely.

4.) I know you live in an extremely visual world, but that doesn’t mean you have to look at everything put in front of you, be intentional about where you eyes are.

5.) To be a man of integrity you must have friends that are men of integrity, choose your friends wisely.

6.) Never be afraid to ask the people around you to pray for you. It’s the most powerful gift anyone can ever give you.

7.) No matter what bad choice you make in your life you can be sure of two things: God still loves you and Jesus went to the Cross for you.

Remember you are loved and prayed for daily.

Grace and Peace,