It’s Called Cheating

When you don’t know the answers to the test questions and you ask the person next to you, that’s cheating.

When you copy the answer off the people sitting next to you, that’s cheating.

When you text a classmate and ask them the answer that’s called cheating.

When I tell you it’s not ok to copy or get the answers from another and you tell me that you didn’t do that, that’s lying and cheating.

In todays, public high school classroom, cheating is very common.  Many teachers have learned not to see it because not seeing it makes their lives easier.  They don’t have to make a phone call or explain to a parent why a test grade is a “0” and have the parent insist their child doesn’t cheat.   We humans all believe what we want to believe for good reason or at least we think it’s a good reason.  Protecting one’s job, keeping one’s sanity, are good reasons to avoid acknowledging what is happening around us.

I wish I didn’t see so many students resorting to old-fashioned cheating sometimes with new technology, but I’m a witness.  Children often cheat.  People cheat.  Lying about it or not seeing it doesn’t change what it is.

After a day of witnessing rampant cheating, I confront my son and ask him,

“Have you cheated on a test?”

He hesitates.  I prepare for the answer I know will follow.  I know he is going to say, “yes.”

He knows I am full of righteousness and he knows better than to lie.  “I did last year, all the time. . .”

The pause and the silence tell me that if he cheats this year, he is not eager to admit it.  I know it’s possible.

I tell him,   “If you don’t know the answers and get an “F”, that is an honest “F”.  It’s the grade I prefer.  Cheating is wrong.  I don’t want you to do it.  You are cheating yourself when you resort to that method of getting by.  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s a temporary fix for ignorance.  It’s a cheap fix.  Do your own work.  Rely on yourself.  It’s ok not to know everything.  It’s never ok to cheat.

I remind myself that at least he didn’t attempt to deny it or toss out a bald-faced lie.

Boldly announcing this to the world may not set well with everyone.  I’m ok with that.  I’m actually a little peeved that cheating is so common and there are so few consequences.  What are we really teaching our children?

Enemy Within

After making a committment to write more, I found a lot of ways to avoid doing so.  This morning, everyone is still asleep, the house is quiet and my time is my own.  Instead of sitting down at the computer with a nice hot cup of coffee and a head full of ideas, I putter.  I move the clutter from point A to point B.  I start a load of laundry.  I put last night’s clean dishes away.  I think about the menu for next week.

I am keenly aware of the fact that I am my own worst enemy.  How other people get in their own way is often painfully obvious to me but being able to clearly see that I’m getting in my own way has been more of a challenge, until recently.  A smarter me has been working overtime.   The enemy within has made herself known.  Instead of fighting her, I wish her well as a smarter me takes over.  Smarter me knows that:

Everything begins and ends in our thoughts and perceptions.

For example:  Near morning, I awake and think it’s Friday.

My mind says, “I’ve got a weekend to look forward to.”

Then, I realize that it’s Sunday morning.

Moaning inside my head, the feeling changes.  “Darn it, half the weekend is gone!”

Fortunately, the newer, smarter me says, “Wait just a minute, young lady.  (Smart me knows how to talk to not-as-smart me.)  You have this day, this wonderful, beautiful day.  It is pure gift.  You never know what you’re going to find in it but whatever it is, you can handle it.  Get up, you have things to do, people to meet, a world to appreciate and you have gifts to give, things to share that are uniquely yours.  Today is a great day.  You, smart you, and God, we’ve all got this.  You’re going to be just fine.   It’s going to be a great day.”

And, so it is.  The enemy within and I are learning how to become friends.  It is a beautiful day.

The Write Way

After years of denial and avoidance, I finally have to admit to myself that I am a writer.  All the rest of the things I am, some of them good and some not so good are secondary to this.  Words arch and loop in my head in graceful swirls or jolt across the screen of my mind as frightening shapes casting cold shadows.  Being a writer is part of who I am.  It is how I’m wired.

It doesn’t matter if I ever publish or earn a dime.  I’m still a writer.

It’s time to act like one.

So, to this end,  I will write more.

I will make time to write.

I will take a writing class.

I will seek out others like myself.

I will post more entries on my blog. (They will be shorter and hopefully sweeter.)

I will get out of my own way.  I will write.

Everything has been too hard because I was afraid to be myself.  It’s time to do things differently.  It’s time to write myself home.

Happy Birthday, My Sweet Constellation

Today, my daughter is 17.  People told me that the time would fly by.  It has.

She was a beautiful, yet colicky baby.  The first 3 months were the hardest.  On my refrigerator I taped a big calendar.  Each morning I would cross off the previous day with a giant ‘X’.   As an exhausted new mom, surviving each day was one of my chief objectives but even then I felt a tinge of regret that I wasn’t totally embracing the joy that was now part of my life.

As I remember those days, I can smell that fresh new baby smell.  I can feel the soft, gentle, warmth of her tiny little body all swaddled in the perfect bundle that I held in my arms.

This tiny person changed everything.  She challenged.  She pushed.  She made me cry with frustration and worry.  She broke me time and time again in those first few months.  She taught me about love.  She made me a mom and she opened the door for her brother who followed 25 months later.  If I could, I’d give birth to them all over again.

I remember watching my toddler daughter at mom’s group.  As the other children competed for toys, or food, or a companion, my daughter was an observer.  Her face a zen-like mask of concentration, she would wait until just the right moment and move in to gain whatever had been the hotly contested prize just moments before.  She still approaches life that way.  I am so grateful.

Then, there was the first day of kindergarten.  As the other children cried or ran around the classroom, our daughter looked around the room, read the names on all the desks until she found her own.  (She learned to read at 4 without any assistance from us.)  She sat down, her back straight, her hands clasped on top of the desk.  Her face was eager for instructions.    My husband ushered me out of the room so I could indulge in a few tears.  She was ready.  There, in that morass of chaos and tears, my constellation, the center of my universe, sat calm, cool and collected.  I was so proud of her.  I am so proud of her.

At 17, she is the person I hope to be when I grow up.  She is one of the nicest people I have ever known.  She is patient and kind.  She is naturally positive and accepting.  She is a delight, my shopping buddy, my sweet honey bunny.

Guess, how much I love her!

I love her to the moon and back.

Happy Birthday, my sweet constellation.  You were and you are the best daughter I could ever have.  You bless me with your life and your love.  I am forever grateful for the wonderful gift you gave me on your birthday,  YOU!


I am the person behind the words printed here. I write because my heart will not allow me the option of NOT writing. It has taken me half a life time to discover this basic truth, but now that I have, writing is as natural as breathing. This is where my breath takes the form of words.


I am reading

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
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