Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My first e-mail yesterday afternoon:

Hi Mrs. ________,

I was just wondering if you saw the note I paper clipped in Ethan's planner today regarding the scissor incident.  It may have slipped out.

I was curious as to what he was doing that was inappropriate with his scissors.  Was he putting himself or others in danger?  This concerns me.  I am thinking it must have been something along these lines to have them taken away and have it so he can only use scissors with your permission at your desk.  I have never noticed him to ever exhibit aggressiveness, so if he is having a change like this in behavior, I certainly want to know.  Can you give me the exact details so I can react accordingly with him? 

I will be at the school tomorrow for my daughters Kindergarten assessment at 8:20 so if we need to discuss this further, please let me know.  I am available.

Thank you,

Laura Kowalski

Her response:

​No, I did not see your note in the planner. Sorry~I wish he would of brought it tom my attention.   I was hoping that Ethan would have explained to you what he was doing.  Mrs. ____ had told me after switch time on Fri. that he was using the scissors on his arm.  She had asked him not to do that.  Another student in the class had alerted her to this.  Then later that day he was taking them and pretending to cut off his fingers.  Again, his neighbor next to him had alerted me to this.  I asked him to show me what he was doing and he showed me exactly what she had said.  He added he was not trying to cut them though.  Since it had already been addressed in the other room I told him it would be best to keep them on my desk. He did get mad at the classmate for telling me but I told him she did the right thing by letting me know.
Mrs. _____

My response:


Thank ycou for quickly responding!  I appreciate it.

I had attached the note written on stationary paper with a paper clip.  It likely just fell off somewhere in his backpack or locker.  

I did ask Ethan what happened with the scissors prior to writing you.  He showed me motions he did on his hands, but nothing made me think it was in attempts to harm himself.  I simply wanted your side, as your note requested I discuss it with him and I wasn't sure exactly what there was to discuss.  I believe that when an issue occurs at school and the teacher handles it, it is redundant to discuss the same thing at home.  Now that I know the specifics and your concerns, we discussed the importance of not cutting our fingers or arms off and I do believe he has a firm understanding of how important these body parts are.  I do not think there will be any further amputation attempts.

Thank you for returning his scissors as well.  I respect your decision to remove them if you feel it could cause harm.  The note gave me the impression you were keeping them and he would not be getting them back, so I am glad you reconsidered.  

If you will notice in his planner from yesterday, he wrote his spelling words in the "things to study"column and next to certain words he wrote, "like me."  I discussed this with him as well and discovered these are not emotions he feels at home but instead at school.  This really saddens and disappoints me.  He was quite specific about why he felt that way at school.  Please discuss.

Laura Kowalski

Saturday, January 18, 2014

So I de-activated my Facebook account for all of 24 hours.  It is now re-activated, but not because I dearly missed it.  In fact, it felt amazing during those 24 hours I was "off the grid."  I turned it back on because a family crisis was occurring, and I realized this was one of the biggest ways we communicate, and I also had some things I was in the middle of taking care of, and all of the information I needed was buried in my Facebook messages.  All this means to me is when I re-de-activate (yes, I just created a new word) I need to plan it a little better and make sure there is no unfinished business to take care of. 

I never intended for it to be a permanent "fall off the grid" experience, and I still don't.  I just want a break of having a life that is so "out there."  I am ironically reading a book right now called Intentional Parenting, and the chapter I read AFTER I decided to de-activate touched on Facebook and how relationships are losing their authenticity.  I agree with this whole-heartedly.  Gone are the days where people met face-to-face to catch up and see those vacation photos (just log in from the comfort of your own home with zero human interaction and look at the vacation photos of HUNDREDS of people!  Easy-peasy.  I am a particularly active Facebooker.  I literally take hundreds of photos of my kids, for my own personal enjoyment, and iPhones make it so easy to share them instantly, so I do.  I know my close friends and family genuinely enjoy them, but they become accessible to people I hardly know.  That makes me a little uncomfortable when I really think about it, and I will be honest, when I post them, I'm not thinking about it.

We also open ourselves up to criticism.  My guard is down when I post, and people put their guards down when they comment.  It's all the beauty of being behind a screen.  You are safe.  Until you read words that aren't necessarily kind.  Then it's a whole new ballgame.  Tones are impossible to read and feelings get hurt, causing possibly unnecessary tension in relationships.  Is it really worth it?  I don't think it is.

Now when I say this, I say it from my perspective, but I know it's not just me.  It's everyone.  I have been on both the giving and receiving end of having things misconstrued via typing something.  I have also commented or criticized things when no one asked for my opinion... I just ever-so-unkindly gave it.  And that is not something that rests easy with me.  That is not who I am.  But again:  guard goes down, safety is felt from being in the comfort of my own home and not face-to face.  Authenticity is gone.  I don't ever want to lose my authentic self.  Ever.

And lastly, I lose valuable time staring blankly at a screen.  Valuable time that could be spent with my family (face to face!) or doing things around the house.  Reading a good book.  Going for a walk.  Visiting a museum or visiting a friend.  Those kinds of things fill your heart with a sense of goodness.  Nothing good comes out of staring at a computer or phone screen, for sometimes hours on end.  Your mind essentially shuts down and nothing gets accomplished other than the things I mentioned above.

In the meantime, I am going to tie up some lose ends and make sure people who rely on Facebook to contact me will know an alternative method.  I will wait until after my Aunt Carol's funeral, as family will be coming together over the course of the next few days and Facebook makes it easy to reach everyone fast.  But then I will refocus my time and energy in, to me, more positive ways and see how it goes.  My thought is that it will go very, very well.