Teacher's Pet

This post was prompted by a conversation I had this morning with my 5th grade son, Cameron. He’s training for Safety Patrol at his elementary school, and as we were waiting in the car for the doors to open, there were three girls waiting to go in, and I asked him if any of his friends were in the next session with him, or if it was mostly girls. A seemingly innocent question. His answer though, broke my heart. He said, “It’s mostly girls. Their all teacher’s pets.”

Now, if this had been the first time I’d heard that statement from him, I would have brushed it off. However, over the past few years, Cameron, his 7th grade brother Bromley, and a number of their friends, have expressed the same sentiment, that girls are treated better than boys in elementary school.

You could assume it was a case of the grass is greener. But, the conversations I’ve had with my boys and their friends have been very consistent. They see girls being reprimanded less than the boys, getting chosen for special jobs more than the boys, and being told to “be quiet” less than the boys.

I imagine it’s MUCH easier, on the whole, to teach girls. I was one of those compliant elementary school girls who always got picked by the teacher to help, was always rewarded for good behavior, always got the choice “jobs.” So, I get it. However, as the mom of two boys, it breaks my heart to hear them speak of how they are treated. They are NOT angels, I know. They are boys. Full of vim and vigor. But, I URGE teachers to consider how they are talking to the boys, reacting to they’re behavior, and comparing them to the girls.

The boys see it. They feel it. They deserve better.

The Mentality of the Busy Bee

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It’s no secret that we are a culture that loves to keep ourselves busy. Maybe a little too much.

It’s an idea that is consistently stressed and pressed upon us, that if you’re not constantly hard at work, you’re not looking hard enough for work to be done. With the mentality of the busy bee permeating so much of our culture – the all-encompassing idea that we have to always, always, always be doing – it’s little wonder that we find ourselves afraid to stop for just five minutes to take a breath, lest we be labeled as “lazy” and “underachiever” by peers and coworkers.

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Just Show Up

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Woody Allen is quoted as saying  80% of success is showing up. He was referring to people who wanted to accomplish something  such as write a novel, a screenplay, etc. His argument was, that if they actually did the thing, they would more than half way towards something good happening.


80% of success is showing up.

This statement doesn’t just apply to lofty goals, yet also to those small everyday successes. Just show up.

  • If I show up to the gym, I will do SOME exercise. 
  • If I show up to that after work networking event, I’m likely to meet at least ONE person beneficial to my career.
  • If I show up to the neighborhood barbecue, I might meet a neighbor that I had no idea buys whatever it is I sell.
  • If I show up to a new Bible study group or book club, I might meet a new acquaintance or even friend. (So hard to do in adulthood.)

Just show up. You never know what positive outcome might occur. You probably won’t regret doing it, but most likely you’ll regret NOT doing it.

A Five Step Formula for Practicing Impromptu Speaking

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Do you believe you can prepare for impromptu speaking? Off-the-cuff speaking opportunities present themselves to us every day in the form of job interviews, staff meetings, client interactions, etc.

As a member of Toastmasters International, I recently discovered their five step formula for learning how to perform better in whatever impromptu speaking situation might come your way.


A good response is dependent on an attentive attitude and careful listening can provide part of your response. If you agree, your reply will reflect your attention by reinforcing the other person’s words. If you disagree, you can tactfully amend or correct the original statement.

Be careful not to interject your own ideas before the other person has finished. Instead, focus on what is being said, rather than what YOU are going to say next. The advantages are:

  • People are more likely to respect and listen to your ideas when you listen to them
  • You’ll be able to incorporate some of what you’ve heard into your reply
  • You’ll improve your chances of commenting directly on what you’ve heard so you can give an on-target response


Pausing before you speak allows you to refresh your thoughts and formulate an answer. A pause can add drama, allow the audience to absorb your message, or give them the opportunity to respond to humor.


Repeating or confirming the question out loud provides you with a clearer idea of how to respond and will help you verify the topic in case you misunderstood the question.


Be enthusiastic but stay focused and on point. Don’t give in to the urge to analyze EVERY aspect of the topic.


Once you have said what you want to say, don’t belabor the point. Bring your comments to a close.

A Few Other Tips:

  • Be confident. Remind yourself that pausing is okay and restating the question will help you steady your response.
  • Be brief. It is easy to stray off topic and begin repeating statements, adding new points or, backtracking. Stick to your main points.
  • Be sincere. Trying to be inventive when you don’t know the answer to a question is risky. It is better that you admit if you don’t know how to respond.

Being able to respond spontaneously is an excellent mental habit to cultivate. It takes time and effort to develop. Practice the basics and you too will feel confident when those impromptu speaking opportunities present themselves.

Source: Toastmasters International

Embrace The Chalazae

Is there something in your life you continue to do simply because you’ve always done it that way?

Every time I crack an egg, I remove the white ropey substance attached to the yolk. Until recently, I had no idea what that suff was, but I’ve removed it all my life. And so has my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother.

Four generations of women have done something without even knowing WHY they were doing it. Last week, I decided to research what that substance was. Its called chalazae (kuh-LAY-zee). It anchors the yolk in place in the center of the egg white. It is not a beginning embryo.  Chalazae does not interfere with the cooking or beating of the egg and does not need to be removed. (Although some cooks like to strain them from stirred custard.)

Side note: the more prominent the chalazae, the fresher the egg.

Have I stopped this unnecessary step of removing the chalazae? Not entirely, but I’m working on it. It’s hard to break a 35-year-old habit.

Finish Your Opportunities

During the last Olympic Games, I heard an interview with the coach of the U.S. women’s soccer team. She said something that caught my attention. She said, the winner of the final game between Japan and the U.S., would be the team that “finished the most opportunities.”

That struck me as brilliant. Think about it…the winner would be the one who FINISHED the most opportunities. Not the one who TRIED for the most opportunities, but finished them.

It got me thinking about how many times I have been presented with an opportunity and either made a halfhearted attempt at it, or passed on it entirely. That simple statement gave me a renewed vigor to grab every opportunity I can and approach it with the attitude that I will see it through to the end. And, that I will do so with every ounce of my being.

How about you? What opportunities are you going finish?

Keeping Centered

One fundamental truth I firmly believe and practice daily is keeping God the center of my life. When I do that, I’m more calm, at peace, and balanced. The crazier my life gets, the more I need God at its center.

My life can get insane. I have two young boys, a full-time job, and a husband who has recently started a business. Aah!! Do I need God or what? There are days when I’m just not sure how I’m going to get it all accomplished.

However, when I focus on keeping God at the center of my life, I am:

More at peace
A better parent
A better wife
A better friend
A better daughter
A better employee
A better co-worker
A better boss
A better me

Without God, I am selfish in all of those things and at peace with none of them.

I can’t promise God will answer all your prayers, but I can promise that you will develop a sense of peace that you haven’t experienced before. It’s something you have to practice daily and stay focused on. Sure, I am a good, decent person without God. But, I am all that he’s designed me to be when I keep him at the center of my life.