My Ego Boost…..Or Was it??

“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment”
Thomas Carlyle

An eight year old made my day yesterday!   I am a private tutor and one of my students turns to me twenty minutes into a session and declares “You are a really great tutor, you are so good, I’m going to come here next year too” .

I was, of course, delighted about the compliment, who wouldn’t be?  But it was deeper than that.  I was so proud that I had taught this young boy  that there were different ways to learn the same thing and that HE was capable of learning.  He felt like he “got it” 

I see the face of discouragement and defeat in too many of the students who come to me for one-on-one assistance. My biggest challenge is making children with low self-esteem feel some measure of success.  Often, this doesn’t necessarily mean, doing exactly what classmates are doing, it means making progress and solving problems on their own.  Pushing for a child to meet their full potential is important but educators and parents need to be sure every child feels successful.  Nobody deserves to feel like a failure on a daily basis.


I’m happy this little guy said I was a great tutor, but I am much happier that he felt good about himself.

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”
Albert Einstein

As a parent and an educator, I always tried to look for opportunities to make my children (and students) feel a sense of accomplishment. I would give them chores or responsibilities around the house, trust them to pack their own backpack or dry the dishes. I would adjust the homework or allow some special aids to complete assignments. I always felt/hoped these little things would go a long way on the road to better self-esteem.


Oh My Sweet Butter Tarts

A few weeks ago I had a yearning for butter tarts. I have always loved butter tarts, ever since I made my first homemade ones in Junior Rangers in the wilderness of Northern Ontario. I don’t eat them often but for some strange reason, I just had an incredible craving. But given the fact that I am trying to be health conscious and butter tarts have about 350 calories packed within each fluffy crust, I resisted.

You might say that one butter tart now and then won’t hurt me, and you’re right. But if I made a batch of scrumptious butter tarts, even a tiny batch of 12, yours truly, is going to eat 10 of them. That is just the way it is. I AM A SUGAR ADDICT. There is no stopping at one.

So for a long time I held my craving at bay. I ate a few squares of chocolate daily, to feed the insatiable sugar monster within. But the thought of butter tarts continued to nag me.

I made these blueberry tarts when my daughter was home so she could help me eat them. (She doesn’t like butter tarts). No go, I ate a bunch of them, but that butter tart desire didn’t subside. Hmmmm

Yesterday, I couldn’t take it anymore. It seems the more you deprive yourself of something, the more you want it. So I baked butter tarts. Yeah!! The raisins, the pecans, the thick sweet syrupy sugar, it was all so worth it.

I’ve only eaten six so far. Just a minute……. make that seven. Oh well, when they’re gone, they’re gone.

What about you? What do you sometimes get a crazy craving for??

Daily Prompt: Transporter to the 100 Acre Farm

Daily Prompt: Transporter. Tell us about a smell, sound or piece of music that transports you back to childhood.

Fortunately, there are many things that transport me to my youth. We had a great life, living on a 100 acre farm in rural Ontario, with loving (and not too protective) parents and lots of siblings. The lax parenting style was important because it afforded us kids the opportunity to climb the roofs of barns, build our own tree forts and disappear for the entire day on our bikes. Those were the days of summer.

But I digress, back to the senses being transported.

Whenever I hear a Polka (which, admittedly, it not that often), it takes me back to my childhood living room, dancing with my dad. My dad was a busy man, always working around the property but on Saturday nights or Sundays he would dance the Polka with me. No doubt, the weekly Lawrence Welk episodes had a big influence on us !!

The smell of cooking grease, not for French Fries or Chicken, but a sweet fried aroma, takes me back to my mom’s homemade donuts. She would roll out the dough and press out the shapes with her donut cutter. I loved helping her and remember, so clearly, waiting for the first side to be browned and then flipping them to cook the other side. That first donut hole, was popped in my mouth the second it was just cool enough not to burn my tongue.

Whenever I see Basic Lego blocks (a rare find these days), I am transported back to my old living room floor. It seems like every Sunday us kids would dump the Lego bucket onto the floor and get busy as town engineers. We would build an entire community, complete with house-filled subdivisions, Police station, stores and vehicles that we drove around for the rest of the day. We mildly argued over the roof tiles or particular wheels, but basically we played amicably for hours and hours. Close to supper, we disassembled it all, for next Sunday, we would begin again.

Growing up on a hobby farm was really lucky, although, I didn’t really appreciate it at the time. But when I see a livestock truck with pigs going down the highway, I remember the cute baby pigs, calves, goats and chicks of my childhood farm. It really was a great way to grow up, plenty of hard work, a great education and we were definitely, never bored.

It is my sincere hope that my children have sights, smells and sounds that take them back to thoughts of a happy childhood.

My Biggest Pet Peeve: When People Are Late

If I am not early, I feel like I am late.

The most important lesson I ever learned from my Dad was the importance of being on time. In fact, on time was not good enough. I grew up with the phrase “Better 30 minutes early than 1 minute late”, etched in my brain.

This lesson applied across the board, going to work, school, meeting a friend for lunch or handing in school assignments. Even when Dad said we had to get to the dinner table in 2 minutes, not a minute more was accepted.

It may sound like my Dad was a harsh man, but in fact, he is a mild-mannered guy (it was my mom you had to fear). He had good reasons for wanting to pass along this skill to his children.

He always said that being on time makes you reliable. After all, it doesn’t take any kind of skill or intelligence to be punctual, just reliability. This trait, as it turns out, is admired by friends, family and employers.

It is disrespectful to be late. If someone is counting on you at 3:00, it is just plain rude to keep them waiting. It says your time is more important than theirs. Dad and mom always made us wait outside 20 minutes early if we were expecting someone to pick us up. I still hear the “You don’t want to keep people waiting”.

When it came to deadlines or due dates, again, the importance of punctuality was impressed. After all, it is inconsiderate to the person making the deadlines. If someone needs money, forms or assignments by a certain date, it is somewhat arrogant not to comply. It is as if you think the rules don’t apply to you. It would seem Dad knew that growing up with deadlines was great preparation for the adult world, where missing deadlines has serious consequences.

Sure, us kids still always tease my Dad about how early he goes to church or the airport. But really, I am so happy my Dad taught me the importance of being on time.

“People who are chronically tardy never understand the many ways in which they screw up the schedules of people who are punctual and “normal”.
Lauren Kate, Fallen

How about you? Are you always on time, or chronically late?