Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m so excited about spring. But thinking about spring led to thoughts about summer, which led to dread over the inevitable bugs and mosquitoes. Then I remembered seeing bats flying one evening last year.
Creepy? Maybe, but I’m a big fan of bats. In fact—
You may not know this, but I am actually Batgirl. Or at least I was. It was eighth grade, and my schoolmates found out my initials were B.A.T. Batman was a popular TV show at the time (the campy one with Adam West and Burt Ward. It was inevitable. When my classmates realized I was embarrassed, the funny joke became merciless teasing. Every day.
I soon learned to take it in stride. Made the best of it. Laughed it off. I had an older brother, so I had learned to endure ruthless teasing. He was a world champion at it.
And I was always the new kid. Eleven different schools in twelve years. Yes, eleven. My dad wasn’t in the service, he was just restless. Other side of the fence, greener grass. You know the story. If not, just ask these cows, they know the struggle well.
So, Batgirl was my claim to fame. Even though those kids were teasing me, for a brief interval, I felt as though I belonged. You see, I secretly longed for attention.
So, I understand when kids go through things, and I know what I’m talking about when I say, pay attention to your children. Listen to them. Encourage them. Be positive. Learn the signs of things like depression, low self esteem, and bullying.
I was a smart kid, but I didn’t know it. Both my parents were products of single-parent homes. Mom’s dad flew the coop. After the divorce, her mother worked long hours as a nurse. My dad’s father was killed when Dad was only two. His mother worked hard just to feed and house her four children. Still, they grew up in poverty. My dad never had a dad.
So, my parents didn’t really know how to give us positive encouragement. They were often too tired from working to care. I don’t fault them, because I know how hard it was. My introverted personality chaffed against all the moving around. Constantly changing schools, having to start all over building friendships, left me scarred. That, and other negatives in my life as a child. I’m not making excuses, just telling the truth. I know how hard it is.
Let’s talk grades. My attic was in good shape, I had the ability, but I had no encouragement to achieve. If I didn’t know how to do something, if I hadn’t understood the directions, I often left it undone, so homework wasn’t always finished. As a result, my report cards were mediocre at best.
By my senior year in high school, I had found a niche in business courses. My grade average improved to the point where I was no longer totally humiliated. If only I’d done this earlier.
Another thing happened that year. My family started going to church. I followed, and my life changed. Faith strengthened me. I had a greater sense of self-worth and a smile that wouldn’t quit. Take that, Batgirl. I came out of my shell. I had a purpose and a hope for the future.
Bats have a purpose, too. I’m a fan of bats, mainly because they eat mosquitoes. Yes, they can also carry rabies, but so can most of those other critters that inhabit my yard at night. I’m content to see them flitting about the dusky evening sky around my home.
The greatest gift you can give your children is your time. I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. They need to hear things like, “you can do anything you set out to do,” “you’re beautiful,” “you’re important to me.” And not just words, but show them through your actions. Dare I say it? Put your phone down. You can look at that when the children are otherwise occupied. You’ll only have them in your nest for a few years. Make those moments count.
I have an author page on Facebook. If you’d like to keep up with me there (when I remember to post on it) please stop in and “like” the page. I’m careful not to overload it with advertising. And I do occasionally offer free things on there, like books and unwanted advice. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/betty.owens.author/