A Million Miles from Home (Life is a Great Teacher Book 2)

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What tone rings in his ears as he walks out the door from what I just said? Jim: --that's well-said and you know, I think that's the key, that "tether of love," which I like to call it needs to be paramount over rules and regulations. It's hard for us to do, because I think as human beings, we gravitate toward the rules. We like the rules.

We know the rules. There's boundaries [ sic ], definition. But in the end, love is messy. Jim: It does and we've gotta remember that. That is a beautiful story about keeping what's important the most important thing. You talk about giving out tickets versus warnings. And I think that's good advice for parents, especially of elementary school kids. What do you mean by giving more tickets than warnings? Cynthia: Well, it's easier to just warn and warn and warn than it is to actually take the consequence. And I talk about it in the book when, as a police officer, we were trained very carefully in violator contact.

And if I pull you over, I know that you've never been pulled over. Cynthia: --if I pulled you over, I've already decided of whether I'm gonna give you a ticket or let you off with no ticket and just a warning. If I've decided I'm gonna not give you a ticket, then you have to listen to my warning. You know this is a residential street and blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah. And you're going, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Just let me go. You just want to get away.


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But excuse me, this is your punishment. Since you're not getting a ticket, this is your punishment—the lecture. I can talk to you as long as I want about anything I want.


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  • I go on and on. Now let's say I've decided I'm gonna give you the ticket. Cynthia: Well, I've been trained that if I give you a ticket, I'm not also allowed to give you the lecture with it. You get one or the other, not both. And I have yet to run across a strong-willed child of any age who at least figuratively wouldn't almost always rather have Cynthia: --on and on and we're going, "Please, please just let me calmly sign my name, pay my fine, go on with my life.

    Cynthia: And so, just give the tickets, for heaven's sake, because one of the things that's hard for parents to understand is--and I know Jean understands this--as strong-willed people, we know there is pain for gain. We understand that in order to get something, it's gonna cost you something. Cynthia: It's just constant calculation, isn't it? I mean, like my mom when I was little and she says, "Don't stand on that coffee table or I'm gonna spank you.

    How hard could it be? I think it's worth it.

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    So, I stand up Laughter and she's going crazy, 'cause she thinks, if it was bad enough, you shouldn't do it. But as a teenager, you know, you're gonna be grounded. Well, how long would I be grounded? Laughter And your whole life is those calculations. So, you think that you're gonna come up with a hammer you can hold over me that will without fail get me to do what you want and you are mistaken.

    So you may have to give the same ticket. Jean: And Cynthia, what I've observed is important is, really thinking about, if you can, before you speak what the consequence is going to be, that you make sure it isn't something that is so grandiose that you really don't want to back it up. Jim: That's a veiled little veiled thing Laughter , 'cause I tend to come out with the big stuff. Jim: You know, if you don't do this, then we're not going to Disneyland.

    Laughter And Jean's going, "I wouldn't say that. Laughter I wouldn't say that. Cynthia: I'll tell you a quick story with Mike when he was in junior high I think and we're out of town and Autumn, my friend was kinda dispatched to watch over the boys.

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    And so, I think I was in the Denver Airport or somethin'. I got a phone call from Mike and he said, "Hey, Mom, I'm gonna go to a movie tonight with my friends. That's not a[n] appropriate movie. You need to see something more appropriate. Sigh "Fine. Well, so then I got a call from Autumn later that night, right? She says, "I picked Mike up and he's home. I don't care what she does to me, 'cause whatever she does to me, it was worth it.

    It was totally worth it. I don't care what the punishment is. And I'm on the phone and I'm thinkin', oh, okay. Laughing Here it is. Here it is, Lord, you know, this is the rubber meets the road. So, I got home the next night and I said, "Hi, Mike. So, I heard you had a good time at the movie. And I said, "Mike, you know, you're dealing with like the queen of strong will, right? Cynthia: See, "I'm sorry, Mom.

    Cynthia: And you could just see, just a little bit of revenge, a little. And then by the next morning, you know, he said, "What is my punishment? But you know, it was that whole thing of, I mean, we were facing, "I don't care what she does. I don't care what the price is. Cynthia: --you're in trouble, because they can go totally wild.

    I can't emphasize enough for the listeners right now, the younger you start this, it's really important to have that relationship and to nurture it. Don't let go of it. The middle school years, they're so turbulent and it's so tempting to just go, oh! Forget the kid; let's just survive it. No, no, no, don't you understand? If you don't keep that relationship, you lose that child. Cynthia: And if you do keep the relationship, you've saved that child.

    And even if they go away, they come back. Jim: Cynthia, that makes total sense, but I need to ask that question, what if you feel as a parent, that relationship with that , year-old has gone beyond? Maybe you've had that encounter and it didn't work out that way. You've, in essence, you've lost the relationship. What can you do to begin to reestablish it? It's difficult. It's not easy and it's said that it takes a while and you start small, you know. And maybe if they don't want to talk to you, you send 'em a text or you leave a yellow Post-It note.

    And you just have to prove over time.

    And there are some heartbreaking things of when it really does look too late. Cynthia: I was just in Topeka, Kansas and spoke to a staff of a high school that is totally enclosed in a maximum security prison for juveniles.

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    And these are 8 th through 12 th graders who are rapists and murderers and they are just so far gone in many ways. And yet, that staff for example, they really care about those kids. And they do whatever they can. And sometimes it's a teacher who brings them back. Cynthia: You pray, if you can't reach 'em, you pray, "Lord, bring somebody across their path. Would You just, because only the Holy Spirit can change a heart. I can't change a heart.

    I can't change a life. Whether you want to hear it or not, you cannot do it without God. You cannot. He has to supernaturally bring that relationship back and I've seen Him do it over and over, even when it's not easy. Jim: Well, and John, that's a great place to remind folks that we have a counseling center here at Focus. Jim: And if you're struggling in that parenting role, let us be there for you.

    Call us. The key is, Cynthia, never giving up hope. I think Cynthia: And I'm so thankful, by the way, for Focus and the services that they provide with the counseling and with the resources. I recommend wholeheartedly and do it frequently to parents who write me and others. It's just so important to have a faith-based resource like that.

    Jim: Well, we so appreciate that and again, we're there for you, so call us and John, you'll give all those details at the end.

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    Jim: Cynthia, you also talk about the top 10 tips for bringing out the best in your strong-willed child. And we don't have to go through all We'll post those on the website Jim: But let's cover a few of them and Jean and I Chuckling and John, jump in here, because we all have strong-willed children. The first one is value my ability to see the world from a unique perspective.

    Chuckling Again, the theme here, Cynthia is that we as parents, have got to understand that our children are unique people, created in the image of God. I don't know what age a parent clicks all of a sudden and say, "Okay, you can now think for yourself. Jim: But there has to come that point in time when a parent does make that cognitive transition to say, "My fourth-grader can really think on his feet now and I need to come back with honesty.

    Jim: I can't trick them. I can't manipulate them. I've got to treat them like a human being that understands their circumstances. Cynthia: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And sometimes just to reinforce my strengths to say, you know, I have never known anyone like you. You are the most amazing person; you are the most unique combination of traits. I can't wait to see what you'll look like as an adult. I mean, just to be able to say that and then you may have to go ahead and give me the punishment and I may have to be held accountable, but just the fact that you said that to me is goin', "Oh, you know, you recognized it.

    Besides who gets to decide what's normal, you know? My learning style seminars and stuff, you know, we'll compare the little profiles and everybody's is different. And so, I ask 'em, okay, which one of you is normal? Laughter And I'll Cynthia: --and so, how are you gonna do that? You've got a kid who's totally unique. Capitalize on it. Mention it and focus on the strengths of it, so that when you have to intervene with the weakness and the limitations and the wrongness of it, you've also balanced it with Cynthia: -- with the strengths that you can say, "What a great strength that is Jean: And I think what's an important aspect of that is, recognizing that our way isn't the right way.

    And we Jim: --for you and the way God has wired you, that's a very important thing, that you do think that I've got it analytically. I can take all the pieces in and tell you what the answer is. But sometimes people that don't have that ability have to learn through failure. And it's hard as a parent to let your child fail. Cynthia: But this is so valuable. I mean, I'd love to take Jean with me to these other parents and they … look, here's somebody who's highly analytic, who is highly organized and is, you know, oriented this way, but r ecognizes that the relationship trumps everything.

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    More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Million Miles from Home , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about A Million Miles from Home. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 17, Gai Barrett rated it it was amazing. I read A Breath Away and was blown away by how Jeanne could tell my story without knowing me.

    My 2nd attempt at love was happier but Jeanne made me ask some questions that I am still pondering. Her style of writing is to the point with an elegance. You can feel her emotions. Definitely worth reading. But even if that was the case, those days are long gone. Knowledge about how children learn and what they need to learn has exploded, and it's not realistic for the principal to be the font of education wisdom for his or her staff.

    Indeed, something is amiss if the principal is the most knowledgeable person in the building! And as more responsibilities land on principals' desks each day, although those responsibilities may not be more important than student learning, they must not be ignored. So how can a principal be an instructional leader and lead a school to better education outcomes when he or she lacks time and has more knowledgeable people on the faculty? It's essential for principals to view themselves as "lead learners. Principals need to be engaged in curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy in ways that are obvious to everyone.

    The principal needs to be integral to—initiating, encouraging, and sometimes pushing—student and faculty growth. Three attitudes bring a principal's instructional leadership role to life. We need to ensure that differentiation is valued throughout the school culture. This begins with recognizing and appreciating student diversity. School needs to be a safe place where all students feel accepted and respected and, therefore, comfortable enough to learn.

    Although the debate on the Common Core standards has been good and necessary , I worry that we give so much attention to what we teach that we ignore how we teach. Principals can lead the effort to recognize all students' strengths. Honor rolls and team trophies should be evident, for example, but there's more. Highlighting students' progress, trajectories, and grit recognizes a wider range of learners. How can achievements in the arts be displayed?

    How can we publicly celebrate students' kindness? That's part of differentiation, too. Curiosity about what's happening in classrooms is also important. Principals must be good questioners.