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Monday, August 27, 2012

On My Mind: Shooting for the stars: School and Nature Kids

We've entered into a new stage of our little family's development.  My husband started school today.  He has a bachelor's degree already, but we felt that it was time for him to get to work on his graduate studies.  Grad school has been a part of our plan since we were married, but babies, and uncertainty on career direction, has delayed the process a bit.  It's nice to finally get started on our little journey.  I'm so proud of my husband for deciding what it is he'd like to study.

The path we've taken to get here hasn't been easy.  It's been full of unrewarding jobs, pay far below what he deserves, self doubt, and uncertainty.  I think that we've both grown quite a bit as we've struggled over the past four years since graduation.  Our struggles have ultimately led us to where we are.  Where we are, is a place that we both feel really good about. Unfortunately, the journey that we are starting on will not be an easy one.  He's going to do three straight semesters of intense undergraduate work to prepare himself for the graduate program.  He'll also be working 30+ hours a week, at least that is the plan.  I was awake most of last night wondering how in the world he'll be able to work that much, and find time for all of his 400 level classes.  The time that I didn't spend worrying about his ability to work and do homework, I spent worrying about how we'll be able to support our family if he can't work that much.  I have confidence that we'll be watched after, and that things will work out.  I  really feel that we've been guided to be where we are, and if it is something that is supposed to happen, I trust that there is a way prepared for us to make it through.

Have fun at school Dad, Love Clark
Clark is a bit less enthused with the idea of his dad going back to school.  It is going to mean much less time with his dear old dad.  I am excited that Clark is old enough to witness the time and energy that his dad is putting into going back to school.  I want Clark (and Miles) to learn the importance and value of education and hard work.  I'm so pleased that he has a dad that is willing to provide him with that example.

Clark wants to be an astronaut, and a paleontologist.  I love that when you are a child, you can dream big.  One of my biggest fears, is that somewhere along the way, my realist views, will discourage him from doing what he really wants to do.  Clark is smart, he could be a astro-paleontologist if he wanted, I know he could.  But what do I do to encourage that?

Side Note: I love the way Clark interacts with new kids.  He always introduces himself, and then offers one fact about himself, or immediately asks them a question.  Some of his recent introductions have been:

"Hi, I'm Clark, I'm a shark".
"Hi, I'm Clark, I have a pet fish".
or  my favorite...
"Hi, I'm Clark, did you see the Mars Rover land"?...probably not something that most 3.5 year olds witnessed, but he loved it.

His dad was showing him some footage from headquarters.  He was watching the engineers/astronauts celebrate at it's landing, and he told me...."They can't wait until I'm an astronaut". I can't wait until he's an astronaut, though I'd prefer that he never really went into space, I'm a bit of a worrier that way. Isn't it possible to shoot for the stars without actually visiting them?
Speaking of shooting for the stars...I have a couple of cousins that I really look up to.  They are brothers, and have always had a pretty clear vision of what they want to do with their lives.  They've worked really hard to develop their skills, and talents.  The oldest of the brothers, Kenny, is a documentary film maker, and has just finished filming a documentary "Nature Kids".  The documentary is all about the importance of kids interacting and exploring nature, rather than being plugged in, and baby sat by the television. It's a documentary that he's devoted 2 years making, and has created using his own funds, and contributions from family members.

The topic of the film is one that I think is so important to parents and children.  How much time do your kids spend watching television, playing video or computer games?  I know that Clark spends more time than I'd like to admit.  Sometimes I have a hard time getting him to go outside and play.

When I think of childhood, I do remember Saturday morning cartoons, but not everyday cartoons.  I remember swimming in the ditch with my brothers, catching caterpillars, jumping on the trampoline, family backpacking trips, canoeing on mountain lakes, and climbing trees.  I was very fortunate to have parents that made an effort to get us outside.  I grew up just off the river, with a large backyard.  While not everyone can live where I lived, there is certainly more that we can do to get our kids outside, exploring their environment.

I encourage you to take the time to watch this short compilation of his documentary.  He's currently trying to finish up post production work on the film, and work on marketing.  He's using Indiegogo, as a way to help with the cost of the post production work.  If getting kids outside, is something that's important to you, take the time to donate a dollar or more to the cause.  What do you pay for netflix or redbox a month, I encourage you to donate your monthly fees to producing this special film. (Tell him Tricia sent you).

You can find his Nature Kids facebook page here, along with several clips from the documentary.
Can't donate? If this is a topic that you feel passionate about, take the time to share this video with your friends and family on facebook!

I really respect my cousins for their ability to work hard, and set their sites high.  Fear of failure has always been my biggest stumbling block.  So often I fear that if I do something, that seems to hard, that I'll fail.  Often I never make the attempt, simply out of fear of failure.  Help this talented filmmaker see the success that he deserves.

Question:  What do you like to do with your kids outside?  What are your favorite outdoor childhood memories?  What do you do to get your kids outside?  How much television do you allow your kids to watch? 

What did you want to be when you were little?  Did you become what you wanted to be as a child?  What do you think that we can do to encourage our children to fulfill their dreams?

I'd love to hear from you?


Kandice said...

We LOVE taking our kids on hikes. So far we're limited to fairly simple hikes, but we have found some fabulous places not far from home that the kids love. When we want to make a day of it, we'll do our hike then take our picnic to a nearby campsite, start a little fire and let them roast marshmallows. :-)

When we can't make it into the mountains, we like to pretend we are. :-) We bought a small portable fire pit for our backyard that allows us to sit around the "camp" fire anytime we want. The kids love it!

Emily said...

Great post Tricia! Jeff is going to be completing his Masters soon too and I am praying the time goes by fast! LOL He just finished his BS. I try to take Emma outside, I am not always the best at it. I don't enjoy being outside in Florida with all the bugs and summer heat. We did just get chickens and so it forces me to take her outside daily now! :)

Unknown said...

Good Luck with school Tricia. My husband has been going to school for a nursing degree for the last year and a half. I have been working since then to make ends meet. He is graduating in April with an RN and then finish his bachelor online and apply for grad school next fall hopefully to be a nurse anesthetist. We have two kids one in first grade and a 4 year old. It is hard but we hope it will be worth it. My husband feels bad for putting us through this again. I just keep telling that we get opportunities for a reason and we shouldn't let them pass by. Good luck and hope all goes well

Emily said...

That note from Clark is so sweet! Good luck with school!! I love being outside when it's not super hot or super cold or super buggy so yeah, that's not as much of the time here as San Diego. HA. We like going on hikes and my husband loves camping- me? Not so much. I'm sure I'd like it better if I could actually sleep. Anyway, fall is coming and the Palisades are GORGEOUS right now. ;)

Jack said...

This is such a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing them. I'm printing them out now to keep my son busy while I start dinner..
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