Potential… Lost… Found and Tapped

***Woo busy few weeks… Grandma Visit, Easter… I promise to get back into the swing***

Potential. What does it mean to “have potential”? To “tap into potential”? To “waste potential”?

Through out my life I have often wondered what my own potential truly was. Have I actually found a path that uses my potential the best way? Is the potential gone after I chose my path?

Potential as a word has a few definitions:

  1. having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
  2. latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
  3. the quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.

Well… we can ignore the last one (I am not a whiz with physics). For my use here I am focusing on the first two. In high school there is a lot of discussion about your potential – your capacity to become something in the future. What direction is your life going to take as you reach adulthood? Now, I was told I could become pretty much anything I wanted… which was sweet. Though, thankfully, my Dad did suggest not a doctor (I am queasy about blood), maybe not something that requires strong knowledge in the sciences (yah… not something I excelled at) and possibly NOT maths (yah I have a hate hate relationship with higher level math… if it doesn’t hurt me, I won’t curse it out… much).

So… I went from high school to college and a direction in the fine arts. I found I had a lot of “potential” with courses that required a bending of thought and discussion… philosophy and religion. I found a direction – I PLANNED to become a minister in the Lutheran church (specifically the ELCIC – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). Potential tapped… right?

Ok, some come along with me here – I think EVERYONE reading this blog has realized something – Lisa is NOT a minister… or a philosopher… or a religious scholar… or (and this is grasping) a university professor in any of these disciplines. Nope, 100% wife and mother. So answer me this…

Did I waste my potential?

Who I was in high school with her interests and dreams and graduating marks, who I was in college with my wide eyed enthusiasm and excelling marks… did these “Lisas” get wasted? Or has it gone into hibernation waiting to be tapped?

Where 20 yr old Lisa was sure she would be a minister… 37 yr old Lisa is sure she is a good mother, a strong teacher, a rather fantastic crocheter (if I do say so myself). She has tapped into a NEW potential, something that was not held up as a solid opportunity way back in high school (because really, motherhood at 17/18 years old… nope not for me). I don’t believe I wasted it, I tapped into my potential for those 3+ years. I learned, I grew, I argued, I laughed and cried. BUT, in the end, I found NEW potential.

I found those latent (existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed) qualities that were not tapped by my college education with our decision to start a family. Do I regret it? Nope! Amazingly enough, I filled my yearning for working in the church with committee work and promptly learned – I suck at politics. And, as much as I love the church, in any organization there are politics.

On top of that… and this should be no surprise for people who know me, I am shy!

No, I don’t think I wasted my potential. Would someone from the outside looking in come to a different conclusion… possibly. But here is a new question for you – does that matter? Often you will hear people talking about someone’s wasted potential. How they SHOULD have done this or that instead of the career they chose based on their own knowledge of that person at particular times of the person’s life.

She should have gone with that career in writing, after all in college she wrote such amazing papers. He should have gone into medicine, look at his amazing marks in science. They would have made an amazing singing group – after all they did all that singing in small bars during college.

The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, comes to mind. Looking at his or her life as a youth, as a college student it may look as if they SHOULD have gone this way or that, but can we ever truly be in another person’s head? This is something that Ken has to deal with often. Depression, plus high intelligence and add in a strong personality and you have someone with lots of potential.

That potential is there with options. Some are absolutely obvious, some deep inside and kept secret. Using Ken as an example (cuz… Depression = Ken = my examples) he was an athlete up through to college and rather successful (this was known), he was and is very good with computers, but deep inside that muddled head of his is an artist, a bit of a scientist, maybe even a comedian.

So… let’s review what he did with his potential. Sports ended before we got married (choice and illness). Computers continued through to today. Art is something that he toys with and need to come back to again (again choice) and scientist has gone by the way-side.

So has he lost potential? Wasted it? Well, we came to realize now that sports/athletics were actually negatively impacting Ken’s mental health. Competition on that level and the stress to his body was not helping his inner dialogue. Of course, on the outside he broke records, played hard and won. BUT while everyone watched that potential being tapped a whole new potential was brewing underneath – the potential to lead to self harm, depression and possibly death.

Direction changed to computers, which has morphed now into the much healthier (due to having to be accountable daily to many and face to face communication) project manager. Project manager may not seem like the height of tapping potential but I am sitting here watching him grow and excel.

So, while some may say he had so much potential, I see it as he has so much adapting potential. KEN has adapted to a whole new lifestyle post depression, he has adapted to our family as it has grown, found a career that makes him the best he can be and stretches his limits. No, he is not an athlete, or a scientist or currently an artist BUT he is Ken. Amazing, ambitious, unique Ken.

So we have each tapped some potential and are always looking to find more. That is the other thing. So I am a mother, but I found a new potential in crochet, and I am not half bad at the recorder, maybe the piano will be some untapped potential I never even knew I had! That cannot be wasted if I never knew it existed, right?

Together Ken and I have the potential to be amazing, I kinda think we already are… just a bit! After all, humans are creatures of change even as we fight to stay the same. So, doesn’t it mean that our potential is ever changing, ever growing and morphing into something new? Now, I doubt I will ever have the potential to be a fighter pilot (ACK heights) or a sumo wrestler, but who knows, maybe… years down the line… you will come to read about Lisa the biblical scholar and Ken the divine artist?

After all, depression or no, personal limitations or not, our potential is there! And we ALL have the potential for greatness on some scale or another. So be that great person – after all… I already know you ARE!!!!IMG_20160624_221658

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks

Moving from Slavery (HERE) which was an eye opener for the kids on how cruel the history we come from really is, to Declaration of Independence and the idea of ALL men created equal not actually making it to ALL and completely ignoring women, and then to Abraham Lincoln and his push to begin the abolishing of slavery (HERE), the children actually made a good choice in their next two topics…

Martin Luther King Jr. and his movement to end segregation was the twins’ pick. We had briefly read about him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Which spurred the wish to know more. Meanwhile Trinity and Emanuel had come across a book that on the back also advertised Rosa Parks in the same series. Her courageous move to NOT move out of her place on the bus and her continuing of standing up for equality and an end to segregation at the same time was just amazing.  Two very timely and appropriate topics we began in February.

Our lapbook of choice for MLK was a free one (I like to avoid the pay for ones, even though they are so complete, just to save on money.) from Homeschool Helper Online HERE. I find that the lapbook booklets make the topics easier to face, and more enjoyable then a plain written report. For worksheets you can check out my collection on Education.com HERE, EnchantedLearning.com has some good resources (pay site) HERE and Activity Village has their page for Martin Luther King Day HERE.20170327_153058

Books:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Amy Pastan HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer HERE (My First Biography)
  • I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Wil Mara HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Josh Gregory HERE (A True Book)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. A Family Tribute HERE
  • Love Will See You Through by Angela Farris Watkins, PhD HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr by Lucia Raatma HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by Meredith Dash HERE

DVD:

  • Martin’s Big Words (Scholastic) HERE

I spent a grand total of a dollar on Rosa Parks. We used the Knowledge Box Central Interactive Foldable Booklet. Now I do want to warn that when we purchased it there was a minor spelling error (Education was spelled wrong on one of the pages). I was able to correct it with whiteout and pen, but be warned. You can purchase that HERE.

Rosa Parks is a huge inspiration for Trinity and Echo. They think her choice to sit on the bus was amazingly courageous. They could not get enough of hearing how she was able to not only start a bus boycott, but continued on to work as a Civil Rights Leader and make changes not only in the US, but in other countries around the world. Some called her the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.

One of the questions we asked ourselves was – What would you say to Rosa Parks? Then Emanuel and Trinity wrote her a letter. 20170327_151414

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For our craft activity we filled our buses with all sorts of people. You can find our print out HERE thanks to Danielle’s Place. My Education.com collection is HERE. EnchantedLearning had some good pages HERE as well.

We definitely got ourselves a lovely stack of books to read together and use for research.

  • Rosa Parks by Wil Mara HERE
  • Who Was Rosa Parks? by Yona Zeldis McDonough HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka HERE
  • I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer HERE
  • I am Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Barbara M. Linde HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Cynthia Klingel and Robert B. Noyed HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Rosa Park and Jim Haskins HERE

Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are true inspirations. I think we all agreed that doing what is right isn’t easy but it is rewarding!

Abraham Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence

As I write that it totally looks like I am saying Lincoln was AT the signing… rather we covered BOTH of these rather interesting topics recently and I figured why not bundle the two together for the blog post?

The 2016/2017 school year has had a focus more towards history and the United States of America. It has been a learning experience for students AND teacher. These two topics were the twins’ choice. We started with the Declaration of Independence. Such an important piece of paper. We used a lot of sheets from Education.com HERE.

We had a few books we requested from the library that were helpful:

  • What is the Declaration of Independence by Michael C. Harris HERE
  • The Declaration of Independence by Don Nardo HERE
  • American Documents: The Declaration of Independence by Judith Lloyd Yero HERE
  • The Declaration of Independence by Lori Mortensen HERE

I have to share a rather interesting link passed along by a good friend (and fellow twin mom)… this one looks at what happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence AFTER they signed at USHistory.org. They truly risked life and limb to do so, as they were really committing treason against the crown and King of England. The twins spent quite a bit of time picking out some interesting people to put into our hand out and report folder.

Abraham Lincoln was a huge success. The boys have always had a vague interest in him with his distinctive look and hat that he apparently kept things in. Our final conclusion was that Abraham Lincoln was a great president, one of the best, BUT his life seemed rather miserable. Granted there was a shorter life expectancy and much higher general death rate but… wow… so much sadness, death and difficulty in the life of someone who now is seen as such an inspirational figure.

We ended up choosing a labook set up that was not free, but it was well worth it. We went with a Knowledge Box product you can find for 5.00 (US) HERE. They have a study guide, lapbook and clear instructions.20170320_200116

20170320_200124You can check out my Education.com collection of worksheets HERE. Activity Village has some very helpful worksheets as well (sadly these are all pay for sites to get the full experience, but we have found it well worth it.) HERE. You can do a helpful search on EnchantedLearning as well to get these pages HERE.

Books:

  • I am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, President, Emancipator by Pamela Hill Nettleton HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln by Barbara Knox HERE
  • Abe Lincoln: The boy who loved books by Kay Winters HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln by Tanya Lee Stone HERE
  • Encyclopedia of Presidents and Their Times by David Rubel HERE
  • Magic Tree House #47: Abe Lincoln at Last! by Mary Pope Osborne HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln by Sarah Hansen HERE

DVD:

  • Getting to Know The U.S. Presidents: Lincoln HERE

These were wonderful topics for us to cover one after the other. We really haven’t spent as much time on US history as we have researching countries from other parts of the world. I can’t say we will stick with these kind of topics, but the more we can cover and find interest in the better. From Lincoln it is a quick jump to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. I will share our resources from these topics to. From slavery to a country declaring independence, to a man realizing that a whole group of people also deserved their independence… then to a man who made sure that it was realized that segregation is wrong and a woman who helped courageously help attain that dream. Not bad for taking topics the kids chose themselves!