This I Believe: Believing in Time Outs

I've read through two stacks of student "This I Believe" essays this past week, often smiling at their observations and insights.  They've believed in the power of the black dress, the comfort of family breakfast on Sunday morning, and the importance of handwritten letters.  They've believed in insomnia, baking, and bromance.

As I left small notes in the margins and concluding feedback and grades on the last pages, I thought of my own beliefs.

I believe in wrestling and playing with my kids on the floor.  I believe in saying no at the grocery store check-out line.  I believe in open laps onto which the girls can climb and read.  I believe in slipping into the girls' darkened rooms at night and kissing the top of their heads while they sleep.  I believe in impromptu dance competitions where, undoubtedly, I will bust out the running man and my kids, who are still blissfully naive, will think it's cool.  I believe in hand-me-downs, arts and crafts, and not feeling badly if we eat pizza for dinner (again).

I believe in amusement parks, discretely disposing the majority of wrinkled worksheets brought home from kindergarten, and letting my kids clomp around the house in my shoes.  I believe in apologizing to my children when I'm wrong.  I believe in bedtime by 8:00, no exceptions.  Except when there's a really good exception.

I believe in sleeping in, but my children don't believe this.  At least not yet.  They'll catch onto that and sleep into noon eventually.

I believe in organized bookshelves, and my children don't believe in this either.  They believe in strewing things about, in taking off the couch cushions, eating the age-undermined food crumbs they find underneath, and building forts that will inevitably fall over and require our help to set them aright.

I believe in making beds.  My children believe in jumping on them.

I believe in vacuuming floors.  My children believe in wrestling on them.

I believe that when the winter chill finally breaks and we can play outside, there's a new lease on life.  I believe in finishing our puzzles, reading through chapter books aloud, and trying to clean up one game before we pull out another.  I believe in letting some messes go untouched and without comment, turning my head, and knowing that it won't be this sticky or chaotic forever.

And, with deep sincerity, I believe in time outs.  It's unfortunate because nobody ever seems to send me to one, but I still believe.  Oh, I believe.


  1. I adore this post. You've got an amen from me on every single item, even if my floors aren't always vacuumed and the bed not consistently made.

  2. I believe in letting my two year old boy, be a boy, and let him jump from the diningroom chair to a big livingroom chair with about 3 feet between the two. In fact, he is doing this as I type.

  3. Oh, I forgot to say, GREAT POST!

  4. wow. This might be one of my favorite blog posts thus far! I took a class, I can't remember which English writing class it was, but it was my freshman year at PSU, way back in 1994. We too had to write a "this I believe" essay. My 'teacher' who was really a TA had red lines all through my writing with rude comments in the margins. My feelings were hurt, but I did eventually learn to be a much better writer. I now appreciate criticism and even a little sarcastic remark here and there. But, I talked about God in my essay and those little God moments and this mean TA wrote the word: HOKY on the top of my paper and gave me a D. So, hopefully you don't mind I am going to redo that essay and post it to my blog. And, if people think it is HOKY it is okay. I am a silly person. Love, Carol

  5. This is a fantastic blog post. Would you mind if I write my own post using yours as inspiration? I'd be glad to link back to you. What were your instructions to your students? Thanks in advance!

  6. I love this.

    Thank you for believing in these things, because they are awesome.

    I too discreetly dispose of crayon scrawlings, but if it looks like a human being, it gets dated and stuck in the baby book.

    If my son was made of the food he eats, he would be made out of chicken nuggets, corn, ketchup, and ranch. I am ok with that.

    I am waiting to be sent to time out as well. If you find the way there, please send me directions.


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