Back to school soon

Fall colours

(c) Clr ’14

One can have mixed feelings at the end of summer. Ending the greens and floral colour, yet beginning the warm rich amber and gold colours of the changing leaves. The flowers slowly lower their heads until they fall but the sunflower stands tall until the first snowfall here. The trees lose their gold and reds but a few stand strong as the old oak does.

Back to school around the corner…some have even started in other parts of the world.

Summers give
sweet reprieve
last year’s intimidation
feeling powerless
on most days
fear now,
returning to
more humiliation
unless prowess
patience and endurance
lead the way

use your words
the mind is strongest
fists and feet
just cause defeat
lowering oneself
to uncivilized times
words can hurt
so beware
use your words
heed your heart
will lead the ways
to  better days.


yellow flowers
sunflowers in the lead
stand strong until fall

yellow flowers
daisies and buttercups
earn their way

sunflowers in the lead
lazy start in mid-summer
still – catch the prize

stand strong until fall
even bullies change of heart
summer heals the soul

(c) Tournesol ’15


dreaming of blossoms (haibun)


~~ Norman Vincent Peale

I read this quote while visiting a blog at Moon over Spumoni.   It spoke to me. Quotes do that to us, don’t they. You may have heard countless quotes, proverbs, prayers or poetry most of your life and then, for the second or thousandth time you read it and it actually draws you in.

Imagination is the true magic carpet…indeed!  Like the caring doctor at Cidar House Rules, read bedtime stories to the children at the orphanage,  bedtime snack feeding dreams on their magic carpet.

Can you imagine not being able to drift off to dream land when you were a child?  What if you were going through a difficult time in your life?  You are perhaps grieving the loss of dear pet and you are too young to grasp the concept of “forever”.  But you can imagine times you played with that pet, hugged him, shared your deepest secrets with him.   Perhaps it is the loss of friend or relative…be it through death or a long long absence, the  lack of his or her presence is heartfelt.  Nothing can fill the void…that darn emptiness can never be replaced BUT in time it will be healed by filling it with those memories you can imagine anytime you want and room for more amazing memories to bless your heart and your soul with joy.

Imagination is like nourishment…no medicine healing moments of despair. I see imagination synonymous to hope because it enables one to feel there is always hope.  Have you ever had a dream for a very long time? Have you ever had a dream realized to some extent it felt like déjà-vu?  Some will say, “Pinch me! I must be dreaming!”    That is how I see imagination related to hope. What would life be like without hope?  Without hope there is no faith, so little room for trust…

A hungry baby cries in the night and is nursed, however, unanswered cries in the night, a child no longer tries.

Imagination are not only the making of fairy tales but the remedy for the disheartened.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts ’14/11/17

In springtime

butterflies in a garden

imagine blossoms

© Tournesol ‘14

Autumn message

© Clr 2014

© Clr 2014

We are right in the heart of autumn. Most of the leaves have fallen and I always am grateful to see the late-blooming trees in Spring are still peppering landscapes with a bit of gold and amber. I look out my patio window and see half the trees barren with their fallen leaves covering lawns. It is a time of year if you are lucky and it’s warm enough and sunny, you will be walking to the sound of crunchiness underfoot…gosh I love that sound!
It has been unusually warm for this season up to last week in the Montreal area and we seem surprised to feel the brisk damp wind force us to wear hats, scarves or at least a good lined raincoat with a hood. I prefer the hooded coat since an umbrella keeps only my upper body dry and is it such a struggle not to fly away with the wind holding onto an umbrella with both hands! So for me, all bets on a long hoody raincoat and waterproof boots.
The photo above was cutting through a shortcut to my work last week and it had just stopped raining so I could take my smartphone out to take a few shots.
This is a time of year that many feel the pressure from work to perform…yep, that performance evaluation may be coming up December or January. Youths of all ages in school, college and university are in mid-term in post secondary and younger youths are getting their first official report card. Oh boy! This is the time of year parents are sometimes surprised thinking their child/teen was doing better than they expected and some are doing great but youths are worried because their parents` demands exceed their capabilities. Yes, it is stressful alright and that is not accounting for learning difficulties, financial stress, life situations, majour moves, new schools, unemployment… Okay, that does sound a bit overwhelming but it is to prove a point…despite school and work which are very important…I get it…life happens.
That’s right, so if you have a good friend or family member you can talk to relieve some stress…talk to them; the children, teens and young adults have a lot to cope with EVEN if it looks like they are concerned only with video games, social networking and friends. They don`t always show how they feel or share their anxieties at home.
I often hear from youths who tell me, “But I can’t tell my parents how I feel, I don’t want to worry them. They do so much for me already.” Really, kids worry about their family and friends a lot too.
The days are getting shorter, we turn the clocks back an hour tonight (finally I get my hour I lost in the Spring) and many can be affected by lack of daylight and sunshine…that great Vitamin D.  Here is a link to a post I once wrote about SAD (seasonal affective disorder) if you feel like reading up more.
If you are anywhere in Canada, youths from five to twenty can phone 1 800 668 6868 24 hours a day to talk to a youth counsellor. All calls are free and anonymous. They can offer resources for parents too if you are looking for support.
Enjoy the colours while we still have some surrounding us and Happy Halloween!

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2014/10/25

Anyone struggling with emotional and mental health, consider seeing your doctor or call your local Info Santé -health line (811) in Quebec
If in crisis call 1 866 appelle (277 3553) or 911
Parenting: 24 hour Parent Line – Ligne Parents 1 800 361 5085

Check my other blog for tips and resources too: Stop the Stigma

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Stop the Stigma

fall leaves nov 2011 tree

There is something so extraordinary about autumn.  The different hues of the leaves and vegetation transforming nature in its last art exhibit just before Mother Nature’s final curtain. I love to go on long drives this time of year and lately, I stop my car anywhere…right in any spot where my eye is drawn to beauty. 

But the entire season is not ALL great.  There is half of autumn when the leaves have all fallen, when the ground is turning a non-colour, and when you can’t differentiate green from harvest gold to beige to decay. The days have shortened so much that darkness takes up the majority of those 24 hours. And you’ve guessed it; moods start to change with some folks.  Yours truly is one of them.

When I was a teen, my parents separated and our family home was auctioned off mid-October. For years thereafter, I always associated the fall/winter blues…

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Back to school Jitters

Back to school soon and sooner depending where you are located in Canada and the US. Here in Quebec the kids are back in next week.  It should be an exciting time for the little ones, right?  Well for many youths it is a great time of year.

For many, it’s a bit like that Wal-Mart commercial…you know the one with the mom holding her list and a little boy and a little girl that look bored out of their minds but don’t dare burst Mommy’s bubble, are shopping for school supplies.  It is a time of year that you start with new work books, new binders with fresh clean sheets. Don’t you love to write with your best handwriting possible on the first few pages?

Little Boy With Your Escholar Itens Going To School Royalty Free Cliparts, Vectors, And Stock Illustration. Image 10715678. -

Free Cliparts And Stock Illustration. Image 10715678.

Sharpening those Crayola crayons…oh, back up for a second,  (((((((((((rewind )))))))))))))))), they come pretty much all sharpened already now.  Oooops, I am sure dating myself now, aren’t I?  But you get the drift, right?  The crayons are all the same length and lined up nice and neat…for now anyway.

Others are getting the school uniform, matching pants, blazer/sweater and for some skirts but I hear many schools are

kids going to class - Clip Art Gallery

kids going to class – Clip Art Gallery

opting for pants for the girls too.  It may be a great idea to have a uniform but when the girls leave school premises and roll up those skirts just a tad too high, along with those blazers with the school logo, it may not give a good impression, right?

Some are out shopping for shoes and clothes because nothing fits anymore!…my oh my, how summer seems to make these kids grow like weeds!

It is also a financial strain for many families. And don’t kid yourself, many youths are aware of this strain.

New clothes, new school supplies and new haircut (that is sometimes put off to October when school pictures are taken). Getting to see buddies and friends you haven’t seen for 2 months.  Wow! That should be something to look forward to, right? You would think many youths would be anxious to see their friends and buddies.  It is a great opportunity for many who live in neighbourhoods where there are less youths their age. Finally, a place to hang out with friends during recess and lunch time.  Am I right?  You would think, eh?

I suppose for most it is a great time with the exception of the older teens who may have enjoyed waking up at 2 in the afternoon, school may be a huge adjustment but soon enough their circadian routine will get right back into the swing of things…hopefully.  Summer is fun too but after a while, social and intellectual stimulation is needed.

But for many youths that IS not the case at all.  For the couple of weeks, youths are thinking and dreading to get back to school.   There could be various reasons.  Let’s take a look at a few.

Some youths have difficulty in school due to learning differences.  That’s right, they just learn differently.  The information has to be taken in, regurgitated in a different way for many youths.  If he’s lucky, the school has identified the “difference” and has been able to implement a programme to help him learn better respecting his pace.  Let’s say he has the help required.  Great!  Some schools are great about this and all the students act like one big family, with students helping each other.  Now doesn’t that sound like a dream to you?!! Well, it is a dream unless you are in a special or private school with 10 to 15 students per classroom, this is rarely the case.  I am not saying some schools are able to promote this type of solidarity and team spirit but you know and I know that it does not happen often enough.  I have to admit it may be more prevalent in elementary schools but still, not all across the board.

bullyingThere is always “one” youth who will make an inappropriate comment to single out any students who are getting any form of “special education”.  And if that ONE student got a few snickers and laughs from the comment, the damage is usually difficult to repair unless someone acts real fast.

There is also “one” parent who may make a uncalled for comment about some students with learning differences taking up the teacher’s time.  I guess some of those parents do not always factor in that the school is usually getting extra $$$ for the extra time these students require.  I have a thing or two I could also add to that adult but that’s not the purpose of this post, not today anyway. {Keep smiling}

I remember speaking to a youth a very long time ago who said his friends didn’t like him much anymore because of his wisecracks.  In Kindergarten and Grade 1 he was considered the class clown.  But then his peers got wise to the type of comments…they were sarcastic, put downs and all that laughing was at their expense.     

Listening to him speak made me realize that he was a very brilliant young boy.  So we talked about his “gift” because that’s exactly what it is when someone is so smart, right?  It is a gift.  He didn’t have to work at it, or work hard to study like many of his peers.  So I explained that perhaps he caught on to things quicker and was not as tolerant when others didn’t catch on, hence, his spewing sarcasm from time to time.  He agreed on working on a plan to stop himself whenever he felt like blurting something cynical and to have a couple of good buddies remind him. Eventually he would learn to “think” before speaking.  I’ll never forget that boy.  The courage it took him to admit he was the one hurting his friends’ feelings.

There are lots of youths going back to school that are dreading going back to school to be exposed to more taunts, teasing and plain mean bullying.

They keep repeating old scenarios in their heads, from last year (and for the unlucky ones for several years) and it freaks them out.  I don’t blame them.  Many have given up telling a trusted adult (teacher, parent, counsellor or principal)  Yikes!! That’s not a great idea but they figure if the grown-ups in their lives can’t fix their problem, who can?

There are some youths and teens who have been so tormented with bullying (cyber bullying included) that they do not want to go back to school. Some have changed schools several times but it keeps on going on.

And sadly, there are some youths as young as 11 that talk about depression, self-harm and yes, even suicide.  Shocking?   I would say so!!  These are not the majority of youths…thank goodness but even if there is ONE student per school who is carrying this burden, that is WAY too much. 

It is so unfortunate to recognize that these types of situations are no longer just reserved to older teens (and by just I certainly do not mean that as a demeaning inference that it’s of lesser importance…not in the least!)

Adolescence is such a turbulent time in a youth’s life that being bullied does not need to be added to that

complex equation of growing up!


–          Youths as young as 8 years old anticipate going back to school for various reasons like bullying, feelings of low self-esteem due to struggles learning and

–          many fear they just won’t fit in with their peers.

–          Some are changing school, new city, going into middle school or high school.  Those are “huge” transitions.

Do you remember how you felt going to college for the first time?   Remember starting your new job?  And those were during adulthood…so for young persons it is not as easy to go through these changes.

Some need help, some encouragement and lots of coaching and cheering on “You are doing great!! Good job!!”  I still feel great when someone tells me “great job”…it feels like being stroked by a piece of silk on my shoulder…that soft cool feeling, you know?

It is NOT part of growing up to feel that anxious, scared and worried about school.  Youths need support and guidance.  So, if you find your child is more rambunctious than normal, ask how he is feeling about school starting.  If she is usually an active and chatty person, and become more withdrawn and sensitive or testy…check it out. Any changes may be related to anxiety of getting back to school. 

–  Some youths may be anticipating how to make new friends…perhaps a few moved away; maybe they are going to high school…that’s a big transition and some are worried the school is going to be so big that their old friends will be drawn to new people and just forget about them.

–  Regardless of the academic level of a youth, peer relationships continue to be a huge part of their lives inside and outside of the classroom.   Friendships are often the first relationships youths make outside of their families; some may drift apart for various reasons as mentioned above but for the youth it can mean they are hurting and missing that person.  They need to know that they are not alone to make new friends.

Here is a great website that has umpteen ideas for youths and teens on bullying, friendships, emotional health and so much more.  Hopefully it can give you, the reader, some insights to help someone you know who is struggling with “back to school” jitters.



A little humour goes a long way…

Teach Chic: First Day of School

Teach Chic: First Day of School

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, August 21, 2013

The Holidays

The Holidays – December/January

Comfort ‘n Joy?

During the approach of the holidays there are many issues that touch children just as do adults (parents); Some adults may tend to drink a bit more and some a lot more. Sometimes their behaviour is less to be desired.   i.e. more fighting, arguing, behaving inappropriately including sexually.

Here are a few snippets of stories I have heard over the years talking with youths:

It may be the first Christmas for some a youth without both parents together.  When  parents separate a child may have mixed feelings. He may remember the fighting when they were all together.  He may feel torn with sad or angry feelings towards one parent or both.

He may feel guilty being more with one parent and not know how to reach out to the other parent. How can a parent help a child sort this out…know that it`s okay to feel these emotions..confusion, guilt, anger…and hope.

Some youths are worried their family have enough money to get through the year. Many people are layed off end of December and contracts are sometimes renewed only in the spring.  Some older youths (teens) feel they should quit school to help the family by getting a job.

Some families are transferred in other parts of the country or the world due to employment…parents have to move their families…sometimes children have to say goodbye to long term friends. Passing the holidays in a new place can be exciting and yet it can be overwhelming. 

For some families and youths, this is a marked season without a special friend or family member…grieving this loss, and their absence is felt moreso.

For many youths who have lost a loved one, regardless when that was…the holidays are often difficult because it is a time to share with loved ones and that person is not among them.  And so, the holidays can be an “opportunity” rather to take time and think about this person and include her or him in your well wishes during the holidays. 

This is a time of year that many teens are invited to parties, exposed to alcohol and drugs; they need to know they can call for a ride without getting scolded…is this a possibility for many? 

Some youths share  they feel a bit left out because they know their friends are celebrating Christmas but it is not part of their culture or religion.  They share that it is not only at school or with friends but it is everywhere they go…the television, the radio, the stores, the newspapers…all bombarded with this Christmas cheer that is a bit foreign to them.

It may be a good time to emphasize that the meaning of this word ‘Christmas’ and that for many it is an opportunity  to connect with people and tell them how much they care about them; it can mean having people over for the holidays to share a good meal and that that sense of giving and sharing is perhaps more universal this time of year.     

The holidays  represent many diverse things for youths and families.  There is the joy of getting together and yet the stress of having enough time off to enjoy this time with the children.  There are culture and religious differences that some face and are forced to be off work and exposed to the commercial aspect of this time of year.

Ultimately, it is supposed to be a time of year to bring friends and families together; sometimes we need to be more creative in the gatherings and have more “pot lucks”.  Children also feel the stress and depending on their age, are often confused as to who they are supposed to act.

Planning , decorating and cooking and baking…all of these traditions can be part of the fun too…how are you planning your holidays?  Children feel special when they are given certain roles and tasks too.  What have you planned for your children?

Some families want to also teach values to their children and it is a time of year where families volunteer at a food bank for a day or a soup kitchen too! 

Wishing you warmth, love and health … Happy Holidays!