Helping Myself

Silver & Gold

” Winners forget that they are in a race, they just love to run.”  – Fortune Cookie

Disclaimer: Jonesitis is a terrible disease. In most cases, people  suffer from envy, low self-esteem, comparing themselves to others and procrastination. Many people are troubled from this ailment daily, but have been undiagnosed for many years. The only known cure for Jonesitis is to become more self-aware of the individual beauty that one possess. 

My former employer was a community based organization that was always involved in different outings. One of my favorite ventures was a big cookout that featured local bands. The goal of the cookout was to raise money and donate it to trackthe organization that would come out and sell raffle tickets during the event. It was like the Woodstock for non-profit organizations and I loved the scene.

One year, the Executive Director and I had this crazy notion that we would make tie-dye shirts ( but that’s another story for another day).

The following year, we decided that it would be best to pick a color that everyone could wear orange. I was sent to the Goodwill to find shirts for everyone. As I scanned the racks, I found what seemed to be a baseball jersey with the number 2 on it- I fell in love with it. Since I was the Administrative Assistant, I had the advantage of claiming ‘ grabbies’ when our company received clothing donations- and I used this perk every chance I got.  Like this memory, I still have this shirt and I wear it often.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

The year I picked this shirt I had an answer for why I initially became smitten with the 2nd hand jersey that bore the number 2. I said that aiming for 2nd place was easier than going for the gold and I was perfectly fine with being known as the other girl. I even posed the question: If the number 2 pencil was the most commonly used pencil, why was it number 2?

Though I seemed perfectly fine with being 2nd best, I was not perfectly fine with being 2nd best- and my actions and reactions resounded louder than my words. I needed the praise and admiration of my peers and I was willing to gain it by any means necessary. I constantly  found myself competing with not only others, but myself as well- always trying to ricky bobbyprove my relevance  to the company.  This struggle spilled over into my social media profiles with many rants about how intellectually superior I am compared to others and the blocking of anyone who disagreed. I was an attention tyrant who could not be stopped…

Then, I found myself unemployed.

I was lower than number 2, I wasn’t even in the race. For two years, I had considered myself one of the pillars of an establishment but now found myself alone in a desolate place. I was forced to examine the thoughts, actions and deeds that had gotten me to this place. I began with the jersey situation.

Why was I trying to convince myself that I was willing to be overlooked?

Was I really okay with playing second fiddle?

These questions plagued my thoughts causing me to take an inventory of myself.  My tyrannical reign did not begin at my former employer, it began when I became an older sister-I willingly confess that I do suffer from Middle Child Syndrome. The birth of my sister evoked my need for competition. For about three years I was the only girl and had the adoration of my family. It was not hard for me to claim the spotlight because I was the center of the universe-or so it seemed. Then one morning, my brother and I were riding in the back of a truck that had a U-Haul connected to it. I fell asleep talking with my brother. I woke up and had a baby sister.

To my understanding, there were other instances that had transpired but I can only remember these glimpses of the past.

Overnight, I went from being the adorable little baby to the older sister- a position that I was unready to fill at the time. I being-mary-jane-speechwent from tea parties with my brother to coloring by myself in my room. I immediately started to act out for my well deserved attention, but unfortunately those attempts did not turn out so well for myself (or my rear-end). After a while, I had gotten immune to the whippings and punishments,  I began to do more life altering things. I had a daughter at the age of 14; barely graduated high school; married and divorced by 21 – the list goes on. I was willing to pay a high price for my attention fix and no one was going to come between me and my high.

Since the birth of my sister I made destructive decisions to prove my worth among both my family and other peers. This behavior has brought a strain between me and my sister, but throughout this tumultuous time, she has been my voice of reason and best friend throughout my life. She has taught me the power of self-discipline and determination and has always been proud to call me big sister. Her birth was only placing me in second by birth order, not in my worth.

Competition forces us to compare ourselves to others. When we decide to compare ourselves, we lose out on the opportunity to learn a new trait or gain a different perspective of life.

Society teaches us that there is only room for one winner so we fight our way to the top. We do whatever it takes to be number one. We do things, most times unconsciously, that could detour our fellow-man from reaching their goals and dreams. When we realize that everyone that enters our lives  helps us to grow as individuals, we begin to see people for what they are- Divine teachers.

* All images found on http://www.google.com

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She’s A Lady

‘Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.’ Nicolo Machiavelli

My daughter has one of the best imaginations. I can send her to her room for a “punishment” but no matter how or why I send her up there, she always ends up having a blast. One of her favorite things she likes to pretend to be is a teacher or a secretary- two of the career choices that she has seen me perform. She likes it better when I play along with her, but she can have the time of her life without my presence just the same.

Yesterday was such a great day that we decided to play a new game- investigation.  Let me tell ya, this girl could put Horatio out of business, she really looks for all of the details. I was to play someone who was getting investigated. So, my first character was a mild mannered woman who had never been investigated and she was absolutely terrified of being around an investigator. During the theatrics, I had to step away for a moment, but when I returned, my daughter the director was ready for me to change my character’s position.

“Mommy, I know I’m a kid, but I need you to woman up for me.” she declared.

“I am playing a woman.” I respond.

“No mama, I need you to woman up. Don’t be afraid. You know how kids tell other kids- be a woman about it.” she responded.

I was taken aback by my daughter’s orders, how would she or any child ever know about being a woman at such a young work_at_home_momsage?

Then it hit me- I thought the same thing when I was her age. Growing up in a single parent home taught me a lot about the roles I would soon play in life. Though my mother worked hard to take care of my siblings and I, she also felt like her home was incomplete without a father figure.This made me view my mother as a weakling. By the time I was in the third grade, I was learning about how women could do anything that they wanted and here was my mother sitting around crying over a man not being present.

Television also made a huge impact on my views of womanhood. Many of the images that I saw were of middle class European women who were in control of themselves and big corporations as well. They made the bacon and also cooked it without shedding a single tear or murmuring a complaint. The images of  African- American women were of either strong, and driven women or highly paid prostitutes.

These many  images became the seasonings that created my contorted jambalaya of what womanhood should have been and my mother was not holding up that standard. She was the urban version of June Cleaver- nurturing, loving and repulsively submissive. It was like she was stuck in a 1950’s musical and  I was a 90’s hiphop video. I knew that I was going to be the leader of the pack and no man was going to out do me. I would never allow a man to tell me when to come and go and most definitely not tell me  to cook him supper. I was a material girl living in a material world and I wanted to know what have you done for me lately.

“It’s so disappointing to see some of these young girls that will never know what it’s like to be a woman. Not in age but in actions.” – Maurice Johnson

My perception of my mother changed when I became a mother and it continues to change daily with the many women I come into contact with.  With each passing day I become more and more aware of how my actions impact my daughter’s frotasticdaily interactions and I begin to change my patterns slowly but surely.

One of my biggest patterns is pretending to be strong when I am faced with adversity. This thought has been the driving force of my life. I must be tough and show the world that I can make it without anyone’s help- especially a man’s help. I don’t have to depend on a man to pull me through my hardest times, I have the power within to make my life complete.This thought I have found to be true to a certain extent: Though I believe that women can do anything that they put their minds to, I cannot deny the fact that men are needed in this world. No matter how liberal one may feel, babies cannot be produced without egg and sperm- point blank.

As I have grown I have learned that being submissive is not being weak, it is actually strength. It takes a lot to keep calm and cool when someone is getting on your last nerve or seems to be barking orders at you. Though my mother chose to be humble it did not subtract from her inner strength that rose to each and every occasion that presented itself. My mother worked hard to ensure that her three children attained a quality education and that they became productive citizens.

Strength is not being able to win every fight it is being able to decipher when to fight.

Let us not underestimate the “plain Jane” women who choose to devote their lives to raising their families with humility. Not every woman is fist fighting or breaking dishes at the dinner table. There are women who honor their husbands  and find it not strange to ask for their guidance. These women are also hard workers and some are even business owners. They are not primitive nor are they weak. They are my mentors, teachers, aunts, and mother. Their Divine wisdom illuminates my ever growing path.

 If you like this or any other posts on this blog and would like to read more please check out our magazine edition: Find A Way The Print Magazine http://madmagz.com/magazine/full/446229/kdwha

 

* Images found on http://www.google.com

Salt

“The end did not forget the beginning, nor did the beginning remain sterile to the end.” – James V. Schall

 

“You were born a nigger, you gone be a nigger and you gone die a nigger.”  he  proclaimed smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

It pierced through my body, sending a shock that knocked  the breath out of me, awakening a quiet rage that swirled like kuntacreamer in coffee. In disbelief, I stood there hoping to wake up and it would all had been a dream. I felt my expression change as the blood began to rise to my face. The lump that always comes to my throat when I want to fight back my tears rose like a dam that was about to gush through the seams of my cheeks.

That phrase pulled me back into a past hurt that my ancestors bore. The more I tried to move past that pain, something inside of me kept me looking back at the shackles that my predecessors were forced to wear around their hands and feet. As I continued to reflect on all of the horrid depictions of the former, I became frozen in the thoughts of history and how it continued to repeat itself.

“Is that what you think of me?” I asked slanting my head hoping that through my glasses he saw more. More than the girl who had tried so hard to win the affections and respect that he rendered. More than a government dependent junkie waiting for her food stamps to come in. More than an affirmative action charity case from the bad side of the tracks. More than a “wannabe like him so I wouldn’t have to deal with remarks rendered by a society that had labeled me since birth” type of person

I don’t remember ever crying as much as I did that day. It was an angry cry. A cry that wanted to burn the building down and light a cigarette from the inferno. This was 2014 man! This was the present. We don’t say that word in this part of Georgia without  somebody getting cussed out or sent on to glory and here I was doing nothing but crying and regretting all of the things that I did not do.

afro loveI did not set the place on fire (Glory be), but I began to think about what made me so angry? For obvious reasons of course, you know the whole being black thing, but there was something beyond the surface that penetrated my makeshift  armor of being color blind  and liberal.

I had connected that word to the struggle that my ancestors fought. My great-grandmother was born into slavery and had endured  some of the most horrific things that even she did not want to speak about nor remember.But, it was there. Like a big pink elephant in a cramped room that no one wanted to address, the pain of the past. I associated the word with depictions of Kunta Kinte being whipped or Sethe being raped by School Teacher and his boys.

  “The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Mary Pickford

Though slavery was a pain to my ancestors it does not have to be my pain today. That does not mean that it did not happen. Nor does it mean that I will forget it. It means that I will not allow that pain to keep me stuck in an uncontrollable rage that leaves me battered and wounded. It means that I have been given an opportunity to show my ancestors  that I appreciate the hardships that they endured yesterday to accommodate my dreams for today. It means that the next time that someone of any race-including my own, uses that word I will inform them that their ignorance will be the death of our society.

We cannot change what happened in our history nor can we open the minds that refuse to be opened. We can only strive the worldtoday to make our latter better than our former. If we continue to look back on what was we will be left  paralyzed and unable to make the necessary changes that our community needs today.Let us embrace the past as a point of reference  that teaches us to be grateful for the strides that we continue to make as a society, not as a pillar that leaves us powerless and pathetic.

* Images found on http://www.google.com

So What? The Badonsky Method

“Approval is overrated. Approval and disapproval alike satisfy those who deliver it more than those who receive it.”  – Gregory Maguire

So I was on Facebook and my gentleman friend posted a picture of me at a New Year’s birthday bash that we attended with the caption: My WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday)No one  that I’ve dated has ever paraded me around like a beauty queen and it caught me by surprise when he posted. I was so flattered that I was the first to like the picture. Although I was excited, it was a short lived high because  my Jonesitis went into overdrive with questions such as:

2015 sexy

Ringing in the New Year

What if no one likes my picture?

What if I get no likes at all?

Now, I don’t profess to be a supermodel or even a regular model, but I did rock the dress that I wore that evening and I really wanted others to agree. I began to think about taking the picture down to save me from the embarrassment of having no likes at all. I began to think about all of the other beautiful ladies that I was friends with on Facebook and how they could post a picture of a thumbnail and get close to 200 likes- I couldn’t compete with them and now that this post was on Facebook I was free game.

Then, like a mighty wind one phrase changed my attitude: So what?

I learned the power of this sediment about a year ago at a Creativity Seminar hosted by author and artist Jill Badonsky. At this seminar Ms. Badonsky spoke on the things that blocked our creativity and personal power. One of the biggest blocks was worrying about what people thought of us as individuals, informing the seminar attendants that this hindrance paralyzed us from moving forward.

jill

Thank you Jill Badonsky

After educating the attendants on the many blocks that are presented throughout the day, Ms. Badonsky offered the remedy of so what. She encouraged us all to use this power phrase when we were bombarded with negative thoughts of not being good enough  as artists or individuals. She prompted us to keep this expression when we felt like we were being sucked into the abyss of opposition and when it began to get too ugly to bear, to say it with an even uglier face.

This utterance pulled me out of the vortex of self doubt and defeat by allowing me to see what was really important.

So what if no one else liked the picture, I liked it and so did my guy. I rocked the dress that I had on and that evening I danced all night in 6 inch heels!  So what if I only received one other like, I brought the New Year in with a man that thinks I’m simply gorgeous  and no one else had my dress on (which would have been a tragedy in itself).

When we get tied up in what others think of us, let us take a deep breath, exhale and say: SO WHAT?

 

Too School For Cool (Journal Entry)

One of my super powers is learning. I love learning new things that others may deem trivial. In my skole, I watch documentaries or read books;a vitophilia that brings me great pleasure. For a long time I would hide this pleasure to be like others so I could be accepted. I thought that if I fit in for a while others would loosen up and allow me to finally be myself,  but the more I made alterations to myself, the more others seemed to find fault in me.

bookwormIn retrospect, I chose to neglect my zeal of learning because I didn’t want to be viewed as a phony  who was trying to be a “white girl”. I wanted to stay true to my race and be “hood”, because that was what being black was all about. I risked and forfeited many great opportunities because I was trying to “keep it real” with everyone but myself.

It took me a while to realize that the things that make me weird distinguishes me from others, and that’s not a bad thing at all. There is nothing wrong with intelligence because intelligence does not discriminate between race  or religion; intelligence is available  to those that are in constant pursuit of knowledge.  In fact,  our greatest leaders sought after intelligence with a color blindness that allowed them to speak and  reach groups of people who were once biased and calloused towards minorities.

When we put limits on our education we limit our potential to reach others from diverse  walks of life.smart girl

I am no longer afraid to admit that I enjoy reading, writing, museums, and most importantly thinking. I enjoy being optimistic and accentuating the positive. I watch Jeopardy every night and guess what, both of my parents are B-L-A-C-K! I am grateful for all of the things that make me who I am. I may not live up to the standards of the hood and that is just fine, truth be told, I think that the standards of the hood should be raised a couple of notches any way.

Our race does not determine our intelligence, our willingness to learn does.

 

* Images found on http://www.google.com

Rope-A-Dope

“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” – Mae West

 

Every year, the last days leading up to a new year is always filled with cleaning house, washing clothes and clearing closets to assure that my new course in life is smooth and organized. I read books that encourage me to do the aforementioned activities consistently so I can be more successful in my new and improved life. I make promises or resolutions in my life ropesthat will make me more efficient and less slothful in my endeavors.

By January 1st, I am ready to step into the ring and knock every opposing force on its face without breaking a sweat. I am valiant and willing to keep my goals and promises that I have made, cause ain’t nobody got time for giving up, this is my year and I am here to claim all of my benefits.

By March 30th, I have forgotten all of my training and now I’m just bobbing and weaving into my old habits from years past. By June 30th, I am on the floor of the ring watching the ref count me out. I am discombobulated and my eyes are so bruised that I can barely see.  I begin to crawl for the ropes to pull myself up trying to escape defeat just before I am counted completely out. I make it to my respectable corner and begin to hear my coach yell at me,  imploring me to call the fight and train harder.

I have always had this crazy notion that things will somehow change for me with the coming of a New Year, that things won’t be as hard as they were because I have been given a fresh start. Somehow, I failed to realize that it is not the year that needs to change-  it is myself that needs to change. Though I may read books about success and how to attain it does not mean that I will transform overnight.

like a butterflyIt’s cool to have a vision for ourselves, but if we refuse to follow through we are merely dreaming.

If I  know that by March I will grow tired of sticking to my plans for my life, I need to have a plan to help me refocus. Maybe I need to commit to a three month check-up with myself to ensure that I am still on track to maintain my endurance. Instead of living in a fairy tale world and hoping that I don’t get hit by opposition, I must be courageous enough to take the hits and willing to stay in the fight.

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

When we begin to use our knock outs as learning utensils we are given the opportunity to become better fighters. We learn when to stay on the ropes and when to start jabbing. When we realize that our biggest opponent is ourselves, we begin to examine our thinking patterns and our strategies of approaching every situation.

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa 

 *Images found on http://www.google.com

Multiple Choice

choiceIt is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  – J.K Rowling

 

As a child, I was groomed for academic excellence, my paternal  great-grandmother was an educator for over 50 years and influenced my mother to become involved in the education system.  I was expected to make great grades and go on to become scholar at a college or university.  In spite of the fact that my mother was a single parent, she encourage and cultivated a love of education in her household, making sure that her children went to summer school each year to promote a successful school year . Though I had the ability to be an A student, I chose to succumb to the taunting of my peers and slacked  off in school. This was very frustrating for my mother because she knew the potential that I had  and she wanted me to  be the best me that I could possibly be.

Since the second grade I’ve loved to write;  I would sneak writing paper from my mother’s school supply closet to create make-shift story books  and read them to my mother when I was done. This passion went on until I discovered that all of my other friends had other interests that seemed more fun than hiding in my room and using my imagination.

YOUAfter a couple of years of not writing, I found my self  trying to fill the void with the attention of boys.  At the age of 13, I became a mother for the first time and couldn’t understand when my life took such a drastic turn. I blamed my mother, the man that molested me, even the girls who persuaded me to be like them.

My finger pointing went on for ten more years until I was summonsed to court for the custody of my eldest daughter by her father. I couldn’t grasp that each and every decision that I had made had led me to this particular experience. By following the crowd, I forfeited a life that could have been a little bit more promising for my self and my children.

For the past three years, I have decided to write more and to be more active in my community. It has not been a cake walk, but it is  surely worth the effort to give it my best no matter what.  Sometimes I still have difficulties with being different and wanting to be ‘normal’, but I am determined to live my life out loud without any regrets. I  may have the ability to be a great leader and to do great things, but the things that I  decide to do is really what matters.

Often times, when we are faced with the decision to be different, we run and cower because we don’t want to be ostracized or ridiculed. We sticky notefeel like no one will accept us if we do not fit their mold of perfection. Once we realize that our choice to be different benefits everyone, there will be  no stopping us.

Stay encouraged. Be YOU! It’s the best decision we will ever make. 

 

 

 

The Blame Game

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” -e.e. cummings

 

For a long time I blamed both of my parents for the way that my life went. I felt like if they had been less negligent to my needs I would have been a more productive person. If they had stayed together and raised my siblings and myself I would have been better off in this world. I held on to the resentment that I had for the both of them and that emotion became the catalyst of my lack of motivation and progress. It was my security blanket that allowed me to wallow in defeat without taking personal responsibility for my negligence to my self.

Yesterday, after months of not speaking to my dad, I learned that a friend had lost her mother via  Facebook post. Her only  request was to speak to her one  last time. My friend had not said anything about her mother being sick so the reflection sent shock waves through my bodylinus leading  me to frantically call my loved ones.  I sent messages to my sister and mother professing my love to them but when it came time to call my dad I stalled.

I stalled because though I knew I needed to call, I wasn’t speaking to him because he had forgotten my birthday for another year.

When I was four years old, my parents divorced, my mother, brother and I  moved to the town that I grew up in. I grew up thinking that my life would be better if I was able to live with my dad, this belief began to bring a wedge between my mother and myself. I did not understand why I could not be with my father and I blamed my mother for keeping him from me and I felt like she had done something that could have been prevented.

When I became old enough, I began to reach out to my dad, calling him once or twice a week. By that time, I had a daughter and needed male guidance more than ever. Though I  was happy to have him in my life again, I still had unanswered questions that I was afraid to ask because I didn’t want to run him away with my inquiries. I was also disappointed because not only had he remarried but the woman had three children two of whom were girls!

 OK,  livid was more of the word .

men lionWhen death occurs, everything that mattered before the event seems of little to no importance at all.  When I saw the post I immediately knew that I needed to talk to both of my parents. My father forgetting to call me on my birthday seemed minuscule compared to not being able to speak to him again.  As much as I wanted to be stubborn and maintain military silence, ain’t no coming back from death.

Though my childhood was not as pleasant as I wanted it to be, those experiences helped to create  some of my best poems, inspirations and insights in my adulthood. At the age of 28 I still sleep with a teddy bear. It was given to my older brother as a gift but was placed in our storage unit when we moved  after my parents called it quits. I was about 7 or 8 when I found it in the garage, I  cleaned it up and it has been in my life ever since. This teddy bear knows all of my secrets and has been my birthing coach for all four of my children. It has comforted me in the midst of break-ups and has laughed at Coming to America more times than I can count.  It reminds me of a happier time that I refuse to let go.

After a tear-filled  conversation with my dad I began to realize that both of my parents were doing the best that they could with what they had. They were kids just trying to figure it out and take control of their destiny, something that I am so familiar with.  Though my inner child was not ready to release the pain, I knew that it was imperative that I release the past and grow up.

You never know the liberation of adulthood until you begin to become one.

The Cat’s Pajamas

No one would really bother me if I had a black cat lurking around my house. A black cat with green eyes that had specks of orange in them. I would call her Hope. She would be my guard kitty. I would potty train her (litter is expensive) and would take her to get groomed. I would get a cat on guard sign. She would be mine.

Picture courtesy of www.google.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Why a black cat? Why not a gray one or a fat orange cat named Morris? Or even one of those Siamese cats. Hell, most would even take a bald one instead of a BLACK cat!

Exactly!

Society has taught us that black cats are the companions of witches. Witches are evil creatures that work through magic to get an end result.

Aren’t we all witches in some capacity?

We all believe that what we believe will cause something wonderful to happen. We believe in prosperity so we tithe hoping to gain an end result. We want love and acceptance so we lay our heart on the line hoping that someone (the right someone) will grab hold and never let go.We cast our cares upon the entity that we choose to believe and wait for a great outcome.

What we think, we start to believe. What we believe shapes our world.

Picture courtesy of www.google.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

I always believed that there was something wrong with me. No matter what I did (good or bad) someone always had a way of making me feel bad about who I was blossoming to be.So I began to embody the bad that everyone had told me that I was. I did not know it then but my every thought led to an action. By the time I was 14 years old I was an unwed mother who thought that the world owed her but had dealt her a bad hand of cards.

There is a reason why it is good to wait to have children, though you won’t be perfect at any age, looking back I had no idea of who I was. How was I supposed to raise a healthy and mentally stable child? I had low self-esteem and other teenage and emotional angst and it became worse when I stepped into high school.  I was the Hester Prynne  of my friends and felt like all eyes were on me. I was constantly reminded by others of how different my life was supposed to be now that I had a child. I felt like  not much had changed, I was still sad, lonely and felt like no one understood me.

Picture courtesy of www.google.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

For nearly a decade the shame and guilt followed me around like a dark cloud hovering over my dreams. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried I still kept making the same mistakes. I brought three more children in the world and was a divorcee’ by the time that I was 22. Nothing seemed to go my way and I was always in a crisis. I began to spiral into the abyss of depression and hopelessness feeling like I would be stuck in a permanent position of poverty.

Poverty is a mind frame.

Though I wanted a rich life  my actions were scarcity based. I was afraid of what others thought of me so I set out to please everyone, but I did not have enough to give. I was afraid that the only way for someone to love me was to give all of myself, but I lacked what I needed to provide for  myself and my children the life that we truly needed. This fear kept me from branching out and truly believing in myself which kept me stagnated and unproductive. Though I wanted to be more than a statistic I did not know how to do anything differently. And if I knew how to do it differently I would have been too afraid to follow through.

Now, at the age of 28, I stand at a cross-road of moving forward or staying the same. My evolution up until now has been full of ups and downs. Sometimes my past struts across my path showing me all of my mistakes and slip-ups….

Today, instead of running away in the opposite direction, I’m calling my past over for kibble and and warm milk, I will embrace it and allow it to purr.

Edumacation

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  -Aristotle

In 1986, the elementary school that I attended was given the Georgia School of Excellence Award.  When I began kindergarten in 1991, my mother was an active member of the P.T.A and also a paraprofessional there. As far as I can remember, my years at this institution were wonderful, I made many friends and was involved with the student council and other activities.

 www.google.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Almost 28 years later, this same school is claimed to be  the worse school in my town.

Last Friday, I decided to help out around the school. I found some paraprofessionals that needed me and I hung out in their office. While assisting them a teacher walks in and is more concerned about her water weight than her class. She complains about how fat she has been feeling and that today is a skinny day for her.

After this riveting conversation, she ask if one of her problem students could come down and do some  work to help the paraprofessionals. The head parapro said that she did and the teacher sent the student down to the office. After about 30 minutes, the same teacher sent another student down to help. Those students stayed in the office for 2 1/2 hours missing out on important instructional time and everyone was fine with it.

Everyone but ME!

This  school is the only elementary school within the city limits and serves 5 of the 7 public housing communities’ children. It is the epicenter of the city , how the students fare in the elementary school shapes their progress throughout the school system and abroad. The future for these little ones seems to be slipping away daily because of their demographics; with 461 students in this school and 440 of them are eligible for the school’s free lunch program.  In grades 3-5 there is 1 teacher for 25 students and half of these students are below their grade reading level.In most cases, the aforementioned students are the most difficult to reach and the one’s that are willing to learn are most often over looked.

Though the local detention center is expanding their availability for future residents by measuring the failing state scores of 3rd graders, it seems as if teachers and parents are still  out on vacation and we are well  into the fifth week of school. Parents seem to think that teachers are responsible for their children’s education and have the teachers convinced that they want to have little or nothing to do with the process. Some teachers have even professed that they haven’t seen some parents for an entire school year. Teachers seem complacent about teaching students with their whole hearts because it is a daily fight to gain control of their classes.

W.W.J.C.D? What would Joe Clark do?

Mr. Joe Clark would call a pep rally in the school auditorium and get rid of all of the miscreants. He would take the gates down and make the school look beautiful. He would establish clubs and would encourage students to study and bring their parents to learn how to read. He would carry a bat and lock out all of the riffraff. He would go up against any parent and the Fire Marshall to ensure his students safety and education. And when it was all said and done, he would have his students to sing Lean On Me.

Though it may seem hard to reach the urban community it can be accomplished.

Teachers,  instead of judging our students by their disparities, let us compliment their abilities. Take a true interest in the child no matter their race or economic status. Enjoy teaching the troubled child as much as you enjoy teaching the honor student. Encourage parents to attend P.T.A meetings and you should as well. Research innovative ways to deliver a certain lesson; capture the minds of these students.

Picture courtesy of www.google.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

Parents, it is our responsibility to instill the love of education into our children. Our qualms with the value of our children’s education is our responsibility to ensure. Become involved with the different programs offered to parents and students and if there are none, let’ create some.Even if  our school experience may not have been the most pleasant does not mean our children’s has to be. Our voices can change how our children are handled and taught for years to  come.

W.W.H.L.D? What would Helen Ladson do?

Well, honestly I would  do all of those things, but instead of a bat I would prefer a set of golf clubs.  However,  though this school is nothing like fair East Side High,  without improvements  it can easily evolve into a sad state of affairs.