Thursday, February 17, 2011

Re-Claiming Our Children Pt. 2

About a month after writing "Re-claiming our Children" I began home-schooling my son. We are in the second week and are loving it.  It brings us together as a family in a way that  is so unique.  We talk about so many different things and from a wholistic perspective. He is 7 years old and I am so excited about the increased opportunities that will be available to him from the choice that I have made for his well-being.  I am using an online school program and supplement and adjusting or changing as we see fit.  I get this question every time that I mention to someone that I  am home schooling: "Well, Why? What happened? How long are you going to do that?"  The question is asked with fear and concern as if we are depriving him of something not adding something to him.  I was watering down my answer just to keep it simple but yesterday I decided that I needed to tell people exactly why we chose to do this.  It is not because my son is having a hard time in school, in fact he is an excellent student...ahead of his class.  He is home schooled because I saw a pattern occuring over and over again with children all over the state that I interacted with on different levels as a teacher, tutor, mentor, advocate, family member etc.  I saw children in the school systems going from healthy esteems and identity acquired and reinforced in their homes and family to vacant esteem, low esteem, suicidal thoughts and actions, violence, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, fear, and this is a short list.  I saw so many symptoms of what could be classified in the DSM-IV book of classification of disorders in our children.  These disorders manifest from somewhere.  Our current schools do not nurture self-knowledge and development.  They do not nurture self-love.  Even if this is happening in the home, the effects of the school environment: the  teaching methods and ideologies, quickly destroy the gains.  I speak so strongly on this because I have seen it and with my own son, but he is not the only one.  I know of at least 4 young boys in particular ages 6-7 who have spoken of killing themselves because of their feelings of hopelessness with regard to their schooling.  These are children who have loving parents who talk to them, who have outlets and are bright and full of potential.  These are not children who are constantly in trouble for one reason or another.  So imagine what the children who do not come from loving environments or who have history in the juvenile system, deal with drugs, gangs, abuse and more are feeling!!!  The morning that my best friend from high school told me that these words came out of her precious son's mouth, I made the decision that day to take my son out of school.  I had seen the signs in my son as well...watched in horror as in 3 months he went from a child who was articulate, loved to help and teach others whatever he knew, a leader, confident in his abilities, loved who he was as a young black boy and his black people--to a fearful, unsure, self-conscious, self-depreciating, self-hating 7 year old boy!  I could not believe how complete the change was and so quickly!  This is happening all over the country ! Our children are not seeing themselves represented in the classroom, in the books and not being related to in a supportive reinforcing manner.  I can get very specific on what's going on and what's missing but that is not my intent in this writing.  But I will say that there is a training for teachers in Columbus Public schools that is done for Cultural Awareness and the woman who wrote the book that the training is done from is a white woman!  Not only that but some of the language and thoughts in this book that is taught in workshop as fact and information to use in the classroom when relating to our children is blatantly stereotypical and absurd!  One example is a statement that describes the type of environment that most "urban" children come from as loud, chaotic, lacking in the expression of intimacy and love...does this sound like something that should be taught as a guideline to teach our black children?  And they cover up what is going on so that people swallow it and don't say anything about the nonsense that comes out of this book by having a black woman conduct the training as if to give it validity.  I will end now, cause I think I have said enough...but this is by no means over.  Wake up my people PLEASE!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Prepare for the Loss of a Loved One and Help Others

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 28:  Young girls embrace o...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Earlier this week, I asked a question on Facebook in order to get some feedback on how to be of assistance to my friends and family who are going through times of loss.  I got a few responses from people that I had not seen or heard from since High School and just befriended on FB within the last week and was so grateful for the time taken to respond.  The other reply was from someone that I may have met once and has chosen to take the time to offer himself as a source of knowledge and wisdom to those who seek in earnest.  I wondered about the silence from those other 200 or more people…What did it mean?
Speaking about death is something that is not very easy to do and very rarely approached in our society.  It is almost like a subject that is taboo.  We have such great fears about death and strong emotion that we often choose to ignore and avoid it when it is a phase of life that we all must face.  Just like any other time in our lives, it would benefit us greatly to examine ourselves and become familiar with our thoughts and feelings about death.  What it means to us, what are our fears and beliefs that surround death…In doing this, we can allow ourselves the opportunity to identify thoughts and beliefs that would inhibit the grieving process and our appreciation of the life that was and the recognition of the spirit that always is.
I belonged to a church several years ago that had a practice that we re-enacted every service and at any event: libation.  This was a ceremony that was adapted from our ancient African roots that honored the ancestors who came before us and those who had transitioned to another state of life, as well as honoring and acknowledging the elements and energy that make up all that is.  This ceremony was a reminder that we are all connected by divine spirit, that we are enriched and supported by our connection to all that is and ever was.  We call out names in this ceremony; names of heroes and sheroes who represent the spirit that we admire, respect, and consciously call forth to learn from and even emulate in the type of individual manifestation of spirit that we choose to be.  We call out names of our loved ones, friends and family and members of the world who have transitioned from this life in remembrance and acknowledgement that they may be gone physically, but forever exist.  I like to remind myself of one of the Laws of Thermodynamics.  This law says that: Matter is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes state.  The energy that we are, will always be and always has been, we only manifest it physically for a time or for many times, but our energy and essence always is.

I am grateful for this time of reflection and reminder and preparation.  I am grateful that there are ways and tools available to assist me to see things as they really are and not allow fear to cheat me out of a living experience of how great we truly are and can be.  I am grateful for that inner-knowing that we all have access to that guides and affirms and corrects and adjusts.  Today as in every day, I consciously choose.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I saw this post on another site this morning.  The person who posted this headline had this to say about this line: "WTF!!!"
There were no other posts on this topic...

This is what I have to say:

People are so imbalanced and this is why we keep seeing these stories that are crazy and unbelievable.  Until we start addressing the many issues that are in our communities, we will continue to see the same gruesome things in our society and even perpetrated against the children.  This should be a wake up call that something is drastically wrong.  These stories are happening more frequently.  Just sitting back shaking your head saying that it's a shame is not enough!  We have to start talking about the state of our relationships with ourselves and with others.  Talking about children not having people actively in their lives talking with them and teaching them by example and in word about life and guiding them so that issues like teen pregnancy, early sexual activity, drugs and violence and more can be dealt with with responsible adults who have some wisdom.  We have left our children on their own for years to just figure it out and do as they please for a large part in our communities.  We do not take advantage of the presence and wisdom of our elders in our families and communities and so they almost lose their place and we in turn lose their wisdom and guidance.  Parents are getting younger and younger and often do not have the skills, patience, maturity or guidance to navigate the life changing task of parenthood.

The question is: What are we going to do about this as a community to make a difference in what we see?  There are very concrete things that can be done.  We can make a commitment to share our wisdom gained through experience with youth and young parents who are learning what it means to be a parent.  We can go into our community centers and build relationships with the children there and their families.  We can go into the schools and volunteer in the classrooms, go on field trips and be the positive example that children need to see and keep  talking to them.  They hear us, they watch us...they only mirror what they see and hear around them.  Let us give them a grander vision to aspire to and not allow them to be immersed in a culture that is fed through the TV, Internet,  and Radio that glorifies excess vs balance and moderation; materialism vs spiritualism; quick-fixes and short-cuts vs pride in effort, discipline, and determination; egotism, competition, and elitism vs. interdependence and assisting others.  We are the ones who are in control of what our future will look like by the choices that we make each and every day.  Let us CONSCIOUSLY choose now.


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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Choosing to Face the Storm


I’ve been away from my beloved computer keys for over a week and have been anxious to return.  I had to take time away and focus all of my attention on relationships in my life.  Being able to adjust and respond accordingly to whatever life brings you is a valuable skill to acquire.  Sometimes because of the demands of a time or situation we are not able to operate like business as usual. 
So, last week was a week of intensive challenges, opportunities for growth, acknowledgment and awareness of self and others and ultimately—healing.  Took a lot of time and energy, didn’t always feel good, didn’t even want to go through it while I was in it, but I recognized the value of continuing even while in the storm.  I would like to share one of the lessons that I saw repeated through-out the week and with different people.  This is a lesson that I had actually written about almost a month ago and had not yet posted it to the blog.  Originally I began by talking about the habit of complaining.  By the end of the writing I was talking about forgiveness and releasing ourselves and others from old scripts and ways of relating.
I’ll skip the talk on complaining and get to the point: When we hold others captive by whatever their past contains, those people will forever be the same in our mind.  We don’t allow the truth of what currently is or the possibility of change in the future.  Sadly when we imprison others in this way, we also imprison ourselves.  This is reflected in our emotional baggage that we continue to carry, and if we are not careful, into our very personality expression and energy that we carry.  We become bitter, cynical, angry people.  At some point we have to learn how to truly look at ourselves and others and forgive, show compassion, learn our lessons and move on.  This allows our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to be fresh to look at each other and our experiences in a new way that is full of the possibility that is the true essence of who we are and capable of being.  We are just mirrors one to another.  Let us love each other through our rough spots just as we need to love ourselves through our own rough spots.

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