Working SMART!

A lot of my friends have been sharing a well written article with the gist that  telling your child they are smart is damaging to them and how it is better for them to praise their hard work and effort. If I was raising my children in Nigeria, I would agree with the writer. Unfortunately as a mother raising black girls in America, I WILL continue to praise my children’s intelligence.  Why? Because everyday they are bombarded with negative stereotypes telling them that they are not smart. Images that tell them that being black or female means not being capable of excelling in science and math. Images that tell them that the stereotypical African American child underperforms in every subject. My daughters know they are SMART because I remind them that despite anything others may say, they were gifted with intelligence. However my daughters also hear and see from me that being SMART means working smart.

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Richie Stevens

Richie Stevens is one of the most versatile and talented singers of all time. His distinct voice is found on collaborations with Soul-II-Soul, Mad Cobra, U-roy, Maxi priest, Beanie man, Gentleman and others.   

Online shaming by parents is child abuse

There is a disturbing trend by some adults to post videos of them “discipling” kids online. They narrate the child’s infraction and then proceed to “punish” the child by verbally or physically abusing the child or humiliating or embarrassing the child. All of these parents claim they are doing it for their child, but I seriously doubt it. They come across as exhibitionists competing for hits off the shame of a child that did not consent to the public humiliation. In what universe is it OK to seek public adulation off the transgressions of your minor child? Even the government recognizes that youthful offenders need protection and typically do not publish their names and crimes, perhaps it is time to protect these children from these adults. If you want to punish your child do it within the confines of the law. Once you post videos that expose your kids to future ridicule, and can limit their career judgment is questionable.

The revolution is being televised?

The past few years has seen revolutions and uprisings all over the globe. From Cairo to Baltimore people are rising and rioting, in reaction to a trigger of some kind, police brutality, oppression by leaders. People are reacting! The 99% marched in reaction to the status quo. But then what? What has changed? What has improved? Revolutions cannot be sustained if they are reactionary, they have to be nurtured and purposeful. They have to be driven by goals and these specific objectives must be focused and deliberate otherwise after the fires stop burning, if they do, the resulting anarchy is often worse than what was displaced.  Sadly all over the globe folks are relearning this.  But then should people just sit and do nothing? Of course not, because if they do nothing the rage just simmers and grows and the riots are simply postponed. Ideally we would address the root causes of the problems and find solutions. Solutions that recognize that human lives are more important than property and $$$. But getting there will be difficult if we wait for elected leaders. Many of these elected leaders are too privileged to relate to the poor or even the middle class. They are clueless about the needs of the people they should serve and cannot comprehend the effect of their words. So in addition to marching, shouting and praying, register to vote. Field your own candidates that will change the status quo. Think before you act.  Remember if all you do is burn your own neighborhood, 20 years from now it may still stay burned. And no one will give a damn until the burning starts again.

Thank you Coach – Always stay hungry

Yesterday, at the dinner for the STM track team, their coach cried in front of the kids, as he said bye to the graduating 8th graders. This man truly loves and respects the kids.  He goes above and beyond for them, inspiring them to simply do their best and telling them “to always stay hungry.” This is a man that loves his job and inspires generations of kids in his alma mater. This man embraces the opportunity to inspire the kids and even dresses up as the mascot. He is a teacher and you all know how little they are paid, but he is richer than many people earning exponential times his income, as he makes the world better for each kid. Thank you coach Mouton.

Paranoid Helicopter Parents.

It’s funny watching helicopter parents with their kids, you know the mom or dad that always holds on so tight to their children they never figure out how to explore for themselves. It stops being funny when they want to impose their irrational fears on others. The nosey helicopter parents call the cops when a neighbor’s 5ft 3 twelve year old is walking home from school by himself and trigger a child neglect investigation. The annoying neighbor who calls 911 when a 6 year old is riding her bike by herself in the driveway of her house, while her mom is watching from the kitchen not sitting next to the kid. Just because a helicopter does not allow her kids to ride the bus or cross the road does not mean that she has the right to use the police to harass her neighbors. OK helicopters claim to have good intentions but let’s remind them that “the road to hell is paved in good intentions.” Of course bad things may happen but living in constant fear and crippling kids with unfounded paranoia does not help them.  Life is too short to spend living in fear and kids should be allowed to learn how to assess risks in age appropriate ways.  So if you’re a helicopter parent and you are getting outraged by your neighbor who is so relaxed and letting his kids run free, take a deep breath, enjoy the scenery and go over and say hi.  Be neighborly before judging out of context. Use your brain and don’t be ruled by irrational fears. Also remember the police have real emergencies to deal with, a healthy kid walking home from school on a beautiful day is not an emergency. If you think it is please examine yourself seriously as you may need some help.