Category Archives: children

Friendships: A Teaching Moment

Teaching your daughters how to be a friend and not a problem.

Todays world is a mixture of distaste, bad words and dishonesty. Our children are facing harsher discriminations, abuse and bullying because the world is no longer keeping them safe. How do we as parents teach our children to not only stand up for themselves, but to stand up for injustice and others.

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Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

I dont have boys, so I cannot speak on what is going on in boys friendships. But as a mother of four girls I am disgusted with how some of these mothers are allowing their daughters to grow up.

Could it be because more parents are young themselves? I remember when I was pregnant with my now 11 year old daughter, the lobby of the OBGYN was filled with 13 year olds pregnant with their first child. The mothers of those babies, usually in their 30s, were excited about becoming a Grandma. I can’t imagine having that same feeling.

I wonder how those 13 year olds raised their children, or if they did at all, because now the girls who are my 11 year olds age are out of control. Watching and doing challenges that can physically harm them. Playing the role of someone who has lived a “hood” life but has never been in a serious situation.

I also blame letting television and youtube raise these kids. I remember the television show, and Im not sure if it still aires, “16 & Pregnant” I remember the reason for the show was to originally show the raw hardship that a teenage pregnancy can cause, from homelessness, not having a lot of money, and the struggles that being a parent and being in school can have.

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Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Somewhere along the way, it became glorified. The thought of having a child who would love you unconditionally seemed like a great idea to the lonely and the misfortunate. An epidemic was an understatement, and those poor girls on the television show became celebrities instead of becoming a lesson.

These girls are taking Mean Girls, as a right of passage instead of taking a lesson from it. I blame the parents, but I also blame social media and schools who do not take their “No Bullying” signs seriously. We have to be the voice for these young ladies, we have to stand up for them when they feel like they have no one else to stand for them.

Having a baby shouldn’t be a trend, because along with babies there is also the fact that STDs spread further and quicker than pregnancy. So what do we do for our girls? How do we save them?

Featured photo Photo by Drop the Label Movement on Unsplash

My Kids are Afraid to go to School

We Need To Protect Our Children, It Wont Change Your Rights

After the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, there have been several more shootings or threats of shootings, including a shooting by a teacher that the politicians are pushing to arm.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

“Its getting closer and closer Mommy.” My 14 year old comes home and talks to me daily about her anxiety and fear of something happening. I told her today that she will be fine and nothing will happen to her, and then I paused. How can I say that? I’m sure those kids who went to school felt safe and never afraid of anything except the normal teenage things, like a test or a crush.

Then it was their school…

sometime around midnight a few weeks ago there was a post circulating, that the school my kids attend was to be shot up the following day. There were factors that I thought about as I read it, it only said RHS. How many RHS’ were there in the world? Several I am sure, but this said Rison kids be careful.

My daughter was in tears and begging for me not to let them go the next day. I pictured all the things that could’ve gone wrong. I imagined how many parents wish they would’ve listened to their kids begging them to stay home, how many warnings that were not taken seriously. So I decided they wouldn’t go. I called the police who offered no information, because the officer “just got on and had no information” (a simple hold on, let me find out would’ve sufficed, and his huff like I was annoying him as he hung up was heard as well…. I understand the police get a lot of calls but have patience).

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The principal posted a FB message around midnight, that I didn’t see until the next day that said it was for another state, I believe Ohio. Like that was supposed to calm us down and make us send our kids to school. My kids decided to go at 1 p.m. I wasn’t the only one who decided to keep their kids home, as many assignments and tests were rescheduled because half the school was out. I have to admit, I expected there to be police officers on campus to protect the kids and staff that did show up, just in case, there was not one. The girls said there wasn’t any though out the rest of the day either.

To say I was a mess for those four hours, would be an understatement. I couldn’t sit still and none of my conversations made much sense. I was stressed and I was scared. I kept my phone close because I told my kids that for today put their phones on silent instead of off. I told them to pay attention to their surroundings, where to hide and to not run. That if a shooter was to show up to the school be still until the police releases them.

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Photo by D x L on Unsplash

The school should’ve had a conversation or assembly discussing the fear and what to do in case, but once again, just like when the child who committed suicide, it was swept under the rug. My daughter has a full plan in place, and knows which classes have locks and are safe. My daughter shouldn’t have had to make this plan for herself, we as parents, those of us in congress and us as voters need to stop letting the NRA run and pay for the discussion on gun control to be quieted. h

To make matters worse, instead of talking about what to do, legislators are too busy talking down on teenagers who speak up for themselves, or blame the victims and say that they were the blame in some form or fashion. Bullying is a problem, but that doesn’t give anyone a reason to shoot and kill several people, besides with this kid, it wasn’t the case.

So what do we do? Its hard enough as a parent of teenagers of color, with the threat of police brutality, and racial profiling, but now we have to deal with the fact that any kid can get and own a gun. Lets not even begin to discuss the fact that they want to arm the teachers. Teachers who have way too many titles, already stressed out and get far too less pay.

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Photo by xandtor on Unsplash

There has got to be a better way, the NRA won’t allow people to have to give away their guns, but we need a compromise. War guns have no reason on the streets or accessible to civilians. An AR-15 should be for military use only. But its not only that,  its the availability to guns. Over half the kids our school district have guns and are proud of them, but shouldn’t they have a license? To drive a car you have to have a permit and take a test to get a license. Why can’t the same be done for guns.

You shouldn’t be able to go in a store and pick up a gun like a gallon of milk. There needs to be stricter regulations, because the guns are now in our schools. They are coming after our children. Something needs to be done. We need to change the conversation or vote the ones who don’t want to out.

 

Featured image: Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

No Review – I am judging the racist.

Its time out for the exclusions and separations.

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I know its Thursday, the day I have scheduled to do reviews.. but today, I don’t feel like much of a review, at least not of a book, movie or television show. I will save that for next week. This week, I want to talk about the failed system protecting these kids, protecting us.

“A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.” – W.E.B. DuBois

I live in a small town in Arkansas, a town with more animals that black people and the population is less than 500. I only moved here due to circumstances beyond my control, but I accepted it and I am here. I knew I wasn’t welcomed here when the woman across the street made sure her confederate flag faced my house, when people stared a little longer because not only were we black, but we weren’t the black kind that tries to fit in.

I have been feeling the pressures of being black in this house and in this county. It seemed that during Christmas time, we were everyones charity case. The family that everyone did so much for and said it was because I was a single mother of four girls and a caretaker of two elderly, I accepted. I have never been above anything free, but I found that everything free, comes with a price. Comes with a cost.

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A UPS driver came over one day with is sister in his truck (violation, right), to bring a dog house for my larger dog. His house wasn’t quite big enough and he didn’t like it. I thought it was a blessing, as odd as it was. He had no package to deliver, but offered to help out a lady and her dogs. His sister came off as helpful, someone who wanted to help keep my costs down and offered to send her vet friends to look at my dogs for free. I trusted this woman, until the phone calls became to frequent. The accusations that I could not care or pay for my dogs care. She assumed that because I was black, that I was poor.

Now I am not the richest person, nor do I have a lot, but my family has always been blessed. So her assumptions was wrong. She came over a few more times, in her UPS brothers truck, with dog food and a handout of help. I declined her help anymore and decided they had visited enough. Her visits stopped, although her brother continued to come by daily in his truck, according to her, to feed my dogs. (We ALWAYS had enough food to feed our dogs. We never asked for her help).

Last Friday, I received a call from Kim (I will not change her name because she mad a fool of me and I am not above making her look foolish). She offered to purchase my dogs from me. Now anyone that knows me, knows that my dogs are my babies. They are like my children. I rescued Chip, and Bella was given to us from an unwanted litter. I didn’t choose my dogs, they chose me. I am proud of my dogs and how they grow. Now Chips weight goes up and down and anyone that doesn’t know that, may look at him and think he’s sick, but he’s not.

She warned me that I would change my mind. So what happens today? The sheriffs come to my door and first gives me a warning and says that my dogs are healthy looking, only to return 45 minutes later saying I was a liar and I didn’t tell him I didn’t buy the dogs houses. (Why does that matter?) I was issued a criminal offense ticket of cruelty to animals, he said because my dogs didn’t have 24 hour access to water. *blank stare*

My dogs are a bit glutton and if I give Chip a big bowl of water, he will drink it until he throws up. I give him water when I feed him, and sometimes in between, especially depending on the weather. So now I have court.

Here’s my problem, Kim’s brother should’ve NEVER been on my property without a package to deliver nor should his sister been in his vehicle. Plus he was speaking to my children without my permission. (No… called UPS and they are “limited” on what they can do, oh but keep them updated.)

“I didn’t learn to be quiet when I had an opinion. The reason they knew who I was is because I told them.” ~ Ursula Burns

All this the same week that a boy commented on my daughters hoodies, asking if being shot by police was a black persons super power. All after the principle said that he will not address complaints of racism, to talk to the Assistant Principle.

Arkansas, I stood up for you. As much as its is a state that is all white vs black and KKK filled, I stood up for you, and now I am facing a felony and jail time that is equal to more than a murder of a person because I didn’t have a water bowl continuously filled for my dogs? With all the strays up and down Highway 79, why are my dogs on trial?

Screenshot 2018-01-25 20.19.39I am not dumb, I know my rights, and I have my proof. I cannot wait until court, because once again, I am assumed to be dumb, black and poor. I am assumed to go to court with a “no sir, yes sir” attitude. They picked the wrong black person if thats the case. I will not be run from this little racist ass town, nor will I bow down to the bullshit at stake.

So today I review and judge RACISM, and I am OVER IT! Sorry, but you will not have a head down sister over here. I will win, and I will still be here when the smoke clears. Smiling and possibly having a few new jobs to my disposal.

Sorry for the rant, but I am a pissed off sista with an agenda. 

Jay Z, Jay Z, Jay Z… Boy You Still Got It!

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So after debating in my head since the debut of 4:44 whether I was going to redo my membership for Tidal, Facebook made me aware that Jay had snuck his new album to iTunes this morning. Best part was, my Apple Music Membership covered it! 

Let me tell you, I have been a Jay-Z fan since I was pregnant with my youngest daughter Screenshot 2017-07-07 20.33.16in 2001 and even before. So my review is probably biased. Not really, cause if Jay would’ve come out with something whack I would’ve called him out.

But this man doesn’t know what whack is, unless you are him describing how he almost pulled a Eric Benet and lost his woman. Now that was indeed whack.

See most people only hear that he admits to all the things that Lemonade was talking about, but they missed the greatness of his album just as they missed the best parts of Beyonce’s albums.

He starts with Kill JayZ spitting on how theres no healing what you hide. He spoke on every rumor and every bad thing he ever did, how he couldn’t take it if he wound up like Future watching another man play ball with his son.

But that wasn’t the best part of the album and if thats all you heard, then you need to listen until you hear the rest. JayZ spoke up on how it doesn’t matter how rich you are, what complexion you are that we are still niggas in their eyes. He talked about how OJ said he wasn’t black he was OJ and how quick they brought him back to reality.

How our so called leaders are dealing with crap like Bill Cosby being held on charges instead of them saying NBC wasn’t for sale. Look at Al Sharpton on IG taking selfies in the mirror, what is he fighting? He’s given up. (Of course you have to look up what Al Sharpton had to say in return.. all I can do is roll my eyes. He always has so much to say but still saying nothing, but thats a different story.)

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My jam is Family Feud, because in this song he speaks about how nobody wins if the family is feuding. He’s not speaking about his family, he’s speaking on our Black family and how we are at each others throats, drinking alcohol that we know is not ours.

He also spoke on how all these “new” rappers/niggas is starting to sound alike, taking pics on IG with money and guns that don’t belong to them. Hanging with chicks who look the same or are the same. How now we in the game of telling on ourselves and it really don’t be about nothing.

He talked about having credit is better than balling out, how you need to put money away for your family and invest in black owned businesses and stop working for everyone else. Like honestly, why are yal still signing record deals like you haven’t seen what they do to people. Stop making other peoples pockets fatter while all along you hungry.

He also spoke on deeper issues about him growing up with a mother who was living a life where she was hiding who she was. How you should your life to make you happy, no matter who doesn’t like it. He even called out the jewelers on how they are robbing people and don’t care even if its blood money, long as its money.

He wrapped it up with a song called Legacy and a shot out to his roots Marcy Me.

JayZ is back yal! He’s a grown man and is ready to face his responsibilities like a man and make his woman happy. He sees his flaws and his imperfections and hopefully will learn from them. Because as he said no loss is a loss its a lesson and appreciate the pain because its a blessing.

Lets hope this album will be the turning point that will allow him to keep that superhero mask on for his babies. Good Job Jay!!! This is now on my favs list. Whats your favorite JayZ album?

17 countries in 30 mins!

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This morning my mother screamed my name because the news was about to discuss Snapchats update that supposedly all parents needed to see. Sooo… of course you know my review has to be on that, the new Snapchat feature!

“Did you know that Snapchat tells where you are to people and other people can find you?” Entering her room a commercial was on. When it came back on, I waited, because the news always have to put some story on first that most people probably wouldn’t be interested in. Finally, the story came up and I was so disappointed. They were discussing a new features, that to me makes Snapchat the best social media app at the moment.

So if you have Snapchat you know that when you first get on the app its the camera. Well if you pinch the screen a map shows up. If you don’t move it only shows you where you are and the people that are close around you. But go further, pinch the map so that you become a big emoji on the map.

Go close on another country, you can either click on a circle with a name or a red spot on the map, now you can watch videos from people who posted to “Our Story” in that location.

Before you have a cow, or get your kids to go ghost on the app, you don’t see the persons snapchat name, you only see the name of the location or city. Today I visited Riyadh, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Cairns, South Wales, Tasmania and Paris. 

I visited Paris in my PJs. I got to see how others eat, live, celebrate and lectures I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see. You can visit any place in the world through someone else eyes.

Why would this be a bad thing? To me its not. I am not going to ban SnapChat for my children, I know that I have taught the importance of internet safety and not adding strangers to their accounts. But I think they can learn so much from this app.

Technology is not as bad as some people fear it to be. Don’t miss out on something great because of the dangers that can come into you house without the internet. Just teach your kids and you yourself to watch your surroundings whether on the web or not. Enjoy Snapping!!!!… I know my Mom was ready to download it after I showed her, but thats a lesson for another day.

This weeks review was about an App.. have other ideas for me to review? I review movies, books, music, apps, ANYTHING!!! I tell it as it is… no chaser… 

 

Parenting tops EVERY horror film.

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Having children is scary, I mean worse than any scary movie you can watch scary. Its a different level of scary, not like you have a nightmare and the world is ok when you wake up scary. I mean scary because it makes your mind think of off the wall things that can happen and how to prevent them.

As I sit here trying not to panic with my six year old who has a deep cough, and a runny nose. Something normal right? Except when you factor in asthma and a possible allergic reaction to the cough medicine I gave her. Her and any medicine thats “natural” never seem to work. I am scared as I watch her chest rise and fall, as every deep cough and snot shoots out her nose. I am scared because I want to make her feel better with the snap of my fingers.

Having four girls is a nightmare, and not for the reasons you may think. I want to protect my girls with every inch of my soul. I never want them to experience any of the heartache and pain that I ever felt. I want to put them in a bubble and hope nothing every pops it.

I want them to have the lives we see on movies, where by the end of the scene all of their problems are solved. The “simple” worries. Its harder now than when they were babies because now, besides my six year old, I have two teenagers and a pre-teen. With those ages comes crushes, heartbreak, and the reality of true disappointment.

Now I have always been real with my girls and never made them believe that life was about rainbows, butterflies and cupcakes. I have told them about being aware of their surroundings and to not trust every smiling face. I told them that stranger danger is real and that monsters look like regular people.

So yeah, being a parent is scary. You have to raise these little people who completely depend on you and make sure they are tough, but compassionate; Smart but with an edge; Honest, fair and safe. You have to protect them from everything without smothering and sheltering them. Its an equal balance that no one ever gave you a manual for. There is no how to do books because every kid is different. What may work for one, may not for the next and DNA has nothing to do with that.

Now to go back and cuddle with my little one as she sleeps soundly. I know I won’t sleep because I will be listening to every cough and jumping with every movement. Being a parent may be scary, but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Our Children, Are They Safe?

 Disclaimer: In no way shape or form am I condoning what police have been doing to our youth. I think it’s disgusting and it needs to stop. I am only talking from one parent to another about our responsibility of keeping our children safe. 

I know that the police killings and brutality have been a topic for a few years now, so as a journalist, my opinion is late. Yet this needs to be discussed on my blog as well. I have a different opinion that perhaps not to many people will be found of, but please just hear me out.
Everyone blames the shooters, the victims or the community where the victim was raised, but when do we as parents take a little of the responsibility? Now I know there are several instances where the parents couldn’t and shouldn’t have done a thing different, like Trayvon Martin for example (I mean the child was just walking home from the gas station, something my children do on a regular basis). But there are instances where we have to teach our children common sense, certain situations call for us to take on the battle, not them.
How do we teach our children to deal with authority? By this I mean school administrators, teachers, police officers – adults that can tell you child to do something without you being present. Can you honestly say that you tell them to be respectful? I cant. I can take responsibility and say that I have always told my children to stand up for what they believe in. To speak up and I will have their back.
  
Now I am not saying that there is anything wrong with teaching children to stand up for themself; they very well should do that. What I am saying is that they should know how and why. If a police officer approaches your child, they should know to follow the law. These officers have guns and trigger-happy fingers lately. I want my children to stand up for themselves but I also want them to be alive. There are other ways to fight wrongful imprisonment, racial profiling and questioning your child without you being present.
No we don’t want our children to be attacked by police (like the little girl in the video in South Carolina), but in all honesty I think that situation could’ve been avoided. The teenager refused to leave class. Was her argument right? Yes! Do I blame the administrator, teacher and the police? Yes, but I think that the situation could’ve been avoided from all ends. In no way shape or form am I blaming the student, but I think this can bring up a good point for us parents to discuss with our children. If they feel they are being targeted at school, or if they feel the teacher is treating them unfairly, they need to leave the class if asked and let their parents know so they can handle it.
We need to go to battle for these children. It is up to us to let our kids know that we have their best interest at heart and that we want to see them come home every day safe and sound. So teach them to respect authority and the right way to fight. Don’t give them the ok that they can be disrespectful and get kudos for it. Think of what’s more important to you?
Now how can we do this? Attend parent teacher conferences, go to school events, volunteer. The school, administrators and teachers should know who you are and who your children are. Don’t wait until there is a problem before you go up to the school. Let them know that you are involved and want only the best for your child. Trust me the school officials like that and will work with you and your child with anything. I know its hard as parents to juggle so many things, but trust me its a lot easier when you do it this way than the alternative. ~Love Tichelle