I’m excited to share my latest article with you! My friends at Stand For the Silent gave me another opportunity to share my opinion. This time, I discussed how we can provide our children the support they need. This topic is extremely important to me because I believe our support is the foundation upon which our children build their lives. Therefore, our children rely upon our support to effectively navigate the obstacles and opportunities in life.
Other Articles I’ve Shared on the Stand For the Silent Platform.
Stand For the Silent has really opened their [virtual] doors to me and the parent-child-connect platform! It’s always fun to collaborate with visionaries who share a common goal. Their message, “I AM SOMEBODY” perfectly aligns with my goal to remind people to “Never, EVER, forget your worth!” Ultimately, we share a common goal to raise awareness about issues that impact our children and provide resources for parents, teachers, mentors, and caregivers to develop a positive relationship with their children to lead them through life’s many challenges.
Here are the other articles I shared.:
What is Stand For the Silent?
I have introduced Stand For the Silent before on my platform, but here is a brief description from their About Us page. It won’t take you very long to figure out why I love collaborating with this organization!:
Stand for the Silent was started in 2010 by a group of high school students in Oklahoma City, OK, after they heard the story of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son, Ty Field- Smalley. At eleven years-old, Ty took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully that had been bullying him for over two years. Stand for the Silent exists as a platform to allow Kirk and Laura to share their story, and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.
Since May 2010, Kirk and Laura Smalley have traveled to over 1,000 schools and spoken with over 1,000,000 kids! On March 10, 2011, Kirk and Laura met privately with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in The White House prior to attending the first ever White House conference on bullying.
The Stand For The Silent (SFTS) program addresses the issue of school bullying with an engaging, factual, and emotional methodology. With the help of student leaders, Kirk Smalley presents his inspirational story, and students are shown first-hand the life and death consequences of bullying. Through this unique approach, lives are changed for the better. Students, some for the first time, develop an empathetic awareness through education and understanding.
The goal of the program is to start a SFTS chapter at each participating site. Each chapter consists of a group of students committed to change. These students will no longer stand for their peers to suffer at the hands of a bully. At the end of each event, pledge cards are given to those who agree to stand for the silent. The pledge speaks of respect and love…hope and aspiration. Above all, it illustrates the main lesson taught through the Stand For The Silent program: I AM SOMEBODY.
Lately, I’ve been besieged by the thought of “living in the moment.” I’ve previously written about embracing where you are and how parents can make time count; yet, I find myself pontificating about what it truly means to live in the moment. As many in my generation do when they want to blurt out their opinion, I turned to Twitter to express my conclusion. Here’s what I wrote.:
It’s easy to scroll past a quote like that because, quite frankly, it’s an abstract concept. In other words, I gave you a Yoda-like quote with no practicability or applicable instructions. The good news is this blog is not constrained to 128 characters, so I can provide that for you today!
Living in the moment is a balancing act.
Living in the moment is actually fairly complex for many of us because it requires intentionality. If you were to observe the world around you, I promise you will find someone opposite ends of the spectrum. Neither side of the spectrum represents “bad” people. Having been on both sides myself, my justification was supported with good intentions. Either way, I had to find my equilibrium point after a wild swing of the proverbial pendulum.
On one hand, there are some who simply exist. They are physically present, but their mind is elsewhere. They appear isolated and disconnected from the people and world around them. Their number one defense is: “But at least I’m here, right?” Many may call them boring or a “drag” to be around. I say they are living at the moment.
On the other hand, there are people who appear to follow the wind wherever it leads. It’s almost as if the only word they know is “yes.” They are the ones who live by the motto, “you only live once” and proudly sport a “Carpe Diem” tattoo. Oftentimes, these people have very sporadic and inconsistent relationships. Their decisions are sometimes erratic, careless, and dangerous. Many may call them “scatterbrained,” or as the Temptations so talentedly sang it, “a rolling stone.” I say they are living around the moment.
Of course I wouldn’t recommend that you lean towards either side of the spectrum. Instead, as Goldilocks learned many years ago, we should strive for the “just right” combination of both.
Living at the moment.
Being physically present is a huge part of living in the moment. Some would argue that’s half the battle. However, I’ve been this person, and I’ve been around this person before. Honestly, many times it feels better if they just weren’t there. They are so disengaged and uninterested that bystanders feel personally attacked by their presence. Their [our] physical presence wasn’t a gift to those around them [us].
In my personal experience and opinion–of which I am an expert in–I believe closure is the biggest contributor to living at the moment. Whether it be closure from a past relationship, loss of a loved one, past hurt, or even daily activities, lack of closure seizes your mind and leaves you thoughtlessly going through the motions.
Here’s my advice to seek closure.
Be patient with this advice as it takes time and practice.:
Face whatever it is head on. It can and often will feel overwhelming, but it will steamroll you if you don’t accept responsibility for your own healing. Surround yourself with friends and professionals who can help you begin your journey. The only way to finish a large meal is one small bite at a time.
Acknowledge and accept your emotions triggered by this event, series of events, deadlines, etc.
Schedule time to journal out your emotions.
Develop a daily “closure” action plan that includes what you need closure from and what you are determining to be “the end” for that particular day. You want to tell yourself, “I will have closure today once I finish [this].”
Execute your daily plan or “ritual.” This is an intentionally scheduled time that ends with you declaring “the end” of that activity so you can become more engaged with those around you. I like to associate this step with a physical action.
For example, if I find myself constantly thinking about work, I will choose to only work in a designated location. When I finish work, I will say “all done,” turn the computer off, close the laptop, stand up, stretch, turn off the lights, walk out, and close the door. Over time, the combination of these verbal and physical cues trains my mind to leave all traces of those thoughts in my office. This frees me to be both physically and mentally present with my family.
Living around the moment.
Another song that comes to mind when I think of this group is, “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf! These are the thrill seekers who are either never around or so busy they never really have time to engage in normal human interaction. Since their minds are constantly fiending for the next thrill, their actions are usually infused with spontaneity. This isn’t inherently a negative thing until it impacts their [our] relationships with others.
Relationships are impacted because this group of people fails to exercise moderation. I believe they can find the same fulfillment and more if they add structure to their lives. Furthermore, I believe this group can benefit from the aforementioned steps for closure. Nevertheless, they must first become more organized.
Here is my advice to become more organized:
Goals, goals, goals! Here’s a topic I’ve written about a few times. Why? Because structuring your life begins with setting measurable and achievable goals that will lead you to your desired end state. Zig Ziglar said it best, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
Establish a “daily battle rhythm.” This is a military term that describes the deliberate, repeatable events we do everyday to achieve a specific goal. I know this sounds like nails on a chalkboard for spontaneous people, but don’t worry. You can (and should) schedule time to be spontaneous. Just ensure you achieve closure after each activity or series of activities.
CCTV. No, I’m not talking about closed circuit television. I’m talking about checklists, clocks, timers, and voices.
Checklists: Many scientists recommend checklists because–according to them– our brain releases dopamine every time we check that tiny box. That dopamine creates positive feelings which, in turn, gives us the adrenaline we need to complete the next task. This tends to work really well for thrill seekers because they enjoy that same dopamine release on their various adventures.
Clocks: Allocate blocks of time to do certain tasks. It may be tough to accurately guess the proper amount of time starting off, but you’ll be able to create a better time schedule as you continue to practice.
Timer: Having a scheduled time block is important; however, sometimes seeing that time dwindle is the psychological push we need to complete various tasks. Additionally, the act of counting down creates an urgency that gives importance and relevancy to each task. Some may argue that urgency draws on our adrenaline supply while increasing anxiety. Contrarily, I submit that the adrenaline rush is what gives us the momentum and focus to complete a list of tasks in a timely manner. Using timers are another method to combine physical and psychological activities to produce a favorable reaction.
Voices: Listen to your voice and your accountability partner’s voice. Sometimes, our thoughts tend to drown out our own conscience. That’s why we all need that friend (or group of friends) who will help hold us accountable. Listen to them when they tell you to “slow down” or “you’re never around.” They may be trying to help you grow.
Clean up! That “rolling stone” or “wild” lifestyle tends to make us a little junky. Physically organizing your personal and professional spaces is key to becoming more organized.
Limit distractions as much as possible. I know this can be a challenge depending on your situation, but we have to try! Close the door if you can work in a closed door office. Wear headphones while at the computer. Stay away from the break room during normal “chat” time. Set time restraints on your phone apps and web browser. These are just a few ideas to get you started!
I get it; living in the moment sometimes seems like a foreign concept or “dream deferred.” None of us will get it right all the time. In spite of that, the beauty of our daily journey is that we can let yesterday go to have a better today so we can start tomorrow off on the right foot. Be encouraged. Living in the moment is achievable!
Last night, I joined millions of other football fans as we excitedly prepared for one of the most exciting games of the week. Both teams were already giving fans a show in the first few minutes of the game until Damar Hamlin was injured in the most horrific way. CNN has the backstory and is providing updates.
Why this injury and other serious injuries hit home for me.
Serious injuries like Damar Hamlin’s or Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion a few months ago always make me pause to pray for these human beings who are so talented that they have earned the right to exercise their gifts at the highest level. I also pause to pray for the parents, families, and friends who have to sometimes helplessly see their child in his or her most vulnerable state. Although I would never claim to know exactly how they feel, I relate to the latter group because of my own son.
My son–who is otherwise healthy–was diagnosed with complex-partial epilepsy in 2017. Although he has had episodes in various locations like home, a hotel near Disneyland, and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, I remember his first seizure like it was yesterday. I had uncharacteristically left work extremely early that day and received a call from my wife within five minutes of arriving home. She was distraught, and I could tell something was wrong. I initially thought she had a vehicle accident, so I said, “Take a deep breath baby. Where are you? I’m on the way.” Then she said, “they said he won’t wake up.”
My tone changed.
“Who won’t wake up?” I asked. Her next words caused my world to stop, “your son.” It’s almost like my mind couldn’t comprehend the words she was saying for a moment. Then, I finally responded as calmly as I could, “I just walked in the door. I’ll be at the school in less than five minutes… I’ll keep you updated.” The preschool he attended was less than half a mile away, so I arrived fairly quickly and a teacher waved me in. Not knowing what to expect, I rushed in trying to be as calm and levelheaded as possible. One teacher was already beside him taking notes, recording for the EMT, and back briefing me on what had already happened. It’s important to note that the teachers and staff at East County Christian Pre-School in Santee, CA had recently completed training for this exact scenario, so they were professional and well-prepared.
I knelt beside him as he remained unresponsive; his eyes were rolled back and he had what I can only describe as an uncontrolable twitch on one side of his body. For a moment, I just knelt there watching–unsure what to do. The director came behind me and calmly said, “Talk to him. He may be able to hear you even if he’s unresponsive.” She explained this is something she does with her mother when she has a seizure. I obliged until the ambulance arrived soon after. For whatever reason I was unable to ride in the back with my son, so I rode in the passenger seat beside the driver.
A silent ride was the beginning of a stressful few months.
The ride was silent at first as I seared anytime someone was slow to move out of our way. Finally, the driver–a U.S. Army veteran– broke the silence and talked to me until I calmed down. After arriving and processing through the emergency room, the emergency room staff determined this was a febrile seizure. This was the beginning of a years-long journey as my son was officially diagnosed with complex-partial epilepsy a few months later.
With this diagnosis came numerous sleepless nights. My wife and I stared at the baby monitor in his room in hopes that we would hear or see any early signs of a seizure for months. Our visits with neurologists were and have been fairly fruitless as they have been unable to identify a neurological cause. This uncertainty has oftentimes made us feel helpless as we’ve witness a breakthrough seizure.
We have felt helpless but not hopeless.
Similar to what we’ve witnessed with Damar Hamlin, our inability to change the circumstance can make us feel helpless. However, we join millions of parents, family members, and friends who remain hopeful that everything will turn out just fine. Our hope is based upon our faith that God, because we believe He can and will heal. Although my son continues to take anticonvulsant medication daily, he hasn’t had a major breakout seizure in over two years. We continue to pray for his healing!
We pray for Damar Hamlin, his parents, his family, and his friends with that same faith that God will heal. Ultimately, we remain hopeful for great news!
Ten quotes came to mind when I decided to share inspirational quotes from my parents that inspired me in Part 1 of this series. My siblings responded by sending me some of their favorite quotes from our parents, and some of you were shocked that I was able to draw inspiration or anything profound from a couple of the “meaningless” quotes. With that in mind, I will begin with something I wrote at the very end of Part 1. No matter if you’re leading children in a classroom, troops on the battlefield, a small project team, or any other person or group of people, you never know how what you say or do will impact those you lead.
You never know how what you say or do will impact those you lead.
Use that to your advantage! I challenge you to be intentional in your daily interactions. Also, remember that when you mess up, your response, intentions, and commitment to leading with love will make the difference in how those you lead perceive your mistakes.
With that, let’s dive into Part 2 of “How to inspire your child for life.: Inspirational quotes from my parents.”
Inspirational Quote #6:
This is obviously one of the more recent quotes in this list. I was a brand new officer in the Marine Corps who had learned a new type of leadership from the sergeant instructors at Officer Candidates School. Yeah of course I loved my family, but I wanted to train them to be timely, organized, and prepared for the real world. I was determined to be empathetic and understanding, but firm, consistent, and I’d hold them accountable.
My dad patiently listened to me as I explained all the great things I had learned as a new marine officer and how I’d use those lessons to lead my family. He interjected every once in a while as I laid out examples of how I would implement my new leadership philosophy. Of course I had a response for each interjection, because I had it all figured out. When I finally finished, he responded with the above quote.
This was another quote that I did not immediately receive, but it began to make more sense as time progressed. My dad explained that though I had great intentions, my militant tone, disposition, and philosophy was bordering autocracy. He intentionally used the word “drive” to emphasize his point. “Drive” has several definitions, but the first three are to “operate and control the direction [of],”propel or carry along by force,” and “urge or force (animals or people) to move in a specified direction.” He taught me one of the most valuable lessons about leadership that afternoon.: If you attempt to control those you lead by force (coercion, manipulation, etc.), you will force (push) them in the opposite direction.
Instead, he encouraged me to lead them. That means I must empathetically understand and meet each of their unique needs to make them better contributors to the team’s (or in this case, family’s) overall goals. Each person becomes better because of my example, words, and actions. That is the ultimate goal!
Inspirational Quote #7:
I, like most people, always just wanted to quickly finish whatever task list I had so I can do my own thing. Whether it was cleaning my room, folding and ironing my clothes, washing dishes, or anything else, I would rush through so I could do whatever recreational activity I had planned that day. I would inform my mom when I finished, and she would inspect. Without fail, she would find that my clothes were in a ball and stuffed in the drawer. She would find my khakis were somehow triple or quadruple creased. My mom would even find entire pieces of food still stuck to the dishes I “washed.”
Somehow, I was always shocked that she’d make me do it again. Didn’t she know she was stopping me from getting to my recreation time?! To make matters worse, it would usually be a school night, so my recreational time was already limited! Regardless, she would always leave me with the above quote.
My mom was teaching me to create and maintain priorities. I initially thought she just wanted to keep me from having fun. Contrarily, she was teaching me to allocate the appropriate amount of time, resources, and effort to each priority so I can have time to do the things I want! This lesson has not only helped me in my professional life, but it has helped me to ensure I make time to build and maintain my personal spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental strength.
Inspirational Quote #8:
Have you ever heard someone just ramble? You know, the person who just says a lot of meaningless words, spews empty rhetoric, and makes hollow promises. It’s even worse when those people are in a leadership position. That’s when this character flaw is costly. Well, my dad recognized how costly this would be and sought to teach us the “think first” philosophy at an early age. I’ve heard people in the Marine Corps say, “‘PTT stands for ‘push to talk,’ not ‘push to think!'” (It’s radio jargon.)
My dad was teaching us one of life’s most valuable lessons that quite honestly many leaders and politicians need to learn. I learned a few things from this.:
Be a man of your word. Don’t promise something you cannot or will not deliver.
Don’t be reactionary. Sometimes, saying the first thing that comes to your mind can be costly, because you cannot take it back. Think… then respond.
Never pass up a good opportunity to shut up and listen. You learn more about people and understand their needs when you listen to understand instead of listening to respond. This ties in well with the other lesson about empathetic listening.
Inspirational Quote #9:
I remember my mom would come home from a long weekend day of running errands to find us just lounging around. None of our chores were complete. Our teeth may or may not have been brushed. We hadn’t showered or changed clothes. And when she asked what we had been doing, the frustrating but accurate answer she would receive is, “I don’t know.” We couldn’t even say that we rested, because we were still tired! The obvious truth was that we hadn’t accomplished anything that day. That’s when my mom would say the above quote.
Feeding upon the previous lessons on establishing and maintaining priorities, my mom was teaching us how to establish and achieve daily goals. These daily achievements are cumulative and they create what Dave Ramsey calls the “snowball” effect in finance and what Jim Collins refers to as the “flywheel” effect in businesses that went from “good to great.” Those small personal and professional daily achievements build upon each other over time and create momentum. That momentum builds you into a successful leader, team, family, or organization.
My siblings and I have a great relationship; we literally talk and enjoy each other’s company every day. If one of us is unaccounted for, you can expect to receive an individual text or call! We weren’t always like that though. Because we were ultra-competitive, there were times people would call our parents thinking we were going to kill each other. Soon after, our parents would find us laughing and playing as if nothing ever happened. Even so, that childlike short-term memory began to wane over time. My parents could tell that there were some issues that would linger from day to day, and if they didn’t intervene, envy, animosity, and hatred would soon reveal itself.
Joining the Marine Corps was a very natural move for me, because the lessons that my parents taught us transitioned perfectly. They taught us that no matter what happens in life, you will always have each other. There is always someone you can turn to even if you feel like the world was against you. Therefore, I must love and cherish my family. I should treat them with honor, dignity, and respect while ensuring I prioritize their needs above my own. I should be their biggest fan, supporter, and reliable accountability partner, and I should give my time and efforts freely without expecting anything in return. And when the time comes, I should be prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fight!
If I somehow managed to forget every other lesson I have ever learned, this is the lesson I will not forget. So I will end with this encouragement for you. Fight WITH (not against) and for your love ones! Never give up on fighting for healthy relationships and fighting to keep everyone engaged on your team. You have everything you need within you to inspire the next generation, so keep fighting and lead well!
Honorable mention Inspirational Quotes
As I said before, my siblings bombarded me with quotes from my parents. However, I had to narrow them down to keep this series from extending through the new year. So here are just four more “honorable mention” inspirational quotes not in any particular order.
Honorable Mention Inspirational Quote #1.
There’s a right time for everything.
This is pretty self-explanatory; read the room and know when it’s time for certain actions and words.
Honorable Mention Inspirational Quote #2
If everyone else was jumping off of a cliff, would you?
A lot of parents used to say this one, but the message isn’t missed.: Educate yourself and have a purpose for everything you do. Never just blindly follow the masses.
Honorable Mention Quote #3
Sell your shares!
I didn’t even know what this meant when my dad would walk around turning off all the lights and stopping us from running water while brushing our teeth. Lol. He was jokingly telling us to “sell our shares” of the electric and water companies we were allegedly making rich. In reality, he was teaching us to be mindful of how we use our limited resources.
Honorable Mention Quote #4
Learn something new every day.
My parents taught us to be continual learners, and to never be content with your current knowledge. Whether it be reading, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, attending formal education/training in our professional careers, or obtaining advance degrees, they always wanted us to maintain a sharp mind. Come to think of it, I don’t think there has been a period of time where one of the six of us has not been attending some form of formal educational program beyond high school since 1994. These lessons work!
That’s all I have for today. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!
My parents have had a huge impact on my life! It’s easy to Monday morning armchair quarterback my parents’ mistakes. However, after considering how my siblings and I have achieved success in education and in our professions across the industries, I am determined to analyze how our upbringing influenced our successes. There are numerous contributing factors that I have outlined in several “Parenting Tips” articles like “Talk is Cheap: 8 ways healthy couples set the example for their children.” You can peruse https://parent-child-connect.com/blog or checkout my “Parent Tips” Pinterest board for more information on these articles. Today, I want to reminisce on and share how just a few of my parents’ inspirational quotes inspired me for life!
Some of theses inspirational quotes are more profound. Others seemed meaningless at the time. Either way, they have inspired me and influenced my behavior. Let’s get started!:
Inspirational Quote #1:
“Mommy, Clement and Joshua are messing with me again!” I probably cried and yelled this over one hundred times when I was younger, and Mommy would come to the rescue! That’s right! I would call in reinforcements any time my brothers did something I didn’t like…Until one day, it didn’t work. Instead, my mom left me with the above quote.
Of course I didn’t immediately receive this advice. I just wanted “the enforcer” to come lay down the law! However, I’ve embraced this advice over the years. My mom was telling me two things. Firstly, never allow someone to control your emotions. You have the power to choose your response regardless of what they say or do. Secondly, whether good or bad, people will always have an opinion. You cannot allow others’ opinions to discourage you from pursuing your dreams.
Inspirational Quote #2:
This story is actually a bit comical. One day, my dad, my brother (Josh), and I took a routine trip to the dumpsters down the street from our house. There’s no trash pickup in the country. You have to transport your own trash to the nearest dumpster. While at the dumpster, my dad parked and we proceeded to unload the trash. There was only one problem; somehow, the stick in our standard truck was knocked out of park into neutral. The truck started rolling! My first instinct was to jump behind the truck to stop it from rolling. (Maybe I watched too many superhero movies growing up.) Of course my dad was not thrilled with that idea, and he quickly commanded me to stop.
Quite honestly, I thought he overreacted that day, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that stepping behind a 2,800 pound pickup truck as it gains momentum down a gentle slope is a terrible idea! Moreover, I learned a couple of things that day. First, immediately springing into action is only good if the action that you spring into produces the desired results. As time permits, observe the situation, and make your decisions based upon logic and fact… Not emotions.
I also learned that some things are out of your control. In the “rolling truck” scenario, I was about to turn a quickly-rectifiable situation into a disaster, because I wanted to control a situation that was not mine to control. Recognize when and where you’re needed before taking action.
Inspirational Quote #3:
I would be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time my mom said some variation of this quote! It was almost like we just didn’t get the simple concept of picking up after ourselves and cleaning up when we were younger. Ironically, none of us like a junky or disorganized house now. In fact, I remember my high school basketball coach calling me out for having pride in the school because I didn’t pass by a piece of trash without picking it up. Likewise, my 8 year old son recently received a “Positive Referral” to the office for doing the same at his school. It’s amazing to see how these lessons transcend generations.
Of course taking pride in my surroundings was the biggest lesson I learned. It helped me to understand that “making the world a better place” begins with positively impacting (or in this case, cleaning up) what is immediately around you. Accordingly, we should take pride in doing the “little” positive things, because those little things add up to make a gigantic impact.
I also learned that organization is one of the key factors to being an effective leader. When you physically organize your personal and work belongings, you are training your mind to recognize that everything has a proper place. This allows your mind to more easily establish and maintain priorities, create an accurate schedule by allocating the appropriate time to things that matter, budget, and more! Ultimately, being organized increases your personal and professional productivity, and it all begins with picking that little piece of trash.
Inspirational Quote #4:
I actually told this story in a previous post as I encouraged leaders to remain persistent and consistent. Although I couldn’t see it at the time, I had an ugly mohawk in high school. I laugh every time I think about it. I even had the audacity to spike it to make matters worse. Meanwhile, my dad and the assistant principal (Coach Johnson) absolutely hated it! I’m pretty sure it was out of my school’s uniform regulations, but I had probably found some ridiculous loophole. Either way, my dad and Coach Johnson tried to convince me to get rid of it numerous times to no avail; until one day, my dad asked me the above questions.
I admit that at the time, I think I cut my hair because I felt he finally beat me. I usually had some witty response to his lectures that sounded something like, “so are you saying I have to cut it?” He won that time with those two rhetorical questions! More importantly, he inspired me to think about my future and to examine what and who I wanted to be. That’s when I began to internalize the fact that regardless of my current circumstance, I should look, behave, and speak like the person I aspire to be. He wasn’t persuading me to change who I am, he was encouraging me to hone in on and develop the internal and external characteristics of the person I want to be in the future. That lesson made me a life-long learner and a man who is constantly seeking self-improvement.
Inspirational Quote #5
Man, I committed what my siblings and I nicknamed “a cardinal sin” in my childhood home. I walked up to my mom and said, “Mommy, I’m bored!” At first, my mom seemed surprised by my statement. Then a more sadistic look entered her eyes–almost like a real life Major Payne. Uh oh… I messed up! She proceeded to show me all the chores that I somehow looked over to audaciously tell her that she needs to find something to entertain me. Let’s just say, I spent the rest of that day catching up on chores I neglected for the week.
I learned not to tell my mom I’m bored anymore… At least not when I have a pile of work to do. 😂 According to “Oxford Languages,” being “bored” is “feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.” My mom was teaching me that you should not be “unoccupied” when there is work to do. We should always work to be part of the solution. If we don’t, our inaction makes us an inevitable contributor to the problem.
She was also teaching me that we shouldn’t just nonchalantly slop through our responsibilities. Instead, we should have a vested interest in our team’s success. That means we should be self-motivated to do our part for the betterment of the team as a whole.
I will end Part 1 on that note. Many of us claim we want to make a change, but remember: change begins with one small action. So I encourage you to take a small step today to inspire those you lead. As you can see by the above quotes (and you will continue to see in Part 2), you never know how what you say or do will impact those you lead. Continue to learn and lead well!
Hey folks! Parent-child-connect.com is all about providing much needed resources for parents, teachers, and mentors to create memorable and teachable moments with their children. That’s why I’m excited to share a great resource provided by Stein Law! The school year is well underway; however, our children still face an inherent danger while traveling to and from school. “Getting to school safely” is a guide with several tips to help mitigate the risks associated with that travel. Take some time to share this with your children!
Here’s what you should expect to read and review with your children.:
Walking to school.
Identifying safe routes to school.
Your child’s readiness.
Instill safe habits.
Strength in numbers.
What is a stranger?
Biking to school.
How to ride your bike safely.
School Bus Safety.
What makes school buses safer than cars?
Bus stop safety.
Behavior on the bus.
Riding in the car to school.
Ages four to seven.
Ages eight to twelve.
Tips for Adult Drivers.
This is an all-encompasing safety guide.
As you can see by the above topics, Stein Law did an excellent job of providing some in-depth tips on getting to school safely! Guess what? Halloween is in just a few days! These safety tips definitely apply. So download and share today. Let’s make the world a little safer for our children!
On the go? I felt this conversation about race was so important, I created an audio version just for you! Check it out:
“The Marines are set to have the first Black 4-star general in their 246-year history!” That was the title of an article posted on July 20, 2022 by NPR that I saw on LinkedIn. People typically have varying responses to articles like this: pride, celebration, skepticism, disgust, hope, anticipation, confusion, and inspiration are just a few. Nonetheless, it is a historical moment–one of which our children are witnessing and learning how to digest. The reoccurring question that we have to face as a society is, “does his race matter?” Well, today I am going to discuss this in a way that anyone can comprehend. This discussion will examine how we can use current events (like the article I mentioned above) to spark a conversation about race with our children.
My household rules about race discussions
Before discussing race in my house, I always lay some ground rules for my children:
Discussing and learning to appreciate who you are while embracing your heritage and culture does not make you superior to anyone else. We are all created equal.
Since we are all created equal, everybody deserves dignity and respect. I usually break it down for them. “Every” means “without exemption,” and it does not matter how the body is wrapped. That human being standing before you, whether physically or virtually, deserves dignity and respect.
Let’s dive in!
Color blindness is a myth
I know what some of you are thinking, “but I was medically diagnosed with color blindness!” Trust me, I am not being insensitive to your disability. In fact, my father is color blind, but in the context of discussions about race, color blindness is usually an argument that one only sees a person for what they have on the inside. At first glance, that sounds awesome! We should all have racial colorblindness, right? Well…it’s not that easy. I will use my own household as an example.
If you would’ve asked me a few years ago, I would have proudly proclaimed that we were raising my daughter to have racial colorblindness! “I don’t want her to say, ‘white folks this’ and ‘black folks that,’ I just want her to say ‘folks!'” It worked!… Until my oldest daughter made it to Transitional Kindergarten (about 4 years old). When she came home from school, she was excited to talk about all of her new friends. “There is one girl that is brown like me, but everyone else is yellow,” she said proudly.
I was shocked but didn’t say anything.
I simply let her continue to tell me about her new friends. She continued to come home and discuss how excited she was to have new “yellow” friends–one had the same name! That’s when it hit me: this young child got it right. She recognized a difference but still searched for a common ground. She naturally gravitated towards children with similar backgrounds but made a point to play with others who brought different interests to the classroom. For example, she absolutely hated water getting on her face, but she slowly began to explore swimming when she saw me and some of her “yellow” friends having fun in the pool.
In other words, my daughter recognized a difference but didn’t care! She didn’t need to pretend to be color blind to show genuine interest in others. She learned–and quite honestly taught me–how to embrace the things that made her different from her “yellow” friends. Now that she is in junior high, she obviously knows the difference between the many races, but her friend group remains diverse. She didn’t need color blindness; she needed her parents to avoid teaching her polarizing lessons about race.
It’s ok to celebrate
When discussing historical events (like the one I mentioned above) with our children, one of the most polarizing lessons we can teach is, “the general’s race doesn’t matter.” Some argue that highlighting the general’s race suggests that he was promoted because of his race. Some even argue that highlighting his race is ironically racism or “reverse racism.” In reality, the article described the general’s many accolades and credentials. It then discussed how senior military leaders have continued to focus on decades-old efforts to increase diversity and equality by eliminating systemic barriers. The barriers are eliminated so that the most qualified person and “best fit” gets the job/promotion.
Highlighting the general’s race is not to discriminate or claim ones race is more superior than the other. It is a celebration of progress! is progress that our parents and grandparents did not see when they were my age. It brings hope and encouragement that no matter how recently we were segregated, we are healing and making headway.
Need more to celebrate?
If that’s not enough to celebrate, then how about we celebrate how inspiring the general’s story is. He came from Shreveport, Louisiana. That means there are young people in Shreveport (and surrounding areas) who can/will see someone succeed who looks just like them. It inspires them to pursue their own dreams because those young people relate to the general’s experience. “If he can do it, so can I!” I have seen and heard this numerous times. We cannot discount the effect headlines and historical events like this have on our future generation. Each of us can influence a unique group of people, and General Langley is no exception to this rule.
Systemic racism still exists
This is the final topic and probably the most taboo when discussing race. Some of you may be ready to jump ship, but don’t worry; I’ll keep the ship steady, so stay with me. I have discussed my thoughts on systemic racism with a couple of people, but now it is time to share it with the world. Sometimes, we solely identify written rules, policies, and regulations as the “system,” but we fail to discuss the most integral part of any system–the human being.
For example, I talked to a Human Resources (HR) specialist who said her company has several non-discriminatory hiring policies in place; however, if she sees a “Shequita” (or any unique name for that matter) on the application, she will place the document on the bottom of the stack. That means Shequita never even had a fair chance at the job! Why? Because the HR specialist assumed Shequita was black, she used her authority to deny Shequita’s application. Is it unethical? Yes. Does the company have policies in place that condemn this type of behavior? Yes. Does the company have monitoring and accountability measures to prevent this from happening? Let’s just say the HR specialist had been doing this for at least two years when she told me this story. This is just one of many examples of how a human being can commit discriminatory acts on behalf of a company and inevitably create/maintain systemic barriers.
Let’s move forward!
So when we discuss this topic with our children, it is important that they understand that we celebrate progress while pushing for more. We celebrate the removal of barriers–both people and policy alike! This is an all-hands effort that requires us to embrace our differences, isolate detractors, and celebrate the many steps forward! The ongoing race war will only end in victory if all races fight together for unity and equality.
The ongoing race war will only end in victory if all races fight together for unity and equality.
Thanks for joining me today! Have a great weekend!
Thanks to Stand for the Silent for sharing the virtual stage and allowing me to discuss how to build trusting relationships! Continue to lead, inspire, and give our children a voice.
Here’s why I love Stand for the Silent:
A group of high school students in Oklahoma City, OK started Stand for the Silent in 2010 after they heard the story of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son, Ty Field- Smalley. Ty (11) took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully who had been bullying him for over two years. The organization exists as a platform to allow Kirk and Laura to share their story, and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.
Since May 2010, Stand for the Silent has reached over 3,000,000 kids in almost 5,000 schools!
Hello everyone! What better way to celebrate Black History Month than to highlight African American men in the literary world?! We (my brother Josh and I) had such a great time on Story Time With Mr. Limata! We read my newest book–Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine, discussed the creative process, told a couple of dad jokes… The works! Click here to watch or check it out below! Don’t forget to subscribe and turn on notifications!
Bonus: Another read aloud from my good friend AJ at 3kingvision!
Here is another great read aloud, and you can feel the energy throughout the entire show! 3kingvision is currently featuring African American authors during his Black History Month For Kids series. This is such a beautiful display of support and empowerment! Rock on 3kingvision! 🤘🏾✊🏾 Don’t forget to subscribe and turn on notifications!
You read that right! My newest children’s book, Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine, is finally here! Check out this cool (and completely adorable) commercial my daughter created!
How can you support my newest children’s book?
Great question that I am glad to answer!
My brother (Josh aka the illustrator) and I are going LIVE on Facebook and YouTube this Friday (2/18) at 10 A.M. EST on Story Time with Mr. Limata! We will read Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine, have a discussion, and do a Q&A session with YOU! I look forward to seeing you there!
As always, thanks so much for your support! Click here to check out my Amazon Author Profile for more information on this children’s book and my others!