Politics are Just Political

We are bombarded by newscasts about two particular political candidates, whose names will not be mentioned in this blog. We all know who the people are and what their claims to fame are and will be, as, we approach the end of this political campaign and election day.

It’s important to notice individuals who are taking too seriously political debates, personal conversations, newsflashes and appearances by each candidate, and allowing their personal feelings and decisions about their lives to be swayed by the highest bidder. I don’t feel that I have a right to tell people what they should or should not think about politics and how they should vote. Everyone is entitled to make their own judgments and to vote their conscience.

What I would like to say is that politics are just political and long after this set of events are over, you will still be you and I will be me. Let’s not allow the poorly constructed conversations and behaviors of political candidates to dictate our future. We must remain true to what we know to be evident and buckle down for a rough ride, because politics are just political and they don’t define who we really are.

The constant  bantering and name-calling is not in the best interest of our students, who are learning important lessons from parents and kinfolk. Let’s teach them how to rise above the muck and mire while maintaining our dignity and freedom to express ourselves. Let us not allow one person’s agenda to set us back in the way that we treat one another.

Politics define the inner workings of a political machinery and helps us to decide who will succeed our current President of the United States. Arguing with each other and unfriending others, who don’t think or talk like you during the election season is taking matters too far. Stay true to who you are and allow others to do the same. In time, we will settle in and realize that we are more resilient than an election campaign and all of the cronies that come with the process.

What’s On The Ground?

Background

Many people are fortunate enough to live in the same house that they were born in and maybe raise their children in the same home or community. Others, like me who are equally fortunate are given an opportunity to live in different areas of the United States, throughout their lifetime. No, I am not a military brat. I am just one person whose life experiences evolved and landed me into different states.

I notice social behaviors  of African-Americans, in my city that appears to be unique to this geographical area and immediately visible to another African-American who has also lived in other parts of the country. Whenever, I encounter this behavior, it helps me to identify individuals who were either born in this city, or who have migrated from neighboring cities and lived here for a long time. You will not find this type of social behavior in the South, East or West coast. 

“Whats On The Ground”?

I can immediately tell the locals from transplants who moved from another city, based on the immediate lowering of one’s head, as, they prepare to pass another person of color on the streets, and their refusal to engage in conversation. The local will not look that person in the face and will go out of their way to not speak or make eye contact. It’s unusually frustrating to witness this, especially because African-Americans are definitely in the minority in this city and surrounding communities.  The immediate reaction and disappointment for some African-American residents is that there will be open dialogues, an acknowledgment of each other and at a minimum – a smile before the parting of ways of each person. That my friend, does not happen. Instead, you will notice that the local will always defer to looking down at the ground until the person has passed, prompting me to wonder ‘What’s On The Ground’?  This behavior must be acknowledged in the same way that other social norms are addressed. Discussions about this type of behavior are not addressed in schools, college campuses, churches and amongst family members.

It is unlikely that the people who demonstrate this behavior are aware of what they are doing. It is  a divisive tool that is subconsciously enforced as a result of old slave behaviors that emanated from the deep South. Slaves, used to fear speaking publicly to each other for fear that massah would think they were planning uprisings and ways to escape. We are no longer enslaved and need to talk about this and work to make it a a thing of the past.

Why is This Important?

While we champion for changes outside of our communities, we have to recognize behaviors that are inherent in our own communities that further divide and separate people of color. Dismissive behaviors, such as ignoring one another and saluting communities from other ethnic groups, is not an indication that our lives matter. It suggests that there is some level of shame that accompanies a bowing of the head, whenever an encounter with another person of color is imminent.

We must be proud of our abilities to socialize and encourage each other. A sense of pride in fraternization needs to be taught throughout my city to the same locals, who are proudly protesting for national changes, but yet fail to realize that they have work to do themselves.

What You Can Do?

The word Parenting written in vintage letterpress type

If, Black Lives Matter let us start by teaching our students how to have self-pride. 

Acknowledge one another. 

Tell them to pick their heads up off of the ground and take pride in an opportunity to salute another person.

Parents, continue to enforce a sense of pride in your children within their schools, churches and homes.

Encourage students to demonstrate respect towards each other.

Sharon Edwards-Billings is the President and Founder of ALLPARENTSONDECK, L.L.C. and welcomes your input. Submit your comments or email her at info@allparentsondeck.com.

 

“Every little bit helps”.

Sometimes, I make note of interesting things that people share with me or that I overhear throughout the course of my day. Most of the time, I simply store the thoughts in my delete file, in the back of my brain. But, a conversation that I was privy to really struck me in a particular way. It is hard for me to draw a conclusion without bias.  I will simply write about it and allow you to draw a final conclusion:

A middle-age woman appeared at the counter in a retail establishment that I pass through to get to one of my favorite stores. She was expressing gratitude to the salesperson for adding the additional fifteen percent 15% discount to her sale. The woman was digging into her purse while also telling the young lady that she is a school teacher, who was trying to buy clothes on a very limited budget.  “Every little bit helps” is what she said.  Her words resonated with me, as, I completed my sales transaction and departed from the store.

Back to school background with rocket made from pencils

I’m still thinking about that lady and many others, who struggle to make ends meet and  afford a complete wardrobe for the first weeks of school. I am grateful for every teacher who manages to make ends meet, comes to school and continues to provide each students with the skills that they need to achieve academic success, despite their own financial shortfalls.

I hope that you are as moved by reading this post, as, I, am while writing it and putting myself in the plight of those who teach our children on a daily basis. Hopefully, you will feel encouraged to do something to support a teacher in your school.

What You Can Do

Include a small card with a monetary donation with your student’s school supplies.

Take the time to mail a card with words of thanks to the teacher.

Volunteer your time at school or go on a field trip.

Help your child with his social skills and self-control and listening skills. 

Call the school and share something positive about your student’s teacher.

Acknowledge the efforts of support staff who spend time in the classroom.

Whatever you elect to do, it will be greatly appreciated because “EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS”.

 

Consider Others.

 I recently sustained a foot injury at my place of employment. The immediacy of the pain that raced throughout my foot and leg was indescribable and intense. Thankfully, my employer afforded to me leave work and to see a podiatrist. I left his office still in pain and with a large clunky boot on my foot.  I realized a sense of comfort with the thought that I have what I need to  get through the healing process.

My temporary situation and pain helped me to consider others and imagine the physical or emotional challenges that they experience each day? Some might carry their load in the form of depression, pain or sadness, that is not always visible to others around them.

Be sensitive to the needs of others. Many parents and students struggle in silence with physical challenges and diagnoses, that challenges their ability to open doors.  I visited a government office on last week, and literally stood at the bottom of the stairs, wondering how in the world would I climb those stairs? Thankfully, I garnered up the strength to withstand the pain and make it inside, but not before I looked around for marked locations at the front of the buildings that could accommodate others. Consider the needs of your colleagues, students or employees as you go through your day. Ask yourself, what if anything can you do to brighten their day.

Remind your students about the needs of others. Encourage your students to take an extra moment and ask someone if they need help, no matter how independent they might seem. or  just say hello  and  something that will make them smile.  Let’s keep our eyes open for individuals who might need a little nudge, a push or a door opened for them, as, we move students in and out of  our schools this semester. 

Schoolboy after school

Say something nice to others. Compliments are another great way to get involved in anyone’s life, but especially those who are physically disabled.  For the past 15+ years, I have had the privilege of watching a gentleman who is a quadriplegic, maneuver himself from his car and into this home. I was never physically close enough to him to strike up a conversation until this past Monday, when I passed him rolling past in his wheelchair. I backed up my car, stopped and told him exactly what I have shared with you, that I have watched him carry out his daily activities for many years, and how proud I am of what he does to get around. A big smile came over his face and he thanked me and rolled on. pun intended.

Sharon Edwards-Billings, is a parent to three young adult  daughters who completed their education in public schools. Submit your comments or email her at info@allparentsondeck.com

Our Educator’s Plight

School books on desk, education concept

Many younger students who are on year-round or alternative schedules are currently in schools throughout our nation. Others, will head back to school in several weeks and take with them, glimpses of mental mayhem and/or glimpse of conversations that they have overheard from family members. .

Diverse group of young kids going to school

My concern is for every educator who faces the challenging plight of creating curriculum that helps students to learn the facts, in a proper and truthful manner. I hope that they will be able to lay aside their personal prejudices and provide universal truths to their students. This is a major undertaking that will require grit and determination to teach history correctly, in an age of video cameras, You Tube, Vimeo and news stations that repeatedly broadcast graphic images of humans being who have died at the hands of gun violence this summer.

Young father carrying his son on his shoulders as he walks down the street

As, a child, I sat in class after the 60’s, Civil Rights Movement, Womens’ Suffrage, Vietnam War and half heartedly listened to lectures and stories, that painted the Anglo Saxon male as the hero and other men as the enemy. I  asked questions that were never answered,  and was forced to develop theories of my own.

Teacher helping students in school classroom. Horizontally framed shot.

The children of this generation need educators who are honest, prepared with cultural competence and willing to teach truth in the classrooms, that will translate into decisions to denounce the isms that are causing so many to lose their lives and others, to march in search for solidarity and peace. Our educators will have a insurmountable task of telling our students the real truth and not the truth of yesteryear. Go in peace and Teach

 

Sharon Edwards-Billings, is a parent of 3 adult children who completed their education in public schools. Submit your comments to info@allparentsondeck.com

Death doesn’t have a status.


I am not trying to be disrespectful or irreverent to anyone and their families,  at a time when our nation and world is reeling and rocking from,  an ignominious act of violence towards one group of men and a retaliation of violence towards another group of men. I think about the precarious position that teachers will find themselves in several weeks. I just hope that children learn the truth!

Police Line Do Not Cross Yellow Headband Tape and Orange flashing and revolving light. Murder Scene Police Ribbon.

The nation witnessed a cold-blooded murder of an African-American gentleman, at the hands of a white police officer, during a routine traffic stop for a busted tail light. It’s not necessary for me to repeat the story nor to attempt to  to play or pretend to be the judge and jury for the decedent. Neither will  trying to understand why another African-American man would take  into his own hands and kill and cold-blooded murder five police.

SWAT officer in full tactical gear.

Some citizens’ crying for this recognition resonates with words that are for some polarizing –  “Black Lives Matter”. Some people don’t like to hear that because they feel that it is divisive to hear this affirmation.  No matter, their reputations, or occupation – each man that lost his life has family members, who are stuck with the dastardly reality that  they are dead.

two policemen in front of flag

I wish that everyone in our world knew that death does not have any status. One Dead man is the same as the other man – each person is dead! Our nation mourns the loss of each death and we all suffer the consequences  of every death, as one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 

YOUR COMFORT ZONE

It seems that my pastor and I were thinking in the same vein on 03/08/2015. He spoke about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone from a spiritual basis and allowing God’s presence to reign, flow and lead to abundance in everything that we attempt to do. He encouraged his members to expand their ways of thinking and to strive for a prosperous and spirit-filled life. His message coincided in part, with thoughts that I had about a gathering that I hosted with several women, who were invited to our first:

 EVERY WOMAN NEEDS A MARGARET – (EWNAM) TEA PARTY.

They represented different age groups, faiths, socioeconomic stratus and education levels. Each women was given an opportunity to share whatever issues, concern or question was on their mind, without any provoking from me, as the facilitator of this group. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, women came out of their comfort zones and shared their thoughts and ended up with a plethora of information and a greater appreciation of other women and their cultural norms and expectations.

Their willingness to step out of their comfort zones and allow others to know them in their true sense of self, was provocative and liberating to each person in the room. I asked myself two poignant questions?

  1. “How would other women and men feel, if they too, could step out of their comfort zones and share their feelings in a non-hostile environment, that welcomed open and honest discussions”?  

2.   How would these type of discussions impact a parents’ ability to do their part to ameliorate discords of racism, sexism,  homophobia and religious intolerance? How would these changes impact our schools?

HOW TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?

Acknowledge & include another parent in upcoming activities at your school that you would not 
normally speak to. 
Invite him/her into your school clique and express your interest in getting to know him/her better. 
Become more sensitive to your environment and to different groups of parents. 
Replace fear with curiosity and a determination to learn about others, through direct contact with a person - not a classroom setting. The best way to learn about someone is to speak with them on a 
frequent basis.The person that you reach out to might be as anxious to be included and valued.  

TAKE A CHANCE AND STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!

 GET INVOLVED & ATTEND one of our parent groups. 

CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE: SAM, CREATE LINK TO CONTACT US FORM