Ease Up Mom!

Summertime has arrived and so have more responses, comments and questions from several of our families who read our blog – The Parents Caves.  Many of the other questions seem to derive from the minds of those who pose viewpoints that are not P G – Rated.

We will not post comments that have racial, derogatory tones or that are intended to hurt others. We are hear to encourage #parents who are #Actively#involved in #school related activities. We are here even during the summer months working on the behalf of #students and their families.

Back to school background with rocket made from pencils

ALLPARENTSONDECK, LLC supports parents, as they search for answers to questions that they have regarding their #students #school #experience.

Sharon Edwards-Billings, is the President/Founder of ALLPARENTSONDECK. Feel free to share your comments here or email her  email:info@allparentsondeck.com.

Is Vulgarity A New Language in America?

Am I the only person who has noticed the level of frequency that young people use vulgarity to express themselves?  Or, have you noticed that students in elementary and middle schools freely incorporated certain curse words into their vocabulary on a regular basis?  A visit to a local school resulted in my ability to overhear loud conversations amongst elementary and middle school girls, who used the F word, N word and B word to make their points and finish their sentences. I happened to be walking nearby and overheard  them as they loudly exercised their usage of of vulgar words. They were not angry or yelling with each other. They were having simple conversations that were seasoned with the b-word, n-word and a-word.

My presence as a mature adult did not sway them from using these words. They kept talking as if I was not present.   I am approaching the golden age of …? and can remember a time when vulgarity was referred to as ‘GUTTER TALK’ and for individuals who worked in certain occupations or came from lower socioeconomic communities. Individuals with class and dignity refrained from using vulgarity and deferred instead to class, pomp and circumstance in their daily lives.

I’m sure that someone will read this post and wonder why am I  even worrying about the usage of vulgarity in the younger generations? My concern is rooted in the fact that many of the same youth that I am referring to , are lacking in their usage of  literacy and academic skills. They might use these words because they lack knowledge about the proper way to use the English vocabulary?  As, they age, the substitution of words beginning with f, b, n and w, won’t make the grade when they have to perform on  scholastic achievement tests. The rubric will not have those words available for them to use, but will present  difficult words to read, spell and use to formulate real and curse free sentences.  The other reason for discussing this growing problem of vulgarity in younger generations, is because the sound of the words is offensive, rude and denigrating to the persons that are within earshot and/or whom they are trying to refer to.

We have to serve as the standard bearers as INVOLVED PARENTS and community members. We can’t turn our ears away from this new phenomena. We  have to do our part to ward off the development of a generation of young people, who think that the vulgarity is a new language in America and that it consists of four-letter words that begin with  b’s, n’s and w’s.

We can each make a difference in the lives of young people by giving them a stern look when we hear them using vulgar terms, and also encouraging them to strive for larger vocabularies and respect for their elders, especially for educators who are bathed in their vulgarity for eight hours during the school year.  Tell me what you think about this topic. Feel free to post your comments below. 

 

 

To Degree or Not To Degree ?

I had a very interesting conversation with a single – mother of three children, who wanted me to know that she successfully completed her graduate degree. She surprised me when she began to openly weep as she talked about the difficulties that she currently faces in her search for suitable employment within her respective field, while also trying to keep food on the table for her family. She mentioned the financial debt that she finds herself in each month, after trying to remain current on her student loans, rent and the children’s after school care fees.

 

She also talked about the guilt she has over her decision to pursue a graduate degree.   she  probably would not have gone into debt and pursued a graduate-level degree. I  listened with an attentive ear and tried to convince her that she was not a failure, simply because she was working at a lower paying job and not able to find her dream job.  I also tried to reassure her that her future would look brighter in time, but failed miserably or so it seems, when she pointed out to me that she was approaching forty years of age and working as an administrative assistant with a masters’ degree. She confessed to me that if she had known how difficult the process of finding suitable work was post-graduation, she would never have gone back to college.

I find myself wondering how many more millions of former college students  think or feel like this young lady does? Do you question your decision to pursue  a college degree?

Should educators, leaders and a society of  INVOLVED PARENTS play to prepare future students for the harsh reality of unemployment and debt after they complete their degrees?   Is it time for the Talk surrounding the question of To Degree or not to Degree?

Tell us what you think about and feel free to post your comments here.

Sharon Edwards-Billings is the Founder/President of ALLPARENTSONDECK, LLC. She formed this grassroots organization to support parents as they advocate for the academic needs of their students. She is passionate about speaking to parents about the importance of  parental involvement and family engagement in our schools and uses her skills to encourage schools to do more to recognize involved parents and volunteers during the school year. 

Springtime is Here

 


There are signs in the air that Springtime is right around the corner in many regions of  our nation. We are looking forward to warmer weather and opportunities to share our vision for ALLPARENTSONDECK, LLC  with many of you. We are here to answer questions that you might have and to help you understand how important you -(THE PARENTS) are to our schools, communities and businesses.

Our organization is quite different in that we are not here to Sell a Product per se, but to motivate and encourage greater levels of involvement in schools and community organizations that support the needs of students and their families. We use creative approaches to accomplish this goal and spread the positive message about parental involvement to more parents and schools.

Contact Us For More Information: (608) 515-7309 Email:info@allparentsondeck.com.

Signed

Sharon Edwards-Billings

ALLPARENTSONDECK.Com

I’m Back!

2016 proved to be an incredibly challenging year, for my family and me.

‘We weathered a windstorm that blew off part of our siding on our home’, leaving the upper attic area exposed to the elements. Thank God for our neighbor who alerted us to the situation.

Shortly,  thereafter, another storm brought down our 20+ Blue Spruce tree in our backyard.

The final straw was in August 2016, when a toilet water surge travelled down three stories through our home and devastated our lives for the past six months.

I worked for eight years with a federal agency in Emergency Management to deploy employees to disaster-stricken areas, for the purpose of helping families recover from manmade disasters. The sympathetic approach of working to restore order to chaos, was reciprocated to myself and my family.

We had an incredible group of men who were assigned to the Mitigation/Recovery phase. They were so professional and patient throughout the process of tearing down what we spent years building throughout  our home. I silently stood by and witnessed them work their magic to clean up our walls, rebuild subfloors and make sure our home was safe and clean at its core again.

The process tested our resolve to handle one problem after another. My husband took the brunt of this new ordeal and became very ill. I had to sit back and watch my Rock of Gibraltar fall to a low point and couldn’t control any part of his journey. In time, he recovered and bounced back to his former self.

We are still in the renovation stage and are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Several people have said to me “That we will have a new house” and to that I think, we will finally have #ORDER. It is a very important aspect of being a family to maintain an ordered and harmonious living environment. I am striving for that goal and thank my readers for your patience throughout this process.

My attempts to post were stymied by fatigue, weariness, contractor visits after contractors, traipsing throughout every inch of our home. At the end of the day; all I could do was to crawl into bed and pray for strength to endure whatever was going to happen on the next day.

My prayers were answered because I am back at my post.

I am looking forward to sharing exciting information about incredible parents, community volunteers, plans to share our song with more schools and opportunities for you to increase your involvement in schools and community organizations. Our schools need you and I need you too. I’M BACK!

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.