Knowledge

 

October 2017

I’m sitting here trying to explain to Munch the importance of taking turns in class. He likes his teacher and is settling in, but he doesn’t understand why the teacher doesn’t call on him. Talking to him is like pulling teeth some times. I need definitive and direct answers about what is happening in class. I need to assess whether or not the class environment is working.

He continues to talk and says well I answered that question right. I respond “So, your teacher did call on you today in class?” “Yeah” he replies “But, I wanted to answer more questions”. I smile and tell him that I understand but it is important that the teacher calls on other students as well. I explain how teachers want to give other children the opportunity to answer questions as well, regardless of whether or not they may raise their hands. She needs them to participate.

He smiles. I asked does he understand and he says “Yes, mommy.”

Crisis averted. I search for more in depth analysis of his days because it is important to me that I learn about the complete classroom experience in his words. Before he even started schools, I searched to try and understand the research that was basically telling me that my son would have it harder than I ever did in school. Research that told me the following…

Black boys are more likely to be placed in special education.

Yes, I know it. Read the statistics. Scared me to think that I was sending my 5 year old black boy into a school that didn’t understand him. To a teacher that may not enjoy teaching children or better yet understanding the culture of black boys. I read how teachers like to diagnose and place them in special education. Not my Munch.

Black boys are not reading on grade level.

We spent a lot of time trying to prepare Munch for school. The French Immersion program provided him many benefits of learning another language. I knew that it would boost his scores in English and Math for his ACT and SAT scores that he would take later. I also knew that learning a foreign language would increase the size of his brain. Those things were important. I had to set him up for success. I read to him while he was in my womb and continued to read to him after birth. I made sure that he knew his site words and could read going into kindergarten.

Punishment for black boys is harsher than for any other demographic.

Yes, so many articles told me that Munch would be punished harder than his other peers who may be of a different race based on the color of his skin. I had to teach him things like “No rough housing, keep your hands to your self, keep a minimum of 10 feet between you and the next person when standing in line, etc.” It’s exhausting, but he had to know. He had to know that the lessons that I was teaching him would be of benefit.

Knowledge is powerful. When I read too much I get stressed thinking that Munch will suffer a fate worse than death if I’m not an advocate for him. That’s probably why I am active at his school and in his school. The administration has to know that I appreciate and support them.

K

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “K” is for Knowledge. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Fear

March 2014

Munch has been in kindergarten for 7 months now. I’m not sure how I feel about his teacher though. There seems to be a disconnect between her as the educator and me as the parent. I don’t know if it’s the culture or what. It’s causing me to wonder if I made the right decision about putting him in this French Immersion program.

Just the other day, Munch expressed that he got in trouble at school for cheating. He’s five years old. He doesn’t know what cheating is. I reached out to his teacher via email and asked her how it happened and what she told him because he didn’t know what cheating was, but that we had explained how he shouldn’t look off someone else’s paper. She called me and discussed what happened.

I was afraid that I needed to be on the same page or hell at least the same chapter with her, so I asked could we meet. She sent me an email back stating yes, but that she didn’t think that I liked her. I scheduled that meeting and responded that I didn’t think she knew me well enough to make that claim.

Truthfully, I didn’t feel one way or another about her. I knew that Munch loved her so that was all that matters.

I showed up at school and sat down to talk. She started “Tell me what you want me to know?” I smiled and started. I explained that I loved Munch so very much and that he was an only child, but his father and I value education. I told her that I view it as a three-legged stool with one leg being the parents, the other the child and the third the teachers, principal and educators.

I discussed the fact that I felt strongly that if one of those legs were loose then it was my job to tighten it up. I told her that even though Munch’s dad and I are divorcing, Munch was born to two college educated parents whereby both of his grandmothers had doctorates. I told her that I believed that his success required us to be active parents in his education.

I told her that I conducted extensive research on the fact that black boys needed white teachers that cared. I told her that my fear was that he was a black boy and statistically speaking that white teachers and administrators tried to diagnose them as having ADD or ADHD and I wasn’t having that. I explained that he has the best doctors and parents and if something is wrong, my belief is that I would know first and furthermore get him the treatment he would need to be successful. That is my job as his mother. His protector and his advocate.

She reassured me that Munch would be fine. There would be no reason to fear that he wouldn’t. He was not going to be a statistic. She told me how she could tell he was a great child who had the purest soul. She said that he hadn’t seen what some of the other five year old children that she teaches had seen. He was special. He wasn’t like them and that I don’t need to worry about them.

Like them? I sat there in awe at her words. She was categorizing the black children. Those that have strong educated families and those that don’t. The fact that I was going to fight for him meant that I didn’t need to worry. I did worry. I was afraid. Why? I feared the stigma that comes upon the shoulders of our black children who have less than I wondered should I fear that she couldn’t see that?

 

F

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “F” is for Fear. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Freedom Friday – 02.16.18

It’s been a minute since I did one of these, but I wanted to share some photos of things that I’ve been up to in life. Wanted to let you know that Munch just got his second quarter grades and got 10 A’s and 4 B’s. I’m over the moon. His award ceremony is this morning.

Munch had his flute concert last month. Here he is looking so handsome. He’s actually enjoying playing the flute and I will be doing private lessons for him.

My siblings and I at my brother’s wedding. I love this photo because I just colored my hair and it was popping. LOL.

Munch and I worked hard on his STEM fair project this year. Although he didn’t win he won an award because of his creativity and enthusiasm. He was ecstatic about it.

My sorority sister made me this beautiful plaque for my birthday last month. I love it.

Munch went to the dentist last month and had to get two silver caps on his teeth, but one fell out right at the dentist. That was two teeth lost in 8 days. Hilarious. But, I’m still flossing his back teeth. He can’t get those and I am tired of paying for these silver caps. This is the second one. But, what was best about this is that Munch and I actually went to the library first and he selected a book to read for fun and couldn’t put the book down.

Finally, I’m trying to devote more time to appreciate the beauty in life. I’m learning to bask in the glory of nature and release my mind from negative energy. I’m learning to redirect my thoughts and pray more. I’m fasting and trying to increase God’s presence in my life. I wanted some fresh flowers in my office and so I went to the grocery store and bought some tulips. The next morning they had all bent in different directions and I snapped a picture because it reminded me of life. Even though we’re in the same jar some of us are bending in different directions and it still looks magnificent.

Happy Friday folks!

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Random Rumblings – 10.12.17

Hey Loves,

Sorry for the silence. So much has been going on. I feel like I’m losing my dang mind on some things. I will update you later in the week.

But, as many of you are aware it is both Breast Cancer Awareness month and Domestic Violence Awareness month. Both are equally important causes that we should know and support. I post more on domestic violence because I am a survivor of abuse and find it important that we stand up for those that are being victimized.

All is well with Mr. C and I. Still happy and in love. Still living our happy black a** life despite some people trying to bring BS to my door. I love that man. Can I just say that? I thank God for sending me a partner that stands with me and for me against those that wish to commit evil.

Munch is doing awesome in school. I was reviewing his grades on-line and it’s all A’s and B’s. He’s adjusting well to 4th grade and went on his first field trip to a science center. I am thankful for his continued growth.

I’ve been in a mood the last week and attended a birthday party honoring my girlfriend a couple of nights ago. It was such the perfect distraction to the drama and I am thankful for my friends. See, God has given me such a support group that I can’t even begin to thank Him for all that I have.

I attended the first PTA meeting last night at school. I signed up for some committees. I think I’m going to try to write a grant to get yoga or a mindfulness instructor teaching the kids at school for a month. The sky’s the limit. I also signed up to be a part of a community advocacy group. Last year, Munch wanted to do a coat drive and PTA couldn’t make it happen. They confirmed to me last night that it will happen this year. What a blessing to be a blessing.

Between chairing the Veteran’s Committee for my sorority and some committees at Munch’s school it’s going to be a busy year, but I’m excited for the opportunity. That’s all for now. I’ll update you later on and I hope you have an amazing day.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Random Thoughts – 09.14.17

I’m sorry that I’ve been inconsistent in posting lately. Life has gotten the best of me. In between vacation, school starting, work and my sorority, I’m burning the candle at both ends. Things will slow down soon. I promise to try and catch up on what I can. Here’s an update on where things are with me.

New Followers – Oh Yeah!

Thank you to my new followers. I have almost 2,000 WordPress followers and I am overwhelmingly blessed by that. I’m truly astonished. I can’t believe that you’ve chosen to follow me on this journey in this thing called life. I mean I’ve seriously grown by leaps and bounds these last few months and I’m happy to have you a part of this walk. I can’t thank you enough. Please check out my Who Am I? page to learn all about me.

Busy, Busy, Busy

This week has been hectic. I had so many meetings and court on Monday. My son’s father and I finalized the parenting agreement in mediation and the court accepted it and now it’s part of our file. We had 5 outstanding items that they refused to handle and I’ve accepted that at the moment, I can move on with my life and rebuild my leave balance because I have only been an employee a little over a year.

My Munch

Munch had Back-to-School Night on Tuesday and this was my second time meeting his teacher (I met him on the first day of school). He seems like a really nice guy and I’m wishing Munch and all the little kiddos a happy and productive school year. I have also decided that I will be enrolling Munch into a Math tutoring program this school year to help strengthen his math skills. I realize that I was stressing him out last year and he was stressing me out. But, I don’t play with academics so whatever we can do to help – will be done.

Munch must also take band this year. Apparently, it is mandatory in the fourth grade here in Maryland. I went to school in Texas so I don’t know. Munch decided he wants to play the trumpet as his first choice and the flute as his second. I just received an email from the band teacher asking would some of the parents be willing to switch their children to the clarinet. Umm, nope. He didn’t pick the clarinet. The clarinet sucks.  Can’t the teachers do what they can?

But, it’s a good year. I like his teachers and Munch wanted me to meet his PE teacher at Back-to-School Night. He likes PE. Did you know that she said she sees the kids for 35 minutes once a week and sometimes twice a week? I remember taking PE every day when I was in elementary school.

Finally, I’m feeling better about his school this year. This is a big change from where I stood last year feeling like an outsider. I joined the PTA and volunteered at Munch’s school. I made it work. I got to know the parents and fund raise for the school. Munch’s new school was made smaller by my efforts to fit in. I’m happy to say that my anxiety has diminished and we’re ready to tackle the fourth grade. Together.

My Love

Mr. C is great. He and I are progressing in our relationship and just loving our happy black a** lives. It’s an adjustment with all that we’ve both had going on, but we’re looking forward to stability and celebrations in the coming weeks. His birthday is later this month and then our anniversary is next month. Woohoo! We’ve been dating for almost two years and in a committed relationship almost a year.

We love where we are and we continue to learn and grow our relationship. I’m in a lot of groups on FaceBook and one of the things that I’m learning is that we as couples don’t know how to talk to each other. We want this picture perfect relationship without doing the work. Mr. C and I work at our relationship. Constantly. Daily. Heck, hourly sometimes.

He gets me. He gets when I need him to just protect me and love me through all the bulls*hit that I’m experiencing. It is in those moments that I sigh and thank God for this man. This man that makes me feel as though I can do anything, but reminds me all the same that he’s willing to help me because I’m not alone. Do you know how special that makes me feel?  Whew! I’m blessed ya’ll.

My Sorority Year

Has started back. We take the summers off and we’re now back. I’m on a couple of committees and working to make a difference in my chapter, organization and of course community. First up is a Mother/Daughter Tea that we have this weekend, which is part of our fundraising efforts for scholarships. I am so excited because we’ve sold out the place. I will be the mistress of ceremony for the event and my mommy, sister and niece will be attending. I’ve also volunteered to chair the Veteran’s committee and work on some programs this year including our Wreaths Across America. Munch loved that program so I’m happy to help in any way possible.

That’s a brief synopsis of what’s going on with me. You are all missed and thank you for being an invaluable piece in my life. Your reading, sharing or commenting truly make my day. I’ve been slow to respond, but trust me that I will catch-up. Please continue to love and take care of each other. We’re hurting in this country and we have to remember that we are all loved, valued and appreciated.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: First Day of School

Yesterday was Munch’s first day back at school. It was an exhausting day because our flight was delayed by 3 hours and we didn’t get in the house until 12:15 a.m. the next morning. Ugh! But, we took it in stride and were thankful that we arrived even after all those hours.

I felt so unprepared. I didn’t get a chance to pack his backpack with all the school supplies before heading out of town. That was a bummer. I grabbed some notebook paper and pencils and shoved them in his bag and thought we’ll do it this evening.

Munch woke up in a bad mood. Can you blame him? He was explaining to me that he didn’t want to go back to the same school because the kids were mean to him. I stopped. I breathed and replied “Munch, we are in a new school year with a new teacher and new classmates. No one can make you feel less than you are. Only you have the power to do so. I want you to have an amazing day because you are blessed. We woke up this morning. You have new clothes and shoes and supplies. You are ready to learn.” He sighed.

We drove to school and he said to me “Mommy, I’m sorry about earlier. I was in a bad mood. I’m going to have a good day.” I smiled and replied “Yep, you are and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” We walked into the building.

He saw a couple of children from his old school. Remember that I told you that there are only two French Immersion schools in the county? That was comforting. They spoke in the hallways. His smile was huge.

We met his teacher who is another male (Yay!) this year. I introduced myself and Munch and told him that I will see him at back to school night next week. I left.

This year there was no huge good-bye and lingering around. I felt better. I felt comforted. We weren’t in a foreign territory anymore. I know some parents, the principal and administrators. I made the school smaller by volunteering and I’ll do the same this year.

Here’s to my awesome and amazingly talented fourth grader. He’s ornery, brilliant and changing every day to look like his mommy. He will have a wonderful time in the 4th grade this year and I’ll be right there to make sure that he does.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!  The 4th of July commemorates our adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence said that Americans were no longer under British rule. Instead, the thirteen British colonies came together to become our own country.

I know it seems that we live in a country of over stimulation and unpopularity, but it is still a great country. Not by those who choose to discriminate against us, but by the people who want and know how awesome America is. There is a lot wrong with us right now, but we are still here united and determined to make this country a great one.

One of the most famous passages of the Declaration of Independence is “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

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Remember that we are all created equally. We all have rights. We give government power. We are one. Happy 4th of July America!

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

I Finished

I finally caught up with the 2,000 blog posts that were in my email. Some of you new followers may not understand, but I usually send your posts to my email because I am not always good with checking on my reader. I’m getting better. Well, I took a hiatus from reading posts the last week and had to catch up.

It’s been good. Thank you for sharing your world, your photos and your wisdom. I always feel like I’ve learned things. I may be slow to reading your posts, but bear with me. This was the first week of summer camp and my new summer schedule.

Munch has been with me this week and it has been absolutely wonderful. He loves his new camp. I was worried and surprised, but when my mom picked him up the first day he said it was awesome. He doesn’t use that word often. In fact I can probably count on one hand how many times he’s said that in the last year. He uses that word sparingly.

My days are long and my nights are short and I feel like I am in a perpetual state of existing. Thankfully, my schedule returns to normal beginning tomorrow until the 12th of July. But, I don’t complain. Motherhood means that you have to make sacrifices and do the things that matter even when you don’t feel like it.

I am loving on my Munch and making plans for beach days, fairs and time spent with family. Oh and before I leave I want to share this picture of this bracelet he made me at camp. He rushed to give it to me when I came home Tuesday night. He asked “Will you wear it Mommy?” It’s tight as hell on my arm. LOL, but I will always wear what he makes.

You know why? Because my word for 2017 is gratitude. I’m grateful for it all. The good, the bad and everything in between.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

BlackFace 101

This is a detour from my normal posts, but I think it’s important that we have an open and honest conversation. I’m black. I’m a woman. I’ve made no secret of that. However, we can’t be afraid to talk about race.

I’ve been blessed to have friends of all nationalities and races. Let’s have a frank discussion about blackface. I’m entitling this BlackFace 101. I recently read an article about a white teen who dressed in blackface to ask a girl to prom. He believed he did nothing wrong.

If that is true, then his parents failed him. Why? Because as a parent, you have an obligation to teach not just tolerance, acceptance and empathy but history to your children. The school’s don’t do a good job of it anymore. They are literally omitting and changing history in the textbooks.  You need to fill in the blanks. Just like I have to do.

Our job as parents require us to encourage and educate our children every step of the way. If you are a parent in 2017, why would you think it is okay for your child to dress up in blackface? If you knew it was wrong and you don’t think it’s a big deal, then stop asking for forgiveness for your child’s ignorance. You failed them. Plain and simple.

I’m black, but I have to teach Munch about all cultures. Not just our own. Not the watered down versions that the schools are teaching now. It is my responsibility to make sure that he knows and respects everyone’s culture. That’s what we seem to be lacking…respect for other cultures.

If you don’t teach your children this, then you are ill preparing them for the real world. We are a melting pot of many cultures and nationalities and ignorance isn’t bliss. I don’t care what anyone says. Preparation for the future is key.

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. Mahatma Gandhi

The history of blackface is not something that is ever appropriate. In short, white America’s conception of black entertainers were overly exaggerated. They were mocking us as the socially and racially inferior race. It was pure ignorance.

The fact of the matter is that if you choose to wear blackface after knowing it’s offensive history, you’re in essence telling me that you don’t give a crap about my feelings as a black woman. I’m supposed to take it as a joke. The thing is though…you can’t forget history. I can’t wipe off what happened to my ancestors like you can your painted blackface. It isn’t acceptable and if you do it, at least be man or woman enough to not ask for forgiveness over your ignorance.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

#NationalTeachersDay

Today is National Teacher’s Day and I wanted to publicly thank all you wonderful teachers out there. Today is a day where you should be honored. Honored for all the hard work that you do. The countless hours spent on lesson planning and making sure that you are providing both knowledge and life skills to the little minds you teach. I thank you.

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I thank you as a former student of some wonderful teachers. Teachers that encouraged me to go after my dreams. Teachers that stayed late after school to tutor me or came in early to make sure I understood the lesson. Teachers that made me believe that I could learn anything. You are truly appreciated.

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I thank you as a mother to a wonderful little boy that has learned the value of who he is by your continued support and encouragement in the classroom. Having no prior foreign language experience, you create an environment where he is learning French. Your wishes for him have come true and he is learning by leaps and bounds. He is both confident and fluent in French and I thank you.

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I thank you as the daughter of an educator. It is sometimes a thankless job to teach children that seem disconnected, but if you continue to encourage them and create a spark of interest you will realize that their flame of knowledge is burning. They listen. They know that the future will be brighter because you took the time to invest in them.

May your day be as wonderful and encouraging as you!

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.