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/.

Black

May 1, 2008

I held him in my arms. In awe. This little black boy was mine. I couldn’t believe that I did this. That God allowed me to be the vessel for this little prince. My son. I stared in amazement.

His color hadn’t come in. His melanin would be a rich coco brown. A combination between his father and I. I smelled him. I kissed him. I loved him. I couldn’t describe the feelings that I was experiencing. It was surreal.

I created life. A trying delivery and I couldn’t really bond with him. I couldn’t find the strength to hold him yesterday after his birth. The drugs. They were plentiful and being pumped in my IV. I was sore from the C-section and they didn’t even get me up to walk.

“You need to rest mama” the Ethiopian nurse urged. I sighed. I was exhausted. I could barely explain the overwhelmingly feeling of being drugged and unable to lift my arms. Many visitors came to see this beautiful boy. Our joy personified.

He just slept. No worries. No cries. Just sleeping in peace. I couldn’t believe it. I smiled that night that I went to sleep. Times were changing. My son was born at an important time. We had the first real candidate Barack Obama running for President. I prayed that he would win. He was a black man. My son was black. I wanted him to see himself in Barack and I wanted to tell him that he could be anyone or anything in this world and truly mean it. He could be President of the United States. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I just snuggled more. Kissed more and prayed that his life is as God has planned. I thanked the Almighty for hearing my pleas when his life was in jeopardy. I thanked him for giving me joy. For giving me this black boy that I would love and protect with everything in me. One day.

One day. He was one day old. Would he be safe?

B

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “B” is for Black. 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/.

Motivational Monday Moment – 11.27.17

Today is the last Monday of the month. I was trying to think of ways to inspire you when I thought about what I’ll be doing today. I’ll be at Munch’s school volunteering to help the staff get the children’s fall photos done. Yes, we’re late. Yes, I’m disappointed about the time the school selected, but I’m so happy.

Why? Because I love to watch the children smile or hide smiles. Some kids grin is so wide and goofy that you have no other choice but to smile. Others think they’re too cool to smile and I’ll stand behind the photographer and make funny faces. Smiling is very good for you it’s healthy.

I think we all need to remember to smile. No matter what is going on in life you can’t let the enemy see you falter. You have to get up, keep fighting, keep pushing forward and doing it with a smile. There’s truth in a smile. There’s pain in a smile, but there’s also joy and hope in a smile. 

 

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/.

The Harsh Truth About Spanking – Part 1

This will be a two part post. I want to talk about discipline and more specifically spanking and how it must be done. I want to talk about how we need to change our mindset about spanking i.e. corporal punishment.

I’m using my platform to speak about something that has been on my mind for the last few weeks. The whole Tyrese issue and him acting like a mental health case. The man just won’t go away. Let me be clear. He needs to stay off social media, get his life and just focus on being a good father and husband.

But, his antics caused me to get into many arguments with well meaning folks about the issue of spanking. I don’t spank Munch. I’ve spanked him once in his life and it hurt me to my heart. That was four years ago. I try to talk and redirect his behavior and encourage him without violence. Why? Because I firmly believe that violence begets violence. I’m not trying to give my son a lesson in violence.

The whole Tyrese fiasco had many a people up in arms on social media either defending or laughing at this man’s behavior. I didn’t defend nor laugh, but wondered whether or not he was seeking mental help because it appeared that he was having a breakdown before my eyes.  He was apparently crying out for sympathy in his ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife. Something that I find ridiculous considering he basically talks crap about women and tries to pit them against each other. I’m not a fan of this man’s character.

However, the fact that I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that I want a parent to lose access to their child. This goes for both men and women. I don’t think children should grow up without their parents. So, this is isn’t about custody and a parent being allowed to not be able to see their child.

My issue is that Tyrese was in this situation over a claim that he held his daughter down on her stomach and spanked her so hard that she couldn’t sit because she had allegedly taken money from her piggy bank. Two things here: 1. If it is her piggy bank, can’t she take money from it? 2. Did you really need to hold her down and spank her that hard? How much does she weigh in comparison to you?

I got spanked as a child. Did I like it? No. Did I believe it made me better? No. Do I believe that had I not got spanked I would be a crack head or a criminal? No. There’s a whole lot of parenting that occurs between when your child is first born and then gets old enough to use drugs or get involved in illegal activities. But, even if you spanked your child that doesn’t mean that they won’t turn to drugs.

The thing is that you have to be better for your children. If you as the adult can’t find ways to parent that doesn’t involve violence, what does that say about you? Mr. C and I disagree on this. He says that I’m a new age parent. I asked him did he get spanked as a child? He said “Yes”. I asked “Do you believe that had your parents not spanked you when you were young that you would somehow be different? Think about who they are and the values that they taught you?” He had no response.

I want us to change our thinking about spankings and calling it discipline. Let’s look at the word discipline. Dictionary.com showed many different meanings and I’ve pulled out my four three.

discipline (noun)

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
3. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
4. a set or system of rules and regulations.

Discipline doesn’t have to be physical and it doesn’t have to be spanking based on the above definitions. I got disciplined in school and it wasn’t physical. How many of us had to go to study hall? That was a form of punishment. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do so there were consequences.

Not physical.

-To be continued-

 

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/.

Day 16: Time

I’ve often spoken of the importance of time. Time is valuable. More valuable than money to me. Life isn’t about the money you make, but the memories. Those memories require you to spend time creating them. Do you see why time is more valuable?

Your time is more valuable than anything you could imagine. Don’t waste it. Don’t allow people or things to take more time and space in your mind and heart than necessary. If a relationship isn’t working, it’s okay to not invest any more time. Time is valuable. Your time matters.

Whatever it is. Time matters. I was reminded of this yesterday when I went to Urgent Care. I had sprained my ankle and I couldn’t remember how it happened until I was driving back to work from the urgent care. I remembered.

I had slipped and fallen down the stairs Friday night. I was rushing to start a load of laundry and missed a step. I fell. Munch asked “Mommy, are you okay?” “Yeah baby” I replied. I got up and continued doing what I was doing.

It hurt Saturday as I was limping around Chuck-e-Cheese as Munch played with his best friend. I couldn’t remember the fall. I was in pain. The next day it was worse. I woke up in pain and it was swollen. I limped down the stairs and drove to CVS for an ankle support thinking I could heal it. I put cold compresses to help with swelling and took Advil.

Monday I spent four hours after leaving work early to work with Munch on his STEM fair project. Oh joy. It was his first one. More of my time. My time was spent loving and assisting my son. More standing to assist this child with his experimental trials. Immense pain was my reward after spending time with my child. I had to deal. I’m a mom. Time matters.

Yesterday though it came crashing back with pain and the little support bandage wasn’t helping. I had sprained it and kept pushing forward. I made time to get to urgent care and I’m going to be back to normal soon. But, my time maters.

On day 16 of my #23daysofthankfulness I am thankful for time. Time washing clothes, time helping my son with his STEM fair project and time going to urgent care. Even though my sprain wasn’t planned. It provided a reminder to slow down and understand that my time matters. Now, it’s time to heal.

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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/.

Parenting: Munch’s Art

Munch just finished two weeks at Art Camp last Friday and I couldn’t be more proud. He asked to attend and he learned so much. He learned about different textures, mediums and artists. He had a blast.

I think the best part of the camp experience for me was listening to my son explain his art work. The camp had an art show for the finale and the kids were super excited to showcase their work.

These last two weeks were memorable for him. He was excited and learned a lot. It was definitely worth the investment.

Since he transferred to his new school last September he actually got straight A’s in art all four quarters. This was a change from his last art teacher who I firmly believed pulled grades out her butt. When I questioned his grades changing from a B to A, she had no answer and couldn’t produce graded work that showed a B.

I explained that my son loves to draw and will often spend hours drawing out these great characters. He’s talented. He loves art. She didn’t listen.

Oh well.

Change happened and he’s excelling in his new school so we are blessed. It is as it should be. Art camp was awesome and he was winding down summer on a positive note. Here are some photos of his work.

 

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/.