I AM STRONG & BRAVE

This particular Saturday morning, I’m looking at my 2-year-old son playing with puzzles. He looked at me and said: “Mommy, this is too hard, but I got it.”

All parents have read about bed or morning routines. Even Daniel Tiger and Elmo have this covered. My family has always believed in the power of words or confessions. My mother confessed to my sister every morning: “You are the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath.”  I believe (& think my SiSi would agree) that these words resonated in her mind when she wanted to throw in the towel.

Every night we pray for my son to be thankful for family, friends, and provisions. But additionally, I pray (out loud) for my son to be strong & brave. I never saw that world as a scary place until I became a mother. These glasses of parenting put a filter on everything as terrifying. Most importantly, I know the world will be unkind to a young black man. The joy he has today is delicate and needs to be preserved. I want to protect him, cover him, shield him… but I know I can’t. I can only pray that he always finds the strength to be joyous, strength to trust God and Strength to be brave enough to keep moving forward when the world will feel cold.

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I guess, I never meant for this reflection to be so emotionally heavy. I am generally not that type of writer, but out of your heart flows the truth. Take the time to speak life over the children your world. Nieces, nephews, God-children,  neighbors, & friends every child deserves to hear that they are loved and amazing.

With Love;

Southern Fried Mommy

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This post was shared by Southern Fried City Girl. I love her blog. She’s one of the newer blogs that I discovered and I’m happy to share her work. She’s a wife, a mom, a woman of faith and everything in between. Go follow her at her wonderful blog called: Southern Fried City Girl

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I Stand United with MOBB

A moment of truth…It was Trayvon Martin’s death that made me scared for my son’s life. I was sitting there watching the news and seeing his mother’s face filled with so much pain and anguish that something broke in me that day. How could someone gun down a child? It wasn’t the first time it happened, but this was a local member of the neighborhood watch.  It left me wondering how had this country changed. What could I do to protect my son?

In reality, it was nothing. I mean the country had elected the first black president in 2008 and we were worse off than I could ever imagine. Racism, hate and anger seemed to be spewing at him. But, I had a black son. I had a son that would grow up knowing that he was born in the year where America made a decision to elect a black man to the highest position in the country. Anything was possible. I believed my son could do anything and be anything at that point.

But, the country seemed to change. The color of his skin made the closet hate mongers realize that we as a people couldn’t be kept down. We could do or be anything. He endured. He endured people trash talking him, his wife and his children. However, something changed when Trayvon died. When he announced in that press conference that Trayvon could have been his son, I realized that he was acknowledging his blackness in a way that was never done. He was a father before he was a president. He was a man.

It was in that moment that I accepted that my son would always have a target on his back. I held him tighter. Many more deaths. Many more boys and men. Tamir Rice was only a few years older than Munch. I couldn’t understand. Philandro Castille and the country was in an uproar. It was a long hot summer. I was angry and wanted to do something. I am a mother to a black son. I had to save him. I proclaimed that I didn’t endure multiple attempts at pregnancy, bed rest and an emergency delivery to let him die on the streets like a dog. I had to stand for something. I had to do something.

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But, what? Last year, CNN reported that black men are nearly 3 times as likely to die from police use of force than white men. I was scared. How could I keep my son safe? How could I help him to understand why I don’t let him play with toy guns. Why I advocated for clothing that showed him as an innocent non-threatening black boy.

It was at that time that someone added me to a group on FaceBook called Mothers of Black Boys United (MOBB). This group was amazing. I saw articles on advocacy. I saw support and concern from mothers all over the world. I saw women united for the sole purpose of making sure their black sons had an opportunity to grow up.

So, I joined. Not just the FaceBook group, but the organization. I wanted to make a change. Not just talk about it, but be about it. MOBB advocates to change how young black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. I was now part of a mission to protect our black boys. It was bigger than me. It was a community of mothers committed to make a difference.

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Yesterday was #givingTuesday all over. Many of you gave back with your charitable donations. It’s still time. Still time to give and help raise funds for a worthy cause. Can you please join me by donating to MOBB? Just click this link: Donate to MOBB

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Your support is invaluable. As little as $1.00 can make a difference. Thank you for supporting.

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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/.

 

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 2

In yesterday’s post I talked about how spanking is one form of discipline, but that is one form that we need to get away from. Discipline takes many different forms and you can discipline without spanking. It is possible. There are no statistics that support that spanking makes children better than those who were not spanked. In reality, when spanking leaves a mark it now goes into abuse. Do you want to take that chance?

This is what happened to Tyrese. It wasn’t about men and women. It wasn’t about a bitter ex trying to keep him from his child. It was about a parenting choice to spank your child. A choice about whether or not corporal punishment was better than using the situation as a teachable moment.

I met a young woman in college who grew up in a military family. Her dad was a major in the Army. She said that she had a sister and her dad never hit them. She said that when they got in trouble, he made them do drills. She said that she would have to awaken at 5 a.m. and go on 2 mile runs with her dad and do 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. She was exhausted. She said that she never wanted to get in trouble because she didn’t want to  do exercise.

That was the first time that I had met someone that was black that hadn’t been subjected to a belt, a switch, a shoe, etc. This was a different way of parenting. Was it better or worse than a spanking? I wasn’t sure, but it was something that was totally different than what I had experienced.

Now, the basis of positive parenting involves the shift in being both positive and authentic with our children. That’s what I discovered a couple of years ago. Munch’s attitude was always so negative. So, I tried to redirect. I decided to find ways to communicate with my child that didn’t involve lashing out and spanking.

Am I perfect? No, I’m not. I haven’t mastered it all. I have lashed out to Munch out of frustration. Remember last year when I talked about it in my post Mommy Meltdown? I talked about how I had cursed at my son. I felt horrible. I cried. What was wrong with me? I felt like I was taking a huge step back.

Many people assured me that they’ve had breakdowns too. Forgive yourself they instructed. I did. But, I also owed Munch an apology. I was leading him by example and I wanted him to know that I was wrong. That I should not have lashed out at him or cursed at him.

This was something I never experienced growing up. But, parents should apologize when they make mistakes. How could I expect him to apologize for his actions if I couldn’t do it? We hugged and talked and after a while the pain of feeling like I failed him dissolved.

Positive parenting involves a commitment to approaching your children with love, kindness and being authentic. You approach it as a way to teach your children without the fear of punitive damages. I admit it was hard for me to get my head around it at first. Why? Because what about “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Was I going to do more harm by respecting, leading and redirecting negative behaviors than not hitting him?

No.

When I learned that more than anything in this world that I wanted my son to grow up knowing that his mother’s hands were those of love and not violence then it was easy to make the shift. I wanted my son to want to learn and understand without me lashing out or spanking him. I changed my tactics.

I’ve never looked back. I don’t see spanking as a way to teach a lesson. I went to college, I have a degree and I liked to think that I have some common sense too. I see the benefits of creating an environment where Munch is respected and can learn in love. Where he sees that we all have bad days, but ultimately we are accountable for our actions.

To that point, I disagree with spanking in general. I disagree with Tyrese spanking his daughter. It isn’t necessary. He now has his 50/50 custody back with a court appointed clinical psychologist as a monitor until June 2018 and has to go to parenting classes and neither him or his ex can use corporal punishment on their daughter. But, why did it take a judge telling him this? Let’s find a better way of teaching our children’s lessons without resorting to physical punishment.

 

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/.

Day 13: My Parents

I have to tell you that my family is dysfunctional. My parents were kids when I was born. They didn’t know what they hell they were doing. They made many mistakes. I hated them both at different points in my life.

But, I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful for their DNA and for their ability to raise happy and healthy children despite a whole host of issues. Even though I struggle with my feelings towards my dad, I know that I wouldn’t exist without him. I see parts of him in my attitude and behavior. I am thankful for him.

I have a lot of my mom in me. I am my mother’s child. I realized that the things that I was telling my son she had said to me. Words and phrases that were interspersed into teachable moments. She really has grown on me and her and Munch are super close now. I am thankful for her.

I am thankful for the struggles and strength of my parents. It is never easy raising children. You do the best you can and hope that you don’t mess them up. They did. Individually. I understand that now.

It’s not about being a perfect parent. That’s impossible. Just be there. That’s half the job of parenting. Love and be there for your children. No matter how messed up you think your life is, your children need you. The real you.  It is Day 13 and I’m thankful for my parents in my #23daysofthankfulness.

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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/.