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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Thoughts, Surroundings & Positive Deposits

In Education, Family, Friendships, Love, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality on February 19, 2016 at 10:21 am

Been doing a lot of thinking recently; I mean I am always thinking don’t get it twisted, but been doing more thinking about my surroundings, my interactions and my “people” / network.  It seems the older I have become, the more wise I try to be, the less tolerance I am developing.  All my life I have strived to always do the right thing by others – not always myself.  I have always tried to help when needed, asked or implied.  I have always tried to impart any knowledge I may have on a subject or use my influence or connections to assist others.  I have neither been perfect nor always cautious with my approach, but I have always been consistent.  Basically, I have always tried to leave a positive or helpful deposit regardless of “delivery”.  I have been taking stock of the deposits those around me, past or present, have made in my life.  In being honest with myself, I have to admit – there have been only a small few who have made positive deposits, especially on a consistent basis.  Very few have ever added or done anything without an ulterior motive or “want” in return.  They are all cool, don’t get me wrong, as long as there is a benefit in it for them or a need within them are satisfied.  They take all the time, be it actual time, energy, emotion, money etc…, but do they ever leave a deposit?  When you are in need are they there to lend an ear, a hand or a shoulder?  Sometimes it’s just knowing you can count on someone or someone actually “listening” when you need to get something off your chest.  What’s crazy is when you choose not to give in or can not assist a person who you have always tried or have helped, how quick they flip and attack.  They start to judge or become accusatory of your efforts, not seeing the pattern they have always exhibited.  It’s always about them, never about you.  Then you start hearing how “you’ve changed”, “you don’t care anymore” or the best one “you forgot where you came from”.  Nah, its not that.  Honestly it could mean you just couldn’t provide the necessary assistance or the assistance provided could not solve the actual issue.  Perhaps the positive deposit being left is trying to help them problem solve on their own or see the pattern they’ve created, while giving them the room to adjust and fix.  It’s not always that one specific instance, but rather all the instances before or after that will continue if the pattern is not altered.  Sometimes it’s about big picture processing not individual, micro instance occurrences.   And oh boy, when you call them on this, well – that’s a whole other post.  Suffice it to say, the onus and wrath is put on you and the issue at hand gets blurred.  We as people do evolve, not so much change.  Our perspectives, based on life experiences change.  We must adapt for sure.   Life is full of stresses, most self created.  Our time and energy is limited, especially the older we become.  Thus we must surround ourselves with individuals who consistently leave positive deposits in our lives. I can only assume this is why some folks find God; it gives them that positive infusion of hope and purity we all seek.  I am not saying forget all the old heads, never that.  What I am saying out loud – truly hoping that I am hearing myself, is to just try to guard your time, heart and soul more.   Take stock of those who provide the positive deposits in words, actions or shared experiences, even when they are masked in ways we choose not to see.

They say I’ve changed, I say you didn’t.

– Joe Budden

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The Barber Shop, Lessons & A Lasting Impression

In Education, Family, Love, Parenting on January 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

I arrived for my haircut appointment like any other day, hoping my barber was on time, checking my emails & reading my news.  Luckily my barber was only 2 minutes late, which was a small victory in itself.  My barber and I have a pretty good relationship.  There’s a respect factor we had from the onset.  He talks to me about many things, personal and not; we go back and forth and I try to provide him with my insights or opinions when requested.  The barbershop was alive and the conversation ranged from sports, to what they did the night before, to who the best rappers were; the usual harmless fun barbershop banter. It was fun debating certain comments with them and listening to them state their cases.  While in the chair, a brother walks in with a young girl, maybe 12 – if that.  The young girl is carrying  a rack displying bracelet beads as the male with her walks station to station peddling the “homemade jewelry”.  When they arrived at our station, the brother begins to converse with my barber briefly.  I initially thought to myself, damn, another interruption – I gotta go.  I look up at the young lady and can tell she was a bit uncomfortable or shy about approaching folks while carrying the merchandise.  Thoughts were running through my head, you know – was this some sort of street scam, who would use his daughter to peddle items just to make a buck, were these really home made?  But within seconds, I thought otherwise – more like who cares and I focused on the obvious lessons being taught.  The brother appeared quite humble and respectful as I asked the young girl if she made the jewelry, which she replied by smiling and nodding her head yes.  Her dad smiled too and said she made each and every one of them.  He would glance at her,  trying to cajole her into verbally selling her creations, but you can tell she was new to this.  A deep sense of respect hit me.  Here was this guy, in my humble opinion, teaching his daughter entrepreneurial traits, confidence building tactics and survival skills.  Here was this young girl, tagging along with her dad, willing to learn and deal with the ups and downs, the rejections and the triumphs, each time she tried to sell her creations.  Her smile was bright and her eyes, while unsure, still twinkled.  Her dad, well his eyes showed pride and even admiration toward his little girl.  I was moved.  I have been at the barbershop hundreds of times, many of which included interruptions from people selling all types of items – most ill begotten.  Not this time, this time it was simply a daughter & her dad, striving together to succeed.  Small victories each time, but lessons nonetheless.  Now all this occurred within 2 minutes – maybe.  I purchased two of her creations, telling her to keep them for herself – cause she earned it.  Her dad very surprised, looked at me and smiled.  We nodded at each other with mutual respect and they went bout their business.  I went bout mine, smiling, happy and full of hope.

“Picture jewels being handed to an innocent child….”

– Tupac Shakur

Rights, Struggles & The Cost of Being Black

In Education, Politics, Racism, Society, Spirituality on August 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Ferguson, Mo, the site of the most recent crime against a person of color can be any town USA. This type of atrocity has occurred all over America spanning decades. It is a travesty the powers that be continue to allow these acts to go for the most part unpunished. As a human first & a person of color second, it saddens & infuriates me that these instances continue to occur without any seemingly remorse from those who continue to perpetrate these crimes – and yes crimes is what they are. If two men are fighting and in the course of their battle one man unintentionally kills the other, he is brought up on charges – usually murder at first. Then tell me please how the police can continuously kill unarmed black males without charges? Don’t give me that fear for their life shit! In these cases there was no life or death instance. As a person of color, a Latino male and a black man, I have been victim to many a racial insult, profile or injustice; instances that have shaped me, have stuck to my gut and is never far from my thoughts. They have made me who I am. My anger and my sorrows. I easily could have been Mr. Mike Brown, Mr. Travon Martin, Mr. Oscar Grant, Mr. Sean Bell….must I continue? I have been in situations just like these young men found themselves in, in some instances even fighting back, but was lucky enough to have physically survived them (thanks Brother Blood), but each left an emotional scar. So each time this happens, I can taste the anger inside me. As a youth, my initial reaction was to strike back with force, but with age comes knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Unfortunately the protests, the rioting, the speeches don’t change much. They bring some awareness, but are usually forgotten in short order. When these scared souls see the rioting as portrayed in the media, they sit at home shaking their heads while exclaiming….”see they are animals!” Are we supposed to expect these fools to understand how the years of institutional hatred, human betrayal and attacks on our dignities have affected us? These simpletons believe all that they see & fear what they do not understand. I can go on for pages on the issues, but in my humble opinion, to make real change, we need to change ourselves too. We need to first & foremost focus more on education, as it will be our salvation. With education comes confidence, comes creation, comes self reliance. We need a change in our leadership. We need leaders who understand the plight, not just wax poetically when shit goes down, but leaders who are there everyday trying to teach and help. Leaders who will hire, educate & mentor. We need to raise our families, be fathers to our children & take pride in our communities. We have to stop giving ignorant people reasons to fear us. We need to teach our people that a singular action by them can cause a ripple effect on us all. Let’s stop giving the police reason to stop us, fear us or kill us. Let’s pull up our pants, tighten our belts and speak intelligently. Youngsters put the colors away, channel that energy into uniting and growing stronger collectively. Let’s pick our brothers up when they struggle with the change. Let’s stop complaining about what they are not doing and let’s just do ourselves!!! Create our own commerce. Let’s get the Jordan’s, Beyonce’s & Lebron’s of the world to the table and become spokespeople for our communities. Let’s force them to take a stand while teaching the youth who look up to them. Let’s work hard at whatever it is we do for a living. Let’s teach our young people how to respond when we are stopped by the police while still keeping our dignity. When we get into the boardroom, let’s bring more with us while remembering where we came from. Unfortunately, we can not keep expecting these folks to change, we gotta make the change. Each and everyone of us must do our part or our future will remain our past.

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

– James Thurber

Progress, Accomplishments & Prideful Celebration

In Education, Parenting on May 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

Twenty-three years ago today my first princess was born. She was such a cutie, quiet & full of smiles. Today she remains the same, just more beautiful! This weekend is her coming out party, her celebration, a celebration about her & all she has accomplished; no more than when she graduated from Stony Brook University this last Friday! The pride I felt to see her accomplish her goal is unexplainable. I sat there remembering all her doubts & struggles; the many conversations & “lectures”, her stresses before a tough exam or course. Through it all she persevered, not by just making it, but making it with success & some acclaim. As a parent, there is no better feeling than seeing your child reach a goal with such veracity! To see her smile after the ceremony was priceless. As the oldest, she has set a great example for her brother and sisters, something to emulate & strive for. My hope is that she takes this day, her 23rd birthday, to celebrate (responsibly of course 🙂 ) and applaud herself for all she’s done! Yes – it is she who accomplished this. We as parents may lay some groundwork or assist when needed, but ultimately it is the child who must take it, utilize it & grow from it. In that vain, she has succeeded. So go ahead and enjoy your weekend sweetheart! Have a great time, bask in your accomplishments. You earned it all. Just remember tho, this is just the beginning. Don’t stop now…..the fun has just begun.

To acquire knowledge one must study; but to acquire wisdom one must observe.

– Marilyn vos Savant

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Time, Resolutions & New Beginnings

In Education, Friendships, Parenting, Relationships, Self-Improvement on January 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm

2012 was an interesting year with many ups & downs. It started with such promise, saw it’s share of turbulence & potential then ended with a thud. Once the new year rolls around we get reflective, thinking about what we can do the following year to improve upon our lives while making positive footprints in the lives of others. The problem with resolutions, noble & full of promise as they may be, is they are often short lived. One starts with such enthusiasm to accomplish it all, but inevitably it fizzles, causing us to fall back into our old baits & routines. It is hard for most people to sustain the energy to change everything they feel the need to change; it is why I suggest people take small gradual steps, toward reasonable attainable goals, to fulfill their souls. Focus on the most important goal or needed change in your life & gradually work your way to achieve it. Truthfully, we should not feel the need to wait for the new year to hold ourselves accountable. I guess the new year allows us to hit the reset button, to forget any transgressions and to build on the positive steps taken. Time can be our ally, allowing wounds to heal & resolutions to be reached. Everyday is a new beginning; an opportunity to grow, strive & accomplish. If the new year is when you decide enough is enough on anything, then be definitive. Stay the course, know what you want or need, then take the necessary steps to achieve. Everything that happened the preceding year had a purpose; learn from it. Embrace what was learned or gained, not what failed or was lost. What one considers failure others may see growth. I will share a few of my resolutions with you all to hold myself even more accountable. I hope to become more spiritual & patient. More understanding & compassionate. To read more & develop a long term life plan. But most important, the same resolution I hope for year after year, is to find freedom & inner peace. Being true to myself going forward is a great start.

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

– Henri Bergson

College, Costs & The Growing Epidemic

In Education on May 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Even though tuition fees are at record highs, and total student debt is $1 trillion, I read the other day 53 percent of college grads under the age of 25 either have no job, are waiting tables, manning receptionist desks, or folding sweaters at the mall. Folks this is a huge problem & something I see as the next bubble to burst. How can it be expected that our youth, our children, continue to be exploited by higher education with no guarantee of a decent rate of return? Why is it costing so much to educate them? It used to be that a college degree would be a stepping stone for a decent career. Now, it guarantees nothing but debt, not only for the students, but also their parents. You see, it has become increasingly difficult for the students to secure funding / loans to attend their schools thus forcing parents to mortgage their future to provide their children with the ever shrinking chance to succeed. Poor students who study the Liberal Arts, as these studies, while they may be interesting, are all but useless in today’s market. It’s to the point we must begin to steer our children into studies geared more toward securing jobs. Even better still, those with young children it would benefit all if from an early age, you stress the importance of education, guiding them into practical careers. It now also makes sense, and I can’t believe I am about to write this, once we notice a child is not “college material”, has little interest in school or struggles mightily with their grades, to consider other options & trades. I have come to know numerous, highly successful people who never went to college, but have etched out a pretty good life & sometimes a quite equitable one, mastering their trade. Let’s face it, we all need plumbers, electricians, mechanics & barbers! I have also known several individuals who are self educated, who with a strong work ethic & a good idea, have forged a pretty profitable business. This is not to say college is not important, it is, but it is not for everybody. How many students do we know, barely make it through college, or go for a year or two before dropping out, leaving a mound of debt in their wake? I know several recent law school grads who can not find work, while those that do, barely make enough in the beginning to pay their bills, which causes a negative financial snowball effect. How can the educational system continue to charge these rising exorbitant fees, while the banks charge interest, with no jobs for the students that will allow them the opportunity to pay it back, before the bubble bursts? It’s already starting to crack folks. Occupy Wall Street protesters being a perfect example of a disenchanted group. Sooner or later, no one will be able to repay these loans & another catastrophic financial crisis will occur. I tell the youth who care to listen, that if they pursue a college education, immerse themselves in it, network, join clubs & groups. Maximize their chances of success by learning all they can about their chosen interest, become experts. Networking can help make contacts that in turn can help land jobs. As the old adage says, sometimes it’s not what you know but who.

There are no insignificant or ordinary jobs when they are performed by significant or extraordinary people.

– Mark Sanborn, Speaker

History, Zealots & Capitialism

In Education, Politics, Racism, Religion on October 7, 2010 at 8:43 pm

What is America coming too?  There is a big debate, or rather fight, going on right now over the way we learn and have been taught history and science.  “Conservatives / Right Wing Christians” are arguing the textbooks used in todays schools do not aptly reflect AmeriKKKa’s Christain values by promoting “multiculturalism” among other things.  They feel these books should depict our country in a better light, focusing on the notion that this is the best, most noble nation in the world.  They accuse the liberals of negatively representing American history.  As Ed Lover would say….”C’mon Son!!!! Go ahead with that bullshit right there!”  How could they not see how by attempting to rewrite history as it occurred they are commiting total blasphemy.  The shit hit the fan recently when in Texas, of course it had to be Texas, it’s 15 member state Board of Ed, which are now controlled by “Conservatives”, demanded significant changes to social study textbooks.  They now want the textbooks to stress how the U.S. is a ‘Christian land governed by Christian principles.”  Really??  Isn’t that Muscular Christians again trying to force feed skewed ideology and beliefs?  They are trying to downplay or eliminate some historical figures like Thomas Jefferson (yeah – thee Thomas Jefferson – he of one of the founding fathers fame), Ed Kennedy & Cesar Chavez’ because of their alleged liberal or anti church / state beliefs to accentuate figures like Ronald Regan, who they feel led a conservative resurgance in the 80’s and 90’s.  What?!?  They also want to eliminate how history reports Slavery.  Now I have always felt the teaching of Slavery and how it has been taught has always been a negative subliminal message to people of color.  Imagine how it begins to make young people of color feel as they learn how they would have been (and in different ways – still treated) back in the day and how it begins to foster a sense of  superiority amongst Caucasians from an early age, while developing a sense of deference to these young people of color.  But these zealots want to paint the whole slavery issue not as America’s black eye, but as a by product of British rule Amerikkka struggled to change.  That sad part is the textbook industry is poised to make these changes because Texas is the second largest textbook market in the country spending upwards of “$60 million annually on books”!!  Now that is Capitalism at its finest folks – sacrifice the truth for the almighty buck.  If that ain’t the American way, what is? 

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

                                               – Albert Einstein