Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Enablers and Deniers!

I think regularly, if not frequently about American Idol auditions. You know there are many folks who "come up in" the audition and "cain't sing a lick!" We all watch and say "They don't have any friends!" "What they mama been sayin' to them" etc.

It is all in the vain that they seem SOOOO confident, indignant in some cases that they are the next Mariah....Luther...but Simon, Randy or Paula, maybe ALL 3 say "NOOOOTTTT!!" This is the point where attitudes start flyin'! "I KNOW I'MO MAKE IT!" "YA'LL JUST HATERS!" F@#$ YOU! I'MA STAR!!" etc...

Let me be clear here. I am talking about folks who CAN"T SING!! No doubt about it, they were meant to be doing something else. Be a teacher, a waiter, a damn candlestick maker, just DON'T sing! But they are in serious denial! Or somebody lied to them...for a loooong time. I am not certain about the reason for the lie, but THEY LIED!!

People. It is one thing to give children what they need to be confident in their ABILITIES, it is a whole other thing to LIE to them about their IN-abilities! Black folk! We have too many obstacles in front of us just on G.P. (general principal) to be adding "ish" to the "ish pot"!

Let us help our children see what is real! The world is not fair for many people. People of color have a long, hard way to go. (Even with BARACK.) So parents lets not add to the struggle by anointing our children with gifts they DO NOT have and awards they have not earned!

I am a middle school teacher in a much needed independent charter school in the Southern California area. Tonight I had a meeting with 8th grade parents about the lack of motivation and achievement exhibited by the class of 2008 in particular. We held the parents of the non-achieving students accountable.

The teachers and administrators were not extracating ourselves from the state of under-achieving that our 8th grade is in, however we were calling the parents to task.
If a child has not turned in 7 homework assignments in the last 3 weeks, there is a problem at home! If the school dress code is posted on the school website, and re-iterated in class and the child is STILL coming to school in "free dress", there is a problem SOMEWHERE!

A few parents became indignant. These were OF COURSE the parents of the worst offenders. " There is favoritism!" "My child had a 4.0 until he got here!"

As I sat there. Looking around the room, trying my best not to "Go Off" on folks who KNOW they are enablers and deniers, I had to consider, what is best for the children?

I want my students to be successful, just as parents want their children to find success. I am CERTAIN the way is not placating and lying. If they can't hold a tune, PLEEEEEZE don't tell them they sound like Chris Brown (or anybody else who can sing). If they can't read on grade level, tell them they need to practice reading until they are fluent. Encourage them to find what they are passionate about and give energy, love and talent to that until they find success, WHILE they are doing the BEST they can in school.

Please don't be an enabler and/or denier, telling your children that they are doing well when they are not. ALL children are good at something. Spend your time with your child nurturing their gifts,and teaching them the expectations of the REAL world instead of holding up their illusions. It will do everyone a world of good!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Katbird Seat

The Catbird Seat is an enviable position. This old Southern idiom is used to describe someone "sitting pretty" or having the upper hand.

From this vantage point one is and/or feels in control. The chips are down and YOU have most of the chips.

When you find yourself in the Catbird Seat, the first thing it's important to do is actually RECOGNIZE that's where you are! You are in a position of advantage. Sometimes we get so mired in the negatives of our circumstances that we don't realize that we've been presented with wonderful opportunities.

When you've been fired or dumped, think of the new doors that have been opened for you. You're in a position to turn lemons into lemonade. If what you had is now gone, it has happened for a reason. At the very least you are in a position to make the one(s) who dumped you wish they hadn't. They were certainly taking your fabulosity for granted or maybe you weren't being your most fabulous self in the place you thought you wanted to be!

This is a time and place to reflect on what it is that you really want. Did you REALLY love your job or just need it? Were you TRULY happy in your relationship?

Start making some lists. What is it that you are really passionate about? Did you really like working in an office from 9-5? Or have you always dreamed of leading nature hikes? Do you really like teaching kindergarten or have you always wanted your own bookstore?

Think about your ideal mate, are they compassionate, driven, a homebody, athletic, a good cook, affectionate? YOU ARE IN THE CATBIRD Seat! You can decide what you don't want and more importantly what you DO WANT and GO FOR IT.

This is not however a place to gloat! "Ha-ha! I've got you now! This is usually the place in the cartoon where Sylvester the Cat gets WHACKED over the head or booted out of the house without his lovely Tweety-Bird meal.

Sit in the seat and take stock. Be reflective and then take action so that YOU, NOT others are in control of your happiness and destiny.