Categories
Listening to the Wrong Voices

Listening to the Wrong Voices – The Error of King Ahab

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I would like to revisit a story in history. (9th century B.C.) This story offers principles that could be life changing. This story headlines a prophet by the name is Macaiah.

Micaiah (Hebrew: מיכיהו Mikay’hu “Who is like Yah?”), son of Imlah, is a prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He is one of the four disciples of Elijah and not to be confused with Micah, prophet of the Book of Micah. (P. J. Leithart. 2006. 1 & 2 Kings – Page 161)

If you are interested in hearing about the events leading up to the appearance of the prophet Micaiah, continue reading!

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There were two kings. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah who reigned c. 870 – 849 BC and Ahab, the king of Israel who reigned c. 871 – c. 852 BC.

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During King Jehoshaphat’s visit with King Ahab, King Ahab asked him if he would go with him to take over Ramoth-gilead, which was under the rule of King Aram. King Ahab went on to explain that the city of Ramothgilead was rightfully theirs, so they should take it away from the king of Syria.

*nugget alert* Be careful not to allow someone to blindly influence your actions, they could have underlying motivations that are meant to promote themselves. This is relevant even if what they are saying is true. Check out King Jehoshaphat’s response.

King Jehoshaphat replied, “Hmmm, let us inquire of the Lord.”

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King Ahab gathered his prophets, about four hundred men, and asked them, “Shall I go against Ramothgilead, or not?” The prophets all responded, “Go up, for the Lord will deliver them into the hands of the king.”

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*nugget alert* Experiencing or hearing something Good, does not mean it came from God. Pray for Discernment. It is necessary because it allows you to look beyond the smiles on a face, and into the frowns on the heart.

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After hearing these prophets, King Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord besides these men, that we might enquire of him?”

*nugget alert* It is interesting how both kings heard four hundred prophets tell them to go and war against the king of Syria because they will win, yet after hearing; one of the kings asked if there were another prophet of the Lord besides these men. The nugget here is to be leery when you have a “crowd” agreeing with you. Be aware when you have a lot of people telling you what you want to hear. Get a second opinion. God is not always in the center of “the majority.”

King Ahab answered King Jehoshaphat saying, “There is one man named Micaiah, son of Imlah, that we may enquire of but I hate him; for he does not ever prophesy good things concerning me, only evil things.” King Jehoshaphat replied, “Don’t say that.” So King Ahab relented, and had an officer go and get Micaiah. Once the messenger reached Micaiah, he told him that the King of Israel needed him to prophecy and to make sure what he says is favorable like the other prophets.

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*nugget alert* In reference to the king of Israel, it was interesting how he decided that he hated the man who told him truth because it was unpleasant. How often do we start disliking or mistreating someone, just because we do not want to hear the truth they are speaking? How many times have we ostracized someone because their life style made us feel convicted? Be careful gathering to yourselves, people who tickle your ears but care nothing for your soul. These types of people will lead you into destruction. The other thing that stood out about the previous passage was how the messenger tried to “coach” Micaiah on what he needed to say. For those who are not familiar with a true prophet of God, they only speak what the Lord tells them to speak.

While Micaiah and the messenger were on their way back, the two kings were seated on their thrones, and the prophets took turns prophesying to them about whether or not they should go to Ramothgilead. Each prophet’s speech were more elaborate than the last. They were feeling really important sharing their pleasant prophecies with the kings. To read more about what some of them said go to this link https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+22&version=HCSB

In a nutshell, all of the prophets were in agreement. The messenger and Micaiah arrived and the messenger reminded him to say good things like the other prophets had done. Micaiah told him that he would comply. King Ahab then asked Micaiah if they should go to Ramothgilead, and Micaiah immediately replied in a mocking manner, “Go and prosper, for the Lord will deliver them in your hands.”

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King Ahab knew something was amiss, it was not like Micaiah to agree like that, so he told Micaiah to please speak the truth in the name of the Lord. Micaiah then replied, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.” 

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*nugget alert* A couple of things are worth mentioning from the previous passage. Micaiah tried to parrot what the other prophets were saying, but King Ahab already knew it was not true. So he pushed Micaiah to speak the truth because he wanted to know. Let this be a lesson to always pursue the truth, instead of the deception. No matter how you “feel” about it.

The second nugget that stood out was the prophecy itself. King Ahab was the king of Israel, and in the prophecy it said that Micaiah saw Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep without a shepherd. Micaiah went on to say that the Lord said they did not have a master, and that every man should return home in peace. This is basically saying they did not have the leadership or blessing to go forward to war against the king of Syria and that if they wanted to remain in peace; they needed to go home. Do you all see how important it is to know whose voice you are listening too? All of these prophets claimed to be from the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the bible; yet out of 401 men/prophets, only 1 spoke from the Lord. Ponder that for a moment.

King Ahab looked over to King Jehoshaphat and said, “See, I told you he never says anything good about me.”

Micaiah went on to say, “Here what the word of the Lord says, I saw the Lord sitting on his throne and all of the host of heaven standing on his right and left. and the Lord asked, who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this matter and another said on that matter. There came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord asked him wherewith? The spirit said, I will go forth and i will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all of his prophets. The Lord replied, you shall persuade him and prevail, go forth and do so.” Then Micaiah finished by saying, “Behold the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets and the Lord has spoken evil concerning you.”

*nugget alert* It is amazing how the end of the prophecy went on to explain why all of these men only had good things to say instead of the truth. They have been affected by a lying spirit. How sad that Ahab had moved so far away from God and his word, that he no longer could discern the difference between the truth of God and the lies of the devil. Be leery not to fall into that same position because even though this happened a long time ago, it is still happening today.

There are many voices speaking to us even more so today through Twitter, FB, Instagram, Blogs, YouTube, News, Media, etc… Many voices, but most are not aligned with what the Lord is saying. Think of these prophets, how far they had gone away from the Lord. So far that they thought they were speaking on his behalf, and did not realize they were being used by an evil spirit. This is truly a terrifying state to be in.

After Micaiah gave this prophecy, Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah and leader of the prophets went near and slapped Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak to you?” He was being sarcastic because he believed he was a true oracle of the lord.

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Micaiah answered him saying, “You will see in that day, when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” King Ahab commanded Micaiah be incarcerated until they all return from Ramothgilead. Micaiah responded, “If you return in peace, then the Lord has not spoken through me. Hearken O people, everyone of you.” Then he was taken away to jail.

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*nugget alert* The marks of a true prophet of the Lord, their words always came true, 100 percent of the time, and they never contradicted the word of God (bible).

So both kings headed into battle against the king of Syria and Ahab had the bright idea to borrow some of Jehoshaphat’s robes. This was to disguise himself in the battle. On one end of the battle field, some of the soldiers from Syria saw King Jehoshaphat and was about attack him, but he cried out to the Lord. Once they got closer and saw it was not the king of Israel, Ahab, they retreated and left him alone.

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On the other end of the battle field, a Syrian soldier drew his bow at a venture and it ended up striking King Ahab between the joints of his harness.

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He told his soldiers he was wounded and they carried him out of the host and laid him in the chariot. By the evening he died and bled out in his chariot, the proclamation of his death went out, and everyone returned to their own city and country.

*nugget alert* It was interesting that King Ahab wore King Jehoshaphat’s robes, and yet when the Syrian soldiers were right in front of King Jehoshaphat they decided not to harm him. On the other end of the spectrum, a random Syrian soldier decided to draw his bow at a person far away, and end up striking King Ahab.

This goes to show how accurate God’s word is. It did not matter that Ahab had disguised himself or that he was far away, God’s word still prevailed and the false prophets word did not. This is an important lesson overall because each of us have the choice to align ourselves with truth today by deciding to accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior and confess that we are a sinner. If we pray this we will be given his Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Truth to guide us. John 16:12 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

We are living in a world full of voices, but there are only two sources, the Spirit of Truth or the Spirit of Error. Make sure you are on the right side, do not make the error of King Ahab. For any questions about this story, I can be reached through my contact page.

Be blessed

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

 

 

 

 

Categories
The Invisible Ally

Surrounded by an Invisible Army: Open Your Eyes

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Have you ever felt like your back was against the wall or that you have reached a point where you could not fight or run? I was reminded of story I read in the Book of Second Kings Chapter 6, when Elisa said,

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Let me tell you a little background of the story of a man who woke up one morning and was literally surrounded by his enemies. God’s prophet, Elisha had a great enemy in the King of Syria. The prophet Elisha had warned the King of Israel of his impending danger of attack by the King of Syria, and of continuing to sin against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So in the past, the King of Israel had avoided a lot of pitfalls by listening to the Prophet Elisha. One thing that was noted in Matthew Henry’s Commentary is that the King of Israel listened when it came to protecting himself from dying at the hands of the King of Syria, but did not listen to repenting of his sins against God. (Ironic right?)

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Either way, the Prophet Elisha found himself in quite a situation after giving valuable advice to Israel’s army yet again because the King of Syria decided he wanted to take him as a prisoner and told his army to collect him dead or alive.

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They were tired of Elisha listening to God and providing the King of Israel information on how to overcome their enemies. This information proved to help them win again and again, as long as they were in obedience with God’s Word. So they knew their only solution in defeated the Israelites were to rid them of their Prophet from God.

One question pondered in the commentary was, “Why did the King of Syria decide to send an entire army after one man? A man who was not hidden behind a fortress like royalty or guarded by men?” To send an entire army after a one man proves how much of a threat he was to them. So under the cloak of darkness, the Syrian army began to surround the city and wait. As the morning’s sun began to rise, so did the voice of Elisha’s servant. He exclaimed in panic and I am paraphrasing, “Master what shall we do? We cannot fight or run, we may as well just give up!”  The servant saw their enemies surrounding them with swords and spears.

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Elisha responded calmly, “Do not fear! For there are more on our side than theirs.” The servant was confused because he only saw that they were about to be destroyed by what was in front of them. Then Elisha said a quick prayer to the Lord, asking Him to open the eyes of his servant, so he could see. Suddenly the servant could see with the same enlightened eyes as Elisha and he saw that the hills surrounding the Syrian Army were not empty, but were full of horses and chariots of fire.

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As the horses and chariots of fire descended, Elisha prayed that the Syrian Army be smote with blindness and they were. He led them to a city called Samaria. Once they arrived, Elisha prayed that the Lord would allow the men to see. Once their eyes were able to see, the King of Israel asked Elisha could they kill them? Elisha said no, feed them and let them go back to their king. Once they returned to the King of Syria, they no longer bothered the Land of Israel. Elisha’s simple faith in God, reduced an unstoppable enemy to nothing.

This should be an encouragement to believers today because scripture says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrew 13:8) We do not have to feel like we are alone, or that we have to rely on our own strengths. We also do not need to only trust in what we see with our own eyes because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesian 6:12)

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Reflecting questions: Where do we put our faith? When we encounter an enemy during our daily situations, do we react like Elisha, or do we react like his servant?

The school bell has rung, class dismissed! 

Categories
the joneses

Two Sets of Joneses

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I was in college on my way back with friends from performing. We were in the “singing assemble group” for our college that consisted of 6 girls and 12 guys. We went around singing to churches and organizations that donated money to our university. I was in the car and this music group came on the radio. I was immediately transported back in time to the1960s, as the sound of a guitar blared and the lead singer’s voice droned on, it actually made me feel like I was at Wood Stock. *chuckle*

Jimi Hendrix and a crowd at Woodstock standing in the rain

Well, minus the “not so good” parts of Wood Stock. Sorry, I digressed from the main point. As I listened to the words of the song, it really had a deep impact on me. After the song ended, I asked my friends the title of the song. They replied, “Two Sets of Joneses.” So I decided to share the story with you all but if you choose to skip reading post, I have attached the video below for your viewing pleasure. The story begins with the two couples named, Rothchild and Evelyn Jones, and Reuben and Sue Jones.

Side note: Sorry, this was the best generalized image I could find of two couples, just use your imagination!

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Now, back to the story – Evelyn had a lot of money and Rothchild Jones was so excited because after he married her, she bought them a house on the beach. Reuben and Sue
Jones did not have earthly wealth, but they were followers of Jesus and felt that having Him was plenty because they trusted in Him to provide for them. The hook of the song described “hard times” as rain coming down and blowing the four walls down, and when the clouds rolled away; only one set of Joneses would be standing that day. So, essentially whenever hard times came, only one couple would be able to handle it. As time passed, eventually Evelyn Jones and Sue Jones were pregnant.

 

In Evelyn’s case, Rothchild worked late hours so that he could remain on top of the business, and her father was very proud and happy to have such a son-in-law. Rothchild worked so hard, that while Evelyn was having their first child, he was on an airplane flying to Dallas on business.
In Sue’s case, when she was having their first child, the entire hospital heard Reuben exclaim, “It’s a boy!” He was right by her side and even stayed home with Sue to help her take care of the baby for a few days. While he was out of work, some of his co-workers took up a collection for Reuben and it ended up being enough for the bills that month. Needless to say, Evelyn Jones ended up leaving Rothchild and sued him for everything he had.

The essential question of the story: Is your life built on the Rock of Christ Jesus or Sandy foundations that YOU have managed to lay?

Why is this important? Because when the rain comes down, and blows the four walls down, when the clouds roll away; will you be still standing or blown away? Just a thought. The video is below, enjoy 🙂

Wellness Tip: Eat more dark green vegetables. An excellent source of fiber, folate, and carotenoids. These vegetables also contain vitamins C and K and the minerals iron and calcium. In addition, dark green leafy vegetables act as antioxidants in the body.

“Every parent or guardian is homeschooling their children whether they realize it as not because their actions and words are always on display. ~Dr. Menzise

 

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Categories
Leadership

Building Trust as a Leader – There are Two Sides to Every Story

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Remember the old adage, “There are two sides to every story?” This is a simple truth that could benefit everyone who takes the time reflect on it, especially when your own ears are being filled with a “story.”

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When I was a beginning teacher, an occurrence took place that taught me a valuable lesson. I had a principal who demanded excellence from faculty, staff and students alike. Whether the principal had known you for a long time, or if you were a new employee; the expectations were the same for every person across the board. Because of this consistent treatment to everyone, the principal gained a reputation for treating people fairly, which in return, built a foundation of trust.

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Side note – As we go through life, we will have good and bad situations to happen, and if we choose to learn, the lessons will not be in vain.

Let us return to the story. There was a veteran teacher that had been communicating behind the scenes with some of my cheerleaders about a potential way to raise money for themselves. When I became aware of what some of them were doing, I reminded the team that fundraising activities had to go through a particular process, resulting with approval from the principal before any monies could be collected. The veteran teacher, being a former coach, continued to encourage some of the girls to continue raising money for themselves. I was frustrated, so I used my first line of defense, prayer. I always pray when I feel that things are getting out of control.

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I knew if this situation continued, I would eventually have to speak to the veteran teacher one-on-one, and before doing so, wanted to make sure my heart and mind was right before God. What happened a week after the incident came as quite a shock to me. The principal ended up summoning the veteran teacher and I, to the office.

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We sat next to each other, while the principal proceeded to walk out of the room. The veteran teacher asked me if I knew what the principal could possibly want with us, and I told her no. I had only been working there three weeks and barely spoke to the principal. When the principal returned, the veteran teacher and I, were asked if we knew why we were called into the office? We both stated that we did not know the reason. The principal went on to explain that we were called in because one of my cheerleaders had been asking for money randomly, and when it was discovered that it was not a sanctioned fundraiser, the cheerleaders were brought into the office and questioned. They were also reminded of the process they had to go through in order to have a fundraiser established. I will be honest, at this point I was seething because I thought the conversation would end with me getting in trouble for putting together a fundraiser, I had nothing to do with, but I remained silent.

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Surprisingly, the principal addressed the veteran teacher, and explained to no longer advise the cheerleaders in that measure because it undermined me as the new coach. The principal went on to say that in the future when it came to fundraising ideas, to let me know because ultimately, I would be responsible the outcome.

Let me digress, we both were a little floored at this conversation, but for different reasons.

Me: I did not know the principal was aware of what had been going on and could not believe how professionally it was handle. It was not spread around the front office, or among teachers in the school. The issue was only addressed to the parties involved, and in our faces, instead of behind our backs. #Wow

Veteran Teacher: Surprised the principal knew what was going on and actually called the situation out.

Ok, let us return to the story. The veteran teacher ended up apologizing for overstepping boundaries, and I gratefully accepted because I like peace. Next, we were told that if there was not anything left to discuss, we could leave. The veteran teacher and I were a little surprised about the encounter, but left the meeting feeling good and as though we had been through something together.

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I gained more respect for the principal as a leader because that situation could have gone in another direction. If it was assumed that I was to blame for the fundraiser complaints just because I was the coach, my professional image would have been smeared in the eyes of the principal because I should have known better. I truly respect that the principal took the time to investigate and dig a little deeper to learn that I had not orchestrated the illegal fundraiser activities.

In regard to your own personal experiences, whether it is at church, work, organizations, among friends or associates; how often do you hear one side of a story, and formulate opinions based on that particular side? Why not try listening first, then consider the possible “other side” of the story before reacting? Many people form opinions about others before interacting with them, and this is a constant misfortune, because a potential benefit to you and/or your organization could be missed.

Reflection Time

  1. The next time someone tells you a story about someone or something, please take the time to remember that you are only hearing half of the story. For example – If someone only tells you about half of the movie; you will need to learn the other half of the storyline in order to formulate a true opinion of the movie.
  2. Think of the peopleyou have encountered over time, and the opinions you have formed about them. Is your opinion of them based on what others have said, or is it based on your personal experiences with them? If you have personally experienced a person, and realized they were not a positive person, then it is ok to have that opinion about them, but if the opposite is true then that could be an issue. This is an important reflection because I have seen people who were good friends, end up falling out of friendship because of half-truths spoken about the other person. For example – The friend would begin listening to others speak negatively about their good friend, and instead defending them based on their personal experience with them, they instead would begin to believe the opinions of others. This demonstrates the power of negative words once they are allowed to take root in the mind.
  3. Make the change today and remember that facts will always outweigh half-truths.

 

            Wellness Tip: Replace Junk Food. Take out all of the junk food in your cupboards at home and replace them with healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” ~John 8:32

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Categories
Raising Responsible Students

The Controversy of the No Zero Grading Policy

Essential Question: Does giving learners no lower than a 50 percent as an overall grade, even when they have not done anything, helping or hurting the learner?

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In a few states, the no zero grading policy has been making some tremendous waves. Teachers and parents have been wondering if this policy really helps the child or does it hinder. The district leaders have said it gives students “a chance” to succeed but does it really?  Hmmm, inquiring minds would like to know.

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I think the grievance that teachers have, is if a student does absolutely nothing in their classes, the student would still receive a 50 percent as an overall grade instead of what they truly deserved. This further supports their argument that if a student receives a 50 percent first quarter, then does enough in class to earn at least a “C” second quarter, and receives a passing grade on the final exam, they could still pass the class with at least a “C”.

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This fact enrages some teachers for many different reasons.

Reason 1 – Students are receiving credit for doing absolutely nothing.

Reason 2 – This is not preparing students for reality because community colleges, and universities STILL give students what they really earn, not a 50 percent for doing nothing.  

Reason 3 – When a student enters the workplace, they will receive feedback based on their work performance and will not be given anything other than their work performance.

Reason 4 – How would it appear if teachers decided to work 50 percent of the day but STILL expected 100 percent pay? It would be safe to assume they would not have a career in their professional for very long.

            The other thing to consider is that there are cases where students still do not pass the class after receiving a 50 percent, so the no-zero policy is not always a win-win situation for learners. In retrospect, it is about principle.

            Giving a grade without having to earn it is an ethical issue because it essentially is saying that it is ok to do nothing and still receive something. For example, a student that earns a 53 percent by actually turning in work, while another does nothing and earns a 50 percent. Does this seem ethical? By doing this, is our educational system preparing learners to go as further or preparing them to only go as far as their true intellect?

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As education moves forward, what will happen if this no zero grading policy continues? Will it help or hurt our learners? Will it create the Dunning-Kruger Effect in some of these students, where they feel more qualified than they really are?

Giving a grade without expecting work, is like giving a cart without wheels. The cart itself may seem like a beneficial resource at the time, but without the wheels it will become more difficult to use as it becomes full.

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So, does giving learners no lower than a 50 percent as an overall grade, even when they have not done anything, helping or hurting the learner? Just food for thought.

Wellness Tip: Healthy Smile. Schedule a dental exam or cleaning and stick to it.

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ~Malcolm X

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Resources

https://www.wflx.com/2018/09/24/teacher-upset-about-no-zero-grading-policy/

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/no-zero-policy-at-maryland-school-draws-scrutiny

Categories
Letting go of the Past

Letting go of the Past Bomb

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I was reflecting on a book I read over 17 years ago about getting people, past events and regrets out and making room for the right things instead. How often are people living a low quality of life because they choose to live in the past by allowing something or someone the permission to have a “seat” in their lives, who should have been asked to “please get up and leave,” a long time ago?

The good news is, that there is a thing called choice, and we all have access to it.

We can choose to continue providing a seat for past regrets, situations, humiliations, and toxic people; or we could choose to ask them to “please get up and leave,” so that we can make room for the present and the future.

I want to preface this by saying I am not only referring to people. I am also referring to habits, occupations and organizations we belong to. Some of us are still working in positions that we should have left a long time ago, but because of job security, decided not to step out on faith.

Some of us have habits that are unhealthy, unproductive and/or expensive, that we need to give up so that we can make room for something better. Some of us are a part of organizations (civic, volunteer, congregations, frat/soro, etc…) that have run their course in our lives, but because of a sense of cause, duty, or validation, continue on in them. This is not to say, do not belong to any organizations, it is to make sure you are a part of the right organization; one in which you are a proper fit.

We have to be willing to let go of the wrong placement, in order to make room for where we are supposed to be. Otherwise, you will look like the illustration below.

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From this day forth, view the bad parts of your past; and all that encompass as a ticking time bomb that will soon explode, and end up destroying your present and future. This may seem a bit melodramatic, but what else will it take to finally decide on letting go?

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Some of us are collectors of useless things, and eventually, if we continue to take care of those “useless unproductive things,” our energy, time and most importantly space will be unavailable when something better is introduced and what happens when you are looking for a seat, and all are taken? You keep moving. This is what good things that are supposed to be in our lives will do if we stay full of rubbish, it will keep moving.

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Reflection

Get a notebook, iPad, or Notepad on your phone. Write down these categories:

  1. People
  2. Organizations I belong to
  3. Habits
  4. Hobbies

Underneath each category, write down The Three P’s:

  1. Productive
  2. Positivity
  3. Passionate

At this point, I would personally choose to pray about this, but overall the objective is to evaluate the categories and see if the items in them should continue having a seat in your life. If you find you are no longer passionate, productive and it no longer brings positivity into your life; then I suggest asking it to “please get up and leave.”

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After doing this exercise you will free up time, energy and space for something better to come into your life and you will appreciate it, when “something better” comes along.

            You may actually be the person holding yourself up, you may be your worst enemy, so don’t be afraid to “Let go of the Past Bomb.”

Wellness Tip: Stretch more often and be mindful of your posture.

“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” ~Josef Albers

The school bell has rung, class is dismissed

Categories
purpose

Double-Minded Island

The school bell has rung, class is now in session

I am back from my hiatus on Double-Minded Island. Double-Minded Island is an Island shaped like a hand and is a place people end up who are in the valley of decisions.

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On the island, as I was reflecting about life and where I wanted to go from this point, a memory of a time come to mind. It was a little over 12 years ago when I had been applying to different alternative teaching programs around the U.S. and internationally. It was a very confusing time. I had been praying for clarification because every opportunity that came appeared to be a good idea, but as we know, not everything that is “good” is of “God.”

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One day, I was visiting an old building that I used to rent for a business I owned. The new owners had made the building into a used bookstore that I frequented from time to time. As I stood in line to purchase a book, a man came behind me that looked like a character from a Canterbury Tales novel, beard and all.

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As I was standing in line, taking my wallet out for payment, the gentleman behind me asked about a picture in my wallet of a family member. After providing some insight about that family member, he went on to ask me had I been trying to make a decision about moving lately? I was surprised because I had been trying to decide on whether or not to move. He told me to hold out my hand, he wanted to use it as an analogy. He held up my pointer finger and said, “This is your who, the middle finger is your what, the ring finger is your when, the pinky finger is your where and your thumb finger is your why.” He went on to say, “Never make a decision to do anything, unless the why makes sense. The why functions like your thumb and without it, you won’t grip very well, or hold on to anything for long.” He told me praying about it will help me make sound decisions.” Afterwards I thanked him, and he mentioned he had to go walk to the store up the road to get medicine for his wife. It was super cold outside that day, as it was mid-October, so I was surprised he was walking. After I paid, I went outside to make sure he was ok and there was no sign of him anywhere.

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I got into my car and sat there thinking at how much God must really care to send a stranger to tell me something like that when I really needed hear it. As I prayed and reflected on the positions I vacillated between, I thought about my hands, my fingers and my why. As I did this, things became much clearer. I began to ask myself, “Why do I really want to go to these places?” I began to realize a lot of the why behind me going was not for me, but for others.

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We end up on Double-Minded Island because of discontentment. Discontentment usually comes from comparing ourselves to others. It can start small, walking by someone and noticing their designer watch or bag. Surfing through Instagram, FB, or Twitter, and seeing smiling faces on vacations in nice restaurants, waterskiing and so on. It could even come from chatting with a friend and hearing about a really great experience they’ve recently had. All of these happenings could lead to discontentment and unhappiness in our own lives.

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I am glad I had that memory after my hiatus to Double-Minded Island because it reminded me the importance of knowing my why behind each decision I make. If you are trying to decide between a decision, and end up on Double-Minded Island and remember:

Pointer Finger – Who

Middle Finger – What

Ring Finger – When

Pinky Finger – Where

Thumb Finger – WHY

This will get you back on the Boat of Contentment, which is a much joyful and peaceful place. I leave you with these last words of encouragement.

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Rejoicing in Trials

James 1: 6-8

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Wellness Tip:  Take vitamins. If you feel like you aren’t getting the nutrition you need from your diet, don’t hesitate to supplement it with specific vitamins to stay healthy and illness free.

Life is too precious to remain stuck in an unpleasant story, so go ahead and close that story book and began a new one.” ~Dr. Kamina Fitzgerald

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Categories
Choosing Friends in Adulthood

The Playground Effect: Choosing Friends in Adulthood

         The school bell has rung, class is in now session

Do you remember the time in elementary school when you got the opportunity to go outside for recess? You were probably filled with the anticipation of meeting a new friend or two. As you approached the playground and saw a group of children, some questions may have begun to fill your mind. You may have wondered, “How will I make friends? How do I know which person would be a good friend?” It is interesting how similar choosing friends during adulthood, is to choosing friends as children. Of course, as an adult, we are not usually meeting our friends on the playground, but anytime we are placed in the position of interacting with new people as adults, it could feel as though we are being transported back to that very time.

The playground helped us chart our leisure connection with different individuals over the years, while being exposed to a variety of negative and positive personality traits. The very skills we gain on the playground can transcend to the workplace and friendships as adults. I would like to identify the concept I regard as The Playground Effect. The Playground Effect is a concept I came up with that explains how meeting people in adulthood, is not much different from meeting them as children. Some of us were able to learn from those experiences by being able to recognize toxic personality traits in people more readily; while others continue to ignore red flags and fall into the same traps over and over again.

In order to help you avoid the quicksand, I plan to discuss at least seven personality types you have encountered in the past, and still encounter today as “adults.” Being mindful of these past transactions will help identify personality traits and people you should embrace or avoid.

Let’s talk about the group of 7 people/personalities to avoid according to The Playground Effect.

     1. The Mean Girls (or Guys)

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This group consist of people who typically judge others by what they wear, and the material things they have. They usually lack substance, and cannot be depended on, unless of course it is beneficial for them. The Mean Girl or Guy personality type will like you as long as you are in agreement with them, but as soon as you think differently from the “clique” you may become ostracized. It will be subtle at first, you will begin to notice little behavior changes like being left off the group chat, not being invited along to certain events, etc… Be aware of The Mean Girls (or Guys).

  1. The Sour ‘ole Gossips

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I do not know how many of you have seen one of my favorite movies of all time, Anne of Green Gables, but there was a neighbor name Rachel Lynde who loved to talk about people, and sometimes would be downright insulting. This is a person you may want to steer clear of unless they start to truly change. The sour ole gossip typically talks about other people in order to avoid recognizing or dealing with their own weaknesses. I know it is natural to share common news, but it is unnatural to be hurtful when doing so. The rule of thumb is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you would not want it said about you, then by all means; avoid saying it about others. Be aware of the Sour ‘ole Gossips.

  1. The Back Stabbers 

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The O’Jays said it best, “The smile in your face, all the time they want to take your place those back stabbers, back stabbers!” This is a group or person who will act like they are “with you” but in their heart they do not like you, nor want you succeed. A backstabber may or may not reveal their true intentions aloud, but their actions will usually tell on them every time. Pay very close attention to who you confide in, not everyone who say they are “for you” has your best interest at heart. Be aware of the Back Stabbers.

  1. Fair-Weathered Friends

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A Fair-Weathered Friend is a person who is there during the good times but are rarely there when you need them. In other words, they are not dependable. Fair-Weathered Friends are usually self-centered and only care about something when it is convenient for them. These people are typically easy to spot after a short period of time. Be aware of the Fair-Weathered Friend.

  1. The Emotional Vampire

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This type of person drains people of their energy with their excessive need for help, or expression of constant negativity. This person typically does not like to hear solutions to their problems but would prefer to continue talking about the problem while countering solutions with excuses. If this personality is around you too much, you will start to feel depressed and not realize the culprit. Evaluate your circle of people and pay attention to how you feel after spending time with certain people. It’s ok for people to vent, but if they are venting 98 percent of the time you are around them, it may be high time to separate yourself. Your sanity depends it. Be Aware of the Emotional Vampire.

  1. The Narcissist

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This personality type would take weeks to discuss, but in a nutshell; they only love themselves and none other, so do not take it personal. They do not notice how full of themselves they are, so being a true friend with this person is typically not going to work unless you are willing to be a “fan” instead of a “friend.” This person can only act like a friend to you, when it will benefit them.  So, ask yourself, “is this friendship truly worth it?” Be aware of the Narcissist.

  1. The (Negative) Influencer  

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These are some of the most dangerous friends to have because they can lead you to do things that can change your life forever. If you know right from wrong, it is best not to second guess yourself, and go in the opposite direction. These types of friends will not support you thinking for yourself and will usually try to convince you to do wrong. They are not reliable and are around during “fun times” but will leave you holding the bags when things go south. Be aware of The Negative Influencer.

We first recognized these personality traits at a young age, and even as adults they can still plague us. The good news is that the next time you are at an event and you meet a person, think back to when you were on the playground and the kids you chose to play with versus the kids you ended up leaving behind on the monkey bars; and go with that gut instinct. You can use those same skills today. The interesting thing I have found is if you can remember back to those times, your friend choices have not changed very much.

Take time to reflect, if you have a history of befriending negative people, it is time to make a change. I challenge you to start evaluating your friendships and cutting off the ones who fall into one of the seven categories above and make it your mission to become friends with the opposite of those people. If you use The Playground Effect when meeting new people, you may be able to avoid carrying negative “friend weight” around with you repeatedly. Life is too short to surround yourself with mean-spirited people, there are too many nice guys out there!

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            Wellness Tip: Don’t drink sugary drinks. Sugary drinks are among the most fattening items you can put into your body. This is because your brain doesn’t measure calories from liquid sugar the same way it does for solid food. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

The school bell has rung, class is dismissed

Categories
Ed.D. or Ph.D.

The Crossroads Between the Ed.D. and Ph. D. Program

The school bell has rung and class is now in session

Good day or evening, depending on your time-zone. I just wanted to write a blog about Ed.D.’s and Ph.D.’s because I have had a few people, who do not have either degree, ask about the differences or whether one is better than the other.

Let me preface this by saying, years ago I started an online Ph.D. in Business Administration program but stopped after two classes because the online format was not conducive to learning for me at that time.

A few years afterwards, I applied for two other doctoral programs: an Ed.D. and D.Min.. I was accepted to both but chose the Ed.D. because it seemed to fit my career path and would allow me to teach at a university which is my second career goal. I researched and saw that the D.Min. degree did not typically secure adjunct or full-time positions in higher education because it was mostly for people working in full-time ministry. The person could teach within ministry but are not often seen teaching in universities. This may vary because they may be hired to teach in some seminary programs. Instead of pursuing the D.Min., I decided to complete a Ministerial Training Program through church, in order to increase learning in that area.

After being in the Ed.D. program for a year, I was volunteering in a Youth Entrepreneur Program through a nonprofit and University School of Business Department. I was able to work with the Dean of the School of Business and some of other professors.

My background as a teacher consisted of teaching high school business courses 9 of my 12 years in education. I taught Accounting, Personal Finance, Computer Applications, Business Management, Career Management, and Technical Math. My undergraduate and graduate degree is in Business Administration, but I also obtained a Master’s in School Administration with a principal’s license which I decided to pursue once I made Education my career choice. While conversing with the Dean, she told me if I planned to teach in a School of Business at the university level, I should consider switching from the Ed.D. to a Ph.D. in Business. I told her that I thought I could still teach in the School of Business since I had a Master’s in Business Administration. She told me that I could but would have a better chance if I had a Ph.D. in Business.

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I went on a quest, looking up Schools of Business state and nation wide just to get a marginal figure of how many of the professors had Ed.D.’s or Ph.D.’s. While there were quite a few with Ph.D.’s there were also some Ed.D.’s. The interesting thing I noted was that Ed.D.’s were in other departments as well as long as those who had a Masters in the subject they were teaching. For example, a person with a Master’s in Science or Business with an Ed.D. could also teach in the School of Science or School of Business or the School of Education.

A person with their Ph.D. would normally be placed in a department based on their subject-matter expertise. For example, if a person has a Master’s in Business or Science with a Ph.D. in Nutrition, they would normally be placed in the Nutrition Department. While this individual could still work in the School of Business or the School of Science, they typically would go into the Nutrition Department; whereas I have seen people with their Ed.D. more readily spread throughout other departments based on the majors in their Master’s Program.

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Listening to the Dean of the School of Business, I decided to apply to UNC Greensboro’s School of Business because they had a really interesting program called “Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies.” The curriculum was fascinating and the amount of research their faculty had conducted was phenomenal, so I was excited to apply. Long story short, I applied and got accepted. I was at a crossroad. One year and foot into my Ed.D. program and the other foot aching to be in the Ph.D. program. What was a girl to do? I had to make a decision and had three months to do it.

I did some soul-searching and prayed for clarification. I decided to write down some goals which at the time was:

#1 Professional goal was to reach the School Superintendent level

#2 Professional goal is to become an adjunct and/or full-time professor

If you research Ed.D. degrees, they were made for serving the K-12 grade level. It teaches the candidate the ins and out of a school system, and how to bring it together within the community it serves.  A school district is not an organization but a living organism that consist of a lot of different functions that depend on one another. It is a challenging but rewarding career and is the kind of work that never gets boring.

I asked myself this question, if I were to receive my Ph.D. from the School of Business, would I remain in the K-12 school system or would I resign and pursue something in the business field? After looking in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (shout out to my former business students) I saw that the job availability in Business was slower than average and that it would be a challenge due to lack of positions so more than likely I would have chosen to stay in education even if I were to pursue the Ph.D. in Business.

When I looked up the job availability for principal and/or school superintendent positions, it listed faster than average because of the amount of people who would be retiring in the near future.

Remaining in the Ed.D. program was beginning to look more appealing. I also sought the advice from my mentor (a retired Assistant School Superintendent/Current full-time professor) and he mentioned that if I was going to remain in K-12, the Ed.D. was a better fit with the added perk that after I retire; I could still pursue an adjunct and/or full time professorship in the School of Education or School of Business.

In conclusion, I personally do not think one degree is better than the other because it honestly depends on what your future plans are. It is pure ignorance to make a blanket statement that one-degree program is better than the other, just “because it is” without knowing the person’s career aspirations. I feel I can say this because I have experienced both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs. I was accepted into an online Ph.D., an in-person, brick and mortar, Ed.D. and Ph.D. program. I am coming from a place of understanding. I made a decision based on my research interest, current and future career goals. All of which are in accordance to personal preference.

Just remember that at the end of the day, Ed.D.’s and Ph.D.’s, will be both be called, Doctor So-And-So in the end.

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If you have any questions about Ed.D. or Ph.D. programs or need advice on any other graduate programs, leave a comment or email me on the contact page and I would be happy to get back to you. Happy Soul-Searching!

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Wellness Tip: Clean out the pantry. Choose more natural foods and less processed foods.

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” ~Bruce Lee

Categories
Raising Responsible Students

Discipline: Shouldn’t the Home and School Environment be Equal?

The school bell has rung, class is now in session

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I was reading that a lot of virtual schools have been arriving on the scene lately and are geared towards students who cannot seem to function well in a structured classroom setting, or may have an attendance issue, and/or discipline problem. In these virtual schools, a teacher could have up to 400 students because statistically, all the students have not “shown up” for classes anyway; so, it is believed the teacher should be able to handle his or her class-load. I know some colleagues who teach in virtual schools, and honestly most students are not learning but simply working on modules and getting a mark for completion. How can they truly learn in this setting when they are in a “virtual” classroom full of 400 students and one teacher? Not to mention the majority of virtual school have an “F” report card. Check out the following article when given a chance, but please continue reading. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/virtual-schools/

This type of school has a market because there are so many students no longer being able or willing to obey school rules. So, after either being suspended, expelled or dropped for too many absences, their parents seek out a place their child can attend, and this usually results in either alternative school or a virtual school.

This type of disruptive behavior has also been tied to the reason many of the public-school teachers are no longer remaining in Education. One of the number one reasons teachers leave is because they do not receive adequate support from parents and/or administration when it comes to disciplining disruptive students. I personally have worked in schools that were super structured and implemented consistent discipline, and other schools, where the worst behaved students only got a slap on the wrist from administration and/or parents. So, put yourself in the mindset of a schoolteacher; which should not be hard because most, if not all of us, have attended school before.

teacher has the responsibility to give, share, explain knowledge (also known as curriculum/subject matter) to students. It is also their responsibility to uphold a certain code of ethics, while also being available to answer any questions the students may have in order to increase understanding.

student has the responsibility to learn, obtain, take notes, study, review the material/knowledge that the teacher has taught. Why? So that they can learn different skills they can later utilize in the workplace. Skills such as working in groups, note-taking, presenting, writing, typing, listening, and obtaining new knowledge of different subject matter (while also being able to review prior material learned). The way the school measures whether the student “has learned” is by providing formative assessments (homework, asking and answering questions in class, poster board, presentations, etc…) and summative assessments (unit test, chapter test, benchmarks, end of course or end of grade exams).

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A parent/guardian has the responsibility to ensure they are aware of what “The Teacher” is teaching and if their child appears to be learning the information or not. The sooner “learning or failing” is identified, the quicker the child’s lack of progress can be addressed. Don’t be like this parent:

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It is also the parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure the child is going to bed on time, and yes this applies to high school children as well because there is a direct link between academic performance and adequate sleep. Let’s be honest, this applies to adults as well.

The way to assess if your child needs to go to bed earlier is by asking the teacher if he or she sleeps in class. (Yes, it is ok for the parent to reach out to the teacher about their child, as a matter of fact, the teachers prefer it because when I was in the classroom, there were times when I had a total of 90 students to contend with, even though they were broken up into three classes.)

So, if the parent inquires if their child is sleeping in class and the answer is yes, then the child needs to go to sleep earlier and a bedtime should be established for their own good.

It would also help your child if consistent disciplinary actions are utilized in the home. This is VERY important. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard students snicker and shrug their shoulders after they were told by a school official, “We are going to call your parents.”

If there is trouble establishing consistent consequences for negative behavior, all sorts of resources are available! Do not be ashamed to ask or look for them. I have access to some and would love to share. Just email me on my contact page or leave a comment below and maybe everyone can share what they do in their home that works.

In my dissertation, The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness and the Ill-Prepared Workforce: A Study of the Perceptions of Community College Administrators and Instructors; District High School Administrators, and Guidance Counselors, and CTE Department; and a Workforce Employer in North Carolina, every group named in my title, listed “parents and guardians” as the top influencer in their lives, and career or lack of career decisions made. This surprised me but explains why so many past students have become disengaged adults today. Parents, this proves just how much You and Your Presence, matters the most in your child’s life. And if you are not present, your child may experience some of the same behaviors that other abusive-type behaviors produce.

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Students will usually reflect what have been projected on them. Think of a flower, if it is neglected and left to itself, it withers and eventually dies. If a child is neglected, which could include but is not limited to: lack of consistent discipline, rewarding negative behavior, leaving them alone for extended periods of time, not caring who they communicate with online or in person, allowing them over to homes in which you do not really know they parents lifestyle, not caring if they are failing, or not showing intentional “interest” in every aspect of their lives. They will produce an unruly OR uninterested student at school because no one from home will be making sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. This type of student will either be consistently disruptive or become invisible in their classrooms, never reaching their fullest potential. They will end up either dropping out, failing, repeating courses, hanging out with others like them and/or doing some type of virtual school/course in which they just complete a checklist of modules and are PASSED along without learning much, if anything at all. They could end up like the student below:

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I know this is not what any parent would want for their child, and believe it or not, school personnel do not want to see it either but sometimes it just happens because the school can only do so much without the consistent support of the parent/guardian. So, rise up parents, and take your rightful place as the superhero in your child’s life! FYI, Middle and High School students NEED you the most, so please do not slack off once your child reaches these grade levels. I cannot tell you how many high school and middle school students I have counseled from making life-altering decisions, even though some of them still chose to do the opposite because no one at home was monitoring them.

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I spoke to a woman who works in the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and she showed me all of the sneaky APPs available for any child with a smartphone and how deceptive they are. It was super scary. So, the first thing I would do is educate yourselves on those and consider giving your child a phone that does not allow these types of access to strangers. I will share a few TRUE/REAL life human trafficking stories on another blog if you need further convincing on why your teens and younger students should not have access to these APPs. Boys are not exempt either, they have also been victims. If you need me to send you more details about these APPs, email me.

Take an active role in your child’s life because even when they display an attitude, deep down they truly want your involvement and will develop resentment towards you when they don’t receive it.

Lastly, do not reward bad behavior EVER, period. This sets many students up to be lawless in school because they think they can do whatever they want without any consequences. This will usually lead to a life of imprisonment and self-destruction. So never reward evil or bad behavior, with good. It just is not sustainable.

In conclusion:

  1. Teachers do not give up; the world needs you! If you are not getting the support you need, try transferring to another school or school district. They all can’t be bad. It would be worth it to be able to make a difference in a students’ life.
  2. Students enjoy being a kid as long as you can and do not try to grow up so quickly. Watch out for bad influences! This could include but is not limited to people, movies, music, books and games. You will reflect what and who you listen to.
  3. Parents, I hope this has been helpful, you truly have more influence and power than you realize, so make sure you are using your power for good.

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Wellness Tip: Choose more natural cleaning and skin products.

“What greater joy can a teacher feel than to witness a child’s success.” ~Michelle L. Graham

The school bell has rung, class dismissed