There are many songs by the legendary Bob Marley which often brings me to tears. After hearing about Trump’s “Mount Rushmore” speech, one song, in particular, has occupied my mind space. The toward the end of the song Babylon System, from the album Survival, the phase “Tell the Children the Truth” repeats. Mr. Marley’s pleas to be honest with the children is still painful to hear, as I witness a “president” who refuses to tell the truth about America!
In his speech, Trump portrays this idea that schools are vilifying the heroes that built our country. However, I have witnessed the exact opposite. I have donated to many book projects for teachers, classrooms, and schools over the last couple of years. Looking at those books, I do not see “our heroes” being vilifying. Instead, I see our heroes becoming more inclusive.
“Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains.”
Trump, Mount Rushmore, July 03, 2020
When our teachers expose students to the US enslavement of Africans and their descendants, they teach that those Black Lives Mattered. They teach about men and women who literally built our country. Men and women who were literally vilified – not even recognized as human for a time!
When our teachers teach about the land stolen from the Native Americans, and the immigrants whose labor also built America, they teach about the truth that Trump and his followers would rather forget. The US was built by many, but greatly profited only a few. To keep that balance of imbalance, those who invested the most blood, sweat, and tears were made the enemy of the US. This is not hate speech, it is truth.
A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View
The history of America gives witness to the fact that wealth and power has always been more important than its people. There is a lot to be mad about when it comes to our history and the impact that it continues to have on so many today. If you are angry, make sure you are angry with a purpose! Seek knowledge. Have real conversations. Move with kindness. Have compassion. Tell the Truth. Do NOT just get MAD. Get MOTIVATED. The difference starts at home.
Difficulties come and go for us all. Sometimes difficulties can be paralyzing. They can leave us feeling completely engulfed by a matter in a devastating way. However, these same obstacles can be empowering. They can allow us opportunities to grow stronger and think clearer. Our alternative life continues due to this worldwide emergency. Although many states in the U.S. are testing their “reopening”, many people are being cautious by continuing stay-at-home and social distancing efforts. How long will it take for us to feel safe to return to our “regular” routines? No one knows. As we wait, let’s take a look at ourselves and start exploring new passions during this difficult time.
If you read our April 2020 newsletter, you know that the inspiration for this topic is a seventh grade English/Language Art assignment. The Passion Project is set up to help students learn about a topic that is most interesting or most important to them. We shouldn’t let our children/students have all the fun!
As adults, we have worries and responsibilities that often take us away from our wants as an individuals. What we thought was important or interesting last year or twenty years ago, may no longer satisfy who we are now. So why not take a closer look at who we are and what makes us happy!
Deciding on a Passion
The first assignment for the passion project is to make a list of your passions. This gets your mind going immediately. What do you like? What is important to you? Do you want to have fun? Do you want to grow as an individual? Are you looking to learn something that you can turn in to income. No matter your reason for wanting to explore the idea, include it in your list. My list would look some think like this:
Building Bridges Across Communities
Autism Awareness and Acceptance
All of these topics are important to me. I appreciate this first step of the passion project for two reasons. It allows the individual to think about what is important for themselves. Alternatively, it gives others an opportunity to learn about the individual and find areas of commonality! Isn’t that what building bridges and communities all about?
What draws me most to Building Bridges Across Communities is that all my others passions can be connected by those bridges I build!
After choosing a passion, brainstorm five questions that you want to answer while you research how to develop your passion into action. Until then, please share the new passions that you are exploring or would like to explore. Do our passions overlap any? Did you learn anything new about Not Mad. Motivated. based on the list above? We want to hear from you. Feel free to leave social media handle in case others are interested in the same passions!
Since the closing of school in March, I have thrown away several books that my young son, Hadith, destroyed. Hadith is big on hand fidgeting and it has become clearer in the last few weeks just how much he enjoys turning, flapping, and overall manipulating paper products with his hands. However, his paper play often ends up with torn pages and strips of paper littering the floor. Then I remembered. . . Indestructible Books!
It was last year, in 2019, when I first saw an indestructible books. We were at the local Special Olympics spring games and Hadith’s class was participating. This was a huge event since schools from the entire county attended. While waiting for schools to and getting ready for the opening parade, my son became a bit unsettled. That is when his teacher handed him an indestructible book that he happily played with for a time.
Unexpectedly, this memory flashed through my mind last week as I thought about his “relationship” with paper. I thought that maybe having indestructible books at home would fulfill his hand fidgeting need and reduce the incidence of other books and papers being destroyed. I immediately ordered several books, two of which were delivered this week.
What are Indestructible Books?
The books I purchased were published by Workman Publishing. They are advertised as chew-proof and rip-proof. The 100% nontoxic, paper-like material is even washable. They do seem to hold up pretty well. The one that my son plays with at school is over a year old and still in tact – which is really good! Most reviews on Amazon were also very positive.
The books are simple stories. They introduce concepts (such as counting, shapes, or numbers), nursery rhymes (such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider), places (such as the city, the farm, and the neighborhood), and more. These are great for story time with a young child. However, they are also great for an older child who may need the sensory input (without the mess).
Celebrate Often: Indestructible Books
Having an Autistic son with developmental and academic delays, who is also very curious, creative, and spontaneous can be quite the challenge and quite the adventure. When challenges occur, being able to find creative solutions are important. Chewed up, torn apart books have been a problem in our house. Will indestructible books be the solution to that problem? Maybe not completely, but I believe they will help drastically. We will let you know how it is going in a few months.
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If you are anything like me and my family, you may have a book or two, or fifty, on loan from your local library at any given time. However, on March 15, 2020, all Durham County Public Library [Durham, North Carolina] locations closed to the public until further notice. With the closing of even the drop boxes, my family became the responsible book keepers of a few books for an indefinite amount of time. Okay, 22 books to be exact! I thought it would be fun to share which ones!
What the Kids are Reading
Just under half the books we have were picked by my twelve and nine year old sons. My nine year old is the historian-in-the-making, so it was a complete surprise when my oldest son borrowed history books on one of our last trips to the library.
Frederick Douglass: Slave, Writer, Abolitionist by Brenda Haugen
Phillis Wheatley: Slave and Poet by Robin S. Doak
Lincoln and the Jews: A History by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell
The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary
Graphic novels are very popular in my household. I am not the biggest fan of them. However, if graphic novels keep my boys interested in reading, I cannot complain too much. We are currently the responsible keepers of these four graphic novels.
Compass South by Hope Larson
The Graveyard Book, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
My nine year old decided on books related to classroom reading: a couple of retold ‘epic poems’.
Homer’s The Iliad retold by Gillian Cross
Homer’s The Odyssey retold by Gillian Cross
My Pick for Elijah (and Possibly Samir)
Ten books down. Twelve to go. Although I am responsible for picking the last twelve, I picked one with Elijah in mind.
Keyboarding Made Simple by Leigh E. Zeitz
When I was in middle (or high school), I took a typewriting class; during a time when being online was a novice idea. Typing, or keyboarding, is an much more important skill today than I could have imagined 25+ years ago. It is, therefore, surprising to not see more dedicated classes to enhance the skill.
The Books I Have More Time to Explore
My sons are much better that I am when I comes to reading borrowed library books. I am, however, deciding to embrace this unexpected time with these books as an opportunity to actually explore them.
Imam Bukhari’s Book of Muslim Morals and Manners compiles by Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al Bukhari
Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay
At Home with Handmade Books by Erin Zamrzla
The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
Creative Lettering Edited by Jenny Doh
The 24-Hour Customer by Adrian C. Ott
Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success by Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch
the zen of social media marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
Pitch Perfect: How to Say it Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman
this is social media: tweet, blog, link, and post your way to business success by Guy Clapperton
The Infographic Guide for Entrepreneurs by Carissa Lytle and Jara Kern
The Responsible Book Keepers
After a few weeks, we are still getting used to how different our lives are compared to just two months ago. Although there is a great deal of worry, anxiety, and fear right now, there is also room to explore benefits of our new reality. I am choosing to recognize our extended time with these library books as a positive consequence of this traumatic situation.
Would you like to hear more about any of these books? Have you read any of them? Do you have borrowed library books, CDs, or DVDs that you are the keeper of until libraries open back up to the public? Are there any books, CDs, or DVDs that you wish you still had from the library? Comment below – we would love to hear from you.
Note: Although libraries are closed, many still have online materials available. Durham County [North Carolina] residents can even get temporary library cards. Check out the website of your local library to see what they have available.
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