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.
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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For weeks, the lyrics to Greatest Love of All have been playing in my mind often. I believe the children are our future. Really, I do. Teach them well and let them lead the way! We are constantly teaching the youth in our lives with our words and actions. Whether we like it or not, what we say or do to or around children can greatly influence our future leaders and communities. In other words, we can make a difference on how they view themselves and others, how they react to disappointments and difficulties, and how they celebrate accomplishments. So when we are around children, we should remember that we are teaching our future leaders!
Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Let us encourage the youth. Highlight their strengths, while advising them in areas that they have opportunities for growth.
Give Them a Sense of Pride to Make it Easier
A Little Bit of Everything: Hygiene
There is a segment in the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter called A Little Bit of Everything: Starting Conversations with the Youth in Our Lives. In our first issue, January 2020, our focus is on hygiene. Although most children learn about aspects of hygiene at an early age, it is important to keep those conversations going and the lines of communication open.
Talk about the different types of hygiene and the benefits of healthy practices. Discuss when and how to wash hands, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Evaluate if skin and hair are getting moisturized properly. If there is physical evidence of the need for improvement, help pinpoint what is being done incorrectly. Revisiting these types of lessons can be very helpful.
Poor hygiene habits can also affect your self-esteem. Looking and feeling presentable can give you a confidence boost and a sense of pride in your appearance.
If necessary, establish a hygiene routine. Include tasks such as washing clothes, changing sheets, towels, and pillowcases, and cleaning living environment. These tasks are not just chores, they are extensions of our wellness habits.
A Little Bit of Everything: Following Instinct
Our second issue, February 2020, we are encouraged to speak to our youth about trusting their instinct. One way to do this is to talk to them about their feelings and to value the thoughts that they share. We have to help build their confidence while they are young so that they are better equip to make those hard decisions later.
Acknowledge their perspectives, and value their choices. Don’t fault them for trusting their own instincts, even if their choice doesn’t match yours.
Let the Children’s Laughter Remind Us How We Used To Be
No one has a perfect childhood. Therefore, being reminded of how things used to be may not always bring up the best memories. However, if your childhood is overshadowed by negativity, let the youth of today be your way to “make it right”. Be reminded of the good that you experienced. As far as the bad, be reminded of the love and compassion that you deserved! Let’s stop teaching our future leaders destructive cycles of hurt (disguised as anger) and abuse.
Home and school should be safe havens for our youth. Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to. Be that person that the youth in your life can look up to! We do not want to make “our children” look too far for a hero; they may find someone not worthy of that title. So be the model that they need to see.
Teaching Future Leaders: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View
My oldest son has been struggling academically, while my middle son struggles with behavior at times. Although there are some elements of each of these circumstances that have been frustrating, I have decided to get back to the basics! Starting with establishing better hygiene practices to build a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem.
It could be easy to get upset and blame children for their challenges but I understand that their “failures” are really representations of my own failures. So I’m Not Mad. I am Motivated. I want to encourage my children, and any child, to look at their struggles as opportunities for solution. Above all, I want to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to model the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset to the children in their lives. We need to uplift our future leaders and accept that if they fail, it is because we failed them somewhere along the way.
Help us get the Not Mad. Motivated. message to communities across the country by purchasing a t-shirt or tote! We want to spread encouragement to people of all ages, but have a special interest in uplifting our young community. With this in mind, our youth size t-shirt will be sold at $10 each until we run out of our current inventory.
For Giving Tuesday 2019, we are giving at least ten $10 DonorsChoose donations! To recommend a project for a donation, comment to this post or on Twitter @NotMadMotivated. While you are here, subscribe to the Not Mad. Motivated. (NMM) Newsletter (located toward the bottom of the page). If 30 people subscribe today, I will give 15 $10 DonorsChoose donations instead of 10! Happy Giving! Happy Funding!