Right before joining the Army in 1999, I taught 8th grade American Studies at what was considered a middle school in a low-income, disadvantaged neighborhood.
At the end of each school year, the grades would have awards ceremonies where the teachers would give out certificates to the students with the top grades in each subject.
To my surprise and delight, all the students in my classes had gotten together, chipped in on a cheap frame and printed out a certificate in the out-of-date computer lab at school.
One of the top students for that year asked to speak, and on behalf of the entire class I was named “Teacher of the Year.”
Forget the standing ovation I received from the students and my colleagues.
Forget the cheap frame.
Forget the flimsy piece of paper that the certificate was printed on.
Take away all that and you only have left what matters…
Just the fact that my students took take the time to even think about presenting me with any kind of award at all is a priceless treasure that hangs on my heart always.
You can’t buy that kind of love and appreciation. I miss my kids everyday. Sniffle.
This post will be short. That’s because there’s no need to draw it out.
In honor of Trayvon Martin, many people co-opted his images to use as their social media avatars or to write articles in outrage against his senseless killing.
I’m sure some folks actually paid a licensing fee to the Associated Press or Getty Images or some other such photo provider to use Trayvon Martin’s image for their own purposes.
I’m also confident that many people in the social media sphere did not.
“We showed that we supported his family by using his image, so what’s the big deal,” someone might ask.
This is the point…
They may certainly exist, but I personally have yet to see one social media account user change his/her avatar to George Zimmerman’s image, and Zimmerman was able to garner over $200,000 in donations for his legal defense.
Trayvon Martin’s father, after some hesitation, finally admitted to Tom Joyner on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, that Trayvon Martin’s family was struggling to pay the expenses for a decent burial for their son.
So this is my question…
What’s wrong with this picture?
Many thanks to Tom Joyner for offering the family financial assistance.
I’m so proud of this latest site that I’ve launched.
I started it with 12 independent authors on 18 March 2012, and I’ve already increased that number to 43 authors! Including me, there are 44 profiles.
People seem to really like it so far, and I’m really pleased about that.
Today I featured an independent author who is only six years old! She denotes half the proceeds from her book sales to NICUs. I think that’s amazing.
Meet the authors who are a part of IAI already:
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
On 14 March 2012, I did a post called, “Procrastination or Patience?.”
I’m happy to report I finally had the moment of clarity on the journaling series, “30 Quotes 30 Days,” that I started back in 2010.
While the regular-sized version has room for writing down your thoughts about the quotes, I thought there should be a pocket companion of just the quotes.
With this idea in mind, I started setting up volumes two and three of the series; registering their ISBNs, doing the book covers and creating the pages, but something kept telling me to wait.
Although the wait may be frustrating for a couple of folks who ordered the pocket companion, I’m thankful that I did wait on Him to finish guiding me into this project.
What He told me to do was not create two, separate pieces—one regular-sized product and a pocket companion—from the whole, but to scale down the size of the regular-sized product, so that it is both a journal and pocket companion.
To some of you, this may seem like it would have been obvious, but originally I was thinking, “Well, what if people don’t need the journaling portion, but they just want the quotes?”
That was an issue for me, because the main purpose of the series is to help people begin to journal who have a hard time overcoming the blank page when they first get started. Each day of the journal has three parts:
- An original quote that I gleaned from things I’ve seen and/or experienced
- Followed by three questions; one that asks you to explain how the quote applies to you at this moment in your life, one that asks you what you want to remember about that particular day and the last one that asks you to write down one, good thing that happened to you that particular day
- Followed by three, blank-but-lined pages so you have more space to keep answering the questions and/or to write down your other thoughts/ideas
Well, with a scaled-down version of the regular-sized product, you don’t have to give up one to have the other, because you never know when you might want both, so…
Having said all that and now having my clearer focus, I can back up a bit and revise volume 1 and move on to my next volumes.
And, I will be sending free copies of the revised, first volume to all the people who purchased the original, regular-sized product, plus they’ll get volumes 2 and 3 for free.
It’s the least I should do to show them how much I appreciate their support.
If you’re interested, click the following image to sneak peek Volume 1 of “30 Quotes 30 Days.”
Yes, we can! Help Obama Patiently Endure and Overcome the forces that seek to continue to tear our country apart through the thoughts, words and deeds of the President’s opponents.
Since Ephesians 6:12* tells us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” the main thing we have to do is P.U.S.H.!
PRAY UNTIL SOCIETY HEALS.
Romans 13:1* tells us to “let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Also keep in mind…
James 2:17* tells us “even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone,” which means come election day…
YOU MUST GET OFF YOUR RUMP AND GO VOTE!
Also remember that Matthew 5:44* implores you (and me) to “…love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,”
because it will be in this way that we…
H.O.P.E. and Overcome while we P.U.S.H.!
My name is Faydra D. Fields, and I am just the messenger.
*all scripture references are from the King James Version of The Holy Bible.
…the blame rests solely on the people whose perception is that black, brown and even poor white people, especially young men and boys, in hoodies are criminals or criminal-minded.
The hoodie has become to the young, urban male what the short skirt is to the young, urban female. This seems to be especially true when we talk about non-rich/non-wealthy young people; people who live in the inner cities or come from the so-called “wrong side of the tracks.”
The perception is that a woman wearing revealing clothing is loose and available. If someone decides to take advantage of her, then she “asked for it.”
It’s the same as saying, “If you kill a young man or boy because his style of dress (in this case, the hoodie) appears to be sinister, then he “asked for it.”
This, more than anything, was what appeared to cause the outrage from so many people at Geraldo Rivera’s comments about parents allowing their children to leave the house in hoodies.
The hoodie is an innocuous piece of clothing, just like the windbreaker, the parka or the Letterman jacket.
However, if young people from the inner city or the “wrong side of the tracks” in windbreakers, parkas and Letterman jackets start committing crimes in large numbers, then those clothing items will join the ranks of the hoodie, Timberland boots and baggy jeans. They will be associated with crime and anyone wearing one of them will be perceived to be a criminal or criminal-minded.
So the issue here is perception.
If you don’t think perception is often more real in the human mind than what’s actually true, then you really should have another think coming.
Perception is the catalyst behind racial profiling, which is essentially what many people think George Zimmerman was engaged in when he saw Trayvon Martin walking down the street.
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It’s interesting that on the news today they were saying that Zimmerman claims he was just walking down the sidewalk and Trayvon Martin confronted him, but we hear the 911 tape and the operator, responding to Zimmerman’s admission that he was coming up behind Martin, suggest that Zimmerman stop following Martin and let the police coming to the scene deal with the issue. Then we hear the altercation and the call disconnects.
I wasn’t there, so I’m not going to speculate on what actually happened. I’m just relating what the media has reported thus far.
Young people don’t need to change the way they dress; whether it be the hoodie or the mini-skirt.
Judgmental people need to change the way they perceive young people because of the way they dress.
When we put the blame on the article of clothing, we abridge the humanity of the person wearing the article of clothing. We relegate the person to the status of the inanimate object, the article of clothing, and this is why it’s easier to blame the victim instead of punishing the victimizer.
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But let’s back up a bit…
There are some historical issues to deal with here when it comes to style of dress and even the cut of the hair.
Are you aware that many years ago in some European countries, the length of the hair of males in a family was an immediate clue as to a family’s financial status in society?
Males with low or no financial standing in the society had shortly-cropped hair while the males in wealthy families, usually those considered gentleman (landowners) had long, flowing hair. This not only served to distinguish the “haves” from the “have nots,” it was also for hygiene considerations. If you were a peasant, working the land, and only bathing sporadically, then shorter hair was better suited to your lifestyle. If you were a wealthy, landowner then you had the time and resources to maintain the upkeep of your long, flowing hair.
So take ideas like this from the “old country” and transplant them in the “New World.” People usually continue to do what has been been perceived to work well. This is true of clothing regulations. Peasants were not allowed to wear the same types of fabrics as landowners.
Are you aware that during American slavery, bondsmen and even poor whites were only allowed to have clothing made from the coarser types of fabrics while free and wealthy people could wear the softer fabrics? A wealthy person wouldn’t even be caught dead in his/her coffin, going to rot in the ground, in fabrics that were specifically forced upon slaves, free blacks and poor whites.
Back to the present…
We’ve still got caste-clothing systems going on right now. Regular cotton for the proletariat and Egyptian cotton for the better off, for example.
When I was a student at Howard University, I had a History professor who refused to wear anything denim. She referred to it as “slave cloth.” Even years after the end of American slavery, her perception of denim was that it bound her.
People want George Zimmerman indicted, arrested and put on trial.
People want to put their trust in twelve jurors to get justice for Trayvon Martin; the justice they perceive that Martin deserves and only the justice system can mete out.
But think about this…
Isn’t reasonable doubt just another way of saying perception?
In the 43 years of my life, my mother has always been my strongest supporter, even when she knew and/or believed I was making some silly/terrible mistake that she knew she couldn’t save me from or knew that saving me from it wouldn’t help me learn from my own experiences.
My parents taught me to walk and talk, to read and write, to be a good citizen, to work and play well with others, to brush my teeth in the morning and before going to bed, to wipe my rump, to blow my nose, to tie my shoes, to cook my own meals, to manage my money, to be self-sufficient but to know I could depend on them if I ever took on more than I could handle, to believe in my abilities, to love the me that God created me to be and learn about Martin and Malcolm; Booker T. and W.E.B. and all the ancestors before, between and after them, to help those I could help and know my limits when helping others would be a detriment to my own well-being and so much more.
My daddy taught me to “go ask your mother.” He also taught me that a B+ was beneath me when I definitely had the knowledge and skills to get the A+. He taught me how to think and learn for myself by directing me to the proper references when I asked him, “Daddy, what does thus-and-such mean?” This is a lesson my brother, Carson III, continues to reiterate to our father every chance he gets (inside joke between my daddy, my brother and me ).
I can remember, even when I was as young as five and six, that my mother never told any of us–my older sister, me and my younger brothers–that she would do something and then she didn’t do it.
There were a lot of “we’ll see” moments when I was growing up, and even now, but once my mother said she’d do this or that, give this or that, help with this or that, it was like a commandment written on a stone tablet.
It is truly a blessing to have at least one human in my life, because God will never fail me, who I can 100% depend on to be a woman of her word, point blank and period.
Momma has often said, “No,” and I’ve been disappointed in that I didn’t get what I wanted. However, Momma has more often said, “Yes,” and I knew that her “yes” was solid and firm.
I’ll give you an example…
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When I was in college, I ran up a very high phone bill accepting collect calls from my then-boyfriend who was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army. I couldn’t pay it, and my home phone got cut off.
Please keep this in mind: it was before cellphones became popular, and I was living in Washington, DC. At that time, DC was labeled the “Murder Capitol of the World.” It wasn’t just the murder capital of the nation. It was the murder capital of the world, and since I didn’t have a home phone I would have to use the payphone on the corner when I needed to make calls.
Long before I’d been foolish enough to run up this $1,500 telephone bill, my mother had told all of us that she would never pay our phone bills for us. What she said, and I’m paraphrasing just a bit here, was, “You can’t always control the heating bill, because there might be a bad winter and you have to use more gas. I’ll help you with that, but don’t ask me to help you pay a high telephone bill. That’s something you can control. You don’t have to call every friend you have long distance and sit on the phone for hours at a time talking about stuff you can put in a letter.” (yes, this was way back when we were still mailing letters )
I run up this bill, get the phone cut off and live with going to the payphone for a few weeks. Of course, I got tired of that, and I thought, “I know my parents worry about me living all by myself in DC, so if I play the “safety” angle, Momma will help me get my phone turned back on.”
Keep in mind, though: my mother’s word is her bond.
I call home and have the following conversation with Momma (again I’m paraphrasing):
I know my mom and dad were worried about me not having a phone. I mean, I didn’t have a phone for about two years. However, it never occurred to me to ask again or to be angry that they wouldn’t help me pay off that bill. My mother was right on many counts: I had no business running up the bill. I didn’t have to be out at the payphone when it was dark if I planned my calling times accordingly. I already knew that they weren’t going to help me with my telephone bill. I’d actually disobeyed her by even asking for help with the telephone bill.
I say all that to say this…
Every time I break my word to someone, I immediately think about how it goes against everything my parents emulated for me when I was growing up. Although I focused more on my mother, my daddy was the same way, but he did defer quite a bit to my mother, so she was the one giving us her word more times than not.
The purpose of this post is two-fold:
1) I was talking to a friend who was telling me how her spouse tells their children he will do something, but he hardly ever follows through, and it got me to thinking about my own experience with my parents and I just wanted to get my feelings out in written form.
2) I also want my parents to know that the life lessons they worked so hard to instill in their children were not taught in vain. Even though we may not always do the right thing, we definitely know the right thing to do.
Thanks, Momma and Daddy, for being the parents God called you to be. I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn for my siblings when I say we love you, we respect you and we will always honor and cherish you.
I chose the picture of the question mark at a crossroads, because of the subject matter of this post.
I’ve struggled with the question of whether I’m procrastinating or if there’s “something” innate prompting me to be patient.
This issue has occupied my thoughts so much that I started paying closer attention to what goes on when I have a task to complete and I’m not getting it done.
Amazingly, I seem to have mostly figured out when I’m procrastinating and when I’m in an actual holding pattern; being patient before I actually move forward.
I wrote that previous sentence is a wishy-washy way on purpose, because I don’t think I totally have the solution, but I know I’m on the right path.
For me, this is how I know which state I’m in…
If I’m procrastinating, I do everything else except that one thing that I know I should be doing, and I’m cognizant that I’m doing everything else except what I should be doing.
If I’m being patient–sitting in that holding pattern–I’m not trying to fill the time with other things I have going on, and I’m cognizant that I could be doing that thing that I’m not doing and that I’m not doing it because something is telling me to wait; be patient.
That might not make any sense to anyone else, but it makes perfect sense to me.
So here’s the rub…
Whether I’m procrastinating or being patient, they look like the same things to those outside of the scope of my mind, even though I know the difference between the two for myself.
This is when being comfortable in my own skin comes in handy.
Since I know myself, then others can’t make me feel badly when I’ve set a deadline and I miss that deadline. Something I learned from a brotha in the Nation of Islam when I was in undergraduate school: “God plans, and man plans, but God is the best of planners.” I heard that once, and it’s stuck with me all these years, because it’s definitely true, if you believe in God, and I do.
Usually, when I’m patient and stay in the holding pattern, that thing that I can’t put my finger on comes to pass and I’m like, “so that’s what I was waiting for?”
I’ve learned to be patient, because that thing always reveals itself in time.
I’ve also learned to push through procrastination when I’m not waiting on anything and just avoiding getting something done while I do everything else besides.
Anyway, maybe you’ve found yourself at the same crossroads. Hopefully, something I’ve shared helps you discern whether you’re wasting time or waiting on perfect timing.
You’ve either witnessed this scenario (or something similar to it) or created it (or something similar to it):
Them: Oh, my goodness! You did such a great job on this. It was way more than I expected. Please take this (insert monetary value here) for all the extra work you did.
You: Oh, no, I couldn’t. I am happy to do it free. You don’t need to pay me.
Them: I insist. Please. You worked so hard and did so much more than you needed to do. I want to.
You: You don’t have to do that.
Them: I know, but I want to.
You: I don’t want you to think I did the extra just to make you feel like you should pay me.
Them: I don’t think that at all. Please take this. I want you to have it.
You: I couldn’t.
You: I don’t feel right about taking your money.
Them: You’re not taking my money. I’m giving you what I think your time is worth.
You: No, thank you, but I appreciate you being willing to pay me.
Then you walk away thinking you’ve done something noble, but in the back of your mind you think, “Dang, I could have used that to put a little gas in the car or pay my cellphone bill…” or something like that.
My philosophy is this…
Be a blessing, get a blessing, but don’t only seek a blessing while being a blessing.
Regardless of whether your spiritual, religious, worldly, whatever, the universe is cyclical:
Give and it shall be given unto you…
What goes around comes around…
What you sow so shall you reap…
You gotta give to get…
It’s all about the karma, dude…
You do dirt, you get dirt…
Bless others so that you might be blessed…
It’s not always about you!
You do the work from the goodness of your heart, and the other party wants to compensate you from the goodness of his/her heart.
Let it happen!
They don’t need you to tell them they don’t have to do it. They already know that, and they’ve chosen to compensate you in some way for your time, your talent and/or your willingness to be a help to them. Their giving to you will in turn allow them to receive from others. I mean, they’ve already received your good works, so let them do their good works by you.
Did you ever think that refusing to allow someone else to bless you blocks their blessings, too?
I looked up the word cupid last year on dictionary.com.
Towards the end of the page, I saw this:
I’d never heard the word, cupidity, so I was curious to see it’s meaning.
This is what I found:
I also learned that synonyms to cupidity are covetousness, avidity, hunger, acquisitiveness.
Further down the page on dictionary.com it says…
I decided last year to forego any Valentine’s Day activities, but I totally respect your choice to exercise your free will to do as you please.
I’m going to appreciate my family, my guy and my friends loving me everyday without condition and without the added expense, and I’ll reciprocate in kind.
- Happy Mother’s Day, Tyrone!
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