We are like a drop in a giant bucket. At times it seems like the plug has been pulled in that bucket, letting continued learning and continued teaching splash out and flow down the drain. Now is not the time to fail our children or ourselves. There is always room to learn something new and rewarding every single day, even if it is simply learning a new word.
Invaluable…that’s what you are. What will you learn today that you didn’t learn before? So many people are sadly sitting on and squandering their gifts and talents. So many people are simply existing, thinking they have gone as far as they can go in life. Simply carve another path, in a new direction, and then continue to pave and expand your mind, thoughts, and creativity to new heights that will fulfill your purpose. Personal change can provide the platform for unlimited opportunities and possibilities for you.
Image Credit: Union County Public Library | Monroe, North Carolina (third row)
Oh my gosh! I am tickled pink with poetry! When I received an email from Amee Odom, MLIS, MA, Senior Librarian for Reference & Information Services with the Union County Public Library, my heart skipped many beats before I began to read. A media kit for my book was submitted to our local library. Upon receipt, Amee informed me that my materials and book were passed along to the Cataloging team for processing. Well, I am pleased, honored, and grateful to announce that my book, “We Are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook,” is among the good reads in the Union County Public Library. It is available for anyone living in the county to check out and read.
When I received my good news, I saw a sidebar article on a forum that stated “While many in the U.S. seek to limit kids’ access to books tackling sexuality, some young people elsewhere in the world are gaining access to such materials for the very first time — and relishing the freedom.” Advocacy groups, school board members, and lawmakers across the U.S. are banning books at a faster clip than has been seen in a generation or more. According to PEN America, an organization that seeks to protect free expression, book bans occurred in school districts in 32 states during the 2021-22 academic year.
I dare not think about what it would feel like to have your book banned from a library. Years ago, in elementary and high school, some books I read were quite risque and controversial as I think about some of those titles today. When things are forcibly prohibited, and a big deal is made out of it, it seems like curiosity grows, and children or people will find a way to explore and uncover why such prohibitions were forbidden in the first place. I think it is up to parents/guardians to teach their children the right things that are decent, respectful, and ethically enriched. It could be possible that children may not think about reading these books until a big deal was made about them. Yet, I agree that something dangerous, violent, and hateful should probably be left off of shelves, depending on the context and extent of the content.
For now, I thank the team from the Union County Public Library for approving my book to be a part of their catalog among the “Local Authors” section. So do you think I am excited? You darn tootin’ I am! Whooooohooooooo!!! 🤩
Image Credit: Union County Public Library | Monroe, North Carolina (third row)
Yesterday, what turned into a celebration of life for one of my first cousins, who happened to be the oldest on her maternal and paternal sides, was of course a sad occasion, but turned into something more amazing. My cousin Alice was a walking, talking archive of history, and a well-rounded humanitarian. I’m not just saying that because we were related. We shared commonalities but there was so much I never knew because we didn’t talk about each other’s monumental accomplishments when we got together.
My dear cousin began her professional career in education, first as a teacher, then as an assistant principal, then as a personnel administrator. Guided by unwavering faith, she was a distinguished leader in the community. Her accolades could not be measured because there were so many things she did so unselfishly for so many and never boasted about them. But, as people shared their memories of her, it blew my mind how much she served others and the sacrifice she made for so many, never complaining about it. She wore some BIG shoes, and oh my goodness, what big shoes she left.
When we say, “Those are some big shoes to fill,” we don’t talk about the shoe size someone wore, but how hard the next person would have to work in order to match the previous person’s standards because they raised the bar of achievement. But we can never fill someone else’s shoes. We have our own shoes to fill. We have a divine purpose in this life. Of course, our days won’t always be a bed of roses because there are thorns among those blossoms. But the impact we make and the work we do, let it speak for us. As novelists would say, don’t just tell your audience the story, show them.
We have been given gifts, talents, and tools to use in order to contribute to mankind and womankind that will lift up and produce fruitfulness. What is it that you can do to fill your shoes in a positive and productive way?
So, as we stood at the Beaufort National Cemetary yesterday, where my grandfather and so many of my elders who served in the military are buried, I am reminded of the incredible lineage I come from and the big shoes these teachers filled. A line on my cousin’s obituary read, “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise.” So I am encouraged to remain committed to the purpose I must serve, and become a better person. I ask myself this ever-evolving question, “How will I leave a positive impression and contribution to society?” As I walk to the beat of a different drummer, I have my own shoes to fill but don’t we all?
I remember how exciting it was to get up and head out for school. It seemed like a magical time where you saw your friends, your favorite teachers and explored some fun and exciting subjects. Of course, when we became an upperclassman, our courses were more challenging, but hey, studying was a habit, not a mishap. Just think about it, if some subjects weren’t a challenge, then all of us would get an A+ in everything. What type of message would that teach for our life lessons to come?
School, when I was growing up, was quite different from the environment of school today. We weren’t concerned about being scanned for weapons before we entered our hallowed walls. We did not disrespect our teachers, principals, administrators, cafeteria workers, or janitorial staff. We didn’t go looking for trouble because we had to answer to our parents, and trust me that was not a good thing. In high school, I drove a school bus (An International #503-902). Yep, we had student bus drivers who were responsible, and were licensed to drive our yellow beasts for our precious passengers of elementary and high school students. Although we were paid $2.00 an hour, those checks added up to a nice down payment for my first car, a 1973 Ford Mustang (Fastback).
As an adult, we may not be in a physical school building, but we are always a part of the school of life culture. Our life lessons, albeit different than the academics of elementary, high school, and even college, are still a part of our adult continued education. Yet, in the institution of school, that is where our foundation for life is planted, laid, molded, and injected with awe-inspiring lessons.
While kids have gone back to school or are heading back to school, let’s take a page from their textbook. Basic learning skills like decency and respect, should be revisited time and time again, especially nowadays. As adults, we all too often forget that. I remember my elders would sometimes say, “You’re too damn old to be actin’ the fool.” Just remember, when you were a child, you acted like one. As an adult, never forget that you’ve grown up, but when you know better, you will certainly do better. Thank goodness we have the opportunity to continue learning as we go and grow.
“That which is has already been, and what is to be, has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15
History. We read about it, hear about it, and have lived it, but have we truly paid attention and learned the critical lessons from it? Have we simply said that was in the past, from such an antiquated time? Or, do we become proactive, learning the lessons of times gone by, never to repeat those mistakes or any atrocities that can easily flare up again, which could destroy a culture, people, or the spirit?
The past cannot be rewritten unless you are writing a novel or a fictional period-piece film. Nor can you sanitize atrocities of the past that came to seek, kill and destroy. We rise from the ashes to never again succumb to those destructive things. We must choose to become better than those wounds and abuses that tried to destroy us. We learn and then learn some more. We don’t take things for granted by refusing to heed the warnings of the present events that could tragically annihilate us for years to come. We are birthed from uncertainty, but our direction and path are the way to probability and possibility. So, for today, walk in peace my friends. Remember the past, but don’t linger there, grow from it.
I decided to bring a snippet from a 2017 post I wrote after a brief exchange – conversation – debate with someone regarding the difference between nosiness and curiosity. This individual said the two are basically the same, except curiosity is a fancier way of saying a person is nosy. Oh, but you know I had to beg to differ.
“Being nosy is prying into other people’s business, meddling, being intrusive, and snooping, oftentimes gossiping about what they find out,” I said. To me, curiosity is more of a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and not about poking your nose in other people’s business for annoying reasons.
So honey, just so you’ll know, curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it merely educated her to be the badass that she is today! The next time someone calls you nosy when you are merely being curious, tell them don’t start nothin’, it won’t be nothin’. Just sayin’. So for all of you purrrrfect felines out there, this one is for you! 😻
Oh Mighty Lioness
Like a haute couture runway model on the catwalk her prowl, deliberate, poised, and with purpose she doesn’t simply exist in the wild, she flourishes running towards danger that makes her want to run away
her feistiness is cool, cautious, and uninhibited a warrior and hunter, swift, leaping, and powerful compassionate and protective den mother for her cubs to ensnare her, your efforts may be futile and deadly
she is the one animal most feared by the lion to pique her curiosity it didn’t kill the cat it taught her how to live and survive molding her into a mighty Lioness in the jungle!
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” — Marian Wright Edelman
Teachers. Education. Learning.
Even though it is shocking, it comes as no surprise to me that there is a severe shortage of teachers and educators everywhere. I am from a family of education essential workers, you know, those educators who looked out for the health and welfare of their students back in the day. Education was not an option for me but an essential part of my life, and my mother made sure of that. For centuries, many of my ancestors were forbidden to learn to read without harsh repercussions. So, trust me, I don’t assume or take this privilege for granted.
Looking at what many public school teachers are faced with nowadays, low pay, poor benefits, and overworked with lesson plans out of the wazoo, I wonder why more people aren’t bothered by or speaking up voicing their concerns on behalf of our education warriors.
It’s appalling, however, that many decision makers are putting teachers in a position that seems as if they are blindfolded and standing in front of a firing squad. Some folks are educationally inept at making critical decisions for teachers and students, being clueless about what they truly need. When it comes to educating our children, we should be all hands on deck, especially with our public schools. So many programs have been scaled back that were essentially feeding the minds of our students with healthy nutrients, even during afterschool programs. While I don’t have children in school, I still see and interact with children who are hungry and thirsty for knowledge but are being fed unnutritious and toxic food that stunts their growth. We can’t block their curiosity.
We must be mindful on behalf of our children because there are more forces out there than we know, wanting to delete any possibility of helping them to develop their potential or excelling in far-reaching achievements. We cannot rewrite the historical playbook of our country to change or dilute the narrative of ugly portions of our history that some don’t want to be discussed or published. I find this utterly unacceptable, although not at all shocking, trying to retell a story of history that cannot be changed. We can’t delete horrendous mistakes, we learn from them and grow from them, so those errors will never be repeated.
Is it too little too late to try to get more teachers back into the classroom? Are administrations truly listening to their safety concerns about being in the classrooms without any health and sanitary precautions to make sure they, along with their students, do not get a transmittable disease that could have deadly consequences? Are we putting our teachers in harm’s way by making selfish, and unwise decisions for them?
I suppose as I remember my first-grade teacher, Isabelle Hilton Barnes, she was an angel whom I can’t forget just because of how she made all of us feel. She made us want to learn even if we didn’t know we wanted to. I still marvel at how our teachers were intuned to our education, our development, our health, and our welfare. Do you remember your first teacher who made such a lasting impression on your life that today if you were to see her/him they would be proud of how you turned out? So, here’s to saluting our educational essential warriors: our teachers, our coaches who also teach, our principals, guest teachers, and substitute teachers. THANK YOU!
To learn you have to listen, to improve you have to try!
Do not allow mediocrity to define your destiny. Get up, focus, pay attention and then implement what you learned. Next, teach others, as long as it’s in decency and in order. It’s not complicated. If they don’t or won’t listen, you can’t say that you didn’t try, and neither can they. Move on because there is someone else who needs your guidance and encouragement.