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Personal Stories

tribute-to-my-father

This is a guest post by my brother in tribute to our father for Father’s Day.With Father’s Day less than twenty four hours (24) away, it is difficult to erase the memory of my own dad’s significant impact on my life. Here are the attributes that made Daddy, Uncle Val(as he was affectionately called by all) my hero.F – FaithfulDaddy was extremely faithful to his family. There would be no special occasion that would go by without him making a special attempt to keep the family ties going. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations: you name it, he was always there. Whenever separated by distance, he was always just  a telephone call away.A – ArticulateHis formal education was limited as far as modern standards dictate. However, he was well schooled in the street side university and also from the teachings and learnings of his favorite books 📚- all sixty-six (66) of them(if you know what I mean). He also took interest in the famous philosopher Kahlil Gibran whose work has spanned many decades and is still appropriate today. He was always one to ask us to help him find an appropriate quote from some wise person for use in his speaking engagements. Daddy was a man of few words but he always seemed to get his point across in an effective manner.T – TeacherAlthough our mother was the one with the formal training in education, Daddy was a teacher in his own right. Giving…

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mommy-fail-moments

I’m not sure, maybe because Mother’s Day is coming, but I feel like I’m in full on mommy mode as far as my blog is concerned. I read a post from a fellow Jamaican blogger yesterday and it also added a little fuel to that fire. Made me start thinking of my “mommy fail moments”. I hope I’m not the only one who has had them.I don’t think I am alone in this, but everything I do, every decision I make, every moment of the day, I think about my son. How my choices will affect him, am I raising him the “right way”, and by right way I mean in a way that will be suitable and effective for him. And don’t confuse this with meaning that I want to do for him what he likes, because that’s not it. My primary goal above all is to equip him for life so he is able to function and make good choices no matter what life throws at him. Help him develop good coping skills.Fail #1My son’s preschool has an annual trike-a-thon. This was a day when you would bring in their tricycles to school so they could ride to collect funds on behalf of St Jude’s Children Hospital. The day came, I dropped him to school and totally forgot to take his trike. I spoke with his morning teacher and she said not to worry…

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conversations-with-my-son-why-did-you-get-a-red-star

Those of you that have kids in kindergarten might be familiar with the behavior reporting system that some teachers implement to keep them in line and to keep parents abreast of how they are doing behavior-wise on a daily basis. My son’s classroom has a clip system, where they start out in the middle on “ready to learn” and they can either go up or down depending on how they do on that day. The best possible is “outstanding” (pink star) and the worst possible is “parent contact”(red star).My son has had a pretty difficult week this week(not sure what’s happening), and he ended the week with a red star. Of course he came home knowing that we would not be happy about that and went straight to sleep.Now as a (good) parent, you want your child to do well and be the best version of themselves. In a country where your color determines how you are perceived, you don’t want to give fodder to that viewpoint(this is real people). You want to raise a strong black man, who is able to maneuver successfully despite the odds that are stacked against him.QuestionsHow do you bring that out in your child without breaking his spirit, without him losing himself and who he innately is? How do you reinforce positive behaviors while correcting the bad ones?Parenting StylesI have been doing some research on parenting styles and how they can…

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truth-about-parents

Being a parent is one of the most unique undertakings I have engaged in in my entire life. I’m sure all the parents out there can relate. It’s tough yet rewarding at the same time. The same people who make you want to scream and tear your hair out, melt your heart in an instant.I have always heard it said if you thought you knew love before, wait until you have a child. I can certainly attest to that 100 percent. So much so that I cannot fathom how anyone could intentionally cause harm to their own kids. That’s beyond my ability to comprehend.This brings me to the notion of our own parents. And this question is for those of us who have been fortunate to attain adulthood and still have our parents around… isn’t it interesting how the dynamic of your relationship with your parents evolves and changes over time? How you manage the balance between showing them respect, even fear(healthy) as your parents, seeking their advice on things, but yet becoming their guides in a changing world and for some even their caregivers. It’s as if you were becoming the parent to them, almost.(I also want to give a shout out to those who were raised by people other than biological parents. This post refers to those care givers as well).A childhood friend of mine reached out to me this week about a surprise birthday event she was…

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surviving-death-parent

How do you survive the death a parent when you are far away from home? Read on!In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes – Benjamin FranklinSome people evade taxes. Most of us pay our dues; and then some. Death, however is the ultimate equalizer. It’s a path everyone, bar none, must take. Yet it seems we never ever get used to it.My father passed away suddenly on December 27, 2009. Seven long years ago, yet it still seems surreal to me that he is no longer with us. I still talk about him as if he is still alive. I am sure those of you who have experienced this can relate.The callI remember the day like it was yesterday. Having been in the US for about a year and just started working, it wasn’t the time to be taking vacations even though I missed my family. I decided that I wouldn’t be going back home to visit for at least another year. You know how vacation eligibility works in corporate America.  And besides, I was working as a contractor back then so every hour counted to my pocket book.I got a strange call from my mother early that Sunday morning. She didn’t give me details only to say that my father was really sick and things were not looking good. I was ready to board a plane because I had to see him! That…

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