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Monday, December 27, 2010

Teaching how to give

My Dear MARS,
Hope you all had a very special holiday, filled with the three "F's": friends, family and food. I'll leave out the other "F" which stands for finances or lack there of. I also hope and pray that we start to learn more about why we celebrate these holidays. I just happen to go on the Internet and research Christmas. I came up with some very discouraging information and Jesus' "birthday" is the least of our worries. I will not disclose what my findings were because you should do the research and draw your own conclusions. However, I do have one word, Saturnalia.
After, I told my son that this was the last Christmas I will be celebrating along with all other holidays. They're all rooted in disparity. I'm a christian and no! Jesus was not born on December 25th. The bible does not in anyway give this exact date nor any other. However, I do celebrate Jesus in every way, everyday! His life has taught me to appreciate my life, friends and family. So now I can freely celebrate them regardless of any holiday.
What I will keep is the fellowship of friends and family which is in itself a very wonderful experience. I never needed a holiday to invite special people over to my house and treat them well. Good food, conversation and laughter leads to memories that money could never buy. And should never be provoked by a holiday. What if we never had holidays? Then how would we love on them and for what reason? So, let's celebrate everyday; I love "just because..." reasons, there more sincere. We had a healthy snow storm and some got to enjoy a four day weekend. Who could ask for a better gift? 
In the end, we need to teach our sons how to shower love on our special friends and family. Teach him how its about putting others before ourselves. Let's tell the truth, holidays are about buying expensive gifts and being selfish. Hard work should never lead to spending all our money on one day. Nevertheless, for the rest of the year we can hardly stand to look at each other and mad because we're broke. Remember, disparity?
I was told that a closed hand can never give or receive but an open hand is a sign of giving to others and receiving when pride won't let you. I started going to visit the homeless and this was a true reality check. It makes you first thank God for ALL He has given to us and then thoughts of how can I help someone else? Placing emails and phone calls to all my people, ushering them to give up coats, clothing, shoes, etc...This type of urgency allows us to think twice about our circumstances and put others need ahead of ours.
Let's conclude with this, "it's not about you and it never was", think about what others need first. What about the homeless, hungry, naked, the sick and shut in? We will not raise our sons, from this day on, to be selfish and look for hand outs but to give back in the same manner we have given to them; in love and selflessness. Its a start mothers so let's teach our sons to end in it...
Keep hope alive,
Jerri of MARS

Friday, December 17, 2010

Educating our sons...

Hey Mars,
I'm at that point of having writers' block, strange right? and only after 4 weeks. Well, if I had to choose a topic in which I normally don't because I usually wait for divine intervention; I would like to talk a bit about educating our sons.
I feel like the top 5 concerns regarding our sons are: overall health, decent living arrangements, spiritual foundation, loving parental guidance and education. These are mine and not so in this particular order. You may have a different list. But education is very important. 
Mothers you know that you cannot leave the education system totally up to the teachers? YOU must be an active participant. Now if you lack former education please don't be alarmed because there's plenty of help, just ask your sons school principal, guidance counselor, etc...and fight like hell to get him any and all assistance he and you will require. You know they love to label boys especially little black boys. However, most of the signs are obvious to us but we don't want to hear or see them.
I remember them telling me that my son had a disability and that was a speech impairment. You see by the age of two he was not speaking. That never impaired his ability to call out random letters of the alphabet. I started very early reading and teaching him preschool skills. While some children, could sing the ABC song, my son couldn't, but at the same time they couldn't identify letters randomly, my son could. This was by age two. So, you see a disability has nothing to do with his intelligence, majority of the time. But I will say this, without early intervention, disabilities can have long term affects. Remember, also its never too late.
I was introduced to Special Education about 13+ years ago, when my son was first diagnosed. I've been teaching for about the same and his overall health has always been priority. First things first, the educational system is what you make and it works but you must be an active participant. So get involved, find the time, and get the necessary resources. 
Never forget, if your son is struggling in school this will be evident in kindergarten. If he is now in a higher grade and have been overlooked, ignored and pushed through, it's probably because everyone including you(mom) has failed to read the signs. Most signs are behavioral(acting out), poor grades, lack of interest, low self-steem and maybe claiming to be sick or "hates" school all together. If you and your son is experiencing any of these signs, get help quickly. Go to his school and demand to see the social worker and be honest. Perhaps you have been ignorant to these sometimes obvious signs but now you're ready to take charge and get him the help he needs. If not statistics proves that he is headed toward the road of dropping out, unemployment, drugs, jail and God forbid death. So please do something today! my prayers are with you always.
Jerri of MARS

Friday, December 10, 2010

Once a liar...

Hey Mars,
Do you, would you or have you ever lied to your children to protect yourself or them? If not, then perhaps to protect another close member to the family? Even a small one or that "little white lie", so we believe it to be. I was always told, "once a liar, always a liar." Is this true? Well, its not to me. I cannot pinpoint any particular time that I've lied to my son because I have, but nothing major. Then what is "major"? I will also admit that  I have withheld the truth. You know that, don't ask, don't tell policy, sounds familiar right?
Now let me make something clear! If my son don't ask me, I'm sure not going to divulge any unwarranted information. Trust me, my son is 20 now and he is treated as an adult given the truth and all. I never was big at lying, it just never sat well with me. Most folks would say I'm too honest, but I've learned over time that I cannot say everything that comes to mind because most of the time the truth does hurt. Believe me, keeping my big mouth shut took years of practice and is still in the making.
The truth, when its absolute, hurts! but so does a lie. So, when do you tell the truth? Another cliche is, "there's a time for everything." Oh, that's biblical too; read the book of Ecclesiastics. Here's one more, "you shall know the truth and it shall set you free," now that's absolutely true. The latter verse is contingent upon remaining in Jesus' word.(John 8:31-32)
The difference between the truth and a lie to me, is that the truth eventually finds a resting place but a lie doesn't. Then were so twisted that we really don't want to know the truth even when its staring us in the face. We're so used to being lied to and being liars. I feel we just love the drama. Come on mothers, some of us can be honest enough to confess the times when we asked that so call man of ours, "tell me the truth" and "are you seeing her?" I can laugh now because the truth was staring me in the face. I've found that when I decided to choose the truth over his lying behind, I was better over time. Oh, yes I was free and I'm still free!
It's about choices and coming to the realization that our sons and children deserve what's right. Although it may hurt, like some us, he'll or they'll make it.
My prayers are if and when I have to tell him the truth regarding topics of a sensitive nature, please let me proceed with caution. I'm saying all this because I tell my students, at work, that they cheat themselves when they copy others work. And mothers when we lie to our sons about topics of a sensitive nature such as who's his  father, is he black or white, have you (mom) ever taken drugs to get high, the list can get extensively painful,  so please proceed with caution. Oh, am I adopted? yea that's a popular one! You already know the answers but that one about, who's my daddy? Well, you should be prepared because rooster do come home to crow.
This topic of lying is of a very sensitive nature. Liars can, do and have breed other liars. Also, lies in the end hurt and  I would like to believe that even our worst intentions is not to emotionally scar our sons. They do, will and presently have enough to deal with, so let's not add injury to pain. Start by not trying to be someone that your not; in other words if you have issues let him know. You are human! You cry, get pissed off and can use a few choice words. At the end of the day, your not always proud of the some of the choices you've made, but your still his mother. Don't try to be "Mother Teresa" either and damn him to hell every time he has an indiscretion. As for you moms that know and need to always wear your 'miserable patch', on your back, stop taking "it" out on him. I like to say, "if I didn't cause it, then I sure don't want to feel the effects".
Now, if you have found yourself in any of these situations then please, let's make some adjustments. Start by making minor changes in how we deal with sensitive topics because some cannot be avoided. Remember to watch how you respond, our sons can read signs very well. Emotions can be explosive...Practice being positive, be around progressive(not aggressive) people who live productive lives. Read, meditate, pray, laugh and treat yourself to something nice. You deserve it!
Lastly, break the cycle of lies but for once in your life; tell the truth!
Sincerely, Jerri of Mars

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Insignificant Other

The insignificant other in most cases is the father or perhaps the "absent" one. Are there times when you think about him? Whether in a good way or bad but the title of this post is relevant. In most of MARS cases  this person is insignificant because he has not made himself available. This is very hard to comprehend in the beginning stages of mothering alone but through time it should and will get better, if you allow the opportunity. Please single mothers don't you become unavailable, it's about our son or sons. Use this time to mold your child into someone significant and available which leads down the road of greatness. 
The dictionary defines insignificant as lacking power, position or value; worthy of little praise. So, let us take back our power because Power belongs to God and He has given it to us. You're going to need all the power and strength to be successful at raising your son(s). I would be in error to inform you that there will be countless times of weakness, so know that you do have power, just find it and utilize it. Our position has been handed to us and there's no other. You are Mother! He is Son! and the two of you together can conquer all things. Never forget that you are MORE than conquerors. Contrary to belief, you are valuable; to yourself and your son(s). He sets his eyes upon you daily to make sound decisions, his food, clean house and his clothes. He needs you to be mom, friend, funny, structured, and his first love. But you must feel valuable, so love yourself. Start this by buying yourself something nice, get with a good friend and have a "makeover day". You can make a meal and invite yourself. Also make time, in your day, to have at least dinner together with your son(s). This is a good opportunity to talk about your day. Lastly, give yourself and him some praise. You will be surprised how far a smile or the words, "you are smart son", "Mommy loves you", or "I'm proud of you", will go. Words of praise are powerful and worthy. Remember life and death is in the power of the tongue, so speak life to your son but first speak life to YOURSELF! 
I wrote this today to remind myself that I am not insignificant. After 20 years of single mothering, I was feeling this way earlier this evening. But taking all this into account, I had to check myself. I am significant, I am loved and truly admired by who? My son while the list goes on...
Sincerely, Jerri of MARS

Friday, November 26, 2010

Remember the times...PSA announcement-"Do You Know Where Your Children Are?"

I remember that public service announcement came on every night at 10 PM. Of course I was home but that was because I was either just getting in or going out again. I think, this was back in the 80's; I was in high school.
So, the question is, "Do we know where our kids are?", to rephrase it, "Do you know where your son is?".  Not just physically but mentally, emotionally or psychologically. I can speak for all of us when it comes to communicating to our children these days. Sometimes my son lets me in but there are limits. Thank God I can read him, duh we've been living together for 20+ years.
When he's upset, he lets it all out but not always rationally, so I have to talk him down. Then I make it my business to come back later when he's calmed down because he or they never hear your rationale while in that state of mind. Then there are times when he's excited. Believe me, this is not when I'm feeling this same mood because its mostly about "video games". Yes, my son is a "gamehead"; this is a person who's totally sold out for games, their systems and what perks and cheats that come with the game. But he's excited so I gather all of my composure and find a place to be available. By the way, he's bought me a Wii active sports game so I can "workout". That idea lasted for about 6 months. This Christmas he's buying me a balance board to go with the Wii Fit game. I decided I'm going to run this time; hopefully I'll shed some inches. Lastly, he deeply confided in me so far this year, about 3 times. These are the most treasured moments. This is where he speaks about girls, social situations and other hard topics. You see my son is very private, I can't even bring his name up while speaking to my friends on the phone. My dear mothers, one of the codes to raising a man is confidentiality. We must show them that we can keep a secret, shhh! And watch how you respond too, they hate overreacting, stay calm in spite of what's going on the inside.
If they never hear it back again, then they will let you in again. Remember, you want to get in their "man-cave" as much as possible. You will not and I repeat, will not get in by being annoying. He's not your man, so Do Not! treat him like one. If you know what I mean, ok, you don't...He does not need to hear you complain, murmur, yell, rant and rave about your day, life and insecurities. There are times for that, of course show you have emotions but try to keep them positive. Cry in private, if you must and laugh in public. But do not, put yokes around his neck, so to speak with "your" life. He has enough of his own life to deal with. Talk to him and he will learn to talk to you. Show him that women can have positive emotions and he'll look for a girlfriend and eventually a wife with the same. Let's not beat up on ourselves and especially not on our sons.
His father, wherever he may be (mentally, physically, emotionally and/or monetarily), is not your son! Regardless, of how much he may look, act, walk, talk the list goes on, that you may see his father in him. Please don't remind him of how he resembles his father either; my son hates this. He lets me know, that "he's not his father", and I must agree. All these suggestions are only if your son is in a bad place emotionally with his dad. But through positive reenforcement, time and perhaps healthy counseling you two will come out on top.
Our sons are better than their dads, but we can't tell them that. But do tell him often that he is an exceptional, successful and hansom son. Now, responses however indirectly positive can denote that your putting his father down. Give him the choice to say negative things about his father, but interject with positive comments afterwards. He may need to vent his feelings, let him.  I know these suggestions may be hard but try them. Keep your negative response to yourself. Tell your girlfriends, sisters, mother or God, please not your son. Never withhold the truth but do hold your emotions. Sometimes its not what we say but how we say them.
I could go on forever because mothering a son alone can be and is challenging. I try to keep the positive constantly going. My prayer at the end of the day is to keep my son strengthened as he goes through all the doors before him. I hope he learns to be better than his father and myself, so my grandchildren will be better than my son. So, here's the question again, "Do you know where your son is?"
Remember, we mothers are not alone we have our sons, and M.A.R.S is not a bad place to be; its home and being home is good its where the heart is!
Sincerely, Jerri

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome to M.A.R.S. in New York

We are Mothers Alone Raising Sons who live in the great state of New York. This blog is not about "Mars" the planet, were not martians or aliens however can often feel this way. The call of raising any child or children alone has its own challenges but we need and love to encourage the rewards. Being a place predominantely geared towards single mothers who are raising sons does not in any way discriminate against men or other mothers who may also raise sons and/or daughters. We encourage ALL single parents to share their experiences, suggestions, advice, trials, tribulations and please don't leave out the triumphs
We're initially a faith-base ministry but welcome those who are not. This site is a place to blog our journey, whether you journal in a book daily, weekly or monthly or not, please start to share here with us. Single mothers need all the support and encouragement in the world. 
In closing, remember you are not alone spiritually and as long as we have a venue to express ourselves, God hears and we will never be. Let's start a new journey together...please respond and stay positive in spite of the negatives. YOU! single mothers, can raise successful children: sons and oh yes daughters too! Single fathers we welcome you...