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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