I remember as a child feeling very uncomfortable with my dark skin and kinky short hair. I wished to be someone else. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I embraced my natural beauty and I made it my life’s mission to love myself unapologetically.
Now that I'm raising three beautiful brown curly cuties, I make it a point to be very active in helping them build their self-confidence and to cultivate their appreciation for their natural beauty. I truly believe and follow the motto, "Lead by example." I can't expect words to be the only tool with which I teach. I have to show them.
Here are 5 tips that I've used to help my children love, embrace and appreciate the skin they’re in.
Lead by example
The best way I've learned to teach my children anything is by being a positive role model. I try my best to be the best me I can be so they can be the best them they can be. This includes loving and taking care of myself.
Provide other positive role models
As an active member of the natural hair community, an educator and an author, I attend a lot of events. I bring my 9-year-old twins to 90 percent of the events I attend, which gives them the opportunity to watch, talk to and learn from other beautiful naturalistas. This has made a huge impact on their view of their natural hair. Instead of my twins viewing straight hair as holiday and special occasion hair, they view their afros as such. The bigger the afro, the better for them.
Books, books and more books
I have a plethora of books about natural hair. My 9-year-old twins have full access to my books, and boy oh boy do they use them. They use them when they are practicing braiding and twisting their dolls hair and they read the books about children celebrating their natural hair. Find some kid-friendly books here.
Refer to their hair and skin in positive ways
Remove any negative words about our hair and skin from your vocabulary. It can be very easy to accidentally have a slip of words, especially when you are frustrated. Many of us were raised hearing how 'nappy' and 'bad' our hair was and how our dark skin was not as pretty as light skin. Be very diligent in not allowing the past to resurface when dealing with your children. Use positive words to describe their natural attributes, and be genuine – they can sense the difference.
Let them watch an episode of Soul Train
Yup the Soul Train. They might not appreciate the fashion, but they will appreciate seeing beautiful people of all shades with their afros and afro puffs dance down the soul train line.
Visit my Natural Hair Care for Children on Facebook for great styling ideas, tutorials, DIY hair care recipes and more.
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Do you know what joy looks like? If you've never seen it before, take a look at 1 year old, LJ. The folks over at Because of Them We Can shared a video on Facebook of LJ's reaction to hearing his own melody that he created.
Upon hearing the playback, LJ commenced to having a jamfest that would rival some other drummers in the game right now.
Somebody get this baby in the studio.
Being cheered on by his biggest fans in the background (aka his parents) ensures that LJ's skills will continue to be nurtured, and one can be sure that he'll be on his own stage sometime soon.
We can't wait to see what else is in store for LJ and shoutout to his amazing parents!
Give baby LJ some love in the comments and tell us what talents you had at 12 months old.
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I’m 24 years old. When I think about what my grandparents and great grandparents were doing at my age, there are three things that come to mind, getting married, having kids and providing for those kids by any means necessary. And although times have certainly changed and many of today’s millennials are tabling the idea of starting a family in pursuit of professional aspirations and personal fulfillment, talk of marriage and kids still finds its way into everyday conversation. Like each of you, I have my opinions on the matter, but I’ve found that it’s a shared fear, rather than the differences in opinions, that’s causing some to reconsider the idea of starting a family. It’s the debilitating fear of raising the next generation of black men and women in what’s a far cry from the utopian post-racial society that many argue exists today. With headline after headline describing the all-too-familiar scenario of an unarmed black youth dead as a result of racially-charged violence, it’s no wonder we’re not rushing to claim the responsibility and heartache that comes with parenthood.
One could argue that our parents — while denied many of the opportunities and luxuries we’ve been afforded — compartmentalized this fear well enough to breathe life and love into our very existence. But it’d be naive to think that this fear didn’t consume them anytime we left the confines of the meticulously-crafted environment they provided for us. It’s the unconditional love, learned trust and inevitable fear that makes parenting a non-stop rollercoaster ride of emotions.
But what do I know? I’m a single, 24 year old woman with no kids. So, I thought I’d ask a subject matter expert. Known for playing some of the most iconic black father figures in Hollywood, Delroy Lindo is also the loving and devoted father to a 14-year old son. Fourteen: the same age as Emmett Till when he was brutally murdered, three years shy of Travyon Martin when he was tragically shot and killed, and the start of the most informative and impressionable years in a young person's life. I sat down with Lindo to discuss the rollercoaster ride that is raising a young black man in today’s America — the excitement, the fear and everything in between.
| Children are the clothes of men. - Yoruba proverb |
Kayla Conti: You’re known for portraying some of the most iconic black father figures in Hollywood. Films like Crooklyn, Romeo Must Die and most recently This Christmas come to mind. Did your on-screen roles influence your outlook on parenthood?
Delroy Lindo: When I did Crooklyn and Romeo Must Die, I was not a parent. We found out we were having our son when I was filming Heist in 2001, so I didn’t have any context when doing those earlier films. However, since becoming a parent, I have indirectly applied the fact that I’m a father to my work. One immediately looks at the world in much broader terms — it is no longer about me, but rather how what I’m doing will affect my child. Becoming a parent has influenced the type of work I take.
KC: Would you say you’ve seen your approach to acting change since becoming a parent?
DL: Oh, absolutely! For instance, I was recently on location in Park City, Utah for about six months and I made it a priority to come home as much and as often as possible; almost every weekend. I needed to come home for my son’s school events and basketball games — it was a priority. Had I not been a parent, I’m not sure I would have come home as often. Being present is the issue, because when I come home, I have to be dad and disciplinarian. There’s the physical, the psychological and emotional aspect of being present and it’s the small things like taking him to school in the morning that really mean a lot. Projects that allow for that type of flexibility are important to me.
KC: When you and your wife decided to start a family, did you have any preconceived notions about the differences between raising a son vs. raising a daughter?
DL: I didn’t think about it beforehand, but when your child is born and in my case, when I had a son, I became increasingly aware of the differences. Going back to the fictitious father I played in Crooklyn, I remember telling Spike [Lee] years later that those kids scared me. I really wanted them to like me in such a way that we could work well together and create a believable onscreen family. But I did indeed, throughout our rehearsal process and particularly at the beginning of filming, have a certain kind of fear that the kids playing my onscreen children wouldn’t like me. And honestly, I’ve always felt that fear caused me not to be as free and relaxed in the work as I would have liked. When one becomes a parent, certainly there’s still fear, but it’s a different kind of fear. There’s no playbook [for parenting], so on some level you have to respond as fully and as competently in the moment as you can and hope to God that you’re making the right decision. I’ve been very aware of when I’ve made a mistakes and I quickly try to correct them — I know I’m not perfect.
KC: So when you found out you were having a son, what were you most excited about?
DL: When we found out we were having a boy, my wife said “he will be born in order to teach you something as a man.” I remember her saying that and accepting it, not knowing the nature of the challenges and tests that were ahead. Her statement has proven true. This has been an ever-evolving process of trial and error for me.
KC: Flash forward to the present. What keeps you up at night when you think about raising your son?
DL: I’m concerned about the world he’s growing up in. It’s open season on young black men and that terrifies me. If ever young black men have had to comport themselves in a way that allows them to represent themselves well, I feel that even more acutely for my sons’ generation than that of my own, and no matter how well he does this, he’ll always be judged. But that has nothing to do with him or who he is and everything to do with how outside forces respond to who he is as a young black man. But at the same time, I’m also very excited and appreciative of the man he’s growing up to be.
KC: Do you think he understands the weight of that concern?
DL: No, and why should he? He’s only fourteen. It’s unfair to expect a young person to understand these things. I think more and more he’s learning to understand it, but when I think back to when I was his age, I, too, had trouble processing and understanding the things I was experiencing.
|Give advice; if people don’t listen, let adversity teach them. - Ethiopian proverb |
KC: Given the unique role of black fathers in America, did any of the male figures in your family pass down lessons or words of wisdom as you got older?
DL: My father didn’t raise me. When I look back on the few times he did come into my life, the experiences generally were not positive. However, those encounters showed me and taught me very clearly what not to do with my own son. For that I am very very deeply grateful. And when I look at the differences in how I’m raising my son, the hole inside me that represents my father’s absence makes me doubly appreciative of the fact that my son will never have to experience that. It enhances my awareness as a parent and reinforces the positive things I bring to my son. Sometimes it’s the missing pieces that are the most instructive.
KC: What have been some of the most powerful lessons you’ve learned from your son?
DL: I’m trying to be about the business of reconstructing how I respond in given instances because I know he’s watching me. If I respond badly in a given situation, I try as frequently as I can, though admittedly not 100% of the time, to stop and say “what daddy just did was wrong and here’s why.” I’m not perfect, but that’s an example of how his presence has impacted me. I’m aware of certain aspects of my personality that I have to reign in and modify. I no longer have the luxury of responding to things a certain way because I’m now directly responsible for another life.
KC: Thinking about the role that technology — access to information and social media — plays in your son’s life, especially as a young millennial. How are you navigating this evolving frontier?
DL: It’s scary! I’m very much in the process of negotiating it as we speak. I understand clearly that his generation has more access to information and different kinds of information that I ever did. I have to try as much as possible to work in tandem with him, regarding his interaction with social media; because obviously, it won’t work for me to somehow try and withhold that access from him. In a perfect world, I hope to instill in my son a certain set values so that he will conduct himself as responsibly as he’s able, vis-à-vis the type of technology he will be exposed to and overwhelmed with. I hope these values will stand him in good stead as he develops in relation to this new technology. The values I instill in him are a large part of what I have to offer him as his dad. My wife and I tell [him] and his friends constantly that once you put it on the internet, it’s out there forever. Your technological footprint and how you interact with this technology will have major impacts on your future, personally and in your careers. That’s what we tell them. More and more, employers are checking into the technological footprints of prospective employees. Black kids are already going to have obstacles placed in front of them just based on who they are and how they’re perceived or misperceived. So it’s ever more critically important that they’re aware of the impacts of this footprint.
| We have to give our children, especially black boys, something to lose. Children make foolish choices when they have nothing to lose. - Jawanza Kunjufu |
KC: I want to switch gears and specifically address race, since that’s been the underlying facet of this conversation. What was the first conversation you had with your son about race?
DL: My son was called the n-word in elementary school by a fellow student — he was 6. That’s the first conversation I recall having with him. I was out of town when it happened and my wife called me, so I was hearing the circumstance of the story over the phone. I felt helpless. Initially there's the rage and anger, but it’s so much more than that. When I came home, that was when I had the conversation with him and it was heartbreaking. When these sorts of things happen, it’s often the parents that hold on to the anger more so than the child. He sensed that it was wrong, but even at that age his character allowed him to let it go and move forward. I’d like to believe that my son is aware that he’s eminently worthy — he’s educated, well-traveled — and while it may not be conscious at this point in his life, he has a broad understanding of the world. In part because of how my wife and I are raising him, but also the experiences we’ve afford him. I hope he understands that he’s worthy as a young black man and that he doesn’t succumb to any insecurities around that.
KC: How do you think today’s generation has to think about race differently from those of generations past?
DL: Some things have stayed the same and some things have regressed. There are some aspects of race and racial dynamics that are as entrenched as ever, and while they may manifest themselves differently, they still show up. We may no longer be hung from trees, but the murders and violence that we see today, against young black men in particular, are an outgrowth of this open season mentality I spoke about earlier. There’s a racial pathology behind why these things are still continuing to happen in the 21st century and while I recognize the progress we’ve made, I’m also very aware of the entrenchment of certain racial dynamics. Young people need to understand this cycle and remain extremely vigilant.
KC: When you think about your son ten or twenty years from now, what do you want him to remember and pass down to his children?
DL: To never ever ever forget the tenet that says, 'you have to work harder and remember to comport yourself in a way that allows you to be represented in an exemplary manner.' [This] will never not be the case for young black men and women and they will never not be critically important to your value and self worth.
|Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. - James Baldwin |
This post is dedicated to black fathers past, present and future. May you feel loved and supported, and most of all, may your strength and wisdom continue to uplift generations to come. Happy Father’s Day!
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Let's talk about our daddy issues. Come on, we all have at least one. Better still, let’s talk about fatherhood, because after this weekend and if the media has its way, the man who helped bring you into this world will no doubt fall back into the shadows once more.
During my childhood and that of many young, black males of my generation, the relatable faces we saw as we lay spread-eagled in front of the television were the likes of Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Desmond’s (Barbershop) and Bill Cosby (The Cosby Show).
From a young age I grew up without a father. He was unlawfully murdered when I was only a few months old. Male role models in our household were, unfortunately, thin on the ground. My mother had a limited support network due to migrating from Trinidad to England in 1969, so she turned to keeping us active through extra curricular activities such as school social groups, Scouts and football summer camps.
As Father's Day approaches, I am stepping out from the 'status quo' in that we not only celebrate fathers but we evolve a little and celebrate all male role models, godfathers, uncles and men who actively provide guidance, support and teach these young leaders of the future.
Father’s day is never rightly appreciated as much as Mother's Day by the media, retailers and society in general. Any plaudits appear to be isolated and low-key token gestures of gratitude as the media continues to focus on the negative stereotypes of black fathers, using damaging anecdotes such as 'they are invisible within the family unit' and at best 'glorified babysitters.’ So, to advance the revolution to create a new black stereotype and show men as motivated fathers who deserve to be recognised, I am sharing a collection of photographs captured during time spent with three active fathers.
I'm not disregarding the issues we as a black community are dealing with around young adults growing up without fathers/role models in the home. Nor am I ignoring the problems developed from young men leaving education early to engage in crime from an early age, which compounds this issue further.
If people are only exposed to only stereotypes of black fathers, this is all they will believe and continue to perpetuate, creating a model which will keep this everlasting loop of solecism.
Stereotypes are, as Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie aptly describes them...
These men are all motivated black fathers and role models in their own right. However, they seem, in part, to be invisible to the media. As you look around during the days preceding Father’s Day, just look and see how many advertisements, news articles and blogs show pictures or share the perspective of a black father.
"If people are only exposed to so-called stereotypes of black fathers, this is all they will believe and continue to perpetuate"
These men have fully embraced their responsibilities as a parent and work daily to maintain and develop their relationships with their children. They assign a level of importance to nurture, be present and dispel damaging stereotypes by being a man their child can proudly call Daddy.
All images available on Instagram www.instagram.com/nbsldn/ Photos: Kiran Cox (@kiranbcox) & Jessica Hope (@jess_hope_shoots). This is the newest collection of photos from The New Black Stereotype London (NBSLDN), a movement inspired by The New Stereotype.
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Many presume that motherhood should naturally follow marriage (sometimes even precede it). Whatever society's thoughts are about when it happens, the prevailing public opinion is that a woman (with an ambitious career or as a happy housewife) should at some point give birth. You've probably been on the receiving end of the questions or you've heard your girlfriend or wife be endlessly interrogated: "When are you going to finally settle down? Now that you're married, when can we expect some little ones? What are you waiting on?" And then there's the unwanted advice: "If you drink more water, that'll help you get pregnant faster. You know, when me and Ray-Nathan were trying, he used to hold me upside down against the wall in a handstand. Put some blessed oil on your headboard!"
The expectations around motherhood can become intrusive and personal quickly.
Sure, we're empathetic when women have reproductive challenges on the pathway to motherhood. Science even boasts that there are some medical advancements that will eventually make motherhood possible for women at any age. But there's a certain judgement when a woman makes a conscious decision not to experience motherhood, even if she makes this choice with her partner. She becomes a traitor of humanity for trading her perceived womanly "duty" for something considered to be selfish. A woman choosing not to become a mother is often thought to be unacceptable, and the burden is wholly on her.
I read an article recently called "Mind Your Own Womb," and the entire premise was that you never know a mother's (or would-be-mother's) background and encouraged the reader not to pass judgement. I thought that the scenarios the article offered were spot on, but took note that it completely left out women who choose not to become mothers. Are women invisible if they choose to forego motherhood? Does it lessen their validity as human beings? Obviously not, but women are constantly being judged around their choices regarding their own bodies.
Being a black mother in America is daunting. If we look at statistics and behavior, a black mother is more likely to have to deal with her child having a negative (and sometimes fatal) interaction with police, the criminal justice system or some rogue vigilante. I remember waking up the morning after the Michael Brown verdict thinking, "Black mothers in America give birth to possible mourning with the creation of each child." And it's not just criminality that black children will face, it's respectability politics in school, preparing them for the idea that their very existence is criminal. This might not be the only reason a woman chooses to forego motherhood, but I'm sure it's certainly a consideration when planning for the future.
Affording children is becoming an almost insurmountable task. As the cost of living rises disproportionately to the median wage, it's difficult to take care of one's self, much less be financially responsible for a little person. Parents are finding it challenging to give their children the best or to even keep them properly engaged and safe during the summer months. I've often thought about how experiencing poverty in my childhood has allowed me to be more grateful for the things I have, to stretch a small amount of money over a long period of time when necessary and to shop frugally, if need be. I've also thought about the ways in which it negatively affected me, such as being reckless when receiving (what I perceived was) a large lump sum of money to compensate for previous scarcity or buying things I don't necessarily need because I want to feel as though I have something. I'm sure that if my mother had the choice, I wouldn't have experienced poverty at all.
Finally, there's the elephant in the room. There's no dark, looming reason. She just doesn't want kids, and doesn't foresee motherhood as a part of her life.
The question of whether a woman becomes a mother or not is totally up to her and her partner. Is motherhood one of the most challenging jobs in the world? Yes. Does it deserve recognition when done well? Yes. Do women who choose not to become mothers create things, achieve things, and overcome things that are also challenging and also deserve recognition. YES. The bottom line is that America might not be (and might have never been) a prime environment to bring a child into. If a woman decides that it's not for her, we should respect that and move on.
Have you felt pressured to have children? Sound off in the comments!
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* names have been changed to protect privacy
She watched the children play from behind an open window, coveting their experience. Sophia could still feel the breeze, though had expressed she lost the urge to kid.
“My medicine makes me want to be still. I can do better in school. But... I wish I could play.”
I sat with her in an uncomfortable silence. Who was stopping her? This Sophia was not the same little girl I used to babysit. The one who would do my hair, put on a show or recount her mother’s lovers. It was a sad reality that Sophia had a difficult life, one that I think led to her problems at school.
“Put her pills in the Dora backpack,” I overheard from the kitchen as Sophia descended from concrete stairs and over the living room mattress.
Sophia grew up in the hood. And her newfound indifference to play was not a result of fatigue. It was the Ritalin, which would control her attention and impulses.
There were 600,000 patients diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) in 1990. Since then, that number has increased to 6 million. Of that population, 2 million were young children. Need I say more? Yes – there have been 70 percent more black and brown children diagnosed with ADHD from 2001 to 2010.
This is a booming opportunity for pharmaceutical companies whose goal it is to push more product. With increased marketing budgets and overstated benefits, many families (particularly low-income) believe the only solution to their child’s behavioral problems is medication.
According to a report just released by Center for Disease and Control, medication is not the recommended first treatment. Both behavior therapy and medication have a 70 – 80 percent success rate among young children with ADHD. The problem is that only 40 - 50 percent of children with ADHD receive therapy or other psychological services.
Behavior therapy is the best first step once a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, as it has fewer side effects and harvests longer-lasting results. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that providers guide parents of young children to seek training in behavior therapy with the help of physicians, therapists and teachers before prescribing medicine.
Sophia was only 6 years old when she started taking Ritalin. My family remained close with her over the years, and eventually, she weaned herself off the stimulant. Today she's doing well in school, continues to visit once a week and has dreams of being in the Air Force because she wants to travel.
I propose that if it takes a village to raise a child, we come together to support kids like Sophia – as her cousin, teacher, neighbor or friend. It wasn’t that Sophia’s family had bad intentions (If they knew better, they’d do better, right?). ADHD remains one of the most elusive disorders out there. Parents might be unaware of the benefits of behavior therapy or that it even exists.
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There I was a few weeks ago, scrolling through my timeline. I scrolled past cute little animal videos and political propaganda. Past the enviously perfect Buzzfeed Tasty videos, all the while stopping every few scrolls to drool and cringe over the fashions at this year's Met Gala. After tilting my head and squinting my eyes a few times at some of the outfits and wondering how the celebrity and designer decided that it completely represented this year's Fashion in The Age of Technology theme, I stumbled upon a photo of the Smith siblings.
I loved everything about Willow and Jaden's garments and the energy they were vibrating into the universe while the photo was being taken. I smiled and went on my merry way. Cat video, food tutorial, Claire Danes' Met Gala dress, someone loses a phone on a roller coaster, another girl being bullied on the Internet by trolls (this has to stop by the way). Then I saw it, the same picture of the Smith siblings, only this time it had been turned into a meme.
"Sometimes I think we hate Jaden and Willow Smith because they are free black children and we don't know what free black children look like."
Maybe those of use who are inspired by Jaden and Willow have been saying this forever, but I've never heard it like this. Free black children. Immediately I reflected on my own childhood. The distant, murky pictures of my childhood danced before my eyes before slipping back into obscurity. So I thought of black children I know today, but I still didn't know what a free black child looked like. Are they full of joy? Are their eyes alight with adventure, promise and hope? Do they run full speed in grassy backyards with scraped knees, that faint copper smell wafting off of them?
For some reason, my mind conjures images of children taking care of their parents. I see the burdens of society patiently waiting in the background to rest upon their shoulders as soon as their minds begin to open. Maybe I'm suffering from a case of projectile insecurities. I want to know a free black child but I also want to protect them by teaching them. I want to teach them too soon to be cautious. To observe. To know differences in when to be silent and when to make sure you are heard. Too soon to stifle their innocence.
In a span of what must have been three minutes, I began to reevaluate my perception of the tiny brown humans I see every day. I have always been of the 'children are the future' mentality, so I always assumed that we needed to buckle down and really show the next generations why learning and knowledge will be some of the most important tools they carry on their journey through life. Now, I just want children to be children. I want them carefree in youth. I want them to ask questions about life while digging for imagined buried treasure beneath the perfectly manicured lawn. I want them to express themselves in the moment without reprimand or fear of the societal norms burdening us in adulthood.
I can't wait to raise some free black children.
What do you think a free black child looks like? Share your thoughts below!
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Fans of Sesame Street know that the show has a long-standing history of doing profound and powerful work. From helping children understand incarceration to teaching them the ABCs, the early childhood television program has been educating kids by inviting guests and creating characters who encourage learning and promote tolerance.
Afghanistan’s Sesame Street production, called Baghch-e-SimSim, is no different. Last week, the production introduced Zari, a young girl character who will join Baghch-e-SimSim for its fifth season.
Zari is a revolutionary character. She will appear in the Afghanistan show, discussing topics ranging from girls’ empowerment and identity to physical health and emotional well-being. Zari, whose name means ‘shimmering,’ is the very first Afghan muppet and will be featured talking with children in person, speaking directly to viewers and interviewing professionals. She can be found on TOLO TV and LEMAR TV.
This is truly a fantastic addition to the Sesame Workshop family, and I look forward to getting to know Zari and continuing to see the positive, impactful work that Sesame Workshop does!
What do you think of this new Sesame Street character? Let us know in the comments!
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Albert Einstein, a theoretical physicist, was a genius renowned for his extraordinary intellectual ability. However, unbeknownst to many, he struggled severely in school and with social interaction. He was a child of special needs, and similarly, many of the United State’s four million gifted children are as well. For that reason, Atlanta Gifted Academy, a school based in Marietta, GA, is on a mission to provide families of gifted children with the support they need to help their kids excel academically and beyond.
Claire Anderson founded AGA in 2012 after recognizing that her son, Caleb, was extremely advanced for his age. The former school teacher taught her child sign language and how to read at the age of eight months —and by 18 months, he was in the first grade at the now closed Shreiner Elementary. Fast forward to the present and Caleb is a 7-year-old fifth grader with an IQ of more than 140.
However, things were not always so positive. Before attending his mother’s school, Caleb was often seen as a distraction and a troublemaker in class, a result of boredom and a lack of mental stimulation. Caleb’s reality was not unique to him. In fact, it is the experience of many talented, but often misunderstood black and minority children across the country.
“Imagine being a parent and having a school or a teacher calling you every day telling you your child is bad. You think they have autism or a disability but it turns out that they are gifted,” Anderson said, “Then when they find out [that your child is gifted] there is nothing they can do. So it is like your child is being punished for being smart. I had to do something about that, not only for my child but for others.”
Atlanta Gifted Academy distinguishes itself from other schools with an impressive curriculum, one that offers a 'personalized learning plan' for every student, matching their abilities, strengths and interests. Students are taught in S.T.E.M, learn Spanish and Mandarin and also have access to music lessons among other services not available at many traditional schools. Not only does it provide an advanced educational environment, students are also developed socially and emotionally. This is a major area of importance, especially for parents.
Koel Roy was impressed the moment she stepped foot in AGA during a tour earlier this year. Immediately, the curriculum and the individual attention that is given to the students resonated with her. In public school, her son, Shaurya, consistently got in trouble and teachers did not know how to deal with him. The 8-year-old with an IQ of 145 was acting out because he needed more than the school could offer.
“Kids who are gifted are just like kids who have learning disabilities, but are on the other side of the spectrum,” Ms. Roy said, “They need that extra attention and my son was not receiving it. His teacher had 27 students in her class. That is an overwhelming situation for anyone.”
Ms. Roy did have Shaurya enrolled in a gifted program at the time, but it was only offered once a week for a few hours. That was insufficient for a boy who already had goals to be a molecular physicist, so she opted to look elsewhere, ultimately landing at AGA. “The small class sizes at AGA is a huge advantage in teaching them what they need to know,” she said, alluding to the academy’s teacher-student ratio of 1 to 7, “At school, their curiosity is never satisfied. They are encouraged to ask questions and they are encouraged to be who they are. Also, the personalized learning plans help them to progress so quickly.”
Evita Wells agrees.
Before moving to Georgia, her son Percy was enrolled at Michigan Montessori school. He was always on the go, so she took him to a psychologist for fear that he had ADHD. An IQ test was administered immediately, revealing that Percy, at the age of 4, had an extremely high IQ. Upon arrival to Georgia, Percy was admitted to Woodward Academy, a prestigious private school in metro Atlanta. He was a bundle of energy, and his teachers were unable to give him the support that he needed.
“They were giving him sight words at five years old when he had already mastered them at age two and was reading chapter books at age four,” Wells said. “I knew that he needed to be in an environment that was more challenging in order for it not to become a behavior issue. Claire and her staff are able to adapt to the way that children learn. Their curriculum is based on the Stanford University model and they make sure [that] school is challenging for students.”
So far, AGA has received a tremendous response from the parents to the extent that some are willing to drive as far as 45 minutes every day for their children to go to school there. Not to mention, the cost is comparable to the annual cost of daycare at around $11,900.
“People say this is a Godsend,” says Anderson. Moving forward, AGA’s goal is to increase enrollment to about 250 students. Right now, there are only 12 kids attending full-time because not many people know about it - but that is about to change. Anderson’s vision is grand. “I see teachers who are highly qualified, students who are engaged and passionate about learning and an environment where parents are involved and have a say in their kid’s education,” she said. “I see us winning awards.”
To learn more about Atlanta Gifted Academy, visit www.atlantagiftedacademy.com or call 770-726-0123. To schedule an interview with AGA’s founder, Claire Anderson, contact Ivan Thomas at 202-904-4790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claire Anderson is a dynamic force in the field of education. She is the founder and Headmaster of Atlanta Gifted Academy (AGA), located in metro Atlanta and holds a Master's Degree in Elementary Mathematics and Literacy. After successfully teaching her one-year-old son to read and add, Ms. Anderson created a program called "Talk 2 Your Baby," which focuses on early communication, phonics and mathematics. Her program and trendsetting curriculum has changed the lives of gifted children and provided relief to parents who struggled to find the right educational setting for their gifted children. She now speaks at various events to share her work and expertise. Website: atlantagiftedacademy.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/atlantagiftedacademy
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They tried it. In epic fashion (pun intended), Gap clothing has failed to present their children's clothing line in a way that is diverse, inclusive, and smart. The gorgeous little black girl, Lucy, was there for... what? So that Gap could meet their "coloreds in our clothes" quota? Firstly, the print ad has baby girl in a subservient position, with one of the other girls using her as basically a prop. The commercial is even worse. Watch below:
Notice anything? Lucy never says a word. She is never addressed and there is no cutaway to what she does best. When the statistic came out that black folks have trillion dollar buying power in this country, did companies like Gap think that just haphazardly throwing black people in their ads would make us buy their ware? If the comments under this Youtube video are any indication, nobody is falling for this ridiculously thoughtless effort:
"This video LOOKS off. I don't understand why the person who edited/directed this ad didn't see how odd it looked to have a child not speaking at all through this clip. I'm not going to make it about race/colour but this video is off. Why add the little black girl in the clip if she's not going to speak. She looks like a damn prop." -Moni Que W
"Ellen...really? No alarm went off? You should recognize the pink elephant in the room as you, too, are supposedly a representative of one who has chosen to use your voice to point out the obvious and respect differences. Shame on Gap and this perky, pukey example of "empowerment." I'll teach my little girl otherwise." -SM Minima
"Not one word out of the little girl in pink. And yet, so many people don't see the problem with this. The kid is literally the "token" minority for this ad. The only reason she's there is to prove to the white audiences that "we aren't racist". But black people know what's going on here, we've seen it before, time and time again. This is nothing new. This ad is the definition of CASUAL Racism." -Alyssa M
And the comments go on and on like this. I would say that this is a moment for Black Twitter to drag them, but we have to do more than just spout our outrage in moments like these. While Gap didn't give the lovely Lucy an opportunity to be heard and celebrated equally with the other girls, we can speak up with our dollars. We can shout from the mountaintops how much we adore all of the Lucys around the world whose magic is constantly being stymied. This isn't just about a corporation who isn't culturally competent. It's about the pervasive culture that says black girls in particular don't matter enough to be protected, heard, uplifted, or celebrated. It is the notion that we will readily and consistently accept this without protest. That we'll put clothing labels above self love. That we'll leave Lucy to fend for herself. Through this ad campaign, the message heard around the world by little black girls is that all of our struggle this far has put them in the room... they just can't say anything.
Maaaaaan Lucy, I've got your back, baby girl! Like a black mama coming up to the school to ride on that teacher who is failing or inappropriately punishing her child for no good reason, my head scarf and vast vocabulary are readied at the hip. And for those who would call themselves allies, now is your time to stand up for Lucy as well, and call Gap out by not spending your dollars there. Because we all want to be heard. And Lucy doesn't deserve this.
What are your thoughts on Gap's ad campaign? Will you continue shopping at Gap? Let us know in the comments!
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At just a few months shy of 26, I'm jumping for all joy that I'm childless. Being a parent is a hard, never-ending job. It requires wearing more hats and taking on more roles than you imagine humanly possible. Being a parent these days can be like planting a tree in a barren field and watching over it day and night to make sure it grows strong and tall and becomes a contributing part of society. Or it can feel like someone giving you the best gift ever, then attaching an 18-year, 100% APR and a million dollar price tag to it. Because that's how much babies cost, right? Either way, parenting is weird.
What's even weirder is being friends with parents. Some of my friends either have babies or are expecting. They're tasked with things like planning play dates, hiring babysitters, nap time, tummy time, feeding time. They have to worry about travel accommodations, time zones, and what material a car seat is made from. Some of them are sleep deprived while others thrive on burning the candle at both ends. Some of them are scheduling pros and find ways to get out and be who they were before being a parent, while others can't even remember what time they last changed the baby. I've been taking notes and here are 11 things I've learned while being friends with millennials who have kids.
1. Spontaneity requires extra planning
There is no such thing as being spontaneous unless there has been some serious planning on one side. It might be a pleasant surprise for one parent, but trust me, the other one has been going nuts in the background finding a sitter and sourcing food for an infant who eats like a grown man.
2. Date nights are non-negotiable
Watching the way my friends' faces light up when they get a night off from mommy or daddy duties is the same look they get when they learn that the grandparents are coming to town for a week. In the parenting world, that is a big deal. You have to make time for just you two. Oh, sweet peace.
3. Parents hustle even harder
I don't know what kind of friends you surround yourself with, but my friends all turn up their hustle game exponentially after having a baby. I guess having a tiny human to take care of is the greatest motivator.
4. Your tiny apartment is now a tiny obstacle course
Kids love to play. The unbridled energy these tiny humans possess might drive you to drink. You have to watch them. They're fast.
5. Parents are weary of everyone
Some people are actually not going to be great around your kids. You have to be selective. You might lose a few friends, but in the end it's worth it. Whether it be attitudes or ailments, everyone who encounters a baby needs to be screened.
Now here are the things that I've learned about myself by having friends with kids:
1. I do not want to change a diaper
The very high probability of being showered in pee (or worse), is terrifying. Somehow, getting baby diarrhea on my fingers has become one of my most prominent nightmares.
2. I need to get my savings account off of life support
The cost of living is high enough, add on a baby to all that you are responsible for in the foreseeable future and that price skyrockets. I need to get my finances in order before a baby. That might seem obvious to some, but actually executing this is a lot harder than you might think.
3. Babies love me
I don't know if it's the way I cross my eyes or the obvious look of confusion they recognize on my face that really puts them at ease, but whatever it is, it works. Babies run to me with their chubby little hands and their monosyllabic vernacular, ready to wear me out playing peek-a-boo for two hours straight.
4. Baby vomit is the worse
Baby puke is merciless in its destruction of clothing. I feel like I would have the child with the most incredible projectile vomit skills. Oh, you thought you would get dressed before me and stay put together? Think again.
5. I can't be a deadbeat mom
Having such great influences around, I can't drop the ball. Watching my friends with their kids has really set the bar high. I need to bring my A-game to parenting. Also, there is no room for petty when you have kids.
6. It's a forever thing
I'm sure we all joke that our responsibilities to our children will have an expiration date of 18 years and then we are tapping out. The truth is, parenting continues even when your children become parents. Live up your current freedom because if you plan on—or don't plan on—having kids, they change everything.
Here's to still figuring out this adult gig.
On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here.
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Parents at Kennesaw elementary school were upset to learn that their children were being taught a simple mindfulness word and hand gesture, “Namaste,” which translates to "the light in me honors and recognizes the light in you."
Watch the video below to get more details and to see what all the commotion was about:
Do you think the parents overreacted? Leave your comments below.
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