K.I.P.P-(KIDS IN PRISON PROGRAM)-BLACK BALLED AND PUNISHED

“While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about.”
  — Angela Schwindt

It takes a lot for me to speak on or expose many details of my personal life especially those that pertain to that of my eleven-year old. For many who are familiar with Dude (my son’s nickname since birth) and I it is no secret that we move quite effectively as a unit, where there is he there is me. This was no different when we decided to enroll in KIPP Triumph Academy, a choice charter school located in Saint Louis City[but a much smaller entity attached to a larger national conglomerate]. It was all of the glitz and glamour that was sold to us upon out initial new family tour during the spring of 2015. From the moment we stepped foot inside the school we were more than impressed with their advance curriculum, the dedication of the teachers and of course the super fly uniforms.

However, it wasn’t long before the honeymoon phase was over for us; it quickly became evident as to why the children refer to KIPP as the “KIDS IN PRISON PROGRAM”. Now granted, I whole heartedly support their academic learning structure but the rigorous and overbearing discipline structure is extreme and over the top for children who more likely that not are transitioning from less restrictive public school structures.  KIPP serves the “under-privelaged, low-income” urban families in the inner cities, and recruit and employ young first year white Teach for America educators to pay their dues to what they believe to be poor, unfortunate, undereducated children whose parents surely can’t have more than a high school diploma or a G.E.D. [ This is the furthest things from the truth as it pertains to the families attending KTA]. I have been an active member of the school’s Parent Ambassador group, taking time out of my schedule to attend meetings, book fairs and new family orientations to encourage new families to come to KIPP, chaperoning dances,  and much much more. Over time I have noticed that the strict and extreme discipline structure gives children more time out of school than in for even the smallest of infractions. My son has been one of said students who no matter how big or small his indiscretion is he pays a hefty price. [No I am not one of those “My child does no wrong mothers, I know my child is a handful but right is right] 

This is our story.

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Fear Factor..

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson “A Return to Love”

By far one of the greatest quotes  ever written, this quote is often discredited to its author and credited to the late Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inaugural speech. This is one of my personal favorites,  this paragraph speaks volumes if you listen closely. I was reminded of these words today as  I was having one of my many adventures in parenting. Not that I was faced with one my fears but I was reminded that I do in fact have a few. By far one of my greatest fears is that I will fail as a parent. (I mean isn’t this something all first time parents fear?) I have been a mom for nearly nine and a half years (I believe parenting begins long before birth) and I still find there are things that I have yet to learn or master. Each day with my son is different from the day before, so there is always something new. In accepting the fact that I do not now and may never know everything there is to know about anything, I fear that I will disappoint or fail my son. I fear that all I have done to be a positive role model for my son will be overshadowed by a past indiscretion or a one bad move. Then I am reminded of the words quoted above, “You are a child of GOD.” I don’t believe I would have been charged and blessed with such responsibility of raising such a resilient child if I were not properly equipped, for HE knew long before April 15, 2005 what was in store for me. It is in knowing that I am a child of GOD that gives me the courage I need to be fearless in everything I do.

What is your biggest fear?

I’ll Love You Forever…

One of my son’s favorite books is “I’ll Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

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I can never ger through this book without crying, so my som started reading it to me. (Which really makes me cry). At times motherhood is no walk in the park especially in raising a young man. On yesterday the words to this book replayed over and over in my head as i watched my little one at his first full contact football practice. It was hard to stomach watching him be tossed like a ragdoll. He wanted to quit but I couldn’t let him, I had to be “tough”. All I wanted to do was wipe his tears and hug him. At the end of practice he told his coaches he wasn’t going to quit that he was going to keep playing.  After he was all bathed and ready for bed I told him,

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”

He smiled and said, “I love you mommy”. Moments like that make motherhood seem like a walk on the football field.

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Play Into The Crazy

*disclaimer: this video has absolutely NOTHING to do with this post but Deion in his prime was one of my favorites. Enjoy! *

Growing up, I was the tomboy but not the jock. Does that make sense? I loved to rough house and climb trees but I hated sports. The only thing the gym teacher could get me to participate in was kickball. Like most girls when I got to high school I became interested in football. (Well the players anyway) I managed my (first) high school’s team my sophomore year until I became so distracted by other things(boys) I had to tell the coach I’d rather just watch. When I found out I was going to have a son I was elated! Girls are good but little boys are great! I don’t do ribbons and dresses with lace, I prefer haircuts and Nikes. I knew how rough I was a child so I prepared myself for the roughness of parenting a boy child.
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Lonely Innocence

I was sitting in the park with my son today, for his little league’s meet and greet. I sat at a picnic table watching the boys play basketball, interacting with each other and the coaches. Then I looked over towards the baseball diamond and there amidst the dust was a lone red shirt on a little stick figure of a body, it was my son. I sat for a while longer watching him before going over to see what he was doing. I watched as he played in the dirt, shoes off without a care in the world as if nobody but him were in the park. Part of me (the only child for thirteen years part) understands his comfort in being and playing alone. As an only child he creates his own entertainment daily, and without problem or complaint, he spends nearly all of his time just me and him. The other part of me (the mother part) was worried about that lone red shirt playing in the dust of the baseball diamond. After about 30 minutes of watching from the table I walked over to him and asked what he was doing all by himself. He said, “Nothing, just playing and I’m fine.” sad

Naturally as mothers we want nothing but the best for our children, we want them to be healthy, happy and all the things they need as well as the things they want. Since I found out I was going to be a mother I knew that no matter what I would do all the things that were not only required of me but what was requested of me to ensure his happiness. I admit that watching my son play alone while the other children played together made me sad on some level. Every parent believes they have an amazing or special child/children and I am no different. We find ourselves praying for them more than we pray for ourselves, we find ourselves worrying about their safety more than our own. We hope that from the moment of conception that we can give them all they need in order to survive in a world as crazy as ours. We want them to grow up to be something great, a doctor, a lawyer or a famous football player.
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