With our current media landscape it is becoming significantly more challenging to teach middle school children to understand their emotions particularly empathy. With our current culture of bickering and “hitting back” the trickle down effect is real! Students have to digest the fact that what they see on television (reality TV and our reality TV president) are not real. This is compounded by the fact that young scholars must digest that what they see on the internet is not real either. This reality can be even more disheartening for students like mine in Spanish Harlem that are not motivated by their day to day environment, in fact some are drowning in it.
The best way I’ve found the help children understand emotions is by highlighting their interactions with each other. I find myself asking them after every significant comment or experience, “how did that make you feel?” Some scholars are to the point now where they communicate this information without being prompted.
One memorable instance of students demonstrating empathy occurred in my history class. Despite redirection one scholar continued to disrupt instruction. As I continued to deliver the lesson I noticed another student losing focus due to the disruption. I gave the distracted student our nonverbal sign for persevere. I allowed the student to carry on hoping he would grow tired of the class ignoring the attention seeking behavior. I was surprised moments later when the distracted student turned to the disrupting student and said calmly, “I feel like you’re distracting me.” This simple comment to me was an emotional breakthrough. Neither child grew hostile, frustrated, or out of sorts. They communicated effectively and I was able to move on with the lesson. Media in America has created a tangible rift in our emotional intelligence but by teaching children to communicate effectively we can help them better understand their emotions.
Love the Hair You Wear 3 was as always insanely informative and full of beauty products! This year majority of my goodies were full sized! The gems of LTHYW3 after several weeks of experimentation are Cantu’s Apple Cider Vinegar Root Rinse and the matching Dry Co-Wash! The root rinse gives you that tingly clean. Extremely refreshing through the wash out process. You’ll feel like you have a new head!
On the beauty side Sweet Air wowed me with my perfect shade of 3D shadow. The shade Pixel is sheer deep copper. Blends Very well!
The moral of Love The Hair You Wear 3 was clip your ends. I’ll leave you to interpret that anyway you like. Until next year …
I’m not sure if my best friend could read. She figured things out regardless, making a way for herself on her own across America over the course of 93 years. Her words come to me constantly as I work to decipher the stories and tangible history left behind. I remember being frustrated towards the end when she matched my every question with a question. This in itself was a lesson.
“Grandma! How will I get through my questions if you keep asking more questions?”
“You see that baby. That’s how you stay young! You never stop asking questions. You got to ask questions and you got to listen. Especially to the young people! When you stop listening and learning and growing, you start getting old.”
Parents, able Grandparents, older brothers, sisters, cousins, and people of authority we must do something about our young minds being led astray by social media and mobile technology! Working in the classroom and with school administrators, I’ve seen first hand the havoc social media is wreaking on school age children and the lasting effects that students cannot quite grasp yet. As socially conscious adults, it is our responsibility to protect these young impressionable souls from the rawness of the online world for a menagerie of reasons but principally the following:
- Social media is weakening the young mind’s ability to make decisions. Brendon Burchard of Brendon.com said it best “Stop browsing so much!” (Skip to 3:52 for the heart of the message).
Young minds are already all over the place and easily distracted. By fostering this culture of browsing the mind is over stimulated and consequently weaker when it really matters the most. President Barack Obama does not pick out his own suits because of decision fatigue, imagine how Instagram can impact third grader with a developing mind!
- Many things young people see on social media they are seeing and or hearing for the first time. With no one engaging alongside of them they are forced to draw their own often erroneous conclusions that they carry out into the world. Young minds often cannot discern what they are seeing online from reality. They are buying into false concepts of beauty, falling victim to predators, and in the worst cases coming across terror related propaganda dragging them in a direction none of us want to accept as a problem.
- Nudes are a huge problem in schools! Every school I’ve shared my S.O.Social Media seminar with has dealt with ‘oversharing’ and cyber bullying. Since the biggest celebrities of our time do it … frequently … students do too. Even worse, students often leak each other’s nude photos to friends just like adults do. But in the educational environment this can be devastating on another level.
Recommendations to prevent and help heal the damage that has already been done.
- Buy less than smartphones, no cameras or applications. This type of phone will be less of a distraction during the school day. Teachers are losing precious time confiscating phones from distracted students. This takes away from the teaching and learning process for all involved.
- Browse social media as a family activity. Make family accounts allowing everyone to like what they like, and follow who they wish to follow. This way social media is bringing the family together not creating barriers. This can also help if your child will not allow you to follow them. Break down that wall!
- Save the headphones for games and road trips. You might not have time to police daily engagement but if you can hear what they’re watching or doing you can make determinations on whether it’s appropriate or not.
- Continuously communicate that everything online is forever.
- Propose alternatives like playing outside or reading a book!
It’s not about having the coolest phone in the 7th grade. It’s about not having nudes pop up in a Google Image search when your kid is applying for college. Don’t let what lives on the internet become your child’s reality.
There are lots of ways to use social media for good. But I’ll save that for another post…
S.O.Social Media is brought to you by MJWW Ventures LTD. for more information contact MsJheri@MsJheriWorldwide.com
I wonder what the world would be like if we were identified by the emotion we show most often. Our conversations would be like “Hey Hater, have a seat right over there” or of course positive emotions like, “Wow Confidence I’m so proud of you!” Even, “Hey Lonely, come here I have something special for you.” Would we be happier as humans if our emotions were better understood by the people around us? Can emotional intelligence make the world a better place? I think so, because if someone texts you, “Hi Lover, what time do you get off work?” You’ll be a more pleasant person for the rest of the work day. Snow White and her dwarfs really were on to something.
At the very least people would be forced to accept what they project. It might be what we need as a human race. It could lead to a better understanding of ourselves as human beings. It is amazing how many people in this world never study their reflection. To some the man in the mirror is the only man in the world. Their actions lack retrospection; they never consider stepping outside themselves for perspective.
I learned perspective growing up in North Carolina. Every year March Madness shuts down the state. Rivalries are real amongst neighbors NC State, Duke, Carolina, Wake Forest, and more. Regardless of what set you claim, excuse me school, one part of March Madness is universal. No, not filling out brackets, not Future’s interpretation, “I’m ballin like it’s March Madness.” I’m referring to legendary NC State Basketball Coach Jimmy Valvano and his famous ESPY speech, “Don’t ever give up.”
I remember Jimmy V’s advice vividly, “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
The world would be different if emotions were apparent. To me emotions make the man or woman or child. If we can find ways to share what we feel and staying in control like Coach V said, “you’re going to have something special.” Show the world the strongest you and try not to hurt anybody in the process. Emotions are essential and being aware of your emotions can save and serve you at the same time.
A few days ago spring began. Josh and Justin went to pick up beer from the store. They always get the same beer, High Life; from the same store, Tony’s. These men are creatures of habit. Josh repeats the same idiom every time the homies pop their first can, “It may not be the highest grade in the dispensary but this some good beer.”
Justin co-signs with this infamous, “Right on.”
Josh exhales, “Did I tell you about my dream?”
Justin, “Nah, but I love a good dream. What happened?”
Josh shrugs nonchalantly launching into the tale:
I really don’t know where to start but the weather was strange. The earth quaked at least six times and it rain a lot too. I could never tell the difference between things I thought and things I actually said. It was so confusing but I didn’t have time to be frustrated since I had so much to figure out. Oh and my abs were super tight. I don’t know why. Maybe I was worried but I remember how sore they were and I couldn’t figure out why. This was confusing too but I had to keep going. Even though I didn’t know where I was going. Isn’t that funny? Just like in life when we don’t know where to go but we keep going. Dreams are the same.
Justin co-signs, “Right on!”
Josh jumps back into his dream:
The rain turned into snow but I wasn’t cold. I told my feelings to turn off when the sun went down. I only felt determined but I never really knew why. There was a woman I remembered from when we were kids. She was tall and she was glowing in the dark. People were lining up to talk to her but I kept walking because I couldn’t remember her name. Everyone that spoke with her left with a smile and I wanted to go to her, but I forgot the lesson I learned and I was too embarrassed to stare until it all came back to me. I was afraid I’d waste too much time and wake up never figuring out where I was meant to be. Then these thoughts surfaced and I couldn’t help but repeat them in my head over and over, “Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me? Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me? Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me? Am I here greet destiny? Will I always walk alone or will someone stand next to me?” There were no hints and no clues. Just time passing quietly.
Josh pauses and takes a few sips from his beer. Caught up in the suspense Justin inquires, “So what happened next?”
Josh replies, “I don’t know. I’m not sure if I don’t remember or if I woke up.”
Nike can’t lose. They “Just Do It.” And that’s me all day, I relate. As a blogger, several relationships are essential. The relationship with my readers first and foremost, second my content contributors because I love prompts that inspire my writing, and third my strategic partners. One strategic partner that came about to my delight is Nike. In my opinion, the Nike brand is innovative and super inspiring. I love learning from their influence on sport, hip hop, and popular culture. Not only do the good people at Nike invite me to exclusive events but they also send me gifts! This is a particular delight because the older you get the fewer gifts you receive so this relationship is super special. Recently, I received a gift in the mail. Here is a bit of background:
On February 1st, FrontRow by Nike Women unveiled a Nike Original Series ‘Margot vs Lily.’ The series follows two sisters pushing each other far outside of their comfort zones following Nike Women’s #BetterForIt campaign. I’ve be thoroughly enjoying the series! Check it out here.
The synopsis: Meet Margot and Lily, two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Lily is the athlete: as in legit star-trainer status with 900,000 YouTube followers. You’ll find her counting dumbbells in her sleep. Then there’s big sister Margot. The quick-witted friend you always want around—until the punch line is you. This time the joke’s on her because she was just fired. And no, she doesn’t want to talk about it.
When it comes to sibling rivalry, they go all in. Which is why when Lily challenged Margot to a bet on New Year’s Eve to start her own fitness channel with 1,000 subscribers. Margot threw it right back that Lily needs to make three real friends.
Want to know who wins the bet? Set a reminder and tune in on Mondays. Each week on FrontRow by Nike Women will bring you a fresh episode of all-hands-on-deck drama and sweatspiration to rival your trainer. But it doesn’t stop with the show. With access to all-star athletes, on-the-go workouts and killer looks you can shop without pressing pause–no matter which sister conquers, the real winner is you.
Thanks Nike! I love my Margot v. Lily gift box. You’re the real MVPs.
What you won’t do, do for love. In today’s world we encounter countless forms of violence, negativity, and hardship. I was inspired to take a minute to celebrate compassion and togetherness.
Firefighter, husband, son, brother and living organ donor Ryan went the extra mile for his beautiful wife Lucrecia. Full disclosure and shameless brag, Ryan is my first cousin. Our fathers are brothers. We have always been very close because we think alike. Recently I caught up with Ryan’s wife who he affectionately calls ‘Cre’ and discussed how her life has evolved since she met and fell in love with Ryan.
“I met Ryan at work in 2007. We were working the third shift at a technology company. The office would be empty. We were sitting at work emailing each other all night. He would send extra long emails trying to sound all smart. I would reply with a few sentences and he was like ‘really that’s all you got?’ We started dating in 2008 and things were going really really well. ”
It’s amazing talking to someone about the person they love. I could tell Cre would talk about Ryan all day if I let her and he is the exact same way. However, love like life rarely goes according to plan and the couple broke up for a year. Lucrecia explained that Ryan had some maturing to do. She was forced to swerve him until he was ready.
“A year later I saw him at the club on his birthday. So cliche.”
We shared a serious giggle.
“He told me ‘I promise you if you just give me one chance I’m gonna marry you.’ I was like yeah whatever, but I guess it was destined to happen.”
At this point, I realized the love story had distracted me from the purpose of our conversation and I asked Cre to tell me about the issues she was experiencing with her kidneys. She explained that she suffered from Nephrotic Syndrome also known as Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis since December of 1998. There is no known cause or cure.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder usually caused by damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste and excess water from your blood. Cre knew something was wrong when she was experiencing extreme swelling in her face. She learned the swelling was from the scarring in her kidneys. The disease naturally increases the risk of other health problems, luckily her case was treated early and remained controlled. Cre was told in 1998 upon diagnosis, she would need a transplant in a few years. She elected not to worry and to keep living her life! She took medication to remain stable. Despite the disease she graduated from college, joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and continued to be bright and beautiful.
“I got pregnant on my birthday in 2011. I wasn’t suppose to get pregnant. I was already warned not to because it was going to deteriorate my kidneys. But we went through with it anyway.”
It was beautiful hearing her hash out this painful memory with Zoey playing in the background. Their baby is extremely creative and independent. Blissfully unbothered our conversation she chilled conversing with herself not too far from her Mommy. I asked Lucrecia about her pregnancy.
“We ended up having her eight weeks early because of the deterioration. It was a great pregnancy. I didn’t have all of the swelling and spreading of the nose and other stuff. They were just concerned about the levels in my kidneys. I went to the doctor on a Thursday and was told to come in for delivery the following Tuesday. I had her in March 2012. By July the doctor was prepping me for the donor transplant list.”
We went on to talk about our family and how much we both love and admire Ryan’s strength and determination. We talked about Memphis and the visits we had over the years. All along I never realized Cre was sick. I was distracted by barbecue and sneaking onto Beale street. Which was an obstacle at the time because I wasn’t 21 yet. We laughed at these memories and began to discuss the next steps in the transplant process. So many people wait years for organs, I wondered how she came to receive the new kidney.
“Ryan told me the moment I found out I was pregnant that he was going to give me his kidney. I really thought I was gonna be fine. But he knew. And he always stands by his word. A Lot of people were telling him ‘you never know… you might need your kidney down the line… that’s too much to give up’ but he knew that’s what he wanted to do.”
The decision to be a living organ donor is a mirror reflection of Ryan’s extraordinary character. Being strong willed is an element of our genetic makeup.
Ryan began to workout regularly once he made the decision to give Cre a kidney. I remember vividly because we would be on the phone for hours while he was in the gym. He posted countless pictures on Facebook with captions like ‘ab game on point.’
“A lot of people got tested. My mom, some of my sorority sisters, even my half-brother tried – none were matches. A few people were matches and had to do blood pressure tests. The issue was a lot of times African Americans have high blood pressure, this ruled out a lot of candidates as well. Ryan was at one point disqualified for this reason but he had his doctor send an authorization saying they approve of his blood pressure levels. This narrowed the pool down to Ryan and another girl friend of mine. We were advised that she could have trouble getting pregnant down the line. So Ryan stood by me and did everything he could to make sure we would both be fine. He even put me on a diet to make sure I would be in the best position I could for healing!”
Cre shared that the procedure took about eight hours. The removal, the preparation, and the insertion. The couple was in the hospital for about a week. My Aunt Dottie (Ryan’s mom) kept me updated and prayed with me over the phone. Ryan recovered quickly. The doctors tried to discharge him. But Ryan continued to pretend things were wrong so he wouldn’t have to leave Cre in the hospital alone. Insurance covered both of the surgeries however, there were lots of out of pocket expenses. Hardships came about during healing time for the couple. Being young homeowners with a baby did make for a financial strain but they made it work.
“I feel like our whole situation changed Ryan’s outlook on life.”
I agree with Cre wholeheartedly. Ryan has always been a standup individual. Loving and taking care of his family and friend to the full extent of his capabilities but now he is next level. Ryan is a pillar of his community and a phenomenal role model. He recently graduated with a degree in psychology, became a firefighter and is studying for nursing school.
“I don’t think we would have got to this point if everything was normal. He has always been a caring person. I’ve seen a great change in him. I love him so much. He is the love of my life.”
My hope is that this story inspires you to hold onto love and faith in humanity. Kindness counts. Sharing is caring. I hope one day when it’s time for someone to love me that I’m loved the way Ryan loves Lucrecia. I’m glad they decided to email back and forth during the third shift.