Special Education And Parents Who Give A Damn

Many years ago when my husband was stationed in Savannah, Georgia I worked at a school. The school was a very good school which educated some of Savannah’s richest families. I didn’t understand the politics involved in education until I started working in the Special Education department. It would become a stark lesson in life about inequality inside the classroom because of status.

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It would be my first lesson in social status division and my first lesson in how schools viewed children with special needs. My oldest daughter at the time was in the third grade. She was invited to two parties within the same week about halfway into the school year. One of the parties was being help at a child’s house in the Landings and the other was being held at a house at a mobile home community.

I remember asking the teacher who worked over me about both areas. I didn’t know anything about the Landings and I didn’t know anything about the mobile home park due to the fact that I liked to keep on base as much as possible. She informed me that the Landing’s party was the party I needed to let child attend. She giggled about the VIP invite and then started laughing about the mobile home invite. She insisted on keeping my child away from the child who stayed in the mobile homes because they were basically trashy.

Time came for the two parties which were held days apart. I decided against letting my daughter attend both parties due to the fact that I didn’t know the parents. I like to know parents before I say yes. However, due to the response of the teacher, I have always looked on schools with a bit of skepticism. I remember the importance the teachers held on children who were in Special Education with parents who had good jobs and the lack of importance they held for children from poor areas.

It really put me on a mission to make sure that each child knew of their importance no matter their parent’s status. I will never forget the time when I was told by a teacher that she would rather have a classroom of ghetto children than teach children under the Special Education umbrella. The sad fact is that parents do not have any idea of how some educators view their children if they have special needs. It is important perhaps more important for parents of children with special needs to stay involved with the schools and to monitor their children’s interactions due to these issues.

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Years later my daughter would get service from under the umbrella because of her ADHD and her ADD. However, those two issues weren’t the issues that would cause her to retreat inside herself, it would be a bullying attack that would hinder her from being able to interact socially. I find myself blessed with the inside knowledge of two things because of my occupational travels. I understand how certain children are regarded due to their disability and I understand how schools do not tell you about the obstacles these children face inside and outside the classroom.

So this brings me to my conversation with my daughter before we went to bed. Last night my daughter entered the room and gave me this very meaningful speech as I gazed out the window.

“Mom, I do not want you to worry about me being placed in another theater class because at the end of the day, I know you believe in me. I know dad believes in me and I believe in me. I don’t need a teacher to give me the green light when I have you guys. If she doesn’t want me in her class, I don’t want to be in it. I’ll just do my best in the new class and prove her wrong.-Ariana

I guess that is the point of it all. It is my support that will protect and propel her. Schools are set on default educations which means they do not always give what each and every kid needs. No matter how much we want to elevate the idea of teachers, there will always be those teachers who aren’t encouraging to all children. So, as parents we must lift our children up when the world tries to bring them down and remember it is our support that gives them wings.

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Don’t Get Shipwrecked On Regret

We all have moments in our lives that forever change the way we see the world. The moment can be a chance meeting with a new love, missed chance to say I love you to an old love, or a bad decision that set you on a different path. The truth is, you may never get that situation back or the circumstances that made that situation ripe for the taking.

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I challenge you to move away from wishing you could do it all over again. Don’t look backwards, but focus on right now. You are in a small boat sailing down a large river in the middle of nowhere. The river is wide and long with rocks lining both sides of the boat. Looking backwards you now notice that the water was smooth without a hint of danger, but you now see danger everywhere. You can’t turn the boat around due to the jagged rocks on the side, so you can only keep sailing forward.

That’s life, in life we sometimes leave the things we thought were dull or too safe and jump into uncharted waters. You can’t wish yourself out of the situation, you have to make your way to land. Perhaps the situation you find yourself in right now feels scary and jaded. However, take comfort in knowing that there’s always a break in the crazy. The trick is keeping your eyes open and not losing focus on what’s important.

Prior to the trip you might have thought you wanted excitement and danger. Yet, now you see that calm provided you with something much more valuable. It provided you with what you needed in that moment to start on the next journey, called life. Everything we go through has reason and purpose. Learn to embrace the current before you find yourself shipwrecked on some tiny beach called regret.

Some years ago when I first found out we were moving to Germany, I freaked out. I had heard so many bad things about Germany and the people that I was terrified. After I made it to Frankfurt, I recall feeling so out of place. Soon my husband showed up and I walked outside the airport. I no longer felt like I had left something so precious behind, I started to see that I had just stepped foot onto something that was equally as precious in its own little way.

Are You Throwing Away Your Inheritance?

Many of us have our lives figured out to some degree. Some of us plan every step down to the last inch, but what happens when our plans don’t go the way we planned? After reading a couple of articles by Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett, I think I understand why the poor stay poor. We find ourselves forever fighting the tidal waves of rent. I didn’t really think about it until after I left my last position. My family was making over 100 thousand a year, so rent wasn’t an issue. However, after I quit my job that 100 k shot down to maybe 50 k. I know some of you might be asking why would you give up that much money, well trust me when I tell you, money isn’t everything.

So, now we have to rearrange life on an income about half the size of the one before, and it has produced some soul searching. First thing I am thankful for it my daughter’s free tennis lessons from her school. She is on the tennis team and has her first game on the 22nd. We had to change car insurance companies because we could no longer afford nearly 400 dollars a month. We were able to get with another really good company for half that amount. We then had to cancel the Six Flags Membership, which was okay, because we only went to park three times and paid over a 1000 for the membership. I was able to see my daughter’s performance on Friday which was priceless. My last job made it nearly impossible to be a mom to my children. I was constantly missing meetings and events. We pretty much parked one car in the garage and currently use only one. We were able to get rid of cable and get Amazon, Netflix, and HULU which will save a lot. I found that my local grocery store has a lot of things cheaper and that my oriental store kind of sells things a littler higher. We tried to supplement our bill with fishing, but it turns out we really suck at that. I might be too hyper for that. Now, we are focusing on trying to lower the electric bill. For some reason it seems to be stuck at nearly 400 each freaking month. If we could get that down to at least 200, I would dance naked under the stars!!!!

So, after all of this, I’ve come to one conclusion. I am thankful to God for blessing me with parents who knew more than I did. Their struggles and their planning have taught me something about my own path. It only took me 41 years to learn the lesson, but at least I get it. Eight years ago we were just getting out of the military and starting life as civilians. I say we, but my husband wore the uniform. Yet, it felt like we were enlisted just as much as he was at times. We didn’t live with the mortars and near meetings with death, but I constantly dealt with the fear of the dreaded knock.

It’s funny because I wanted so badly to believe that I didn’t need my inheritance. I wanted to think that I could do things all by myself, I guess I thought that taking the gift that was left by my parents meant I was weak. I let someone rent out my house and refused to take my place as the rightful occupant on my land.  It never crossed my mind that Dukes do not turn down their Dukedoms, rich do not turn down their millions, so why was I shame of taking the land that my father so proudly showed us? Pride gives birth to failure.

It wasn’t until I did some real soul searching until I figured out just what turning my back on my inheritance meant to my family. It meant that I was cheating my girls out of an awesome life. Some of my best childhood memories were running in the woods and swinging across streams that my father and his before him used as their hunting grounds.

Another thing that gets me is the process of aging. We all die, and with that said, I feel like we are too used to moving around because of the military itch. It’s time to really build a home and not a home that some mortgage company can bill us for, I’m ready to start getting things together for a home that my children will never have to worry about paying for. We have a plan that God Willing will work out,if he sees fit! I plan to build a small cottage style house no more than 1000 square feet. The idea is to build up so we can get a bedroom upstairs, but before we can do that a few things will need to be tied up on this end.

Do you think it’s possible for life to be turned upside down so we can land on the right side of where we need to be? I feel like someone has thrown a dice and it was set to land on four, but it landed on every other number until finally it was thrown the right way. Sometimes the answer is so easy, but so hidden.

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Texas Shoots Down ICWA.

In basic language it means Indian Child Welfare Act. According to the Washington Times this morning.

“Court strikes down Native American adoption law, saying it discriminates against non-Native Americans”

This now means that ICWA isn’t going to be able to protect Native Americans anymore. The law was created because too many Native American children were being pulled away from their families and they were losing their culture.  This is my fear in regards to the striking down of the law here in Texas, you will now see more removals of Native Americans. We already know that some areas removed more than they have to, and in my opinion that issue needs to be addressed. ICWA in my opinion saved those children from being caught in the web of deceit when it comes to removals that really didn’t need to be removals.

As a former investigator, I can tell you some investigators and supervisors will work their fingers to the bone to do the right thing for children. However, you will get some supervisors like the one I had. She didn’t care about the family or trying to keep children in the family. You know, it’s funny I was talking to my husband about this last night. I told him working sure made things easier for us, but in my heart I knew it was eating away at my soul. I went to sleep and dreamed about a Native American child in the backseat of my car. She had short hair and had been there for a while. I remember telling my husband in the dream that I was going to get fired because I forgot to place her with her new family. Then later in the day, I find this out.

We already have too many children in foster care and many of those children run. If the nations have laws that protected their family members from losing their heritage, who are we to take it away? If all removals were valid and did with good reason, I wouldn’t be here. I would be working, guys. By removing the Native American’s rights to hold on to their children, we are placing them in danger of a system that needs correcting.

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Fishing Boat

I'm trying to save up for the Pelican Predator 10'3 fishing boat. It's 849.00! If you know anyone in Texas who wants to gift a boat because they don't need it anymore, that would be even better. At this rate it's going to take me a long time to save up!!!

$1.00

Chilling With Netflix Originals

Today, I’m going to start out a little different. I’m going to talk about my Netflix Original first, then I’m going to talk to you about a movie with Matthew McConaughey. The Netflix Original is First Match. I’m not one to keep you guys waiting, so here goes!

We are seeing more programming that highlights problematic situations in America. In the movie First Match , we are introduced to Monique. She’s a teenage girl bouncing from foster care to her mother and back to foster care again. Monique’s journey really starts after she sees her father show up out of the blue. She’s wanted to live with him for a while and after they met by accident one night, she developed a plan to capture his attention. This movie will make you cry, so I warn you. If you are anything like me, get a box of tissues and enjoy. I found this movie to be symbolic of the foster care child. They are children who often want to be reunited with their families, but for different reasons that reunion doesn’t always need to take place.

In Monique’s situation, both of her parents show why she was taken away from them. Her willingness to please her father is the real hitter here. It really shows how daughters crave that relationship in ways that many of us could never imagine. This is a movie that really brings home the importance of a support system. Support systems can save you or damn you depending on the fruit of that system. I do not want to give the movie away, because this is a must watch. Watch it this weekend. It’s such a good movie and it will make you think.

The next movie I have to talk about is Free State of Jones. I first heard the world nigger when I was in middle school. I remember being in my History class and this white kid talked about why he didn’t like black people. He continued with his lecture and then I was like if that’s how you feel, why are you talking to me? He then went on to tell me how I wasn’t a nigger like the rest of black kids he was talking about. Well, that really didn’t make me feel any better. I’m black, and that word was offensive to me and all of the people who looked like me.

So, fast forward to last night and my viewing of Free State Of Jones. In the first 6 to 7 minutes Matthew McConaughey’s character Mr. Newton Knight started explaining to his pals about not wanting to be anyone’s nigger. The first time he said it, I leaned in and looked at my husband. The second time he said it, I listened a little more and then after he said it a few more times, it started to sink in. Anyone can be someone’s nigger. I mean the way the word was used throughout history was to demean a class of people that another group felt was underneath them.  That way of thinking not only went for black people, but for Irish and poor people as well. I feel like Mr. Knight was one of the smartest men that lived in the Civil War era next to John Brown. It really makes you look at the word in another light and it takes away the shame of it. Mr. Knight created a band of misfits, so to say and protected the displaced from the Confederate soldiers who were increasing taxes on people.

Often when we hear about the Civil War here in the South, we hear about how the Yankees did a lot of dirt, we haven’t really heard anything about how the South took from those farmers and increased taxes on people which really pushed people into near death situations. It was an eye opening movie because I didn’t know that people were exempt from the war if they owned slaves. I don’t recall learning that in college when I took the two classes on the Civil War. So, Mr. Knight was like the American version of Robin Hood. At one point in the movie when a black character was called nigger by one of the white soldiers, he replied by asking him in a round of about way, how was he not a nigger too. Mr. Knight went on to explain how the South was making all of the poor people niggers and how color wasn’t even the issue. Can I say that Matthew McConaughey was brilliant? He was Mr. Knight and he made me want to know about the man and shake his hand for being do darn smart. To me this was better than A Time to Kill, and I loved that movie. It not only made me see the Civil War in another light, but it kind of made me see things a little differently today. Here we are fighting against one another while the people at the top are toasting to the chaos. If a Civil War were to break out today the Clintons, Trumps, Sanders, and Obamas wouldn’t be going anywhere. This country belongs to the people, but for some reason we have forgotten that. Why are we fighting against each other on the behalf of someone else’s pocketbook? For many of these people it’s about money and power. Do we even know who’s in it for us anymore?

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We The Women, Can Right This Wrong

Dear Sisters,

I ‘m so grateful for you and your eyes. Yet, it appears some of you are taking them for granted lately. There are so many people that came before us with the spirit to make things better. I fear many of us have lost that, so I am at a loss. Some of us, let our husbands, jobs, and political affiliations define us. I know this to be true, because I used to let my once heavy burdened badge define me. I would like to remind you of one truth. We are more. It’s simple, and it only has three little words.

We, yes, I am talking about all of us. It includes you, me, and the lady walking across the road. It also includes the lady working at the local store, the one riding with her partner in the patrol car, and even the doctor working in the ER. We are more. However, if  some of the people who look to set us back get their way, we might not be riding in those patrol cars much longer. We might not be able to work in the ER much longer either. A lot of people would love for you to think Affirmative Action helps one group of minorities more than any other, and honestly, this rings true. Yet, I bet you do not know what group gets helped the most by Affirmative Action. Women gain more from Affirmative action than another other group due to the struggles that we faced in the past. Those struggles were very oppressive. Say that word again, Oppressive! We were oppressed inside our country and now some of us are running back to that oppression. The truth is, we are stronger than this, we win our battles with our minds. Our minds sent men into space.

Are, we are now and have always been relevant. There’s no home unless we make it, there’s no memories unless we help to provide it, and there’s no future unless we protect it.

More, we are more than our titles. We are torch carriers for the women who paved the way before us. The quest for our legacy danced into motion around 1848. After many years of climbing women took up and won the battle to vote, work, and say their peace. Most of us now embody that times 100, but some of us have forgotten. We are talking about women who were once deemed as possessions much like slaves. The Rule of Thumb is an oppressive phrase that was used to educate men how to keep us in line. Are we going to give them that weapon back? We are the mothers and the fathers in many relationships. We are the saviors and the educators that teach other generations how to become more. We are also so much MORE than political pawns. The only spankings I’m looking to get is the one I ask for,

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not the one that the government forces on me.

This election year is like no other election year in recent memory. We are fighting for the right to continue life as we know it. If ever there was a time to bottle up that spirit of a united front, it is now. When the President of the United States can stand and laugh at a potential victim of a sexual assault, it’s time to wake up. Why is his presumed innocent more important than her presumed innocence?

Are You Interviewing Your Interviewer?

  Are You Interviewing Your Interviewer? 

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Interviewing is something we must all do at some point and time. It doesn’t matter if you are interviewing for your first job or your fifteenth job. The interviewing process hardly ever changes. I have noticed one common mistake that people make when they are looking for a new position and I am not talking about forgetting the resume. By now it’s safe to say we all know forgetting resumes can kill a job chance.

Yet, the other mistake I often hear about is people forgetting to interview the employer. We are so worried about the hair, clothes, shoes and pronunciation of our words that we forget the most important part of the interview. Do we know the company and what that company stands for? When my husband was stationed in Kentucky, I interviewed for a correctional officer position. Now back then I was shy and awkward. Okay, I’m still awkward, but not the shy little lady anymore! After I got off the phone with the correctional department, I found myself energized. I jumped up and went shopping for the perfect dress, shoes and prepared my greeting over and over. Finally, the interview day came. There I was standing before a group of three older men. They told me about the position and how much money the position came with, then it was my time to ask the questions.

 

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1. Do I get a gun?
Answer: No

2. Do I get mace?
Answer: No

3. Are they locked up?
Answer: You are all in an area together, but you will get a little walkie-talkie so if anything happens you can push the button for help. You will be in a room with about 50 to 100 men. This is a minimum-security prison.

4. Does that mean killers are at the maximum facility?

Answer: No. We have murderers and rapist here too.

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So, by this time, I’m mentally halfway to my car. I remember them asking for an updated phone number and me stuttering something like I’ll leave it on my way out. After the door opened, I ran to my car. I didn’t walk, I ran. I still wonder to this day, if they had me on camera. I would probably replay it repeatedly just for laughs, but I’m kind of flaky like that.

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My questions helped me predict a potential early job exit. It’s better to know what a company is about then to get a job and quit within a few weeks of working. It’s also important to know how your potential employer feels about children and parenting. Do you have small children, or do you have children with special needs? If you have either one of these situations, you will have to spend time at meetings and be on a time schedule for picking up your children. Make sure you think before you sign on that line. These things are important because the wrong job can cause a world of problems and those problems flow into your family. Make sure the next time you interview for a job, you have your questions ready. You want to know if the potential employer is a fit for your family, just like he/she needs to know that you are a fit for the company.