How Does He Fix This, Now That He’s in Office?

Our children are the most precious, innocent, valuable, and fragile things that we have in our world.

In the United States they have heard for four years, but with the greatest intensity, the last two years, that there are groups of people either inferior or superior to them simply because of their race, religion, or gender.

We’re supposed to be protecting, nurturing, guiding, and uplifting them. We’re supposed to be allowing them to spend this time as kids, before adulthood takes over and the mountain of drama tumbles in.

How now after four years of ugliness and hate can this person now right these wrongs? How can he now heal the pain he caused? How can he fix the wounds and the breaks he created? How can he unify what he intentionally divided? How can he possibly instill hope when he’s spent more than four years injecting fear into our homes and schools?

Maybe his secret weapon is Melania. She says she wants to take on bullying and specifically cyber-bullying.

It took four years to get here. Hopefully it doesn’t take that long or longer to mend, fix, and heal this disaster.

Prioritizing Marriage, Family, and Career

balance-work-family

Three years ago I ran across this Facebook post, “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married” written by Admin khuy, and I read it, before I got married.

What is interesting is reading it three years later and my mouth kept dropping, because it felt like I was reading it for the very first time. It’s been 6 years into a relationship, three of those years have been as a married couple—and I think this is a great article for those individuals who are career driven and/or mission driven, and think they “got it handled” when it comes to marriage and family.

Today I share this post with those of you contemplating marriage, engaged to be married, newlyweds, and even those of you married 8-40 years. I share this with the married ones who place their careers before their marriage (knowingly or unknowingly), and ignorantly think there will be harmony in that arrangement.

I share this with those of you planning to start a family, currently pregnant, have a newborn, and of course to those of you with multiple children of various ages. I share this with those of you who put your children first and your marriage second, or even last. Before your first child is born, it’s just you and your spouse. When your last child leaves the nest, guess what? It will just be you and your spouse. Your partnership deserves more than being placed second or worse, last to anything and anyone.

These three things that Admin khuy writes about sound simple, but oddly enough, many couples aren’t doing these things and that’s why current statistics are showing high divorce rates by or before year 8 in the marriage. It’s not money causing divorce, it’s disconnection, and as khuy wrote, “unawareness” that is the root cause. The byproduct ends up being money, adultery, abuse, neglect, etc. But before these things took place the roots were formed by one or both people being unaware of what marriage requires, and then the two who were once connected became disconnected—and as they grew farther apart the “issues” took center stage.

Please read this husband’s post (below) and try these three things for at least one month, and see how it can positively change your life, your marriage, your family, and even your community. If you can then see the possibility, maybe then you will embrace it as your way of life.

Marriage isn’t about living happily ever after with that one person who “completes” you, it’s about the journey of transitioning into a better, more selfless you.

Read Admin khuy’ post and then share your thoughts in my comments section…

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Are Our Daughters Coming Home?

It’s been six long, agonizing months since 300 young girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria by terror group, Boko Hiram. Of the 300 girls, 50 escaped early on, while the other 250 girls have been held hostage by these terrorists whose name means “Western Education is Sinful”, hence their attack on a school teaching “Western education”.

Imagine being their parents and siblings, wondering if their daughters were alive and under the circumstances, okay. Had they been raped? Tortured? Starved? Would they ever return home? If they do come home, will they ever heal from their experience?

There was global outcry and attempts at intervention, but nothing drastic took place to return these precious souls back to their families in their small town of Chibok (near the Cameroon border). Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan was heavily criticized for his slow response time to the kidnapping, and for his inability to stop the mass murder of his people over the years.

Nigeria’s government recently announced that they have reached a cease fire agreement with Boko Hiram that also includes the release of the girls.
The prayers of the many hope for the safe return of these precious young ladies. These girls are future wives, mothers, teachers, doctors, scientists, politicians, engineers, designers, artists, writers, c-suite leaders, and entrepreneurs.

No parent should ever have to endure the agony of not knowing the whereabouts and safety of their child. Could you ever imagine not having any contact with your child for 6 months or longer? Even 6 days would feel like 6 weeks. Six hours feels like 6 days, and 6 minutes feels like 6 hours. The emotional roller coaster that these girls and their families are feeling cannot possibly be put into words that would make much sense, because how could any of this make sense to a rational person?

I hope that when they do return home that through the resources and support of local and foreign governments, that these girls and their families are provided with counseling and other services to help them through their healing process.

Right now these girls are in survival mode. They just want to be with their families. But once they return home, their nightmare doesn’t end. The images, smells, taste, sounds, and feeling will be long-lasting. Their lives will never return to the normal they once knew, so they have to learn how to make healthy adjustments. They will need a great deal of help to work through this to reach their own level of normalcy.

To read more about the cease fire agreement, and the parties involved in this negotiation process, please read here.

Return our daughters!

~Natasha

Source:
Reuters Africa. http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0I61PG20141017

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved. theparadigmlife.com

5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Read 40 or More Books This Summer

By Natasha Foreman Bryant

I don’t have any children yet, but after reading this article by Ronnie Tyler, I couldn’t help but to smile and giggle as I reminisced about my childhood reading experience, and what I intend to implement with my own children.

All 5 ways listed by Ronnie were the same ways that my parents engaged me into the wonderful world of books. All 5 experiences connected me with my dad (who loved reading) as we challenged each other every week, both during the school year and throughout summer break.

Even when I became an adult I can recall my dad reading two or more books in a week. I still possess the majority of my dad’s book collection, and I even have the books that he was reading the week he passed away—all of which are intriguing, and all of which I have said repeatedly that I should read, but still haven’t.

I don’t read as often as I used to or as often as I would like. There are tons of books that I want to jump into beyond my spiritual and occasional business readings. Shame on me, because as Ronnie highlighted and my parents implemented as a rule—turn off the tv and remove yourself from distractions for two hours—it’s time to read.

Check out Ronnie Tyler’s article and then share your experiences and feedback about engaging your children (or being engaged when you were a child) into the many journeys that come from reading a book. Share how often you read now and the types of books that you like to explore.

Then let’s ALL get reading!!!

~Natasha

Source:
http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/husband-wife-life-lamar-ronnie-tyler/5-ways-to-get-your-kids-to-read-40-books-during-summer-break/

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved.

“Frankie Leg”: A Fun Image of Grandmothers Shedding their Frail Stereotype, or is this Adding to a More Negative One?

 

I’m really not sure what to say about this video, its message, and the impact (if any). I also am not sure what it says overall about the people it will ultimately reflect upon and clump together into one classification. Is this a fun and possibly healthy image of grandmothers and grandfathers shedding and shaking away the frail stereotype normally associated with getting older? Or is this somehow only adding to the negative stereotypes about Black people?

I start thinking of the buffoonery we once used to fight so hard against, and I wonder if we really have gone full-circle and found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of where we once were; if we have grown to accept not only other nationalities laughing and mocking us, but also embracing it as a reality for ourselves–so we too take part in this…we too find it acceptable; so we laugh, dance, smile, shuck and jive, and roll around comfortably in mediocrity.

Are we really in that much pain that we would rather entertain ourselves in this manner than uplift ourselves out of our pit of shame and despair? What message are our children really getting? Where is our dignity? When is enough truly enough? I believe that music and dance is healthy, healing, and cleansing–but does the “Frankie Leg” fall into those categories?

I am still letting all of this soak into my mind (which may be dangerous). But let’s have a healthy conversation about it shall we?

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. The Paradigm Life. Paradigm Life. Rights Reserved.
Video provided by YouTube

Girls are Still Being Told They are Too Pretty to be Smart

So I wasn’t surprised to read that more retailers have suffered from major foot-in-mouth or foot-in-rear syndrome as they have pressed and marketed t-shirts and other novelty items to young girls that basically tell them that it is more advantageous to focus on their looks than their intelligence. These messages also tell them that they aren’t as smart or smarter than boys, and guess what? It sends the same messages to boys who grow up to be men who think this way. Then women like myself have to deal with this ignorance throughout college and our careers. I’m in my mid-30s and I still have to prove that I’m intelligent and capable of playing with ‘the big boys’, while a man with a fraction of my intellect just needs to show up.

So what are retailers up to now? Well a few months ago it was the “I’m too pretty to do math” t-shirt by David & Goliath and let’s not forget the “Trophy Wife” t-shirt; I’m sure every parent sits back and hopes that their daughter grows up to be a trophy wife (yes, I’m being facetious). The more we struggle to break down these stereotypical images of females, the more guck and muck that flies up from companies that know better, but see the benefit of earning the buck more than doing the right thing.

So why would J.C. Penney get caught up in the cross-hairs of this nonsense with their “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” t-shirt? I’m not sure. Obviously they missed the memo that said gender stereotyping is a big no-no. They were smart enough to pull the shirt from stores once the backlash from consumers gave them whiplash. Lesson learned? I hope so.

Here’s the crazy thing, retailers could actually make MORE money by producing and marketing positive images and messages of girls and women than they do with this other nonsense. Think of how many t-shirts you would buy for every young girl (or even boy) you know if it read, “I work hard in school so I can have the career of my dreams“, or “Need a tutor? I get A’s in Math“, or “You can have sexy, I’ll be your boss soon“. There are so many ways to show young girls and boys that being intelligent is smart and is a highly attractive quality not only for a future spouse -which they shouldn’t be concerned with until their in their 20s, (but realistically we know they obsess over as young as age 13) but also for future employment opportunities.

Of course I’ve included the link (see below) to the article that shares the J.C. Penney story and more. I’m thrilled to read in the article that entrepreneurs are jumping into the business to produce positive images and messages for our children to see and model, such as the “Pretty’s got nothing to do with it…Redefine girly” t-shirt.

If we are truly concerned with the future of our world and the children who will be tomorrow’s leaders, then we must take responsibility for the images they see and the messages they hear…we are all role models!

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/epic-t-shirt-fail-quot-im-too-pretty-to-do-my-homework-so-my-brother-has-to-do-it-for-me-quot-2537106/

 

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Paradigm Life.

A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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