THINGS WHITE PEOPLE DO THAT WE DON’T THINK ABOUT!

O.k. why is it that when kids graduate from junior high school, we (Black people) reward them with a shiny new stereo instead of something that has to do with what he accomplished? Something that might make their future brighter. I grew up in a place called Westlake Village, the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. I definitely noticed a big difference in the way I was raised, and the way my fellow classmates were raised. See, I was one of the only African American children in my school. At most, there were 5 African Americans at my school at one time, but it only lasted a year. I have always been very observant, so I noticed that my friends were getting bank accounts, stocks in their father’s company, mutual funds and bonds, even inheritance. I also remember saying to myself, “That sucks all they got was a piece of paper.” If my mom had handed me a piece of paper saying when I turned 18, I would have a certain amount of money I would have been pissed. I would not have understood that she was doing me a favor, because that was not the way I was taught. But now I realize what those other people were doing is investing in their children’s future. As an adult I understand, because no one had anything to invest in my future and because my mother did what she was taught. Needless to say, I did not grow up rich. By the way, just for the record I’m still playing that stereo!! So, thanks mom I can’t complain.

It is very important to teach your children healthy money habits. This is a lesson that should start at least by the second half of elementary school. Don’t just hand them money, see, easy come, easy go. If they earn it, and they are taught they have to work for money. Not only are you teaching them an important life lesson of responsibility but you are also teaching them how to appreciate what they get, and the harder they work the bigger the reward. I understand parents want to give their children what they never had, but when you hand them things too easily, they don’t learn the value. Take them to the bank. Teach them how to withdraw money and make deposits. Also, how to put money away in a savings account, and to invest. Help them to put a percentage of their money in a savings every month, then twice a year invest 50 dollars. Teach them to read their bank statements and watch their money grow. Believe it or not, get them interested in their money and they will value what they have more and what you do for them more. It is important to understand the value of money.

SAVING FOR COLLEGE

This day and age, we know it is important for our children to go to college, so why do we wait until their junior year of high school and wonder where we are going to get the money from to send them to school.  From day one you need to start saving, even if you don’t have the money, it’s your duty as a parent. Think of all the change you find in your pockets at the end of the day, or in the bottom of your purse. As soon as your baby is born, start setting aside money. Start a savings account for your child. Open a mutual fund, pick a conservative (maybe a C share) and watch the interest grow. Holidays, birthdays, maybe every payday invest 10 dollars in your child’s future. Even just save the interest from your accounts at the end of the year and invest that into the mutual fund. Or your tax returns, invest them, watch them grow and you will give your child such a head start. Even the cost for community colleges is going up. If you start now, it won’t be such an overwhelming thing when it is time for them to go.

Some financial terms you need to know:

Investment – the total of cash and asset invested in a business enterprise. Investment is the use of saving to produce future income.

Mutual fund – a financial organization that pools the money of its members to invest it in a variety of securities. The fund doesn’t have a fixed amount of capital stock but sells additional shares to investors as they demand.

Life insurance – a system in which a person pays a small sum of money on a regular basis to have a large sum paid to family upon death. You can cash it in after a certain amount of time.  It can just be in place of a savings account, that way you don’t have quick access to the money so you can’t pull it out when you see those shoes you need.

Property – the equity in a home can also be used. Equity is the amount that a property is worth beyond what is owed on it.

 

College is one of the biggest things you will ever have to save for. Here are 3 things you can do before your child’s fifth birthday.

First is to set a goal

Financial planners are always preaching the importance of setting a goal first. There are benefits to doing this: it will be easier to maintain the savings discipline if you know what you’re shooting for, and you’ll know early on if you and your partner have different ideas about paying for college. Here are some issues you should sort out:

-How much of the bill are we willing to pay? Should parent pay the entire college education or perhaps you feel your child will only truly value an education if they have to pay a chunk of it themselves.

-Will you pay for private school? Some parents pay college cost up to the level of tuition and room and board at the local State U. If your child has his heart set on a pricey private school, you might have him to make up the difference.

– Will you pay for graduate school? Medical or law school can double or triple college expenses.

Crunch The Numbers

Now that you agree on what you’re willing to pay for, you’ll need to figure out how much it will cost. Some evening fire up the computer and run the numbers. There are several college calculators that will guide you through the process. Try a few different scenarios: public school vs. private school, having more children (if it’s part of your plan) If you plan to fund four years at a public university, you’ll need to save about $200 a month– equivalent to a $2,000 IRA each year plus an extra $50 a month. If you plan to foot the whole bill at a private college (on average $21,000 a year today) you’ll need to put aside about $500 a month.

If those numbers seem out of reach, don’t give up. Delaying will only make it worse. Waiting just four years will increase your monthly savings amount by 50 percent, and if you don’t start until your child is in eighth grade, you’ll have to save three times as much.

On the other hand, there’s no rule that you have to save the entire amount before your child can set foot in a university. Most parents pay for college through a patchwork-quilt approach: some savings, some current income, student loans, a home equity line of credit and summer saving. Figure out a monthly amount you can work into your budget and move on to the next step.

Start Saving

The smart saver ruler is to accumulate money in the most efficient place and then pull it out in the most efficient way. Usually this means taking advantage of tax breaks that will help your money grow more quickly. Your 401(k) plan at work is a great place to save, but chances are you’ll need every penny of that for your own retirement. A terrific runner-up is the Roth IRA.

If you and your spouse make less than $150,000 and you file joint tax returns you can each fund a $2,000 Roth IRA each year. You don’t get a tax break when you invest, but you can pull out your $2,000 contribution whenever you wish, tax-free. If you use the earnings for college costs, you pay regular taxes with no penalty. If you are older than 59 ½ when your child is in college, you can pull out the earnings tax-free as well. Plus, Roth IRAs are not currently counted for figuring financial aid under the federal rules. If you save $4,000 a year and earn 9% per year, you’ll have $56,000 tax free in 14 years plus $48,000 in earnings (about $32,000 after taxes).

When you invest in a Roth IRA, you choose where your money goes. Shop for a growth oriented no-load stock mutual fund. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index will spread your investment over the whole U.S. stock market. The minimum investment is $1,000 for an IRA. The T. Rowe Price family of mutual funds will let you get started in a Roth IRA for as little as $50 a month if you have the money taken out of your bank account. The Equity Index fund is a great choice.

 

There are also a few other alternatives:

State-Sponsored College Savings (529) Plans

-Advantages: Tax-deferred asset growth. Contributions allowed up to about $100,000 a year. Some states allow residents to deduct contributions from state taxes. When withdrawn to pay for higher education, gains are taxed at the lower child’s rate (some state levy no state taxes on gains).

-Disadvantage: plan administrators, not you, decide investment strategy. Investments may not be aggressive enough for risk-tolerant investors who think they can earn more than enough to balance the tax advantage.

Prepaid Tuition Plans

-Advantage: Pay current tuition rates for an education far in the future. No worry about investment returns.

-Disadvantages: Full tuition is only covered if your child decides to go to an in-state college. Prepaid plans replace financial aid, so they may not be a good deal for a child who will qualify for substantial aid. If your child decides on a private college– or none at all– the plan will pay according to how much your investment have earned

Grandparent “Plan”

This is not a tax-advantage college saving plan in the strict sense, but it can be a neat trick. Grandparents with money to spare can pay tuition bills directly to a college without incurring a gift tax. Funds owned by grandparents do not show up on the family financial aid application, so this is one legitimate way to “hide” assets.

SHE GOT HER 1ST TROPHY AND IT’S 1ST PLACE

2 months ago, my daughter went to her instructor and asked could she be in the tournament. She overheard the older kids talking about it. He looked up at me not knowing how to respond. I smiled at him. He had a long talk with her about how she would have to learn a form and perform it in front of judges. He asked her if she was committed to doing it. That day I signed her up by her request and she was then taught a form. She practiced every day for 2 months. Her Master, the other instructors and her two favorite junior teachers also were big helps to her these 2 months prior to the tournament making sure she knew exactly what she needed to do and prepare.

The day came and we woke up early in the morning to head to some rec center downtown. When we arrived 2 of her instructors were outside greeting people and giving them directions to the registration desk. She walked up like a big girl and handed them her slip. After being signed in, we walked inside and got a front row seat on the bleachers right behind the ring she was going to be in. This was my first tournament I had ever been to, but it reminded me very much of the original Karate Kid. (I haven’t seen the remake but it’s on my to do list with my children).

We put on her uniform and she began to rehearse her form in the ring she would be preforming in, with her Jr. Instructors right there assisting her. Her whole school was there, and she was the baby. I didn’t realize so many adults took class and would be competing. Not in her division but still…I was overwhelmed. She was the most focused I had ever seen her and in her zone. She was comfortable and in her element. She wasn’t looking back at the bleachers looking for me, she was concentrating on her goal.

Tae Kwon Do is an individual sport but her whole school was there to support and encourage her and they really made sure she was ready. When they called all competitors to the floor to go over the rules she was right there listening. I was majorly impressed and thankful how her fellow schoolmates all kept an eye on her and with the group, so she didn’t get lost in between all the people there. I was proud, I knew she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

When it was time for the competition to start, 15 kids lined up in her ring. I started to feel panicked because they were all bigger than her and only one other boy was her size. It was supposed to be 5 years old and younger but NO WAY IN HELL WERE THESE KIDS 5. One boy was damn near 5 feet tall.  No, she wasn’t sparring but I was still nervous as can be. I was thankful they were white belts. I was trying my best to be calm. There was a whole conversation going on between the judges and some coaches. It took them 15 minutes to start. It felt like an hour and a half for me. My mom leaned over and said, “They are taking too long, she’s not going to be focused anymore.”  I looked at her sitting in first position perfectly posed and smiled. She was meditating. Her father and I had a conversation with her about envisioning her performance of her form in her head. We both told her if she could picture herself doing it perfectly, she would. I knew that’s what she was doing.

Finally, they started. One after one, I was starting to relax. These children were going up 2 at a time so they could copy each other. They may have been 9 years old, but they had no idea what they were doing. She was called up second to last. She marched front and center introduced herself, her style, her school name and then asked for permission to start. The judge smiled at her because none of the other competitors had done this. I was so thankful to her coaches. I knew right then she had it in the bag. She got in her zone and did her thang. The 3 judges all gave her a 9.9. score. Her Master was beaming and her whole school and parents erupted with cheers. I was so thankful and proud I couldn’t even feel myself breathing. I looked over and saw tears flowing down my mother’s face. She sat back down with such grace. She did not gloat as the other child went. I don’t even know if she understood what happened. When they called her back up with 2 other children, she stood there at attention. I couldn’t see her face just the back of her, but she was holding so still. The other children were handed their trophy’s and she was given hers last. That’s when we saw excitement as she jumped up and down. Her coach picked her up and gave her a big hug and brought her over to us so we could all take pictures. 1st PLACE! MY LITTLE BABY TOOK 1st PLACE! She held onto her trophy all the way home. I am shocked she didn’t sleep with it! I love the fact she knows her family is proud of her, but I am elated she is proud of herself.

I don’t know if I have ever been so excited in my life. April 20, 2019 will always be special day in my house. It’s the day my little ninja won her first trophy!

EVERYONE DOESN’T AGREE WITH MY CHOICE TO HOMESCHOOL & I’M OKAY WITH THAT!

Everyone doesn’t agree with my choice to homeschool and I am okay with that. I am not in a place in my life where I have to please anyone except my child.  As long as I do right by her, that’s all that matters. She is 4 years old and extremely above average. She always has been according to her pediatrician. (It’s not just a mother’s love.) She is reading at a 2nd – 3rd grade level, doing fractions, bar graphs and 3 digit adding and subtracting. The kid can tell time, count money and speak Spanish. So, I don’t feel right putting her in preschool so she can “socialize” is the right choice for her. In fact, I feel it is an injustice. Her learning will not grow in a school environment. She will be stuck in a class with a group of children saying their ABC’s. FOR WHAT TO SOCIALIZE?  Socialize is the most common thing people love to bring up, as if she is a hermit with no friends, who I don’t allow out of the house. The kid has a slew of cousins, she takes Tae Kwon Do 4 days a week and has a much better social calendar than I ever have with weekends full of play dates and birthday parties.

I understand some adults live for the weekend and their time to socialize with friends. I hate to break it to you but that’s only the working class. The employees who spend their lives making other people’s dreams come true. No offense, but I am tryna raise a C.E.O, a boss, doctor, entrepreneur or an astronaut. I want my little person to live a life that is all her design, full of possibilities and opportunity. I want her to know you can live every day of the week, not just on the weekend.

Let’s face it… it doesn’t take 8 hours in school to complete the work they assign. Most of it is fluff. I cannot send her to school where she will read the words, SLAVE AND WETBACK in her school books but NOWHERE will she read the KLAN or KKK or the fact that white people were her oppressors! I am just not comfortable with the idea of her never understanding the true history of this country until she goes off to college and takes an awakening African American Studies class that turns her head around like it did for so many of us. I will teach her who she is before the world tries to tell her who they want her to be. 

I cannot leave her education in the hands of people who look at her as a number or a check instead of a person!

If your child is average and you are okay with sending them to school to learn the same bullshit you were fed, that’s okay with me. I am not going to try to talk you out of it. If school was great for you, I pray it’s great for them. Me…myself I wasn’t challenged! School didn’t teach me shit but to read a chapter and answer the 6 questions at the end of the chapter. It taught me that even my own teachers were racist, and I was just someone they had to put up with. My saving grace was my tutor Mrs. Ruthann-Crudup Brown. That 5’2” beautiful chocolate tyrant stayed on my ass and went above and beyond what the California school system had set out for me. I’m going to let you go now because I am starting to ramble. I BASICALLY WROTE ALL THIS TO SAY EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DIFFERENT AND THAT’S OKAY.  STOP TRYNA PUT PEOPLE IN A BOX BECAUSE YOU WANT TO LIVE THE COOKIE CUTTER LIFE. It simply doesn’t work for everyone.

CHEER FOR THE CHILDREN, NOT JUST YOUR OWN

My daughter and I hug and kiss and say, “I love you” all day long to each other. She even says it in her sleep because I have been whispering it to her in her sleep since birth. I want her conscious and subconscious mind to always know without a shadow of a doubt that she is loved daily unconditionally.

Not only do I teach her that I am proud of her, I teach her the importance of being proud of herself, which if you ask me is priceless!

Children seek the approval of their loved ones and want to please those who have their hearts. I remember being young and how good it felt to hear my mom say, “Good job” or “I am proud of you.” I watch my daughter turn around in Tae Kwon Do and give me thumbs up during class when she does something well. She’s supposed to be focusing but she is still looking to see if I am watching and if I approve.

I am that loud, cheering mother who sits in the front with no shame. I also cheer for the other children and tell them, “Great job,” as well. I am sure some of the other parents think I’m nuts, but I am okay with that. Everyone gets encouraged, it’s the thing to do. 4 days a week, all the children in her class hear from me how great they did.

I didn’t realize a large number of children are never shown affection. Not only do their parents not show up, they don’t cheer for their little champions. Next time you are at one of your children games, meets or school, please cheer for the child who is excelling but not hearing the cheering echo. Your cheer, approval and encouragement may be the only one they receive that day.

HOW IS LOW SELF-ESTEEM EXPRESSED?

Low self-esteem is expressed through the need to constantly impress others by seeking their approval. When negative feedback is repeatedly offered to a child with low self-esteem, he begins to believe the negative evaluations as truth about his abilities and self-worth. These negative evaluations then become direct reflections of the child’s belief that they are incapable, unsuccessful, and unworthy. There are two common low self-esteem responses: 1) to feel reserved, incompetent and worthless; 2) to feel angry and desire to get even with others. Individuals who feel down generally feel unsuccessful and overwhelmed by the tasks of life. They are shy, tend to remain where they feel safe, and try to find ways of escaping unpleasant realities or situations. Angry responses to having low self-esteem include constantly finding fault with the world, being negative about everything, and taking things out on others. Since their behavior generally reflects their self-image, their misbehavior is derived from their negative self-concept; a child who believes he is bad portrays his behaviors to fit his self-view. The more he misbehaves and the more anger, punishment, or rejection he receives, the more his belief is reinforced that he is a bad child. How children express self- esteem difficulties depends upon their personal experiences and varies among individuals. Some children express more emotional or behavioral difficulties while at school, whereas others may express them at home.

The following profile illustrates a child who has low self-esteem: 

Sue is a seventh grader who is an average student. Her teacher refers to her as “reserved and quiet.” She has minimal friendships, completes half of her homework assignments, and perceives herself as being less competent academically when compared to her peers. She becomes frustrated and gives up easily on tasks that she feels she will never master. She constantly seeks the approval of other adults, but then focuses on and emphasizes any negative feedback she receives. She interprets her parent’s and teacher’s frustrations as indicating she is a “bad” child, which reinforces her core belief that she is a bad child. Her negative view of self influences her outlook on life and keeps her from developing new interests and attempting new tasks.

Intervention options

Individual Therapy – Usually once per week – ideal for identifying and addressing negative core beliefs of individuals. Very helpful for children who wish to speak with someone outside the immediate family. Cognitive therapy is very beneficial for children with low self-esteem and depression. Specifically seek out a therapist who specializes in children or adolescents.

Family Counseling – Usually once per week – good for addressing family issues and examining family roles, structure, and values.

Group Therapy – Usually once per week for 60-90 minutes. Good for education about self-esteem, its origins, and for social interaction with others who share similar beliefs about themselves. Check with the child’s school psychologist for available related groups.

Parent Workshops – Usually offered at various times and places. Check with school resources, therapist referrals, psychiatric hospitals, local support groups, local college or university childhood education departments, or community organizations.

Potential Resources

  • Behavioral health professionals (including psychologists, social workers, counselors, and psychiatrists)
  • School psychologists, counselors, and teachers
  • Your family doctor or pediatrician
  • Your minister, rabbi, bishop, or priest
  • Parent support groups
  • Your health insurance company (look for ‘behavioral health services’ or ‘mental/nervous services’ listed in your health benefits booklet)
  • Community information referral services
  • Self-Esteem Enhancers For Parents
  • Value Your Child Unconditionally

Accepting a child regardless of their strengths and weaknesses is pertinent for expressing unconditional love to them. This must also be reinforced by the amount of quality time (focused attention) spent with a child each day. Although it is not feasible for a parent to designate all of their attention to a child, it is necessary to spend at least 20 minutes of quality time three to four times per week. Throughout the week parents can continuously express their interest and attention by offering hugs and smiles.

7 IMPORTANT THINGS TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT MONEY

1.Teach them to respect money!

If parents treat money with respect, watchful eyes will learn. What ever happened to “Find a penny pick it up all day long you will have good luck?”  I watch children walk by pennies or drop them on the ground. They need to understand that one cent can’t set the foundation and it can’t grow into whatever they make it.

2.Teach the difference between needs and wants.

It’s ok to say, “No, you don’t get that sweater this week because you need a pair of shoes. Teach some things are expensive and need to be saved up for. Don’t just hand them everything they want; it won’t help them appreciate the things they receive in the long run. Also, let them make money decisions at an early age.

3.Help encourage them to save their money instead of spending it.

4.Make sure your child understands the connection early between hard work and a paycheck.

Don’t just give them allowance, instead have them do chores to get that allowance. If they want money or even extra money, it’s ok to make them earn it. No handouts. Teach them early how the world works, that way they will grow up with the concept of real life and they will be able to survive on their own. Write children checks to encourage them to leave their money in the bank. Giving out cash makes it easy to spend.

5.Teach children about credit and how important it is.

Some children’s toys now come with “play” credit cards. Explain to them it’s not just free money.

6.Encourage them to get a small job when they are age appropriate.

7.Teach your child about investments and how to make their money grow.

No better teacher than experience. Teach them the difference between being a shareholder or just a customer.

In the long run, you will be doing your child an extreme favor by teaching them healthy money habits. Money management is one of the biggest struggles in the world with the reason being growing up money is not a thing discussed with children. It’s so important to teach money management, needs vs. wants, saving vs. spending. Smart money management teaches children how to set lifetime goals.

FAMILY MEALS

Family meals are a comforting ritual for both parents and kids. Children like the predictability of family meals and parents get a chance to catch up with their kids. Kids who take part in regular family meals are also:

  • More likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains
  • Less likely to snack on unhealthy foods
  • Less likely to smoke, use marijuana, or drink alcohol

In addition, family meals offer the chance to introduce your child to new foods and find out which foods your child likes and which ones he or she doesn’t.

Teens may turn up their noses at the prospect of a family meal – not surprising because they’re trying to establish independence. Yet, studies find that teens still want their parents’ advice and counsel, so use mealtime as a chance to reconnect. Also, consider trying these strategies:

  • Allow your teen to invite a friend to dinner.
  • Involve your teen in meal planning and preparation.
  • Keep mealtime calm and congenial – no lectures or arguing.

What counts as a family meal? Any time you and your family eat together – whether it’s takeout food or a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings. Strive for nutritious food and a time when everyone can be there. This may mean eating dinner a little later to accommodate a child who’s at sports practice. It can also mean setting aside time on the weekends, such as Sunday brunch, when it may be more convenient to gather as a group.

HOMEWORK DOESN’T HAVE TO EQUAL THE BLUES

Listening to my friends, one of the biggest struggles they have with their children is homework. The reason I feel this is important is I see daily many mothers struggle with their children about doing their homework. With the fact that most woman are not home after school because they are working, it makes it hard to set a structured time when homework is supposed to be done. Often children and the parent are restless at the end of the day and tired, so it makes it hard for the both of them to be able to concentrate. So, I came up with some easy homework tips for parents.

#1. Stay informed.

#2. Be positive about homework. Tell your child how important school is. The attitude you express about homework will be the attitude your child acquires.

#3. When your child does their homework, you do yours. Show your child that the skills they learn in school are skills they use in their adult life. If your child is reading, you read too. If your child is doing math, balance your checkbook.

#4. Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do their homework. Avoid having your child do their homework in a room where people are coming and going, or the television is on.

#5. Make sure your child has everything they need before they start: paper, pencils, and dictionary. Have them gather these things in advance so there will be minimal interruptions.

#6. Help them learn time management. Set a time when homework is to be done, don’t let them wait until just before bedtime.

#7. When your child asks for help provide guidance, not the answer! Giving the answer means you child will not learn the material. Giving them the answer teaches them when times get rough someone will be there to do everything for them so why should they do thing for themselves.

#8. Cooperate with the teachers. It shows the child that school and home are a team.

#9. If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parental involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independence and lifelong learning skills.

#10. Help your child figure out what is hard work and what is easy. Have your child do the hard work first; this means they will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.

#11. Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. Let your child take short breaks if she is having trouble keeping her mind on assignments.

#12. Reward progress in homework. If your child has been successful in homework completion and is working hard, celebrate that success with a special event (i.e. pizza, a walk, or a trip to the park) to reinforce the positive effort.

FAST FOOD FOR MY KID IS A NO NO

Let’s touch on the topic of fast food. This used to be a treat, now for many it has become a way of life. How did we get so lazy that we would rather go through a drive thru than cook our kids a real meal? I have yet to patron a fast food restaurant that serves a side of broccoli with the kid’s meal. Children need to eat a well-balanced meal since they are growing. It is our job as parents to make sure we keep them as healthy as we can. Do you know food also works with the immune system? If your child gets a cold every time they go outside, maybe you need to change their diet.

When our kids eat refined sugars, such as cookies, sweets, white bread and pop, the food is broken down into glucose. Due to the lack of fiber in these food items, they enter the bloodstream in the form of sugar at a rush speed. Research shows that only 7% of children consume the recommended three to five servings of vegetables and two or more servings of fruit daily. Unfortunately, due to poor nutrition and inactivity, the rate of childhood illnesses such as allergies, obesity, attention-deficit disorder and ear infections are rising dramatically.