Loading...
Browsing Category

News

How to Talk To Your Child About Aftermath of George Floyd’s Death

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

As a parent (future, impending, new or veteran), we are challenged to cope with these unsettling times, and to help children who are experiencing and witnessing the mayhem related to the pandemic, and now social unrest.

It’s not just us.

The world is challenged by COVID-19 and more recently, the growing protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia . Now more than ever, we all need to become committed to personal introspection and to gather our thoughts so we can later help our kids make sense of it all.

Parents no longer have the luxury to just ignore it because the world, companies, influencers, brands, schools, political figures and seemingly everyone is saying something…finally!

A lot of parents, especially non-black parents, may struggle how to broach to topic because they themselves do not know how to process it,  know what to say, know how to say it and may experience anxiety, fear and uncertainty on how their message will be received.

I write to share my thoughts in hopes they may serve as a guide.

Ultimately, on the protests, fires and violence, you can try to shelter children but understand that if they are online, or have eyes or ears, they will hear and see what’s going on and may ask questions.

Using simple, age-appropriate wordsm explain that people are upset with a bad incident and are protesting to let the people in charge know they are not happy because this bad incident has happened before and they do not want it to happen again.

Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels

Race may be a complicated topic but if you feel your child can understand, you can go ahead and let them know that while everyone should be treated equally without regards to what they look like on the outside and what skin they have, that is not always the case. And people are upset and demanding that things change so everyone can feel safe, especially our black friends, neighbors and family.

You can let them know that it is a complicated and complex problem that adults, and in particular those in charge of certain institutions, have to deal with and hopefully, we will make progress.

They should not be burdened that they bear any personal role, though you can tell them that they should always treat everyone with kindness but let them know that the problem is bigger than just one-on-one individual actions of kindness. Bigger systems need to work in order to make the type of changes people are looking for.

If you feel you need to address the fires, violence and looting, you can let them know that there are bad people who are not protestors who have sadly gone to where the protestors are and that they causing more ruckus and mayhem.

It is upsetting to you and the protestors because they think their voice may get drowned out by these other guys.

The government is stepping in to try to weed out the bad apples mixed in with peaceful protestors, but some people think it may be too much force and getting even more upset.

Again, let them know that these are adult matters and we adults are in charge of working all of this out.

You can give them a sense of understanding that what is happening is not anything they can control but that you have hope things will work out eventually and in the end, if not soon, in the future.

For older teens, if you are comfortable discussing, you can let them know that the uprisings in protests around the United States and solidarity marches and demonstrations around the world call our attention to the cause: the systematic and institutional abuse of power and authority that has resulted in repeated instances of police-involved killings of unarmed black men, women and children in America, many times when the victims are innocent of any wrongdoing.

There is a lot of scholarship and articles summarizing the problem you can find online. Here is one that I recommend:

They should know that a lot of people are taking to the streets also because they are tired of being stuck at home because of Stay-home orders and calls for social distancing.

They have decided to join those people who are frustrated with being restrained from critizing authories and once again calling for reform to ensure all citizens are treated with human dignity and respect during police encounters.

It’s a mixed bag of a lot of different people with different agendas and looks like a mess.

Nonetheless, let them know the focus must remain on the cause of the uprising and not the tragedy and property losses that are the effect.

Ideally, all lives should matter when it comes to the exercise of caution by police to limit civilian death outcomes. Sadly, history has shown that is not the case as one racial class of people is persistently killed at an alarming disporptionate rate compared to their population in America and with impunity.

There are several initiatives and ways to get involved, demand action of elected officials, or donate to the cause of those doing the hard work to improve this situation for the betterment of all, and in particular black citizens in this nation.

I hope this helps.

Stay healthy and Safe out there!

13 Songs About Resistance, Protest and Revolution To Listen To Now

“I just want to live. God protect me,” sings gospel artist Keedron Bryant.

The 12-year old Season 4 of  “Little Big Shots” contestant sang the song and posted it on his Instagram page in tribute to the latest unarmed black person to be killed by police, George Lloyd.

I just want to live..:God protect me," sings 12-year old gospel artist and Season 4 "Little Big Shots" contestant…

Posted by Jay Jay Ghatt on Friday, May 29, 2020

Lloyd’s death came after a store clerk called the cops alleging he had used a counterfeit $20 and  protocol usually calls for a suspect to be given a ticket if more bills are not found on them given the fact that it is possible someone who uses one may not actually know the bill used was fake.

Somehow things escalated and he was arrested without resistace yet it ended getting violently and Floyd was killed mercilessly by an officer after being held down by a total of four. It also happened in front of the smartphone cameras of onlookers who plead for one officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee in Lloyd’s neck to let the man breathe. He did not let up for 9 minutes and eventually killed him.

That officer has been charged with Third Degree murder and Manslaughter after a couple of days of unrest when the Minneapolis DA failed to arrest and charge the Chauvin.

Lloyd’s name and hashtag is added to Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery who was hunted down by a vigilante ex cop and his son and EMT and Nurse Breonna Taylor, a Louisana mom who was riddled with bullets when police while serving a warrant on a person they already had in custody barged into her home in the middle of night while she and her boyfriend slept.

There has been protests, which has spread to other cities across the country, from Georgia to DC to Louisiana, and some which have turned violent with looting and destruction of private property.

I do not condone any of that.

I have seen reports that say that anarchist groups with agendas to sully the peaceful protestors have been stirring the pot.

Nonetheless, I do know that the United States was founded on rebellion against the British.

The Boston Tea Party was a riot as was The Stamp Act Riots of 1765, the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 and the Stonewall Riots of 1969, each uprisings of oppressed people in America.

In the course of history, many movements in the world have had elements of violence to them: Apartheid in South Africa, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, the Arab Spring, Eritrean and South Sudan secessesion from Ethiopia and Sudan, respectively, resulted in resolve after the unrest.

Peaceful protest results in wins but so do anarchist ones.

In any event, I am being moved and motivated by songs of Resistance in history. Here are a few of my faves which are very relevant lines:

1

What’s Going On?” By Marvin Gaye

Picket lines and picket signs

Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me, so you can see

Oh, what’s going on

What’s going on

Yeah, what’s going on

Ah, what’s going on

2

We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel

“We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it”

3

War” by Bob Marley

Until the philosophy

Which hold one race superior and another

Inferior

Is finally

And permanently

Discredited

And abandoned

Everywhere is war

Me say war

That until there no longer

First class and second class citizens of any nation

Until the color of a man’s skin

Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes

Me say war

That until the basic human rights

Are equally guaranteed to all

Without regard to race

4

Revolution” by Nina Simone

And now we got a revolution

Cause I see the face of things to come

Yeah, your Constitution

Well, my friend, its gonna have to bend

I’m here to tell you about destruction

Of all the evil that will have to end.

Some folks are gonna get the notion

I know they’ll say I’m preachin’ hate

But if I have to swim the ocean

Well I would just to communicate

Its not as simple as talkin’ jive

The daily struggle just to stay alive

5

Revolution” by The Beatles

But if you want money for people with minds that hate

All I can tell is brother you have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

All right, all right, all right

You say you’ll change the constitution

Well, you know

We all want to change your head

You tell me it’s…

6

We Gone Be Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

We gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

7

Ohio” by Crosby Stills and Nash

Gotta get down to it

Soldiers are cutting us down

Should have been done long ago

8

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – Gil Scott Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brother

You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out

You will not be able to lose yourself on skag

And skip out for beer during commercials, because

The revolution will not be televised

9

“Soweto Blues” by  Miriam Makeba with Hugh Masekela

The children got a letter from the master

It said: no more Xhosa, Sotho, no more Zulu.

Refusing to comply they sent an answer

That’s when the policemen came to the rescue

Children were flying bullets dying

The mothers screaming and crying

The fathers were working in the cities

The evening news brought out all the publicity

10

A Change Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die

‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there, beyond the sky

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

11

Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

 

12

I Want to Break Free” by Queen

I want to break free

I want to break free

I want to break free from your lies

You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you

I’ve got to break free

13

Southern trees bearing strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south

Them big bulging eyes and the twisted mouth

Scent of magnolia, clean and fresh

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday

 

7 Ways Parents Can Reduce Stress During Covid Pandemic

COVID has taken an emotional toll on many of us, and parents have really felt the brunt of it. From having to work from home, help the kids with schoolwork and entertain them, and not really getting much of a break or social time of their own, the stress can quickly add up.

How can mom and dad reduce their stress, fatigue, and overwhelm and get back to feeling good again?

Dr. Alok Trivedi is a health and human behavior expert, founder of the Aligned Performance Institute and author of the book ‘Chasing Success.’

He offers this advice:

1 Take a break: Just like when you worked in an office you would take breaks throughout the day, you must do the same when you are constantly with your kids and family. That’s not being mean or selfish. That’s taking care of your mental health and well-being. If you don’t take breaks you can’t be at your best the times when you are with your family.

2 Get out of the house: One of the biggest challenges for parents and everyone these days is being stuck inside. You may not want to go to the mall or supermarket, but you can still get out of the house. Go for rides in the car. Go for walks around the neighborhood. Sit outback and let the kids play in the yard. Go fishing. Whatever you do, just make sure each day includes time outdoors and out of the house.

3 Date time/adult time: Even though times are tough and your kids are always around, it’s important for parents to still get their adult time in. Make time to spend alone with your spouse. Give each other a massage. Hold hands. Have more sex. Physical contact is a great stress reliever. Have friends over and sit six feet apart on the driveway. Hold a virtual happy hour. Facetime your friends just to talk. You love your kids, but spending 24/7 with them is going to stress you out.

4 Focus on self-care: Everyone must put a focus on self-care, especially in times of craziness. Make sure and take at least 20 to 30 minutes each day to do something that you truly enjoy and relieve your stress, whether that’s taking a warm bath, spending time in nature, reading, listening to music, or whatever.

5 Delegate: Many parents are feeling overwhelmed these days. Having to work from home, help with homeschooling, entertaining their kids and more, there is a lot of responsibility on mom and dad’s plate. Get your kids involved and break up the daily and weekly tasks that must be completed. This not only teaches children responsibility; it will remove some of the stress that the parents are feeling.

6 Make it fun: One of the best ways to reduce stress is to add fun to your daily tasks. Maybe it’s rocking out to Aerosmith while you clean the house. Maybe it’s playing peek-a-boo with your baby. Take a random break from schoolwork for a quick game of hide and seek or bake a cake with the kids. Whatever is fun for you, do more of it.

7 Plan the future: A lot of parents are caught in the hustle and bustle of the here and now. The reality is that COVID is not going to last forever, and eventually, things will go back to some type of normal. Plan a trip. Plan a big party for when you can have people back in the house again. Look for restaurants your want to try when it is safe to eat out again.

Whatever you do, the idea is to get your mind thinking to a time when you can do more of the things you want to do again.

Now If Your Mom (Or Pops) Didn’t Teach You How To Clean House…

Last week, I blogged about a dad who started a YouTube channel to guide kids and young adults who are growing up without a father figure so today, I’m blogging about those of us whose mama didn’t teach us certain things about keeping house.

Just in time for Sprie I get accused of being anti-feminist. Here is some back story:

My roomate in college grew up in a military parent household. Her dad learned how to properly make a bed and crease the corners perfectly . She was great at folding laundry. Her shirts were exquisitely creased. Her socks drawers were meticulous as well. Her mom, I assumed, was all about organization and order and structure.

I envied my friend Richiey, who I had also went to high school with before we both matriculatated to the Unviersity of Maryland at College Park.

While I always have considered myself a neat and orderly person, I could not match the pristine way she was able to keep her things and phsyical space in tip top shape all the time.

She was the best roomate.

Now as for me, my mom worked as a housekeeper when I was a child  so you’d think I would have learned a thing or two about cleaning from her. Nope! After a day of cleaning hotel rooms, she had no energy left to teach me the proper way to clean house.

That is why I was so excited to receive this book called “Home Comforts: the Art and Science of Keeping House” from my law school class mate years later as a wedding present back in 1999.

It was a hardback book, not too fancy but amazingly went through everything in painstaken detail. They do not sell it any longer though you can still probably get a softcover version HERE!

I have a full review on the blog you can read HERE. I recently did a quick video review that you can watch here:

Trend: Family Porch Portraits Are Sweeping Across America

What started as a way to capture and commemorate these uncertain times with home-bound families for the sake of creating memories, “Porch Project” photoshoots are trending all across the country and abroad in the Uk.

Photographers and community groups work with residents to arrange family photoshoots that take place on the front porches of homes.

The picture-taker uses his or her professional quality lens and stays a substantial social distance away, wears gloves and conducts the entire shoot in a safe manner. They usually capture people in front of their homes so you don’t have to have a porch either.

Many of the photographers donate all or a portion of the proceeds from booked appointments to charities that help COVID-19 victims or front line workers.

Not everyone is crazy about what seems to be a sensible and fun way to celebrate families and give back. One anoymous writer penned a warning on a popular professional photographer’s website, calling the practice an irresponsible trend and work around.

The Photography Association of Canada went as far as request that photographers stop conducting doorstep photo sessions based on fear they caused spread of COVID.

GEORGIA

(source)

IILINOIS

(source)

MARYLAND

(source)

MASSACHUSETTS

(source)

NEW JERSEY

(source)

NEW YORK

(source)

NORTH CAROLINA

(source)

OHIO

 

(source)

TENNESSEE

(Source)

TEXAS

(source)

VIRGINIA

(source)

CANADA

(source)

Study: Covid-19 May Attack Placenta in Pregnant Women

A small study of 16 pregnant women who tested positive for Covid-19 found evidence of injury to the placenta, the organ that acts as the gut, kidneys, liver and lungs for a fetus during pregnancy.

Pathological exams completed directly following birth found evidence of insufficient blood flow from the mother to the fetus and blood clots in the placenta.

That might interfere with the placenta’s role in delivering oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood stream to the growing baby and removing waste products from the baby’s blood.

“Not to paint a scary picture, but these findings worry me,” said Northwestern Medicine obstetrician Dr. Emily Miller, coauthor of the study published Friday in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, in a statement.

Despite following only 16 women, the authors said the study is the largest examination of the health of placentas in women who tested positive for Covid-19 done to date.

“I don’t want to draw sweeping conclusions from a small study, but this preliminary glimpse into how Covid-19 might cause changes in the placenta carries some pretty significant implications for the health of a pregnancy,” said Miller, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We must discuss whether we should change how we monitor pregnant women right now,” Miller said, which she said might be done by testing the oxygen delivery of the placenta during the pregnancy and following the growth of babies via ultrasounds.

continue reading

Memorial Day: 2 Ways to Honor Fallen Soldiers Right Now!

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day set aside to honor, pay homage to, respect and remember fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces.

It’s not too late to honor a loved one who passed away in the line of duty, or just to generally recognize and do something today. Here are two ideas that you can do right now before the day is over or anytime really!

If you are a parent, these could be great history lessons:

Veteran Affairs’ Cemeteries: VA cemeteries will be open for public visitation on Memorial Day. However, wreath-laying ceremonies, accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of “Taps,” will not be open to the public.

Here is what you an do:

Go make your own online tribute or watch others at the Veterans Legacy Memorial; a page exists for each veteran and service member interred in a VA national cemetery.

Virtual Tours of U.S. Veterans and War Memorials: Since most travel has been put on pause, Google Arts and Culture has compiled a virtual tour of our nation’s most recognized memorials in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your service if you are a vet. And God Bless you and your loved ones currently serving!

Viral: Dad YT Channel Helps Fatherless Kids He Once Was

 

Are you ready for another feel good “dad” story, just in time for Father’s Day in a few weeks?

About a month ago,  Bellevue, Washington native Rob Kenney launched a special YouTube channel dedicated to showing kids who may not have a dad in their life how to fix every day things.

Kenney’s channel ‘Dad, how do I?’ was in response to his own upbringing where his father abandoned him and his siblings after divorcing their mom.

In an interview with Shattered Magazine, Kenney  said of his dad who he explained has cheated on his mother “he got custody of us, but he didn’t really want us…I think he was kind of done by that time.”

After he grew up, Kenney turned to his faith as a Catholic and decided that when he became a dad himself, he would focus on raising good adults.

“I never wanted to be wealthy. I never wanted to be necessarily successful,” he explained. “My goal in life was to raise good adults — not good children but good adults — because I had a fractured childhood.”

And that’s what he did until his own kids grew up and left the nest.  He has now turned to making sure all those other children growing up without the presence of a father in their home will have a place to go to get some fatherly advice.

Since his story went viral, Kenney’s channel has amassed 1.4M viewers as of this post!

Great job! I’m a new subscriber!

9 Free Financial Apps to Download Today

A lot of people are out of work due to global stay home orders and shutdowns because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Therefore, a lot of families are budgeting more and being more mindful of their finances.

They may be depleting their savings or surviving on government subsidies like unemployment or pandemic loans or grants. Here is where it is a good idea to download a good software or two to help you track your spending, pay bills or track deferrals, in case your mortgage, landlord or utility provider has suspended collections.

A few of these allow you to keep track of your credit score, your investment portfolio  (if you’re not afraid), track your debt reduction or your daily, weekly, and monthly expenses so you know where your money is going and what you need to reign in, if that’s a concern.

And the best thing is that a lot of these apps are FREE! (and some with in app purchases or upgrades)

Mint is an all-in-one resource that allows you to make budgets, track spending, pay bills and keep track of your investment portfolio. DOWNLOAD THIS APP

 

Clarity Money allows you to set savings goals, make budgets, check your credit score, and track your spending. DOWNLOAD THIS APP

Albert analyzes your finances, spending habits and savings goals and creates a plan based on them. DOWNLOAD THIS APP

You Need a Budget – Gives you a “job” for every dollar so you know exactly howmuch you have available for purchases. DOWNLOAD THIS APP

Wally allows you to track your daily, weekly, and monthly expenses against your overall income to see where money is coming in and going out. DOWNLOAD THIS APP

Acorns saves money automatically by rounding up purchases on linked accounts and moves the differences into savings. DOWNLOAD THIS APP.

 

Prism is a streamline bill payment system that shows all account balances, bills and payments to creditors in one platform . DOWNLOAD THIS APP.

 

Digit tracks all your loans in one place, along with your payment due dates and debt amounts. DOWNLOAD THIS APP.

Settle up keeps track of your shared expenses to show all money owed and who you should pay next. DOWNLOAD THIS APP.

There you have it! Download some of these today and start getting your life in order and in check!

With New Fatherhood, CNN’s Anderson Cooper Joined the 3 percent

When CNN anchor Anderson Cooper announced on the last day of April last month that he had become a father, he joined the 3% of single men in the United States who become a parent without a partner or spouse.

“On Monday, I became a father,” the heir to the Vanderbilt fortune and popular on air news personality shared at the end of a CNN Town Hall segment. “I have a son.”

He later tweeted that Wyatt Morgan Cooper was born on Monday weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces.

Before Cooper, one of his best friends, BravoTV‘s Andy Cohen also welcomed a baby solo, and similarly, Cohen too announced the news on his nightly talk show Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen

Other famous men who became parents while single include, actor Hill Harper, who adopted a son, while  there is apparently a growing trend of single men turning to surrogacy, according to recent reports.

International soccer star and the most famous person on Instagram, Cristiano Ronaldo, is a surrogate to three children, two of whom were born when he was single.

In 2008, Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin used a surrogate to father twins while he was also without a partner at the time. He has since welcomed a daughter, Lucia, with his husband Jwan Josef.

In a blog post on the E network‘s Daily Dish Blog, an expert explains the trend:

“There are many reasons why some men don’t start a family in their 20s or 30s. But it’s not too late to have a child, even if you don’t have a wife or a female partner? Single men who want to have a biological child of their own, both gay and straight, are starting to turn to IVF and surrogacy,” reports WINfertility, an organization which assists men in becoming single fathers.

“It’s not a simple process — basically, a single man who wants to be a dad needs an egg donor, a gestational surrogate to carry the child, and IVF to make fertilization of the egg and transfer of the embryo possible. There are hormones to take, sperm to donate, tests to undergo, egg testing to be done, contracts to be signed. It can be a years-long process. Which means that if you do it, you really want it.”

But according to Gayle East, owner and director of Surrogate Solutions in Hewitt, Texas, single man surrogacy is becoming more prevalent!

The type of guy who will be willing to undertake such a life-altering move are professionals who are financially stable and ready to settle down but they haven’t found a partner yet.

“They’re single guys who’ve been working in a career, saving money and becoming more financially secure. It’s very doable for them,” says East. “In the past, there was the stereotype of moms raising a family, but they’re seeing same-sex couples with families. And now, watching other guys go through this process will probably give more single guys the courage to do this.”

Congrats to Cooper!