In 1988 DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) released a song entitled: “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. This song was very popular with teens from a variety of backgrounds for many reasons. The most popular was that many teens agreed that their parents did not understand what they were going though as teens. In addition, the song was a light humorous version of hip hop.
Today, we are facing a crisis in education. Many changes have occurred and while teachers and students are being updated, parents are being left out of the loop. Helping your child matriculate from 1st grade to 12th grade successfully used to be an easy task. But now because of technology, testing, new curriculum changes, new data on teaching and learning and various other additives, parents just don’t understand.
In the next few weeks, the articles I post will be for you, parents. Of course, teachers, administrators and others can read these articles and respond, but parents are my main concern this time around. So please check the site often and feel free to reply. I am excited to share some information with you and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Articles will be posted every Sunday.
See you soon,
Brian J. T. Watts, Ed.S
I am a middle-aged male and I have been hearing certain comments for most of my life. These comments have become the norm nowadays and have almost become standard with women. These comments say that there are no good men “out there” (where ever “out there” is). Women are constantly complaining about the quality of man that exists today and I have something to say about that:
Let’s take a look at a garden and two different gardeners. One gardener is meticulous in the care of his garden and the other gets to his garden when he has time.
Gardener 1 goes out every day to tend to his tomatoes and makes sure the vines are in good shape. He checks his greens for evidence of insects and parasites, he positions his growing melons so they have room and he eliminates the weeds that have sprouted near his prized possessions. When there is no rain, he waters his garden and turns the rich soil when necessary.
Gardener 2 doesn’t do any of the things that the aforementioned gardener does on a regular basis. When he decides to check on his produce, he sees that nature has taken its course. Some of the immature tomatoes have weighted heavy on the vine and broken the weak stems that are customary to tomato plants. His greens have been a scrumptious dinner for insects and weeds have taken over his garden so much that he can barely see the melons that are growing.
In both cases there is a product that can be harvested. Gardener 1 has a great harvest. Sure there are some fruits and vegetables that are not perfect, but for the most part he can rejoice about what he has raised. Gardener 2 will have much less success and should not complain about what he has harvested. Of course, some of his produce will be fine. There are many fruits and vegetables that can grow in adverse situations and still be beautiful and delicious. However, the bulk of his harvest will not be attractive to him or anyone else.
WHAT ARE WE RAISING? Have you realized that our society puts men down on a regular basis? Look at the majority of sit-coms on television. The father (if he is there) is usually stupid or the butt of most of the jokes. When the sit-com takes place in a school, the male principal is an idiot who doesn’t see what is going on right under his nose.
Men are not celebrated in our society. It is bad enough that there are no more “rites of passage” for our youth, but why do we not honor the men? Father’s Day is the most frequently forgotten holiday that exists and Valentine’s Day (a supposed holiday for lovers) has become a women’s holiday where men do not get much, if anything. Wedding anniversaries have become as bad as Valentine’s Day. Women get gifts and men get to give them. Don’t even get me started on weddings. Too late! Isn’t it weird that in a Christian nation (like the USA) our wedding ceremonies focus on the bride, when the Bible stories about weddings always focus on the bridegroom as the star of the wedding?
Now, I know that many of you will say that I don’t know your situation and you didn’t have everything you needed to do what was needed. Let’s go back to the gardeners. If they were both given run-down gardens that had been neglected, what would have happened? Gardener 1 would still come out on top, because he put in the work instead of letting the environment take over. Future seasons would show more and more growth as he continued to invest in the garden. Gardener 2 would soon give up on his garden and blame the environment. Is this who we are? Sure your situations may not be the best right now but as you invest things can and will get better.
If there are no good men, it is because we are not raising good men. Let’s stop complaining and put in the work and grow the kind of men that we can be proud of. By the way, there are good men out there.
So, what can we do?
Here are 3 ideas we can start with:
1. Treat men like they should be treated. Men enjoy gifts, dinners, days off, surprises, etc.
2. Explain to your children and to your friends that the media is not accurately depicting males in our society. Create blogs and campaigns that show Hollywood that you mean business (I will be doing this as well). Support programs that elevate the positive males in our society. They should be listed in your local Chamber of Commerce. If not, a web search should do the trick.
3. Mothers, watch what you say about men. When mothers bash men, they put a hatred for men into their son’s subconscious mind. If they do not grow up to be positive men, they end up hating themselves for becoming what their mother hated. This is a vicious cycle that we must break.
We can alter the future. Let’s make it positive! What do you think? I would love to hear your comments
This is a new project that I am working on with Paula Morris. Please check out the first article and feel free to comment!
Brian J. T. Watts is an educational consultant and an administrator. He is the principal of an elementary school in Nashville and a public speaker who has spoken for youth, singles, married couples and mixed audiences. He also conducts seminars for various groups with his wife.
Paula Sanders Morris is an educator and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Our Faith Channel. She conducts workshops on Business Marketing, Music Ministry and living on purpose. She is a mother of twin daughters.
Why do we humans have such problems with sticking to a task? I started this blog over a year ago, but I have not written a blog for many months. I thought that I would be a serial blogger by now, but I am not!
On a more positive note, I did just finish a 28 day committment of Black History posts on Facebook where I spotlighted my friends from elementary school, high school and college. I was proud to have actually stuck to a process that I started! How random is that?
Well let us get to the point! I have begun blogging again and I hope to have you as a reader on my future posts. I have been through a lot since I stopped blogging last year and my life and my ideals have changed drastically. I am on a path filled with purpose! I have recently written the foreward for a book authored by Mrs. Toni Ellis entitled: “God’s Dowry for His Daughters: His Good Treasure”. (All of you women need to buy this book! FOR REAL!) I have also started to co-author two other books (which I will tell you about when I can). I have been in a serious funk for the past 6 or 7 months but I can see the light now! I have awakened to a new existence and I am excited about the possibilities. I am working on a few projects with friends and I am attempting to put my school F. H. Jenkins on the map!!!! MY FEAR IS GONE!!!
Thats it! Fear is why we have committment issues! We fear we cannot complete a task or that we are not good enough for the assignment. When times get hard, we let fear talk us out of the whole deal instead of letting trust and faith take us to the end. Did you know that when you fail to last to the end of a test in life that you may be doomed to repeat it on some level until you pass? Who wants that? So many things are slipping through our hands and we think that life is “dishing us a raw deal”. The truth is that we will never make it until we endure the pain and make it through the test. Most times we will see that the victory was worth the trial, In addition, we will fare better in life due to the lessons we have learned along the way.
A marriage, a job, school, a new relationship, a dream…whatever it is don’t let the fear of completion get you down! Fight and push yourself to do your best every day. Don’t even worry about the days ahead. Go one day at a time. If that is too much, go one hour at a time. Just worry about the step in front of you, then take that step. I guarantee that your life will change for the better. Check it out for a few days and let me know what happens!
Look for specials in the upcoming months like THE MID MONTH MOTIVATOR. This may be a funny story or a historic post or just something motivating. It will be posted around the 15th of each month! See you soon! Be fabulous!
Brian John Thomas Watts
I grew up in St. Mary’s Park Houses in the South Bronx section of New York City. Yes, the PROJECTS!!!!!! The theme song from Good Times had many phrases that seemed to capture my existence. “Just lookin’ out of the window, watchin’ the asphalt grow. Thinkin’ how it all looks hand-me-down.” Although we lived in the projects, the projects did not live in us! Don’t get me wrong, we were not better than anyone else who lived in our neighborhood. We were all in the same predicament. So why did some of us have different outcomes? EDUCATION!
For me education was the key that opened the door to escape the ghetto of the South Bronx. But what is education? We all went to elementary school and high school. We all received diplomas (well, the majority of us did!). So what does education mean? Where does it begin? When does it end?
To me education is a wholistic system that begins at birth and ends at death. Education takes place EVERYWHERE. You can choose to learn or choose to ignore. Growing up, we were pushed to learn. The ABC Watts (Anita, Brian and Cornell) were in learning mode most of the time. When we watched the ABC After School Specials (remember those?), my mom would make us have a discussion after. We hated that, but it helped to develop our comprehension and verbal expression. My mother made sure we were in the library reading books whether we had an assignment from school or not. My mom had me adding up the prices of the groceries in the supermarket everytime she went shopping. My dad made me stay awake everytime he drove me somewhere and told me the names of every highway so I would know how to drive to certain places(even though he never let me drive!). My parents had us watching shows about places they could never take us. We had aspirations of making enough money to travel and experience things that were clearly out of our reach. At election time, we watched the debates and, at early ages, picked the candidate that made the most since to us. We learned to make decisions even though they didn’t count then. This was true education that, when coupled with our school education, made us ready for the world.
I know that some of you can “feel me” because you had a parent or parents like mine. But even if you didn’t, it is not too late to accept the choices to be educated. Every decision you make and every experience you have should educate you. If you fail a class, you should be educated on what to do or not do the next time. If your relationship fails, you should be able to recognize the qualities that were not compatible and how you can better respect an individual and/or be respected by an individual. Use everything as an educational experience…good and bad! This is not just the key to success, it will also keep you from repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Do you agree? Let me know what you think?
I hear a lot of definitions about what a friend is and what a friend is not. Relationships seem so fickle these days and I am forced to believe that if marriages are breaking up on a regular basis, then friendships are too! Maybe we have not been given a clear idea of what a friend is and that is why we either choose a partner we cannot live with or we let go of a partner too soon!
That’s a whole different blog post!
I will offer my humble definition of a true friend (like there is another kind?) and I hope you will all chime in on what you think. Cool? Ok!
A friend is someone who brings out the best in you without trying to change you into them. A friend is someone who gives until it hurts and then gives some more. A friend is someone who has your back at a moments notice, but will correct you when they think you are wrong. A friend is some one who is truly sorry when they have hurt you (oh yes, they will hurt you!) and willing to forgive when you have hurt them. A friend is someone who has a lot in common with you and a lot to introduce you to!
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. I feel like I could go on forever. The point is this: There are so many bad examples of friendship out there that our definition has changed. We do not hold friends to the same standard we used to. Everyone is our friend. Movies and television shows used to show strong friendships which revealed moral lessons and taught us how to treat our friends. Today our media depicts temporary friendships or “yes man” friends who agree with anything and follow knowingly into tragic consequences. Worse yet, many of the friends we see on screen would do each other in at the blink of an eye for a promise of…(you fill it in). Very sad indeed. And now (even though I love Facebook!) everyone on our FBfb account is a friend! Yes, we all know that they are not really all our friends, but you get the point.
I teach at a public high school and I am constantly hearing about students no longer being friends because one told the other one the truth, or would not assist them in a caper, or was honest when the friend wanted them to be dishonest. Friends understand these things! In fact they would apologize for putting you in the predicament to choose!
Please, I implore you, teach your friends and your children about real friendship.
Have you ever been sort of down? I mean nothing in particular is wrong, but you just dont feel like doing anything? You don’t feel motivated to do anything (even though you have A LOT to do). Suddenly you look around and realize that your living space, working space and even your car are a total mess. You decide to clean up everything and VOILA, your life is back on track! You have cleaned your physical tools! The same is true for cars, get a tune up. If your computer is moving slowly you may need to defrag the hard drive. It is so important to clean our tools so we can continue doing those things that must be done. So why dont we do the same thing mentally?
Your mind has been called the best computer there is. There are years of stored memories, phone numbers, passwords, secrets, emotions, songs and formulas in your mind. If we could actually look into our minds the way we look into a room, most minds would look like the rooms of Pig Pen (obscure Charlie Brown reference) or Oscar Madison (obscure Odd Couple reference). There would be piles of things here and there. A song hidden under the pythagorean theorem, a memory suffocating under the book War and Peace. It would be a mess! This is the reason why I tell my mathematics students to write things down. Doing things in your head can be a problem if your mind is cluttered. Our everyday occurrances are all stored in some fashion or another. For the most part our emotions dictate where and how they are stored. I hate this, I love that, I am scared of this, I am confused about that, I want this, gotta get rid of that! These are just a few of the categories we attempt to use before we end up with two major piles of good and bad! Then because we are humans and we change our minds, our piles become an intermingled mess!
Find a way to de-clutter your brain!
Need some help? Ok here are a few tips that worked for me and some of my acquaintances:
1. Take a break from tv- television fills our minds more than almost anything else. Take a week or two off and see how it feels.
2. Unload emotional baggage- end that “going nowhere relationship” or get rid of that friend that isn’t really a friend. Express your real feelings (the best way you know how) to those you care about (or don’t care about).
3. Avoid senseless chatter, gossip and extended surface conversations – the first two should be self-explanatory. Surface conversations are those that do not involve anything real. For example: Hey whats up man? Nothing much, whuzzup with you? I’m just chillin man. (and so on!) While there is nothing wrong with these surface conversations, there IS a problem when they are extended past a simple greeting. When you stay on the surface you have not invested anything into the person or people you are speaking to and they have not either. If no one is getting anything out of this, WHY ARE YOU TALKING???????? You are just dirtying up your mind’s room!
4. Exercise your mind- I know most of you are not mathematicians so you might not want to use mathematics as your exercise (although it works well!). So if you dont want to use sudoku or some math riddles, find some puzzles that challenge you and work them every so often. You will be amazed at the way your mind starts to work. Be careful! You may get a headache. But like I tell my students: “Working out a muscle that you have not been using always hurts at first!”
We are at a challenging time in history and we cannot afford to be left behind for not cleaning our mental tools. So get busy with that broom & dustpan, duster, vacuum or any other tool of your choice. Remember Cleanliness is next to Godliness, no matter what God you serve! I can’t wait to hear what works for you! Let me know how it goes!!!!
We are living in a world where mediocrity is a goal that is not reached by the masses. If you are in my age group (went to school in the 70’s and 80s) and grew up in a big city like I did (NYC), you may remember a time when excellence was defined and attainable. A high school diploma was something you got just because. Most of us did not have to be forced to attend school because only the thugs, bums, junkies and drug dealers hung out in the streets during the day. If you were not trying to be one of them, you went to school!
When you were in class, there was always a kid who pushed the teacher’s limits. He or she was the class clown. At most you had two of these individuals in your class. Even though this kid may be funny at times, the class usually kept him/her in check. If he/she was too disturbing the other students would tell the class clown to relax or be quiet so they could get their work done.
Nowadays, students have scientific calculators, Internet access and after school programs and tutors in the school building. Most students do not know that an English report may be called a term paper because it used to take a whole term to do. Everything is easier but students are not doing better. Now, the culture of the classroom is very different. There are more “wanna be” clowns in over crowded classes now and most students do not challenge them to calm down or be quiet. They simply enjoy the show. Fights erupt in the hall and in the classrooms on a regular basis. The fights are now captured on cell phones and broadcast on YouTube. Teachers are forced to employ real disciplinary measures just to teach their classes. If they are not successful, they leave the profession, or worse they stay and become extremely ineffective.
For these and many other reasons, many schools are not reaching the average yearly progress (AYP) that has been established by the government. In addition, many good teachers are leaving due to the fact that they cannot teach the years curriculum due to disciplinary issues. What can we do?
I do not think that I have the answer to every problem in education, but I do know how we can start to take schools back to a time where education occurred more than violence, where technology can be used to make kids smarter instead of making them lazy. Most teachers will tell you that classroom management and discipline is the key to raising AYP scores and improving teacher retention rates. So where do we get these skills?
I am a High School Mathematics Teacher who presents Time to Teach Seminars. These seminars expose teachers to a variety of strategies that can eliminate 80-90% of all low-level discipline issues. If low-level issues are addressed it makes it harder for higher level actions to occur. This actually creates more time to teach (hence the name!). If a teacher has less discipline issues, more learning can occur. If more learning occurs, test scores improve! In addition, less discipline problems equals less referrals which translates to less student in the principal’s office. This means the principal can concentrate on other improvements in the school building.
Our seminars are based on methodologies of successful educators and many schools have seen a significant and consistent change in their school culture after having a seminar at their school. In a typical training teachers will learn:
1) Self-Control strategies, which will help them to “Remain Calm and Respond Right” every time.
2) All of the Teach-To philosophy and strategies, which will help set them and their children up for peak performance.
3) The Unconditional Positive Regard philosophy and strategies which will help them establish connections with all children.
4) Classroom arrangement ideas that actually influence learning and behavior.
5) REFOCUS review philosophy and strategies which will guarantee that a teacher can “stay out of the tornado” and never again find themselves giving multiple warnings and repeated requests.
Need to see more? Check out these videos :
If you are an educator, administrator, parent or just a concerned person who wants to see your neighborhood schools succeed, feel free to send them my information. You can receive more information on scheduling a training seminar at our site at www.JustLetMeTeach.com
Feel free to spread the word! Lets fix our schools! Our future depends on it! If you want a training at a particular school, reply and leave me the contact information for that school!
I am about 5 foot 10 inches tall (if you can call that tall) and I weigh about 260 lbs. To most people, I would be considered fat or morbidly obese. It is a not uncommon to hear people commenting about my size. Many people, who do not know me will address me as big man or big fella. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an issue for me, but I do have a point! There are many people who can look at me in my present state and their perception is that I need to do something to lose weight immediately. They even go as far as to believe that I am out of control and I do not exercise or have any control over my eating.
However, those who know me or those who have seen photos of me from just a year ago would know that I have recently lost over 120 lbs. Those people (who are in the know) do not have the same negative view that the previous group of people have of me. Why is this?
Knowledge changes Perception!
This is a lesson that is well worth learning. When you do not know the story about a particular issue, your perception is skewed! You have based your opinion on your own set of experiences and been drawn to an uneducated guess of what the conclusion may be. Usually, a brief look into the history of an issue can completely change your opinions and beliefs. Are we in agreement yet? If so, I think you will find that a lot of the feelings, beliefs and viewpoints that we share are often based on a lack of knowledge. The worst part is that we seek out people who feel the same way to strengthen our positions. This amounts to nothing more than a large collection of ignorance in most cases. Just think about how many people believed the following: the world is flat, the atom is the smallest particle of matter, Columbus discovered America. We must realize that large groups of people not only believed these things, they were willing to bet their lives on this knowledge. The truth is the world is round, the atom has been split (proving it is not the smallest particle of matter) and Columbus never even set foot on the place we call America. There are many things that a majority of people believed that was incorrect.
Lets take the time this year(and for the rest of our lives) to seek knowledge before we make decisions on anything. Or at the very least, let us be willing to allow the truth about a situation to positively influence our viewpoints. Review your opinions and let facts and knowledge have a chance at expanding your mind!
Oh yeah, I do intend to continue losing weight! Don’t worry about that!
Well, the hype of the New Year is gone. The ball dropped, the confetti has been cleaned up, and the party is over. Some resolutions have already been dismissed as “unattainable” and many people are back to their everyday lives in their familiar rut. Where are you?
This cycle of “yearly rebirth” is one of the greatest fallacies known to man. We put all of our energy into doing something different in the coming year. When that does not work, we wait for the next year. Why do we do this? If you thought about it, I am sure that most of you would agree that our personal “New Year’s Day” is our birthday. That is truly a new year for each of us. However true this may be, we would still find ourselves in the same dilemma after each birthday. So, what is the solution?
Change your units of measure!
What does this mean? Set a goal for the new month, the new week, the new day or even the new hour! Who says we have to fail for a year before we get a chance to reset? Who put a “magical spell” on the night of December 31st that makes all of our dreams and desires come true? Obviously, no one or we would be in better shape by now!
If you have “dropped the ball” on your resolutions already, start over this week. If you fail, try starting over the next day and take it one day at a time. It works! If you did not go to the gym today, start tomorrow. If you smoked a cigarette and wanted to quit, don’t smoke for the next hour and then the next hour. Don’t limit yourself by units of time; use them to your advantage. As long as you are living, there is another second, minute or hour to try again! Be encouraged and find success in your new resolutions! I am rooting for you!