Tag Archives: change

College: Is it really necessary?

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Some friends and I were talking a few days ago and we happened to get on the topic of college. That conversation was probably one of my favorites since I love talking about and understanding the impact that our choices have on our lives and on society as a whole.

So, one of my friends said that he and his wife feel that having a college education is very much needed to get to where you want to be in this life. A few of my friends were torn in what they truly believed or had no real opinion about it one way or another. The majority of my friends felt like most of their parents expected them to go to college and obtain a degree and, as such, they knew they would require this of their own offspring as well. I was joined by only one other friend who felt that while a college degree is great to pursue it is not absolutely necessary for lifelong success.

I’m of the belief that when the Lord has called you to a particular thing He will open the doors – that you will need opened – to get you to where He’s called you to go. God can, will and has already given you certain gifts that will help you on your journey of life. One of my dearest friends, who barely finished high school and is one of the smartest people I know, has a very evident gift of knowledge. A gift of knowledge, for those who don’t know, is having a mind that is able to figure out, quickly learn or just plain know things that most people only know if they’re “formally” taught those things. This is the way that the gift has manifested itself in my friend however, I am sure it can manifest itself in other ways as God wills. All in all, this IS a real gift that can make a person look – and sound – college educated without actually being so.

I understand that it is the goal of colleges and recruiters to enroll as many students as possible. That is their mission and their job and I’m not mad at them for taking their jobs seriously and holding their position in high regards. I’m appreciative to these institutions for being here for the many people who can, will, have been called and do desire to attend college. What frustrates me is that we, as parents, are not truly in prayer for our children and for our children’s futures. What grieves my heart is that we are not consulting God – in everything that we do – in how we are raising, what we are speaking and how we are guiding our children. Since my belief is that not everyone is supposed to go to college, it makes no sense for those individuals to go and put themselves in the position to incur student loans and other debts for an education that they will either never fully use or walk down a path that they’ve not been called to in the first place.

No wonder why so many college students change their majors on average 3 times before settling on one. We are sending our children into the world and expecting them, at 18 years old, to have a well thought out, surefire plan so that we can feel good about sending them out to begin and fulfill that plan. We are not setting our children up for success but rather for failure. If we will be real, we can all see how this is sending a message to our kids that conformity is better than being distinct. This message says, “Don’t have your own dreams, goals or vision, just do what everyone else is doing and be what everyone else is being and everything will be fine. Oh yeah, and God doesn’t need to know about this but you can bring Him along for the ride!” Are we serious?!?

I said all of this to say that it is up to us to understand how we are gifted, know what we have been called to do and to be obedient and walk in that calling and our own individual purpose. I know of so many people who believe if you do not hold a college degree, that you are uneducated and/or unintelligent and thus not on their level. This could not be further from the truth. I also know of those who believe so deeply in being college educated that if, for some reason, they are not able to attend college their identity and self-worth suffers. I was one of those people but thank God for grace!

As you can see, this is one of those topics that I could talk about for hours. It intrigues me, indeed. But enough of my thoughts on the subject, I’d love to get a real dialogue going. Go ahead, chime in and let me know your perspective.

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True Strength

“Stop trying to be strong and embrace your weaknesses.”               – Pastor Jeremy Deweerdt

We are doing a series at our church. It is entitled ‘Rescue’. In this series, we have been talking about how God rescues us out of many seemingly hopeless situations and how, ultimately, we are (or have been) rescued to be a rescuer (for others). It has been simply amazing and very much eye-opening and life-changing for many, myself included. Today’s message was ‘Rescued from Hardships’. As you can imagine, this is something that many of us have faced at one point or another and something that we may currently be facing as I write this post and as you read along.

There was something very profound that was said in the message that really hit home. Obviously, there were many other great things that were conveyed in this message but I will only touch on this one for now because it honestly made something in my spirit shout “Yes!” My pastor had a number of different hardships that he hit on during this message and then he said the quote above and I knew this was a topic that I needed to do a post on.

Many times, when we are going through difficult times, we try to work things out in our own strength. I cannot begin to tell you how true that has been, in the past, for me. As believers, when we are going through a storm and we say that we “don’t feel God’s presence or strength,” it is many times because we have our hands in the situation and are trying to “fix” it in the way we want it to be fixed. Now, how true has that been for you???

Personally, I have experienced many people that talk about the perceived “strength” of men and women who have found themselves in the role of a single parent. While I do agree there is a strength that shows up in this type of situation, there is also a place where that strength is usually drawn from. I, myself, don’t like to have people tell me how “strong” I must be to have 6 children and to be parenting them alone because I know that is not the truth. My strength, as I have acknowledged before and will continue to talk about until the day that life leaves this earthly body, comes solely and fully from the Lord. I do not parent these children alone because God is my rock and my “co-parent”, if you will. He provides for ALL of our needs. His strength is made perfect in my weakness and I could do nothing without Him. I would not be able to love, guide and care for even 1 child, let alone 6, if it were not for the Lord loving, guiding, caring for and giving me the strength that I need, and being my strength, every single day.

It is kind of funny, to me, that we acknowledge the strength of single parents or the strength it may have took for someone to face their biggest fear and we fail to acknowledge where that strength comes from or what exactly true strength looks like. We are not always quick to acknowledge the strength that it takes to make a marriage work and to parent your child(ren) with your spouse, or the strength it takes to resist temptation, or the strength it takes to be obedient and remain in the will of God, or the strength it may take to continue working a job that you may absolutely hate in order to provide for your family, or even the strength it takes to confess and admit a wrong that we’ve committed against someone. One of the things that I’ve learned, is that we all have weaknesses and strengths. I’ve also learned that many of us like to focus and display our strengths for all to see, while we steadfastly hide our weaknesses. It may be something that we grew up being taught or it may be because we just don’t like those parts of ourselves. Listen, I get it! I grew up being taught to never let anyone see my weaknesses too but I think we need to understand that our weaknesses make us who we are, just as much, if not moreso, as our strengths. And that is okay!

My goal, as a mother, friend and woman, is to teach my children that we all have weaknesses and to not pressure them to ever feel like they have to be perfect, because that is a goal that we can never truly reach on this side of heaven; and to embrace my weaknesses, so that people not only see my strengths but also realize that I am human, I have flaws and that I am, by no means, perfect, although I may appear to be. 🙂 Let’s begin to acknowledge and understand where our true strength lies.

A Revolution Of Support

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One of the best feelings in the world is, quite possibly, knowing that you’re supported by the people you love and are fond of. There is nothing like it! Imagine for a moment, you had another horrible day at work and you decide you are going to resign and start your own business. You get home and call a friend or speak with your significant other and during the conversation you reveal that you are planning to quit your job and move on to something that makes you happy and gives you purpose. Your friend/ significant other begins to tell you how stupid your idea is and tries to discourage you from going after your dream. Does that make you feel good? Does that make you want to continue to be friends or in a relationship with that person? Is this type of behavior and response building you up or tearing you down? My point exactly.

There are so many wonderfully creative, talented and capable people who never reached their greatest potential because they were fearful, hindered or never allowed or encouraged to go after their dreams. What a tragedy! Seriously, how sad is that? I believe that some of what keeps up from reaching our greatest potential is because we do not truly know and embrace who we are and what we are passionate about. How would it look if every one of us understood our God-given gifts and talents? Even more, how would the world be changed if every one of us followed our dreams and did something that we were passionate about? I think this type of teaching must begin in the home with parents and partners encouraging each other to make, keep and reach their goals. It seems that children, and adults alike, nowadays are being told what they cannot do rather a-team-is-jeffrey-benjamin-quotethan being encouraged to do the impossible.

There is a generation of people who feel entitled but are not motivated to change the world and serve or give back to others. This, my friends, is a serious problem. Many of us are all about numero uno and we could care less about the dreams and aspirations of others around us. Therefore, we do not generally encourage one another to excel in new things. I  can remember, growing up, being very afraid to tell people what I wanted to be when I grew up because it was very unrealistic, especially in the community that I mostly grew up in. However, I had a grandmother who inspired me and encouraged me to dream big and never stop striving to make those dreams a reality. It is because of this support and love that I began to believe that I could be a writer and that my name would be known around the world. You can say that my dreams are very big, almost impossible according to most, but I know who I am now and I know the talents that God has given me and now, I graciously walk in those gifts and talents.

Encouraging our children – the next generation – is an absolute must! If we sit around – as parents, educators, society – we stand a chance of our future being stifled and our children never knowing what it means or what it looks like to dream and to have those dreams come true. What kind of legacy are we truly leaving to our children and other future generations? If we do not teach our youth now, then they will not feel obligated to teach their children and future generations will perish. The Bible tells us, in Proverbs 29:18, that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…“. This shows us that we have to be supportthe ones who will stand and make that vision for our own homes, lives and the world in its entirety.

We have become a selfish generation and I think it’s about time for that to end. We are seeing the aftermath, everywhere, in today’s society. From women fighting and backstabbing each other on most, if not all, of this country’s reality television shows to politicians – living in their own little worlds – having no real concern about the people, the state of our economy and other world matters. There needs to be a shift in our society. Despite what many may believe, that shift can indeed start with just one person. I am that person. I will be that person. This is a call for us to stand up and support one another, fully and freely. A call to stop being so self-centered and self-absorbed that you do not realize the dying and hurting world around you. How will you contribute to this call?

I Can’t Breathe

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The recent headlines of young black men and boys dying at the hands of white police officers is astonishing to me. Recently, there was another African-American mother who came forth about her young son’s sudden death. Apparently, there was a call made to the Cleveland Police Department about a little boy who was in the park with a “gun”. This little boy, Tamir Rice, was only 12-years old and in the sixth grade. From the looks of the video, it seems that this officer was not informed, or simply did not care, that this was a call about a little boy and NOT a grown man. I say this because literally seconds after the officer arrived on the scene, he drew his gun, shot and killed young Tamir. All of this definitely has me asking what is really going on?

When is enough, enough? If people don’t wake up and realize that racism is still alive and well in America then they are doing themselves, and everyone around them, a great disservice. There is such a thing as white privilege and it is becoming more and more prevalent in this world that we live in. I love everyone and teach my children to do the same so there is no hate coming from here. Please hear my heart… There is something to be said when young black boys and men can have their lives taken without thought. This is a problem whether we want to admit to it or not. It’s sad to say but if these same things were happening to young white boys and men, this would not even be a conversation because it would have been addressed by now.

I think that before we can move forward as a country and as a people, we must first address the elephant in the room. It seems that no one wants to talk about this which is probably why, all across the world, many young people are protesting. There comes a time when change must happen and when that does not happen on it’s own, there are those who will make it happen. What I see is a reenactment of many a movements back in the days immediately following slavery. During the times of Civil Rights protests and Dr. King’s dream. Our young black mens’ dreams are dying right along with them and I do not understand how no one else sees this as a problem.

As the mother of 2 black sons, I am appalled at how careless these officers can be and still get away with it. They get to continue on with their lives while these young boys and men are gone, never to be able to laugh again, speak again, DREAM again. How is this okay? Why are more people not concerned about this? What makes it so that certain people’s lives are seen as more valuable than others? A change needs to come and I truly pray that it will come in my lifetime.

The Hunger Games

Every battle begins with hunger. Whether it’s wealth, power or freedom…we are all hungry for something. Why does this matter? Well, because hunger tends to affect (and be the deciding factor) on the way that we think and behave. Majority of the areas that I am “hungry” in tend to center mostly around my children. There are very few things that I guess I really want for myself, solely. But, I guess that makes sense…right?

I go to a job, that I hate, 5 days a week and I spend time there, really doing nothing, just to earn the almighty dollar (literally, it’s not much). I get home and I am sometimes too tired to even do anything with my children but I suck it up and drive on. After cooking, cleaning, helping with homework – while also doing some homework myself, being the designated chauffeur to my children, getting dinner in their tummies, taking baths, brushing teeth, and bedtime stories, I honestly want to just go to bed and not wake up for a couple of days. But that’s not an option because who’s going to provide for my children, if I don’t?

So, I get up and do the same routine every single day and I must say that this has taught me a lot about myself. One thing that I have come to realize is that I am not super mom, or super woman for that matter, even if I want to be…it’s not happening! I am just a mom that loves her kids more than anything and am doing the best she can with what she has. And I have come to the conclusion that, that’s okay.

I would absolutely love to be able to quit my daytime job and spend that time doing what I love…what I’m passionate about…what I am hungry for. I am working my butt off right now, trying to get to a better place and space in this life so that I can possibly be the role model that I want my kids to follow. And even if I don’t end up ever getting a chance to truly live out my dreams, at least I’ll know that I tried. Okay, who am I kidding…that will never satisfy me! But I digress…

Maybe I’ll be this award winning author or have an awesome blog that everyone wants to read…maybe I will be the entrepreneur that takes great risks and amazing things will follow…maybe I will say something, record something or even write something that will “go viral” (lol) and take my life in a whole new direction. Maybe… I am hungry for change and hungry for something that I have never had and not absolutely sure how to even describe it but I’ll know it when I see it. For now, I am trying to be content in where I am in life but still working to get to where I want to be when this is all said and done.

So, what are you hungry for?

Giving and Teaching

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever.”    

— Chinese Proverb

This may very well be one of my favorite quotes in the entire world of quotes. When I think about this a story comes to mind about my childhood. My grandmother, who practically raised me when my mom and dad divorced because my mom worked nights, used to always use random quotes to get her point across while she tried to teach us unruly kid something about life. One of the quotes that I heard her say was the quote mentioned here. I never quite knew what it meant but I guess I had a good idea, even at that time, and I definitely would find out later in life exactly what these words entailed.

I am the second oldest of 4 but I am the oldest daughter of my sister and I. One day, as I was playing outside on one of the hottest summer days of the summer of 1995, I heard the ice cream truck so I quickly ran into the house, where my grandmother was cooking and I asked her for some money so that I could get some ice cream. Being the awesome and loving grandmother that she was, she gave me some money and I went to the truck and got my ice cream. Little did I know, there was a lesson waiting to be taught and grandma was just about ready to teach it.

You see, this had been my third time that week asking her for money although she would give me money for doing chores and things around the house, I ran through that money like it was “growing on trees” (another fave of granny, lol). As many kids this age – I had just turned 10 years old at that time – I felt like my family was rich and if I asked them for something, they just HAD to give it to me because I was their “baby” and, on top of that, I was the “good” child. Oh, don’t tell me…you’ve never thought that way, right? I know… 🙂

So, one day, during this same week, I had come home from day camp and was, again, playing outside. It was another scorching hot day, and I am still not sure how I didn’t pass out from exhaustion or dehydration because I hated drinking water at that age. I heard the ice cream truck and what do you think happened?… Yes, you’re right… I ran inside to ask grandma for some money but this time my awesome and loving grandmother was prepared. Before I could get a full sentence out, I guess she knew I was coming to ask for the almighty dollar once again, she stopped me and said, “Baby girl, I am not giving you any more money.” You would have thought that I had seen a ghost, I was totally caught off guard by this. Grandma continued, “However, I will help you make some money and even buy some things to show you how to continue to make money on your own.” You see, grandma was trying to “teach me how to fish” and she did. It was in that moment when I truly realized what this old Chinese proverb had meant.

To make a long story short, grandma and I went to the store, I believe it was Sams Club, and bought almost all of the boxes of small bags of chips, juices, freeze pops, nacho chips, ground beef, jalapenos and nacho cheese. Grandma even cooked the ground beef and warmed the cheese for me to make the nachos and before long our house became known as the “Candy Store” and was where all of the kids (both young and old) came to get their goodies. That was the beginning of my little side business and I setup shop every summer from then on, until we moved from that area. The lesson that I learned that day was more valuable than I think I realized at that time and it is now what I attribute my entrepreneurial spirit to today.

So, join in the discussion…share your stories, favorite quotes, anything that has ushered you into becoming the person that you are today. I’d love to hear them and learn about you.

Happy reading!

Stay Phenomenal,

ReNewed Chick