Personal Childhood Web

  I was fortunate to know my grandparents well into my adult life. Knowing them as an adult gave me a new perspective of my parents as children and even my own childhood history. My maternal grandparents never graduated from high school yet they pushed to ensure that my mother and her siblings completed high […]

Grandmother's heart

My brothers and I

My maternal grandparents meeting the last great-grandchild born before they passed within a year of each other.

My grandfather

My Mom. My greatest inspiration comes from her.

My Dad and I on his 77th birthday.

2016 181

 

I was fortunate to know my grandparents well into my adult life. Knowing them as an adult gave me a new perspective of my parents as children and even my own childhood history. My maternal grandparents never graduated from high school yet they pushed to ensure that my mother and her siblings completed high school. Both my dad and his mother only completed the eleventh grade but my dad went on to get his high school GED. His father’s hard work and dedication earned him a position as lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. I’m proud to say that my brothers and I are college graduates, each of us putting ourselves through school.

What I do know is that they all gave us a sense of purpose, pride and determination. Our father taught us to lead and cut our own path in life. He said following your peers is easy but being unique is what makes you special. My dad wore many hats when I was a child. He had a long military career in the United States Air Force, sold insurance, was a bartender, a security guard and finally retired working as a budget analyst for the United States Army. His greatest teaching tool was he never gave us the answer to any question we asked. Instead he would tell us to go find the answer and come back to him. Even after we got the answer, his response was to steadily question it and then ask “did you consider the gray factor?” My dad was an only child so as children we spent more time with his parents than my maternal grandparents. Each summer visit was filled with going to the museums and learning about different cultures. My love of music, entertaining and reading comes from them. My passion to know my history and pass it down grew from them. My step-grandmother was the director of the East Orange public library for many years and I remember each summer following her around the library gazing at walls and walls filled with history and adventure. My dad’s mother was a seamstress by trade. Most of my clothes wer made by her. She loved the simple things in life, giving back to those less fortunate. She used to throw the most amazing get-togethers and parties. Every detail had to be just right. She always made every guest feel that she planned just for them. My paternal grandfather was a tall stern man. When he spoke there was always a lesson learned about determination. “Keep digging” he would say, “if one way doesn’t work find a new direction and try again”. At 95 he was my last grandparent to depart this earth. One of his proudest moments he said was meeting his only great-grandchild. All of my grandparents were able to meet my son except my paternal grandmother, but I know she smiles upon him everyday.

My mother’s parents were hard working and their family was close knit. Everything revolved around family, being productive and knowing your self-worth. My MawMaw believed in honesty and was very opinionated. She always said she rather the truth hurt and being able to move on than to make a mistake you can’t take back. My mother who never went to college went on to become a social services director in my hometown. She’s now studying to become a minister. Her passion has always been about helping people. My parents divorced when I was twelve. I was use to my mother staying at home and not working. My brothers never had that luxury for she worked. I remember my childhood going from being waited on to helping out and being mini mom to my brothers. We had many challenges yet she never wavered in her faith or her determination to provide for us and ensure we went on to make something of ourselves. Pity had no place in our house. She remained positive and optimistic about everything. This is the most valuable thing I’ve learned from her. No matter the obstacle, no matter how long it takes to overcome there is a silver lining in every situation.

My childhood web represents the most important people in the world to me, my parents, grandparents and brothers.

I’m still evolving

July 2013

Perseverance. Believing. Everyday there is a lesson to learn and I’ve learned quite a few. I started this journey towards obtaining my master’s last fall. The beginning of 2013 had me questioning my choice. Was I pursuing the right dream or had I simply pushed too hard? So in March, I withdrew from my classes and took a deep breath. When I came up for air, I found my purpose was still intact but simply took another direction. It’s July and I’m feeling renewed. I’m still on the road to obtaining my master’s in education. Only now my focus is Early Childhood Studies. I believe in the proverb of “it takes a village to raise a child”. I can’t wait to get started and be able to share my journey with you.

June 2016

July 2013 was my first personal blog entry as I entered the Master’s Program at Walden University.  Last June I completed my studies and am actually walking in a few weeks. What a journey it’s been so far.  There’s a little bit more gray in my hair, yet I continue to press forward in my goal to make a difference in the lives of our youngest generation.  As I continue my educational journey, I’ve found that advocating  is becoming a passion.  Working with children on reading and literacy issues is a joy.  I continue to work with a local before/aftercare program in developing reading and language platforms.  I am a firm believer that the earlier children can find and apply their voice, the better success they have at school and in life.

I’m fascinated by how the pieces connect.  The importance of prenatal care.  How brain research helps us understand cognitive, behavioral and socio-emotional development.  The more information I learn, the more engrossed and engaged I become.  This journey is far from over.  Drop in from time and time and share what I learn.

My Family Culture

It would be difficult for me to categorize three things that I owned that summed up my life or represented a heritage that I’m proud to be a part of. If I were placed in a situation where I had no choice and knew I wasn’t returning to the land of my birthplace, one of the items I would bring would be the journal I started writing for my son before he was born. Diligently for the first year I wrote about the journey his dad and I were embarking upon, his arrival. Each year since his birth I update it with memories of accomplishments, family history but mostly to give him a sense of worth, determination and reference of what we endured that year. My journal to him captures more than what pictures show of how he grew from a thought, to a baby and continuing to grow into adulthood. It helps tell our story and reaffirm to him what’s important in life. What I was taught, I instill those same lessons to my son every day of his life. My family taught me that having faith, maintaining your self-respect and knowing your self-worth will get you through any circumstance placed before your feet.

The second item would be my iPod. Music played an important role in our family. Music, like writing is my heartbeat and therapeutic. I remember as a child visiting my paternal grandparents and hearing jazz and big band on Saturday mornings while we cleaned. My maternal grandparents and their Saturday drives and gathering to play dominoes listening to Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Ray Charles. My uncle returning from the Vietnam War and sounds of War, Earth Wind and Fire and the Isley Brothers blaring through the speakers of his Thunderbird. My Dad rocking his head to the sounds of the Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Chicago, ELO, Santana and southern rock. My mom and Sunday mornings filled with worship and praise, singing along to the Hawkins Family, Clark Sisters, Andre Crouch. Summers spent with my aunt listening to the Carpenters and Chuck Mangione. All those different sounds invoke wonderful memories, eases difficult times as I played music to walk through stormy paths and new adventures. For this is the music of my family. We related to the lyrics because it was our lives, their struggles, the future and our dreams to be better, stronger as each new generation came forth on the shoulders of the last.

The third item would my pearl necklace. It was given to me on my 21st birthday by my step-great grandmother Scott. Her husband had given it to her when he returned from World War I. I wore these pearls the day I married my husband. It symbolized the merging of my family with his, another generation of proud humble people. When I look at the necklace, I see generations of women from my mother and aunts, to their mothers and aunts. I think of the struggles they went through to become women, sisters and mothers. From seamstress and housekeepers, to librarians, educators and professional women. We are strong willed and resilient.

If I had to narrow my choices again to carrying just one with me then it would be my iPod. My hope would be that through music and my voice, I could tell my story, show how diverse I am. They could feel my compassion in the words and music that sway me. They can feel my strengths and see our common threads. That would be my wish.

To my colleagues in EDUC 6160 “Early Childhood Development”

Anyone can acquire knowledge. It’s readily accessible.  Experience however is another matter.  All of you have shared your personal experience in working with children at various levels.  The insight and questions posed have raised my level of awareness and provide me with an invaluable guideline to reflect upon as I start my journey in the discipline of early childhood education.  I thank you for your support and encouragement and look forward to many more conversations.

Personal Childhood Web

Grandmother's heart
Grandmother’s heart
My brothers and I
My brothers and I
My maternal grandparents meeting the last great-grandchild born before they passed within a year of each other.
Meeting the last great-grandchild born before they passed within a year of each other.

My grandfather

My Mom. My greatest inspiration comes from her.
My greatest inspiration comes from her.
My Dad and I on his 77th birthday.
My Dad and I on his 77th birthday.

2016 181

 

I was fortunate to know my grandparents well into my adult life. Knowing them as an adult gave me a new perspective of my parents as children and even my own childhood history. My maternal grandparents never graduated from high school yet they pushed to ensure that my mother and her siblings completed high school. Both my dad and his mother only completed the eleventh grade but my dad went on to get his high school GED. His father’s hard work and dedication earned him a position as lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. I’m proud to say that my brothers and I are college graduates, each of us putting ourselves through school.

What I do know is that they all gave us a sense of purpose, pride and determination. Our father taught us to lead and cut our own path in life. He said following your peers is easy but being unique is what makes you special. My dad wore many hats when I was a child. He had a long military career in the United States Air Force, sold insurance, was a bartender, a security guard and finally retired working as a budget analyst for the United States Army. His greatest teaching tool was he never gave us the answer to any question we asked. Instead he would tell us to go find the answer and come back to him. Even after we got the answer, his response was to steadily question it and then ask “did you consider the gray factor?” My dad was an only child so as children we spent more time with his parents than my maternal grandparents. Each summer visit was filled with going to the museums and learning about different cultures. My love of music, entertaining and reading comes from them. My passion to know my history and pass it down grew from them. My step-grandmother was the director of the East Orange public library for many years and I remember each summer following her around the library gazing at walls and walls filled with history and adventure. My dad’s mother was a seamstress by trade. Most of my clothes wer made by her. She loved the simple things in life, giving back to those less fortunate. She used to throw the most amazing get-togethers and parties. Every detail had to be just right. She always made every guest feel that she planned just for them. My paternal grandfather was a tall stern man. When he spoke there was always a lesson learned about determination. “Keep digging” he would say, “if one way doesn’t work find a new direction and try again”. At 95 he was my last grandparent to depart this earth. One of his proudest moments he said was meeting his only great-grandchild. All of my grandparents were able to meet my son except my paternal grandmother, but I know she smiles upon him everyday.

My mother’s parents were hard working and their family was close knit. Everything revolved around family, being productive and knowing your self-worth. My MawMaw believed in honesty and was very opinionated. She always said she rather the truth hurt and being able to move on than to make a mistake you can’t take back. My mother who never went to college went on to become a social services director in my hometown. She’s now studying to become a minister. Her passion has always been about helping people. My parents divorced when I was twelve. I was use to my mother staying at home and not working. My brothers never had that luxury for she worked. I remember my childhood going from being waited on to helping out and being mini mom to my brothers. We had many challenges yet she never wavered in her faith or her determination to provide for us and ensure we went on to make something of ourselves. Pity had no place in our house. She remained positive and optimistic about everything. This is the most valuable thing I’ve learned from her. No matter the obstacle, no matter how long it takes to overcome there is a silver lining in every situation.

My childhood web represents the most important people in the world to me, my parents, grandparents and brothers.