I am a Bullied Teacher

We all have witnessed someone being bullied. It’s not the problem that defines us, but how we react to the problem. Today, I choose to stand up. Share this with an educator. Empathy is the first step.


Each day, I pull into the parking lot of my school and sit in my car. I do not want to go in for fear of what this day will hold. I sit in my car and pray. I pray to God that today will be a good day for my children and me. I pray that I can withstand whatever my administration throws at me. I pray that I will be able to fight back tears in staff meetings. I pray that I will not face any scrutiny on this day. I pray these prayers, because I am being bullied. Not by my co-workers. Not by my students’ parents. No. I am being bullied by those who should be providing me support…my administration.

I am a bullied teacher.

I walk into my classroom with sadness in my heart and a frown on my face. I feel this sadness because…

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After reading two different blogs about monogamy and online dating, I began to wonder. Like churning cream into butter, my mind began to churning concepts into ideas. How could I waste an opportunity to capitalize on my own opinion?  Two distinctly different concepts in the same day?  Stop the presses!

Now when I refer to two distinctly different concepts, I am not referring to the monogamy and online dating.  You see the past year and a half I’ve been blogging mostly as a way of creating an online journal. I decided to do this for two reasons:  a journal will allow me to document the plethora of emotions I’ve been harboring as I ascend to a higher plateau; and also to share with my family and friends how passionate I’ve become about the events surrounding us.

I was once reminded that the difference between small minds and intellectuals is the content that we discuss.  Small minds gossip.  Intellectuals focus more on events rather than individuals.  So my quest began.  And through journaling, I’ve strengthened my mind (or so I’d like to think).

Earlier today I wrote a poem about love. I was feeling nostalgic and sentimental.  Enamored with my past experiences and excited about what is to come, I was inspired to write a little ditty.   It will be years before it’s appreciated for its true worth, but it did earn me a few new subscribers.  Sometimes I just can’t predict my own success–and there’s a blessing hiding in that as well.

One of my subscribers herself wrote a blog today about monogamy.  I could relate.  I enjoyed it–so much that I reblogged it, which is a gesture of appreciation and praise.  But then I read on.  Another piece referenced sexting.  She had my attention!  Not for the reason you might think though.

We are in an age that evolves so quickly that we don’t even have time to learn a lesson from technology.  Too quickly the dilemma morphs into another life-lesson that needs as much attention as the last.  I can only imagine the terror that other parents, educators, and youth advocates experience trying to develop a set of rules or internet policy that protects our children.  Heck! We can’t turn the damned radio down quick enough to guard their ears against the violent/erotic nature of pop music.  How can we effectively protect them from the internet? If you don’t believe me, Google whitehouse.com.  Nothing is sacred!

So it only goes to suggest that children who can not make good decisions on their own are destined to make some interesting mistakes.  And yet they won’t learn from our mistakes because we are too embarrassed to reveal them.   How do you warn a kid about sexting without referring to a lapse in judgment that “someone close to us” has made?  Not so easy.

How do you warn a teen of the dangers of promiscuousness without referring to the mistakes of our own formative years?  Let me know how THAT works for you.  Any better than when your parents tried to teach you the importance of abstinence??

Now take those same lessons and transfer them to how we need to behave as consenting adults.  Ah, this is when the hypocrisy becomes bolder.  We begin to lip, “Do as I say…”

We’ve seen our use of the internet evolve.  The web connects us to share all kinds of information that has all kinds of intrinsic value.  Intellectual content, entertainment, political, sexual and social. How we use this information is an indicator of how we’ve grown individually and collectively.

Some of this information exchange has enhanced us as a culture (WebMD), while other exchanges brought us social media (MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook).  The latter we rely on more frequently to learn of world events as they occur.  SnapChat was once a way to temporarily convey illicit content.  Now it is embraced as an effective marketing and networking tool.  Match.com and Chemistry have taken the mystery out of online dating; while normal texting on “old-fashioned flip phones” has devolved into sending “private” photos that never die.

Imagine, if you will, that this technology that has become a part of our everyday lives has, in fact, enhanced our lives. What if the flow of information, despite its incredible speed and volume, forces us to read more?  What if it requires us to be more critical, less gullible, and better informed?  Think about it.  There’s no question to which we can’t find multiple answers.

We know that we can use Wikipedia, but we also know how not to trust everything we read.  We experience video through YouTube and TEd at a rate so alarming that we rarely buy our entertainment or educational content anymore.  Playboy magazine no longer prints nudity because that type of content is readily available online for free, forcing the pornography industry to adjust.  The movie industry plans for bootlegging by prepping films for simultaneous release on Blueray while cross-marketing books, clothing, and apparel to recoup the production costs.  Professional development for educators, public officials, doctors, and lawyers no longer rely on academia.  Instead, a steady stream of content is uploaded from their handheld devices.

The list of evolutions is enumerable. One thing is certain:  we will personalize our use of data, online, and mobile content.  The same public figures that advocate for positive change (and plead for our votes) use their smartphones to send inappropriate content to undisclosed recipients.  Use your imagination here. 

We are more connected than we’ve ever been. Better informed, more mobile, and less restricted!  And yet we are the most disconnected from traditional values (and each other) than we’ve ever been.

Perhaps this is the best way to offset the population explosion.   Imagine. How packed would the bars and nightclubs be if that was still our most reliable way to meet a partner?

So let the use (and misuse) of the internet continue.  After all, the same conservative mindsets and religious zealots that warn against its dangers are using it to spread their message.  We’ll have to develop our own levels of discernment and draw our own personal lines of decency–because the same mother who cautioned against polygamy, promiscuousness, and pedophiles just accepted a proposal from a guy she met on ChristianSingles.com (using the newest app on her iPhone).


I Love(d) You.

I love(d) you for all that you were

I love(d) you for all that you are

I love(d) you for all that you aspire to be

I love(d) you (period)


I love(d) you in the sunshine

I love(d) you on the cloudy days

I love(d) you in the stormy… weather

whether you loved me back.

I love(d) you


I love(d) you because you brought out the best in me

I love(d) you because you showed me the best in you

I love(d) you because you were created to be the best

I love(d) you because you ARE the best…


I see in you the qualities that I too possess

I see my potential…in you

You are what I need to feel whole

And that (w)hole can not be filled by another


I love(d) you as I love myself

Un-yeildingly because I am worth it

My love for you is UNDER-defined

It is constantly Re-fined


Because I love you more today than yesterday

And I am looking forward to tomorrow

For tomorrow…

I will love you even more


I love(d) you (period).

Intellectual Grunt

Educators are slowly making the transition from education professional to civil service grunt. Society learned long ago of self-fulfilling prophecies. Treating someone a certain way for a long enough period of time, will cause them to behave that way. Intellectuals don’t function within that same realm, however there are exceptions to every rule. 

Treating someone badly for a prolonged period of time and then expecting them to yield positive results is just ludicrous. It’s just that simple.  Value someone as a person, and they will offer a human response. 

Educators are no longer valued as the noble professionals they once were. In history, similar trends have occurred and society has evolved or even recovered. But the pendellum is not swinging back quickly enough.  

Working to the contract, signing in/out for lunches, documenting all interpersonal interactions…these are things that clerical and and “nine to five employees” do daily to justify their jobs. It’s menial yet measurable.  

But educators are held to a higher standard. All the while the measuring stick becomes more and more antiquated.  How can any professional gain a semblance of distinction when the standards are constantly changing?  

There isn’t a single educator who chose their profession because of a secret desire to crunch numbers, process paperwork, or punch a clock.  

Educators have been the focus of political blame because they are an easy target.  The cost of education is a constant.  As long as there are students, there will be teachable content and an opportunity to build on previous knowledge.  

And the cost of THIS is immeasurable.  

School districts, municipal boards, county and state budget committees struggle annually to project for these increasing costs.  So where do they cut?  Anywhere and everywhere!  

No matter where the cuts occur, human lives are impacted.  The teacher-to-student bond will be dimished to a point that it can no longer exist.  Cyber schools are no longer science fiction and lore.  The movement to eliminate teachers has begun.  Students will “develop” without instruction.  And those teachers WILL become the statisticians and programmers of online content accessible only through a internet server.  

The biggest expense in education is the cost of the teacher.  The second biggest expense is the student.  Third is the cost of replenishing, upgrading, and maintaining the educational infrustructure.  But the infrustructure has value beyond the classroom. When the classrooms are no longer sufficient, they will be used for something else.  Public school buildings built today are designed to serve multiple purposes (as they always have been). Today it’s a public school; tomorrow it’s a charter school;  five years from now a church; eventually a bomb shelter.  

But aren’t educators like other civil servants? 

No!  They are less effective in negotiating their own work environment.  The controls over their work environment are in the hands of school boards and the public by proxy.  

Educators can’t apply the effective labor tactics that other unions employ.  They can’t strike. They can’t really speak to the media without recourse, and their online activity is monitored closely. No matter how badly they’re bullied, educators remain resilient.  

Holding their heads high, educators generate lesson plan, grade assessments between classes,  coordinate with cohorts, develop professionally, convention collectively, and some even lobby through their associations to create positive change–all on their own time.  


By policy makers, school boards, administrators, parents, and sometimes students, educators succum to the demands beyond their control. They’re not easily persuaded though. Educators are dignified and diligent. An unmoving target, the blows are met with great force.  

But isn’t education changing?

Education evolves, but at a steady (and sometimes slower) rate than other aspects of society.  Ed policy is based on data-based studies and proven success.  This takes time.  But in recent years, data is driven by the need to be more efficient regardless of how effective.  Not to mention that the resources, tools, curriculum, and texts used in the classroom are marketed by for-profit entities tied to political policy.  Non-educators making Ed policy?

Educators hold themselves to a higher standard already. Educators persevere. They thrive on the teachable moments in every lesson. Life lessons are built on overcoming adversity. Educators turn negatives into positives daily. So it’s really no surprise that educators are willing to tolerate, flex, and bend to accommodate the circumstances.  A steady target!

The politicians may never know the wrath of this type of public servant. Educators can take abuse and never reach their breaking point. Dealing with parents, negotiating with administrators, encouraging students to reach their potential. It’s not easy work. The most experienced educator perseveres through the most challenging circumstances. And upon retirement, educators continue to nurture!

How many other professions can make that claim. Educators just don’t quit. So putting the entire profession into a vice and squeezing is not going to end in a positive manner. But the students will learning. The students are watching.  What lesson is being taught?

Consider all of these factors (and knowing that more and more obstacles are mounting). To be any less would negate the silent oath of an educator.  To work less, to care less, to plan less, advocate less…would simply ease our transitions becoming civil service grunts.  Educators would be as effective as any other civil servant, but with more power.  More power to secure our community—or all the ability to simply walk away.  

Angry Black Man

In recent months I’ve been dubbed by my friends as the “angry black man.”   My whole life I’ve been pretty happy-go-lucky.  I’ve been serene, getting upset only when things happen that are within my control.  All other problems were either surrendered to God or they simply slid into the abyss.
Life gets in the way…


It gets in the way of our hopes and dreams.  It also gets in the way of our problems.  Especially as every nuance of our lives gets translated into a sound bite or 15-minutes of temporary fame for the headliner.   Life just..happens.

Problems either dissolve or get handled in due time.  But we exert emphasis on the life problems that are important to us–those life problems that have been ignored too long.  The hashtags and the rally boards are all we have to keep the memories of martyrs intact.

2015 was a tough year.

I don’t think that this year is going to be much better.  In fact, I think that last year’s headlines will only be exacerbated by current headlines.  We’ve learned nothing.  Or maybe we’ve learned plenty, but we haven’t figured out how to apply our new found knowledge.

Yes, I’m angry.  Don’t I have the right to be?!?

Everything that I’ve trusted has been proven otherwise.  I was led to believe that we had a justice system that protects the innocent. I see people who look like me (and behave like me) in the most precarious situations.  We find ourselves in situations that would cause discomfort for anyone.  But we are not referring to harassment, wrongful imprisonment, or brutality.  Death is the sentence for anyone who resists.  Wrongful death, accidental death, or even alleged suicide are par for the course if we are too loud, too independent, or try to defend ourselves.

Forget about exerting my Constitutional rights!   Or my human rights!! Don’t even try to explain the misconception.  Or the misunderstanding!  “Guilty while black” has never rung more true.  Why?  Because our society has been given permission to let their hate flag flow freely.

Educators must be more selective than ever when teaching current events in school because of the content of our “leaders” actions.  “Do what ever you have to,” is the freedom call for anyone who feels that they are entitled.

Police are more guarded because of the threat of retaliation for bad police policy.

Business is booming for lawyers and doctors though.  Everyone has standing to litigate and everyone has the ability to see a doctor.  As a result we are collectively bolder than ever. The elitist are protecting their legacy, and the working-class are fighting the downward spiral of becoming more like the the homeless.

It’s getting real. And I’m getting mad!

It’s become too easy to hate others!   No one is focused on giving peace a chance.  A nation of entitled “adult-children” have awakened under the leadership of a man who weekly affirms their complaints.  They rant that America is not the land of opportunity that it once was.

Fact is that we’ve not yet reached our goal of freedom and liberty for all.  Instead, we’ve been derailed.  That light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

But who is to blame?  It doesn’t really matter now, does it?  Anger doesn’t care who’s wrong.  Anger just fights!   Anger will destroy everything and everyone until there’s either no energy left or nothing left to destroy.

Am I that angry?  No!  But I’m no longer tolerant.  I’m no longer going to tolerate imbeciles who are careless in their acts.  I will not entertain tomfoolery at the expense of others.  I can not answer to subordinates who are incompetent and too inept to do their job.  I am unwilling to tolerate individuals or organizations who are not generating positive energy or positive outcomes.  If this makes me an angry person, I need you to check YOURself.

I’m not nearly as angry as I’m going to be.  I’m AM battling though.  I’m batting not against flesh, but against principalities.   I’m not the only one fighting.  I know what it’s like to ignore, avoid, and even give in to a confrontation.  No more!   My resistance doesn’t make me angry.  It makes me strong.

I am a wall.  A wall is not angry.  A wall is not kind.  A wall is a wall–strong, sturdy, dependable.

Am I that angry black man? Do you want me to be?

Thank you for showing me…

Thank you for showing me your good side first. 

Everyday I awaken to a fresher version of myself.  I evolve. I shed yesterday’s dead skin daily. My new self emerges, enriched by the events of a new day.  I learn.  I live. I love.  Conversely, I forget.  I die (a little).  I hurt. Are we not alike?

Everyday I show you what I’m made of.  I’m not holding anything back.  I know that tomorrow is not promised, so I’m giving all I’ve got.  I’m showing you my best.  Not much is hidden.  I’m an open book.  No time for deception or games.  I’m worth more.  And so are you. 

So thank you for showing me your good side first.  Not everyone does.  Instead, some people defend themselves as “guarded” and build walls to keep others out. They over-look the dangers of trapping themselves inside those same walls they’ve built. 

But not you…

Thank you for showing me what drives you–your hopes and dreams.  You’ve shared with me your fears and concerns.  I now know where you’ve been and where you’re going.  But your secret is safe with me. 

I figure that you must trust me.  

You trust me so much that you’ve shown me your bad side too. Had you done that first, we’d have saved a lot of time.  I wouldn’t have stuck around long.  I can “do bad” all by myself, thank you.  I don’t need any help!  😱

Thank you…
So thank you for showing me your bad side too.  If not for your bad side, you would have no balance.
In the end, we hope to have more good days than bad.  We plan for the happiness and prepare for the unpleasant times.  And our character is revealed by how we handle those unpleasant situations.  

I guess what I’m thanking you for is…for showing me your character.  

Of all the things to love in the world, the human experience is the most beautiful.  Materials can be lost, beauty fades, and even character diminishes over time.  But the human experience is emotional.  It is personal.  It’s something we all posses (and can share).  

Thank you for showing me your character.  Your smile, your frown, your upside down.  🙃

Without you, there would be others; but with you there could be no other.  The existence of one takes the space of others.  The space you’ve taken is now unoccupied. And yet I thank you for showing me…who you are.  

Thank you for showing me…

You Are Not A Rose

You are not a rose.  

You are a fresh green stem pushing through the rich soil.  Your arms are wide open to receive the sun’s rays.  Your desires are budding, and your roots are deep.  You’re not committed to much, but you consider any option the wind blows in your direction.  The air that you breathe is fresh.  Your scent will soon be sweet, but we can’t yet predict the fragrance.  

Swaying in the breeze, there’s nothing more natural.  Tall and firm.  Your stems stretch outward from your body, barely touching any other…

But you are no rose.  You are more than that.  You are not a traditional beauty.  Not generic, but unique.  Your seeds are sewn and are as beautiful.  In a field of clovers…

Tulips nor posies, lilies nor lilacs.  An exotic flower seen by many but experienced by few, you are too humble to appreciate your own value.  



Dad, What Is A Renegade?

Dad, what is a renegade?
While driving my son to school, the song Renegades by X Ambassadors begins to play on the radio.  I tap my fingers to the beat while my son begins to sing along.  

The difference between me and my father is that my father listened carefully to the lyrics, so most music selections were at his discretion. If the content was inappropriate or suggestive, it wasn’t played in the car.  Needless to say, a lot of our travel time was silent.  

Now, I’m the cool dad; letting my kids choose the station.  And most times they decide on their own to select positive, upbeat, or otherwise “safe”songs.  When the vocalists sings a verse that my kids KNOW they could never safely repeat, they are quick to change the station.  

I, on the other hand, am often lost in the moment.  Thinking about the challenges ahead or playing through my head a scenario that I could have handled differently from one of yesterday’s meetings. I tap my fingers to the beat instead.  The lyrics beam past my ears.  

“Long live the pioneers

Rebels and mutineers

Go forth and have no fear

Come close the end is near”

At best I’ll catch the rhyme, but now my feet alternate now with the rhythm.  

“It’s our time to make a move

It’s our time to make amends

It’s our time to break the rules

Let’s begin”

My son pauses and asks, “Dad, what’s a renegade?”

“Huh?  What’s that, son?” I replied.  I looked around, thinking that my son was referring to that new mini-jeep.  

He said, “…the song!  What’s a renegade?”

“And I say hey, hey hey hey

Living like we’re renegades

Hey hey hey

Hey hey hey

Leaving like we’re renegades

Renegades, renegades”

Zoning back to the real world, I formulate the semblance of a response.  “A renegade is…”

Why has my son asked me this?  Was it simply about the song, or was it about more than that?

“…it’s a rebel,” I say, “yeah, a rebel who usually works with a small group of others; to undermine the status quo…” 

“Like you, Dad?”  

I am glad that we’d just slowed to the red traffic light.  “Well, kinda son.  I mean, I don’t always go along with the others, but I know what’s right. I try to do the right thing, even though it gets… complicated.”

“I know, dad.  You don’t always think the rules are right.” 

“Right!  I mean…no!”

What have I been teaching him?  Is he really watching that closely?  Focus. Set a good example.  Offer an analogy…

“Ummm…ok.  It’s like this:  you have to wear a uniform to school, right?”

Eager for me to explain,  “Yeah…” he says.  

“Well, a renegade might refuse.  A renegade might discretely gather a few trusted friends to demonstrate their position against uniforms.”

“The principal might not like that,” my son mumbles.  

“Well, the principal has a job to do too, ” I remind him.  “He has rules to follow, and it’s important that the students have a routine they can follow and a structure to help them develop…”

I lost him. 

“Hey hey hey

Leaving like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades”

“So you suppose that if I wore the wrong color uniform, and got a bunch of my friends to do the same, we’d be renegades?”  

“You want to have a cause,” I warned.  “Otherwise you’re wasting your time–and everyone else’s.  What’s your purpose in breaking the rule?”   


“I guess I’ll just follow the rules then.”

Crisis averted…I think.  Or is this a conversation that we will revisit (possibly in the principal’s office)?

As we pull up to the school entrance, Dylan hops out of the car, grabs his backpack from the trunk, and hums the song as we walk in together.  We go inside.  He turns to me for our routine departing hug.  I kiss his forehead and whisper, “let’s make good decisions today.”

“Ok, dad.  Love you”

Hey hey hey

Leaving like we’re renegades

Renegades, renegades

The Ultimate Instruction Manual for Healthy Living

New Creations Ministries

th0BD23LIUWhy is patience such an impatient attribute to acquire?! I admit that many times I am an impulsive, impatient person but God is working with me on that. Don’t ask for patience unless you are willing to endure tribulation for “Tribulation worketh patience,” (Romans 5:3)  Praise God for my counterpart: a methodical patient husband.

I’m afraid I’ve never been one to read many instruction manuals. Too impatient. In fact my first college slogan professed: “Learn While Doing.” Perfect, I thought! Especially for someone who enjoys hands-on experience while learning.

There is only one Instruction Manual I read extensively and that’s God’s Word. God gave us the Ultimate Training Tool. Everything we need to sustain life we find within its covers!  He advises us how we can get healthier mentally, spiritually and physically.  All we must do is read and do as it says.  Sure, easy, peasy . . . riiiiggght.

But some prefer to skip…

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