I Think Therefore I Am?

In recent years I have heard a lot of talk about the power of suggestive thinking. I hear people exclaiming the power of the tongue and “speaking things into existence “or “speaking things into the universe”. I believe the individuals who use theses phrases feel that they can change their circumstances through the power of positive thinking. I am not sure where this talk originated and I am not yet willing to cast my vote on belief or disbelief. However, I do believe the mind is a very powerful tool that can be used to change perception and/or shed light on an otherwise dark situation.
Have you ever had a problem whose solution seemed to elude you? This problem stayed on your mind, (but you were positive it could be solved) and one day you looked at it differently or heard something from a friend and all of a sudden the solution was not only clear, but very simple. This is the power that I am speaking of. Your positivity didn’t solve the problem; it made you see the answer when it appeared!
Negative thinkers receive the same information that positive thinkers receive. They just don’t always recognize the gift.
Let’s imagine a child’s messy room. You walk into the room with the lights off and step on toys, bump into chairs and stumble over books. As this is occurring, I turn on the lights. Have I changed the condition of the room? The answer is both yes and no. I have changed the room from being a dark room to a light room however; I have not changed the fact that the room is a mess. The light allows me to navigate the mess with less of an issue even though the mess remains.
Positive thinking is a light that shines on our circumstances and allows us to see situations more clearly. When you have a positive outlook you can update the quote of the Descartes (the father of modern western philosophy) to “I think positively, therefore I am positive!
Keep it positive friends…and shine the light on life!

Sorry I missed a week, notes to parents #2

When ever you get into something new, you do research and get to know your product, Now I know a child is not a product. However, it is very important that you get to know your children. Out of all of the things that I have heard from parents, there is one that really gets to me. Let’s imagine a child curses out the teacher. The teacher calls the parent of the child and explains what happened. Many times the result is that one thing I cannot stand to hear: “I know my child did not do that. They have never done that before!” If we really think about it, everything we do has to be done a first time. Not only that, a parent cannot always be sure of what their child has done previously. A lot of parents think they know their children because they raised them. The truth is that although you may be the greatest influence in their lives, there are other influences. Friends, music, television, movies, school and various experiences are influences on your children as well. It is of utmost importance that you have great communication with your children to get to know them. You may be surprised at what you find.

In addition to an open line of communication, it is important to know your child’s temperament, learning style and their intelligence. These can be found by using the free test that can be found online. The knowledge that you will gain from these assessments can bridge that gap that exists between many parents and their children. It can help you to aid your child in a plan for their future. It will also be valuable for your children’s teachers as they seek to accommodate your children.

Getting to know your children is key in providing a great education for them, but I suggest that you get to know yourself in the process. Take the assessments with your children. It can add to your life and it will show your children the importance of knowing themselves.

Brian J. T. Watts, Ed.S
Motivator, Educational Consultant, Student/Parent Advocate

As promised, notes to parents #1

As promised, I am writing to attempt to bridge the gap between parents and the educators that teach your children. This article includes what I believe to be the first step in parents understanding what is going on in the school system today. It will take some time parents, but I assure you that it will help you to better focus on your child’s education and needs. It is a process that teachers and administrators must go through to be ultimately successful as well.

In order to truly understand today’s education system, you must try not to compare it to the system where you were educated. So many things have changed from the top of the educational change to the bottom. I am not saying that you have to give up the lessons you learned, just that you must realize that things are drastically different even though the classrooms, books and methods of delivery may look the same. In addition, you must also realize that things are changing at a rapid rate.

If you are over 40, you may remember being young and seeing the same toys on the top of the list for Christmas. There were not many changes back then. When changes did come they were few and far between. Nowadays, a toy can be released to the public today and be obsolete in less than a month. The same is true with electronics and appliances. This is comparable to what is going on in education. The changes are coming from the top and I cannot promise you that all of the changes are good for the students. We are living in a new world. Years ago education was a state responsibility and only a federal interest. Now the federal government is dictating many of the moves in education across the country.

You need to know this so you can adequately judge what is going on at your child’s school. Keep yourself educated on what the government is doing in education and you will be ahead of the game of what is happening locally.
Next week we will begin talking about getting to know your child.

Brian J. T. Watts, Ed.S
Motivator, Educational Consultant, Student/Parent Advocate

SOCIAL MEDIA WOES

Social media is not a new phenomena. I remember my first encounters back in the late nineties with Black Planet and Black Voices. I met some really interesting people and I made one good friend. After the new millenium there was a boom in social media sites (2002 – LinkedIn, 2004 – Facebook, 2006 – Twitter, 2010 – Instagram). Today there are more sites than you can possibly belong to or check in one day and although there are many positives, we are experiencing some social media woes.
I believe that it is of utmost importance to reveal and discuss these woes now before they create (or continue to create) anti-social media behaviors. We have to learn to use social media in a way that promotes our society instead of allowing it to be used to destroy.
I attended A. Philip Randolph High School years ago and social media has helped me connect with many of my high school friends and acquantances. It has also helped me reach out to family and friends from college (Oakwood College) and even friends from elementary school (R. T. Hudson) and my old block where I grew up (St. Mary’s Projects). This has been, for the most part, a positive thing. However, there are many issues that are creeping into our lives due to social media. The biggest one being: THE ABSENCE OF SOCIALIZING!
I must admit that as a young fellow I felt that I was a social misfit. I did not always know how to act or what to say. All it took back then was for me to take some time, step back and watch what was going on. I saw how the “cool” guys spoke to the girls they liked (and how those girls responded). I saw how friendships were cultivated and maintained. I saw cliques and crews that lasted and some that broke up almost immediately. I saw disagreements, arguements and fights, but I also saw the healing and/or toleration that resulted. This was meaningful social interaction. We talked to each other and read each other’s nonverbal communication as we listened to the verbal communication. This type of interaction is almost extinct today!
Now I know that in our global society, we cannot all get together to talk. That is understandable, but we have allowed the art form of communication to regress to an unrecognizeable state. People are texting marriage invites and funeral notices. Some of my friends only found out that close friends and/or relatives have died because they saw a thread on Facebook. Relationships are suffering because between our phones and our social media accounts, we do not have time to communicate effectively or in some cases sincerely.
So, like Justin Timberlake did with sexy, I am bringing social back! Why? Because it actually isn’t the social media that is the problem. It is they way we are using it! I know for a fact that my personality is one that doesnt always translate on social media. I have made innocent comments to friends that resulted in them getting angry and lashing out. They totally misunderstood me and my statement.
I have a few ideas that can help us get back to being a social community again. This list is not exhaustive. If you have some tips to add, feel free to do so.

1. When you see friends/family you have not seen in a while greet them with a hug, kiss or the appropriate gesture for your relationship. Don’t just wave because you see them on FB all the time.
2. If you are offended by a post a friend has posted, inbox them or better yet call them. Don’t start a war on a thread.
3. If someone is much more than just a facebook friend and you have their phone number, call them on their birthday.
4. Don’t get involved in twitter wars.
5. If you are interested in someone and they are interested in you…PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND STAY AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER!!!!! Get some time face to face so you can connect for real!!!! Spend time together when you can and make it quality!!!
6. Get LinkedIn with people for business purposes and nothing else!
7. Realize that there are people watching you on all of the social media sites. Some for good things and some for not so good things. Keep your social media image consistent with your real image.
8. Have real conversations on the phone and/or in person. Texts. tweets and posts cannot always adequately express what needs to be expressed.
9. If you are not interested in a person’s post, pass it by. You do not have to comment on everything.
10. If a post is for a certain group of people and you are not one of them, STAY OFF OF THE THREAD!
11. Call a friend and tell them you miss them. Tell them how much they mean to you.
12. Have a small gathering or reunion.
I am sure there are many more things we could do! Let me know what you think!

Parents, let’s talk a bit first!

Hey parents (and others), I think that before I start exposing you to the things you may not understand about education, we should come to an understanding. At first, I thought about telling you the positives about the upcoming articles. Upon pondering the idea further, I decided to tell you what this series of articles are not.
This series of articles are not meant to embarrass anyone. Although some of the situations may be real and/or apply to your situation, I am not calling you out. I am simply using real life situations to expose a point and create a learning experience.
This series of articles is not an indictment of poor parenting. I am not trying to call anyone a bad parent. I have heard many people say that parenting is an extremely important job but there is no manual for it. I totally agree. On the job training comes with trials and errors. In addition, being raised by great parents does not make you a great parent just like being raised by unskilled parents doesnt make you an unskilled parent. These articles are to offer modern procedures and an understanding of what is going on in your child’s school.
A lot of things have changed in our world. Although school still looks the same on the exterior, there are many operational changes. In fact, some things may be changing while this article is being written.
The goal is to catch you up so you can have a good relationship with the school and an improved relationship with your child or children. I hope you will join us for the ride!

Parents Just Don’t Understand

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
Educational Consultant
#parentscanunderstand

No Good Men? Why Not?

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

What Happened To Dating?

This is a new project that I am working on with Paula Morris.  Please check out the first article and feel free to comment!

 

What Happened To DATING?
I guess it would be extremely appropriate for me to define dating before I continue.  In my opinion, dating is how you get to know someone with whom you think you may be interested in pursuing a relationship.  Dating used to be the initial phase and was followed by exclusivity (becoming monogamous).  Then “talking” replaced “dating” and dating became exclusive.
Enough of the history lesson!  Nowadays, there is not much dating going on. People are going from hello to hookup!  It is amazing how little people may know about their sex partners.  The numbers of one-night stands that occur these days are exponentially higher simply because some people don’t know enough about their partner before sexual contact.  Now, I may be old fashioned, but I when I was dating, I wanted to know enough about a girl to make sure she had been a girl her whole life.  I mean, at least tell me your last name.  Show me some baby pictures or something!
Dating was an art form.  In most cases, a man had to formulate his “rap” to approach a woman who probably already knew whether she was impressed with him or not.  Regardless of how she felt, he was allowed to pursue and validate the things he said as truth.  This gave a woman the chance to prove the man to be Prince Charming or just another tired brother.
The fact is that because things can “go down” so quickly after two consenting adults meet, there is no time or reason for dating.  We have put the cart before the horse.  Now that we have entered the most private and precious part of someone’s life we have to backtrack and get to know him/her or completely leave him/her alone.  No wonder our relationships are so dysfunctional.
Another reason for the dysfunction is we haven’t been taught to date. Girls are taught how to land a guy to marry and guys are taught just the opposite. There is a huge gap in the education of our youth about how to have a successful relationship.  Where are the classes on that?
What happened to dating? It went out of style with parachute pants. If you are a woman and you want to date around “You’re a hoe”. If you’re a man and you want to date around “You’re a confirmed bachelor”. Now what’s wrong with this picture? The double standard rises up!! Ladies, there is nothing wrong with dating more than one man at a time. I don’t understand why women think there is something wrong with that. Now, clearly I am not saying it’s a good idea to have sex with all of them. That is not a good idea. But dating is a lost art. And I think we need to find it!
If the man isn’t committed to you, why the heck are you committed to him? Take the time to get to know more than one person. It’s not a sin or against the law. Dating should be fun and  it shouldn’t be a hassle. The best way to get to know a person is to date.
Let me caution you as Brian has: Sex changes every relationship. So before you complicate a relationship slow down and get to know the person first. There is no reason to make life harder.
In some ways, society has placed this pressure on women that they must be married by 25 or 30. Many marriages have ended because they did not take the time to get to know the person they were marrying. The divorce rate is high enough, let’s not add to it. Let’s take the time to get to know someone. Who knows? It might be fun!
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.

Committment Issues

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

 

Education is the Key!

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?