Tag Archives: education

Rap, Nudity and Women

I enjoy a good rap song. As a music lover it was bound to happen. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s in the suburbs of Detroit, it was practically inevitable. I remember the dances in middle school and the jams from the skate rink. For my generation, rap is pop culture. I’ve always had a very particular taste and to be honest, once I got to college, I had outgrown most rap. I still love to hear a good rip, especially if there is a level of integrity behind what the song writer is trying to express.

Lately though, I have noticed a disturbing trend in the rap videos I watch on YouTube: blatant nudity using women. Now I know this has happened in the past, but now it is the norm. To get specific, large naked female butts draped across the images of a rapper’s lifestyle. All to the beat of the newest song being played in brainwashing repetition by your local radio station. Let me get straight to my point:

I am trying to encourage young mothers and women alike to get their secondary education. I am doing this because I understand the difference a college education can make in a single mom’s world. It is dog-eat-dog out there! Trust me ladies, you need all the advantage you can get in this life. Yet, my competition is rap music; a multi-million dollar industry that is now using the naked female body to portray success. How can I encourage young ladies to keep their clothes on and focus on their minds along with their attributes towards society? How can I convey to my nation that glorifying sexual nudity in public is satanic and downright trashy? Hopefully I just did.  #PleasingAbba

Pornography and Why It Changes Us

I must have been 5 or younger, I don’t know for sure. I know my parents divorced when I was 5 and we moved out of the trailer park only a year or so after that. It was a new park, to give credit, and I lived there with my mom, dad and older brother from the time I was 2 until not long after my parents separated. It was a huge neighborhood, to me. Our dad owned his own landscaping business which happened to have a contract with a local bicycle shop. One of my clear memories from when my parents were still married is our father pulling up with his trailer behind his work truck and two brand new bikes for my brother and I. Mine was pink with a white-flowered plastic weaved basket. We would ride our bikes all over that park. It was a labyrinth of paved road with trailers lining each side, a few parks and a clubhouse with a laundry mat and an outdoor pool. There was plenty of room for us to ride our bikes and roam free. It shocks me to think no one watched us. We just roamed about. Of course there where many children in this neighborhood besides us. My brother and I stuck mostly together. We met other kids at the bus stop and some we met just ridding around and exploring.

One day my brother and I were out with a kid we had hung around quite a bit. I remember he acted really tough when he talked, but he was never unkind to us. He was a leader type, the kids just naturally looked up to him. It must have been a weekend morning before too many people were up and about. It was summertime. I remember the weather was sunny and pleasant. He took us around the corner and down a street not too far from our home. He had made a discovery and wanted to show us. We rode up to a trailer that had recently been burned in a fire; It was like a scorched shell. Most of the trailer was still intact but the doors had been knocked out. We parked our bikes in the yard next store and climbed in through the back side door. The boys went in first and pulled me in by my hands. The smell was strong of burnt paper and smoke. Stacks of magazines lined the narrow hallway we entered which led to the bedrooms.  The piles seemed to fill the entire trailer. As I looked around me, our friend pointed out his find. All the stacks and stacks of magazines were pornography. Piles and piles. We picked them up, some partially burnt but still intact. I glanced at the images. Naked ladies and naked breast. Countless images of nude women differing in size. Sizes I had never seen before. Posing and in many positions, the women/girls were smiling. All were smiling but I couldn’t focus on their faces. So many images I had never seen before.

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The atmosphere of this trailer, the vibe, there was something evil about it all. Something felt scary. Something felt like we shouldn’t be there, like I was in some kind of danger. A breeze blew through the open doors and the smell of fresh air mixed with fire filled my nose. The stillness of the day was present. People where sleeping in, but I was aware of them all around us. The boys were uneasy. No one wanted to get caught. We were sneaking around somewhere we weren’t supposed to be. The boys chatted nervously as we looked at the endless stacks of dated pornography. I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but I knew It made me feel different.  The three of us could stand the atmosphere for only so long. We made our way out the way we came in, through the back door. We jumped out onto the grass and grabbed our bikes. We never told our parents about what we found. That trailer sat there like that for days. Now when I look back I cannot help but wonder, how many other kids explored there?

When I looked at the pornographic images that day as a child, it changed me. I couldn’t forget what I saw. It was burned in my mind. I still can remember that experience in great detail. You see when I saw those images, in my mind, I thought “this makes men happy”. All the women looked happy on their faces, but from the neck down what I saw made me feel uncomfortable. I was being exposed to something that is a normal part of life, nudity. I had questions I really didn’t know how to ask. I thought in my young mind that it must be something good. Why would my brother and our friend think it was a cool find if it was all bad? Why were there so many of these magazines in this home? Why is there a horde of them and why was it interesting?

It must be what makes men happy. It must be good because men and boys like porn so much.

So many impressions hit me that day and my mind was too innocent to understand the evil of it all. I knew it was bad, but I also thought it was desirable to men to be like the ladies in the pictures I saw. I confess as an adult I still struggle with these thoughts and ideas that surround sex and men and women. As an adult, I understand sex and intimacy better. I understand all the pieces of the puzzle that must be in place for us as human beings to have our deep physical and sexual needs met. It takes trust and safety, marriage and purpose, time and energy. Sex is beautifully complex. Sex creates life! Get that deep into your soul. Sex makes babies. When I look at my children, I am still in awe of it. From a strong attraction I felt towards my husband since the moment we met, and through all the battles and joy, our coming together produces a child. Our child! A beautiful and so very complex life of its own, with purpose and good works to be completed, all steaming from sex. This is why we need the structure of marriage for sex, because of the outcome it naturally produces. It is the challenge and joy of our lives to experience intimacy. It makes us feel so amazing. Endless songs have been written about intimacy. Books, poems, movies – all express the happiness and consummation, pain and sorrow, which originate from our need to fill this desire. It is a big deal. Once you dive into sexuality and you experience it for yourself, you realize intimacy is a never-ending need. You will continue to need other people to meet your needs in relationships. It requires so much to be a healthy adult, it takes work and dedication. Pornography is a cheap and quick fix. It will quickly get a result that will leave the user still unfulfilled. The porn user will get accustomed to easy outcomes that require little effort or work. Pornography addicts may altogether forget or lose the ability to develop and obtain true intimacy and satisfaction.

Pornography exposes us to an unrealistic dose of sexuality. If we accept it and rely on it, porn will weaken our ability to meet our natural needs. It (Porn) will change us.

So much of what I want to convey to young women and men can all be summed up in this: A good life requires hard work. Don’t settle for the cheap & quick! You are amazing and worth the effort. You can be fulfilled and find satisfaction in sex, but only within the guidelines of marriage. Prepare for it, plan for it, dream about it, and work hard for your relationships and worth. You will not be sorry that you set a high price on yourself. Men want sex, but the same rules apply for us all – fast and free will never satisfy. They will find themselves lacking. I guess that is why there were so many endless piles of porn in that trailer we found as kids. Sad but true. Scary but real. Don’t believe the hype! Porn changes us for evil. Noting good will come from exposing yourself to images. #pleasingabba

Public Education in America: Raising a Nation Without Morality

Martin Luther stirred the world with his bold stand against the Pope and the known leaders of his time. With one letter, the reformation had begun. Christian against Christian – the war was bloody, brutal and long. Most people know and understand that this was the beginnings of migration to America. Europeans were in search of a land that offered a chance to worship and live as one saw right in their own heart, instead of the experience of religion dominated by government. Fast forward to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Religion was such a touchy, personally discerned topic among the many colonists, that our forefathers’ knew they could not give any one church authority over education. Education was not even mentioned in our first governmental documents. The revolutionary war had left the newborn United States $75 million in debt. It would be the 1830’s and the industrial revolution that would spark a mass movement towards free public education for every American child.

State copied state and one by one communities with public schools emerged. Laws were written and taxes were assigned. From the beginning, and for over one hundred years after, the Bible was a part of the curriculum taught across the country.

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Today we have come so far as to ban the Bible and most religion from public education. This is all done in the name of “separation of church and state”. Interesting that we as Americans fall for that one.

—Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

A simple read on the first Amendment to the Constitution will again show my earlier point, the goal of the document’s authors was to eliminate any one church from having power over the state, not to completely do away with the tolerance of religion in daily life. This was to assure all citizens the freedom of Faith.

Not without consequences do we bring up generations of children in a system that is forbidden to teach and debate morality and spirituality. I can’t help but think of the large numbers of school shootings and terrorist attacks on home soil we have seen in the past ten years; have we forgotten to mention the value of human life to our young people? Have we missed this important lesson, are we not making it clear in public education? I propose that children survive what is forced upon them to the best of their ability. I purpose that we are failing to prepare our youth if we cannot train them to have a moral compass. Because I myself grew up in this system. I was exposed to my peers becoming sexually active when I was 12 years old and in the seventh grade. I was exposed to drinking and drugs, simply because I took the bus to school like I was told. Then when I became pregnant at 15, everyone turned on me like I had really blew it. When I became involved with the use of alcohol and drug as a part of my high school social scene, my best possible future was compromised. Statistics of failure were attached to me everywhere I went. It’s wrong and I’m telling you it’s wrong. Those who possess the authority must also take up the responsibility. We must be willing to help our children through peer pressure and bullying by offering them an understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. The youth of America need a solid sense that choosing good pays off. I am not against public education, by no means. I am asking for parents and educators to take a good look at what children are facing. What I’m calling for is better education. An education that treats the whole child: body, soul and spirit. We have advocates for proper nutrition and parents would shudder at the thought of sending their children to public school without some type of planned source for physical nutrients – Yet no measures are in place for their spiritual needs? With all of our modern technology, resources and the progression of our understanding, how can we not advance? America, how can we not respond to the call for help from our youth? #pleasingabba

“About 77 percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned. In other words, they are unwanted or occurred “too soon,” according to a national survey of adolescents.[6] In 2010, the majority of pregnancies to adolescent females ages 15-19 in the United States—an estimated 60 percent—ended in a live birth; 15 percent ended in a miscarriage; and 30 percent ended in an abortion.”

References

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

https://archive.org/details/publiceducationi00cubbuoft

http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/reproductive-health/teen-pregnancy/trends.html

Juggling Education with Teen Motherhood

You are a teen and you are having a baby. What about your education? I had my 1st child in the summer time in between 10th and 11th grade. My mother had done some research and found an alternative high school which catered to young mothers. (Even if you gave birth during the school year, moms were allowed 2-3 weeks of absence.) A teen mom program at a high school location provided on-site day care for our children with the opportunity to continue our education and complete our high school diploma. This was an opportunity I was willing to embrace because not becoming a drop out was very important to me. I truly believed with all my heart the best thing I could do for my son and myself was obtain an education. I knew how harsh the world was. I really didn’t want to lend any help to our defeat. I would get a diploma, not a GED, because it really meant something to me.

I realize not everyone will feel the same about staying in school. To be honest, once I became older and started a family I questioned if I had made the right choice to pursue my education instead of taking time off to just be a mom. (So) What are the important things to consider? Will you be solely responsible for the provision of yourself and child? Even if you have help from a partner or family, as you get older you likely will need to earn a living. Maybe you will only need part-time employment. Most young mothers have to consider providing at some point. Focusing on your education while you are young will be a great investment for more $$$ sooner. I think it motivating to stay in school with peers of your own age. It helps to feel you are on time and on schedule. With online schools available, it really is easier than ever to get a basic education while you are still a teen and earn a diploma. This is a point you will hear me repeat often:

Once you complete your education, no one can take it from you.

Its yours! What you invest in yourself and mind will always be there within you. So even though it may be hard work, I believe it is worth the effort while you are still young. Life will move on. You will too. This is the time to focus on your education. There are so many resources available with the internet! Local libraries will allow you to use their computers, printers and scanners for free. When you have access to YouTube, Skype, Google hangouts and online classes – there really isn’t a reason to skip educating yourself. I had a hard time staying at my high school after I became pregnant. My friends and peers were not dealing with the same things I was. I understand walking away from your current situation for mental stability, and to get some space from bullying and gossip. Yet I would still encourage you to go forward as planned with completing your basic education; Then considering more formal job training afterward. Trade, skill, craft, business all have mentors and internships. Maybe a formal classroom setting won’t work best for you and your new baby. I’ve found that when I put myself out in the world looking for options, I tend to get a lead. If you are a young mom interested in being educated and responsible, that is bound to open up doors. I want you to see yourself able to be both a young mother and financially secure. When you have that sense of stability, it creates the best environment to parent in.

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I cannot talk about continuing your education without discussing the care of your baby. In order for you to work on your skill sets and ability to earn money for living, you will need to place your child in the care of others. This is the most important aspect of your new life as a mom. No one can look out for your baby and love them the way you can. I think mom and baby staying together as much as possible is the best. But because most young moms will need to earn money to support their child, even if only for a season, you need to take special care for their safety and well-being while you are away. Look for options. Be willing to think outside “normal”. You can manage most of your education and you can access a world of opportunity from the comfort of home. When you begin looking for childcare look for a safe place that has checks and balances. Are there video cameras on site? Are they always functional? Do other adults come and go throughout the day? Is there more than one adult available to keep an eye out for your child’s safety? I used several different styles of care. The place I felt best about was a teaching facility with large tinted windows available in every class room for parent viewing. This school also had and used cameras in the classroom as well as on the playground. I felt that at any point during the day I could show up and I was welcomed to see my child. Because I was a young student/mother, I also qualified for financial aid which paid most of my son’s tuition. Do not be intimidated by the cost of good child care! Simply ask about grants and aid for every place you research. Again, now that you are a parent you must juggle multiple responsibilities that cannot be compromised. You need to make money, and you need to get your education, but the care of your baby must come first. When I was going through this, I got caught up in being young. I was running around for my social life, my education and part-time job. Almost twenty years later, I do not see or hang with ANY of my friends or peers from that time frame of my past – Yet my son is still my son and one of the most important people in my world. Learn from my experience and spend as much time as possible investing in your relationship with your baby. Make your education a priority, but always keep your child first. Aim high, young mommies, you have what it takes to succeed!