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Menendez Brothers: I Get It

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on January 7, 2017 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)


When I saw the commercial for ABC‘s documentary special titled Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers I was immediately intrigued. I remember the Menendez case or at least I remember watching the movie Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills starring Edward James Olmos and thinking these were sociopathic teenagers that couldn’t handle the expectations of their father.



I thought that in 1994 when I watched the movie and I thought that when I set my DVR to watch the ABC documentary on Jan 5th, 2017. I thought that until probably the last 7 minutes of the special and then I had to be real with myself. I had to let go of my 20 year judgement of the Menendez brothers that was formed as a child and welcome what my adult mind was telling me. These kids snapped! They lost their mind! They went crazy. Whatever verbiage you would use to describe what happens in a person’s mind when they realize they have been wronged and begin to put a plan into motion to seek revenge or in their case freedom. That’s what happened.



It reminds me of the movie about Nat Turner, A Birth of a Nation. In that movie Nat Turner was a preacher that obeyed his slave masters by doing what he was told. After a series of unfortunate or should I say horrific events; he snapped. He began thinking differently and therefore preaching differently which eventually caused a violent and historic rebellion. I consider myself to have a mind that is not easily swayed so after watching Nat Turner’s story I questioned my ethical viewpoints on this rebellion. What it right or wrong? Is violence the answer? Is it what Jesus would do? I don’t know but I do understand why Nat Turner snapped and I now understand why the Menendez brothers snapped. I’m not saying they were right. I’m not saying they were wrong but what I will admit to is that I completely understand their “why.”


 

Can HE trust you to lead?

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 30, 2016 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (5)



Have you ever seen a group of small children all joined together by a rope? If not, then you don’t work with small children. I do and we use a rope, usually decorated with shapes or animals to help the children form a line. We use this line to go from one part of the building to another. We use it to walk around outdoors. Some brave souls even use it to cross a street. Eventually, all children reach a maturity level to where they don’t need the rope. They know how to walk in a line without causing a major disruption. They listen.

The small children that I work with aren’t there yet so they hold the rope. It’s interesting because in their world it’s a very big deal on who gets the luxury of being the “line leader.” Of course the line leader is the person that leads the line. Now I must tell you I work with a total of 16 children and not everyone can lead the line. They have all attempted, but some are better than others. For example, I have one little boy that is easily distracted. He starts out good. You know all the kids are walking down the hallway and then all of a sudden something catches his eye. “Ms. Nicole there is a rock!” He flops to the ground to pick up the rock. What do you think happens? Well let me tell you. The person behind him is pulled to the ground and it becomes a domino effect. Why…because they are all holding the same rope. Now if you are at the end of the line and you flop to the ground this won’t happen because everyone in front of you is still walking forward. The most that will happen is that you will unfortunately be dragged along until the line is forced to stop or you jump back up.

I have a little girl that is at times afforded this great opportunity of being the “line leader” but can’t stop communicating with the children behind her. “Ms. Nicole, he’s pushing me!” Then she turns around to retaliate and hits the boy behind her. When she turns around the whole entire lines gets turned around and not in orderly fashion or some sort of about face. It’s more like Charlotte’s web. Usually in both situations I end up having to replace the line leader. I know right, the poor little child gets his position taken away. It’s sad, but as the teacher I have an agenda as well. We have to get the playground at a certain time and more importantly without total chaos. In my class I have my “go to” children that I know can handle the line leader position. Usually, these kids walk straight with their head forward until we get to our destination. If I say stop, they stop. If I say walk faster, they walk faster. If we come across another teacher and he/she speaks to the line leader they usually reply in an assertive but respectable manner. “We’re going to playground.”

I often wonder does God see me as a line leader. Am I easily distracted? Will I bring the people attached to me to the ground? Will I get his line all turned around and therefore become the creator of chaos? Will he grant me the position and then take it away upon realizing that I wasn’t ready? Will I be in the back of the line being dragged along by the people who remain focused on the mission? Will I be forced to watch other people continue to get great opportunities because they are God’s “go to” people? Can I lead his line? It’s something to think about.

Exodus 18:21

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

 

We voting for Hillary or nah?

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 4, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Who are we (minorities) supporting in this upcoming election? I’m assuming that it’s not Trump due to all the not so subliminal messages that I’ve seen or heard in the music, on TV, and especially on social media.





What I am not clear on is who we are supporting. All I’ve heard people (my people) say in reference to Hillary is, “I don’t trust her, she’s trying too hard to get the black vote” or “she thinks that we will automatically vote for her because of Bill.” So…y'all not voting? Cause let me tell you…NOW is not the time to be indecisive. I promise you it’s not! When Diddy initiated the VOTE or Die campaign in attempts to keep Bush out of office again we knew who we were voting for…the other guy.



So why are we so unsure now? People say Hillary thinks she doesn’t have to work for the black vote. Well I know that she don’t have to work for mine. One reason is because I’ve been waiting for Hillary to run again so I could support her. The other reason is….she’s running against Trump!!! It’s a no brainer. Let me ask you this, did I miss something? What happened or what was said that made y’all turn your backs on Hillary Clinton? And don’t bring up those emails!



When did we become so bourgeois with our votes? Is it because we've experienced the luxury of having President Obama for 8 years? Because, before Obama, we were voting for whomever the Democratic nominee was.



I don’t know. Maybe I’ve only been talking to people that have only voted for president Obama. I guess if that is the only president that you’ve voted for in your lifetime then you would be a little sadity with your vote. All I’m saying is if we’re supporting Hillary then say it! Scream it! Let it be known in the same way that you shout your nonsupport for Trump. Otherwise you allow me to believe that you are not voting at all, and I guess that’s fine. I mean if you want 12 years a slave to be your reality then don’t vote. But as for me and my house we will vote for the person that is running against Donald Trump. Just so we’re clear that person is…Hillary Clinton.



 

2016 Message from a 2 year old.

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on December 31, 2015 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I spend my days with toddlers and and am expected to teach them daily but most days I find that they are teaching me.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down at a childlike table and made a gesture for a little boy to come sit next to me. I’ll call him David. I instructed David on how to do the art project that I’d prepared. He gladly did it and within minutes he was done. Another child, I’ll call him Sean, said “Ms. Nicole is it my turn?” I said yes and told David to get up so that Sean could sit in the chair. David gladly got up but before Sean could sit down another child sat in the chair. I’ll call her, Amy. I stood up because I needed to hang David’s art work so that the other children wouldn’t get to it. As I was doing so Sean began to repeatedly hit Amy because he was upset that she was sitting in “his” chair.

After calming Sean down and hanging the art simultaneously I kindly asked Amy to get up. She did not move and it made Sean even madder. I said “Sean it’s okay you’re next.” He continued to cry and Amy continued to resist my command to tell her to get up. While I was up walking around I did a couple of small things before returning to the art table. Once I sat back down I calmly looked at Amy and picked her up out of the chair and told Sean to sit down. Though he was still frustrated he sat down but not before turning to Amy to try and hit her one more time while saying “MY CHAIR!” I looked at Sean and I said. “No Sean! We do not hit” Overcome with frustration he ignored me and continued to lash out at Amy. Watching this I became frustrated and made a surprising decision. I said “Sean get up and go clean up the block area and when you get done you can try again.” Then I turned to Amy and said, “sit back down let’s do art.”

 I laughed to myself thinking how much adults are like 2 year olds. In that classroom I’m God-like and though I repeatedly told Sean that he was “next” because it didn’t look like he was next he frustrated himself. He allowed another 2 year old that is not qualified to make any decisions for his life allow him to bring himself to a point of self-destruction. He was so overwhelmed by his situation that he blocked out my voice and my instruction. Even when it was finally his turn instead of just stepping into it with joy he couldn’t get past his frustration over a situation what wasn’t what it looked like.

Then I thought about Amy and how though she was wrong, because Sean failed at his instruction she was able to gain what at that moment was not for her. Now she would have gotten the opportunity to do art, but it wouldn’t been right then.

You may wonder did Sean ever do art? No, he didn’t. Why? Sean continued to ignore my instruction. He didn’t clean up the block area. In his 2 year old mind he couldn’t comprehend what picking up the blocks had to do with doing art. In reality they are two separated activities, but the point was that I told him to clean up the blocks. I needed to see if he would obey me given another opportunity and he didn’t.

You may wonder well what about Amy? You let her get away with “murder.” You’re right because I was more frustrated with Sean than Amy because I chose Sean. I expected more from Sean so when Sean couldn’t act right the disappointment was heavier.

I wished Sean had just picked up the blocks because I wanted Sean to do art. I really did but before I could enjoy his art I needed his obedience.

The good thing about this story is that I am not God and God is not petty. Two year olds are expected to make mistakes and there’s always another opportunity for Sean to do art. I mean we do it daily so there’s always tomorrow. What about us as adults? We don’t know that we’ll be here tomorrow let alone have another opportunity to do ART.

 

Raising a Nation of Undisciplined Youth

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on October 3, 2015 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I recently heard the poet Gaye McGhee say, “They took prayer out of school. Didn’t they know it was a tool? It got me thinking. Why did they take prayer out of school? I considered researching it in order to give you a factual answer, but then I said forget it. I’m just going to throw out some possible reasons and gain my own perspective. Was it because our children are no longer united under one God? Or was it because of a study? You know, “studies show….” That type of study.


While thinking about the elimination of prayer in schools I began to think about something else that has faded away. Why is spanking frowned upon in schools? Is it because of abuse? Did administrators take it too far? Or was it because of a study?


I would never want to attempt to tell anyone how to raise their children because I don’t have any. But I will say this…discipline your children at home and they won’t need to be spanked at school. This is where you have your Oprah “aha” moment.




Parents that believe in spanking their children laugh at parents that just put their kids in “timeout.” Well get ready to laugh harder. I don’t know if it’s because of a study but “timeout” parents are no longer using the timeout method. I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to inform you about the latest craze in parenting. Wait for it……


Are you still waiting? Well here it is…nothing. That’s the answer, nothing. Well they don’t call it nothing. I call it nothing. They call it…redirecting.


How do you redirect? Let me explain it to you. Little Justin wants some juice. You don’t think Justin should have any juice because he’s about to go to bed. Little Justin begins to throw a fit. You ask Justin if he would like to help mommy put some clothes in a basket. Little Justin says yes and forgets about the juice.


I get it. It sounds good. And I honestly think it will work. Actually I know it will work…when it’s just mommy and Justin. But what happens when Justin is at school and he wants something and the teacher doesn’t have time to play the redirect game with Justin, because there are 10 other Justins in class that all want something too? Just imagine that. Now imagine redirected Justin in preschool. Imagine redirected Justin in Highschool. Imagine redirected Justin as an adult. You really don’t have to imagine too hard. We all know redirected Justin. Redirected Justin is your employee that doesn’t understand why you have to write him up. He’s only been late 10 times. Redirected Justin is the guy that’s lying on your couch because his girlfriend kicked him out. Redirected Justin is the guy who doesn’t understand why he has to pay child support. The moral of the story is we all need discipline. Now, I do not believe that all kids need to be spanked. For some kids all you have to do it raise your voice or take a toy away and they get it. But then there are some kids that will laugh at you when you raise your voice. Do you get it? (Aha moment) Now if you are wondering if your child needs to be disciplined let me share with you some ways to tell.


1. The teacher at your child’s school gives you a bad report at least once a week

2. You have to get a babysitter in order to go to Walmart

3. No one in your family ever volunteers to babysit for you.

4. You let your child’s hand go while walking and they immediately run away.

5. You have a family member or friend that has said, “Let me keep him for one day and he will be a different child.”



Over the years we have changed our approach in raising and teaching children, but we have also implemented a lot of government funded programs that help children that have lost their way.


I realize that there are many studies out there that speak against spanking your child. Remember this; there isn’t a BA, MS, or PHD that can overrule biblical teaching. A wise woman once said anything that you need to know about life is in the bible. That goes for sex, marriage, and children. The bible says,” He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”(Proverbs 13:24)

 

The Peter in Me

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on April 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”


When we hear about Peter, also known as Simon Peter, denying Jesus 3 times it usually makes us feel disgusted. How can Peter walk with Jesus and witness him perform miracles but still deny him? Where is his loyalty? As Easter approaches and the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ once again comes to the forefront I ask myself the question. Is there a little Peter in me?


When Jesus told Peter he would deny him, Peter was surprised. He couldn’t imagine himself denying Christ. I can’t imagine myself denying him. But to be honest, have I or we denied Jesus without even realizing it?


We deny our mothers and fathers the love and care that we may feel they don’t deserve.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. - Exodus 20:12


We deny the homeless man on the corner because we aren’t sure if he is really homeless. We wonder what he did to deserve to be put in that position.

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. - Matthew 25:40


We deny everyday people of our spiritual knowledge, consideration, and patience.

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. - John 21:17


Of course we’ve denied Jesus. We deny him every day when we don’t keep the commandments.

 

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

2. You shall not make idols.

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5. Honor your father and your mother.

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet.


We deny him when we don’t take a stand on what the bible says is right. More than anything we deny him with our silence.




 

 

Did Tupac Determine His Own Death?

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on March 31, 2015 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Is there a fine line between destiny and speaking things into existence? Do things happen because you believed it would happen or because it was destined to happen? When I ask this I'm questioning 3 things: 1. The death of Tupac Shakur 2. Vision boards. 3. My life.



The late rapper Tupac Shakur has been described as a prophet. He often rapped about having a premature death. I often wonder how Tupac knew. Did God speak to him directly? Did he receive a prophetic word? Why was he so convinced? In fact, he was so convincing that some people believe he is still alive. Now as a Christian I can’t help but look at things from a spiritual point of view. Proverbs 18: 21 says, death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 23:7 says, for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Matthew 12:36-37 says, but I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Did Tupac speak death over his own life and therefore create his own early departure? A famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi is, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.” When I remember Tupac is his later years he acted like someone who didn’t plan on being here for too much longer. I hate to say this, but he seemed like he just didn’t care. Maybe I’m just too spiritual? Maybe I’m misinterpreting the scripture? Maybe I’m misinterpreting Tupac! Either way, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

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You still with me?

Okay. Good. Now let's talk about this vision board. You can spot an entrepreneur by the vision board in their house, office, or cell phone. The popularity of the board derived from a book and movie called, The Secret. The secret is that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness. As I watched the movie I found myself thinking…this isn’t a secret. This is the bible. That leads me back to the scriptures mentioned above and that you have to ability to speak, imagine, and therefore make things happen in your life.




Now let’s talk about my own life. I can remember being a small child and allowing another small child to read my palm. Does anybody remember that? Palm readings? Well, this child looked at my hand and said that because of what she saw on my hand that my life would be a certain way. One of the things that she mentioned that always stuck with me was concerning my life line. She said that it appeared that my life started out strong, but then it gets weak…or whatever. I can’t remember. Anyway, at that time sickness came to my mind. Now I never went back and researched palm readings, so I am unsure of whether or not she was even correct in what she was trying to do. But still, what she said penetrated my mind so much that as a child I had a huge fear of getting breast cancer, scoliosis, and in later years HIV, HPV, and anything that anyone recommended one get tested for. Now this is where it gets interesting. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The crazy thing is that I wasn't surprised about my diagnosis. It was almost like I expected it all along. Not Crohn’s disease, but sickness. Now the palm reading wasn’t something that I spoke about. I never said to anyone that I feared sickness. But when I think about it now, I wonder did that child speak something over my life that I allowed into my heart and therefore it manifested? Or was God preparing me all along for what was to come? Or does God not work like that? I don’t know, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.



 

15 Movies That Your African American Teenagers Need to See Before They Become African American Adults.

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 2, 2015 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)


I know some of your teenagers may have seen racially inspired movies like Django Unchained, 12 Year’s a Slave, or The Butler. There is still a black perspective that they may be missing. Have you shared with them such books as Our kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe or others like it? If not, they probably don’t have anywhere near a full understanding of why Bill Cosby would tell them to pull up their pants, why Kanye West said, “even if you in a Benz you still a nigga, or why the hip hop community is giving Iggy Azalea such a hard time. Don’t forget the old saying, “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.” I challenge you to take these 28 days to make sure your teenagers understand not only who they are as black Americans, but also how all races perceive them and why.



1. Roots: The Saga of an American Family

2. Roots: The Next Generations

3. Alex Haley's Queen

4. Panther

5. Malcolm X

6. Selma

7. School Daze

8. Higher Learning

9. Rosewood

10. Jungle Fever

11. Crash

12. Do The Right Thing

13. The Color Purple

14. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

15. Hotel Rwanda

 

 

Jamal Bryant the New Tupac?

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on January 1, 2015 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)



We’ve been looking for Tupac in all the wrong places. Why? We’ve only been looking in hip hop. It makes sense that the next great thug rapper would be a rapper. If so, than why can’t we find him? It’s been almost 20 years since his death placing him in his mid-40s had he lived. We have seen many of the greats musically reincarnated. Is Beyoncé the new Diana Ross? Is Gaga the new Madonna? Is J Hud the new Whitney Houston? Is Justin Bieber the new Michael Jackson? What about Rihanna, is she the new Janet Jackson? I’m speaking more on perception than talent replication. Still, after 20 years it seems like at least traces of another Tupac would have surfaced. Maybe it has and we just didn’t notice. We were looking for a rapper. There are rappers that resemble parts of Tupac. They are either straight conscious or straight thug. That’s the problem, Tupac was never one way. Hip Hop fans that remember Tupac well also know that he was way more than just a thug, rapper, musician, poet, or actor. He was an activist.

Let’s start there.

There is only one person that I can think of that is not afraid to speak the truth about love, life, and race relations. Only one person comes to mind when I think of someone who refuses to bite their tongue. One person, that couldn’t care less how we felt about whatever they have to say. That person is Dr. Jamal Bryant. Dr. Jamal Bryant? Yes, not only do the two share Baltimore upbringings, but they also have parents who clearly influenced their path. It’s known that Tupac is the son of former Black Panther, Afeni Shakur and that Jamal is the son of AME Bishop John Bryant. I guess our influences really do start at home. Teachers have been trying to tell parents that for years, but that’s another blog.

Maybe Jamal Bryant isn’t necessarily the next Tupac. Maybe he is just Tupac all grown up? Think about it.

 





Check out the video. The proof is in the pudding.






Everybody Ain't Tupac

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on December 23, 2014 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

No one is, not even close. There is Tupac, Lauryn Hill, and then everybody else. Everybody else includes talented rappers or lyricists that know how to put together a hit song. I can appreciate a good song so kudos to all of you.

I want to jump on this Iggy Azalea topic before it completely goes away. Myself, being such a hip hop fan, I personally have been waiting on a rapper like Iggy for a long time. So when she finally showed up, I found myself wondering what took her so long.

I like her music and her style, but I am aware that some of her lyrics and tweets have offended a lot of the Black/Hispanic community.

I did not see her tweets in real time, but I have seen what has been documented. Personally, I wouldn’t have said or tweeted it, if I was her. But then again, I wouldn’t say or tweet a lot of things that other rappers say either.

Some people feel that Iggy is ignorant when it comes to black culture. She knew a big butt would get her to the top. Sounds to me like, she knew all she needed to know to get your attention. So let's not act brand new like a big butt and a smile or catchy hook ain't all you need to get in the game.

I understand our need to inform her that we don’t appreciate her remarks and we’re not going to tolerate it or whateva. I get it. I get it. I swear that I get it. In fact, I’m with you to an extent. I also realize that emotions are flying high with everything going on in our country.

I just really wish that the same accountability that we would like Iggy to have, we would also have it ourselves. We spend way too much time worrying about what other races are doing to us and ignore what we are clearly doing to ourselves. There have been a lot of inappropriate raps/remarks/tweets/statements made by other Hip Hop artist. Either we don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what comes out of our “own” mouth.

Nicki Minaj

Yo, like MJ doctor, they killing me

These little nappy headed hoes need a perminator

Rick Ross

Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it

I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it

Meek Mill

I just wanna thank God

For all the pretty women he let into my life

All the Benjamins he let me count

Wealth and health, for my family

And lettin’ me BALL on these niggas

Kevin Gates

Beat a bitch like Chris Brown, go back to jail, no quitting.

Notorious B.I.G

Pay my own bail, commence to ass kickin

Lick in the door, wavin the four-four

All you heard was, "Poppa don't hit me no more"