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What I learned from Cardi B

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on September 26, 2017 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever heard the saying, “favor ain’t fair”? What about, “what God has for me it is for me”? Both are common sayings amongst church folks and both apply to the surprising rise of rapper/Love & Hip Hop star Cardi B. I don’t mean surprising in an insulting nature, I mean that I am…well… just surprised.

According to Billboard.com, Cardi B is the first female rapper to rule without any other billed acts since Lauryn Hill in 1998.

That’s surprising right? Here’s why…

1. She was on Love & Hip Hop.

I don’t mean this as an insult either because no one loves that show and concept more than I do. Though I am aware of the naysayers that say it is scripted and ratchet and where music careers go to die. While there may be some truth to that negative perspective in this case it birthed one of the most amazing hip hop come ups that I’ve ever been privileged enough to witness.


2. We had Nicki and Remy.

I just find it interesting how Remy was trying to take Nicki’s spot and Nicki was trying to defend her spot. All the while, not knowing that Cardi B was preparing to do something that neither one of them had done. I’m not trying to compare Cardi’s career to theirs because I definitely think it’s a little too early for that but I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking right now. Better yet what is DJ Self thinking?

3. She just started rapping.

In all honesty I don’t know when Cardi started rapping but I do remember on Love & Hip Hop, her wanting DJ self to help her with her music. I also remember after that season she started releasing music. I just checked YouTube and the earliest music release that I could find under the name Cardi B was released a year ago. For the sanity of every other female rapper in the world I hope that is not the case, if so that’s crazy! I applaud all the female rappers that have not cast any negative vibes publicly Cardi’s way because that really shows growth in our cultural. I think it’s safe to say that we need all the unity we can get, but I can imagine the venting sessions that have went on behind closed doors about this girl’s success.

4. Why her?

We chose Cardi B. Something about Cardi B made us say this is who we are going to support. She is the fan favorite. Writing this made me think about all the other female rappers that appeared on Love & Hip Hop and I wonder why we didn’t choose them? I think about Sisterhood of Hip Hop and where is their support? The thing is the industry supported Cardi. The industry posted videos of themselves dancing to Bodak Yellow and of course we mimic the industry. One thing that I’ve learned from watching reality TV is that the world is small and the music industry is even smaller. All of these people know each other, so where’s their support? In the 90s it was about having one female that represented a crew of guys. It seemed kind of chauvinistic at the time, but at least they had guaranteed support. Nowadays these female rappers have no PUBLIC support. I’m sure there are a lot of people that tell them how dope they are when they see them face to face but what’s that’s doing for their careers. I just hope that we are getting back to the time in hip hop where successful female rappers all had careers at the same time and it wasn’t a one at a time type situation. I think there’s room for Nicki, Remy, Cardi, 3D Na’Tee, Brianna Perry, Mz 007, Miillie Mesh and whoever your favorite is to be here together all at the same time. I would encourage any female rapper as I encourage myself by saying, all things in God’s timing. God has not forgotten about you. This is Cardi’s time and soon you will have yours and when you do you will want the same love that she is receiving. God bless.

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.


Follow Your Dreams Like a 2 Year Old

Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 28, 2015 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)


Have you ever had a 2 year old ask you for something like a toy or food? You tell them no. What do they do ask again either in a repetitive mode, cry, or whine. Sometimes they even try and get it themselves. Usually, the outcome is that they get what they want. Whether it’s right then or 30 minutes later they get it. Why? Because you become tired of hearing them ask for it.


Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.


Be Nice! Learn to apologize and how to forgive.

Have you ever had a 2 year old reach out and smack you? No, then you haven’t been around them long enough. Anyway, in the moment you are stunned and slightly angry. Your reaction may be to scold the toddler. Their reaction is usually to cry or at least appear sad. Depending on how the toddler was trained he or she may say, “I’m sorry” or give you a hug. Sometimes neither happens and you look up seeing them doing something cute 10 minutes later and guess what. All is forgiven.


Luke 17:3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.



Give and accept support

Have you ever seen a couple of toddlers playing together and then one of them gets hurt? Sometimes the other toddler will try and hug or help their friend and magically the friend is all better. But then sometimes when the toddler gets hurt and their friend reaches out the toddler rejects the friend. They are upset and they don’t want the support of their friend. More than likely they want the support of an adult. The adult is bigger and more powerful. If they would recognize that there friends have the ability to help as well they would be able to move past their issue a lot faster without waiting for the support of a bigger entity.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.


Failure is not an option

At some point in a 2 year’s old life they think they can do everything. They want to shut the door. They want to carry everything. They want to take off their own diapers. You as the adult are baffled as to what makes them feel they are capable of doing any of this. They haven’t processed failure. Plus they may have done these things before…with your help. Even though you may not be physically helping them this time your presence gives them the confidence that they can still do it.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


Fear nothing

Have you ever seen a toddler attempt to jump off something high? You ask yourself do they not realize what will happen once they hit the ground. No, they don’t realize that there is something to be afraid of. What about when they hit the ground, start crying, and you have to calm them down. You think they will know not to do that ever again. Not exactly, no less than 10 minutes later they are at it again.

Also at what age do we become afraid of other people? I have never met a 2 year old that was afraid of another 2 year old. If they are hit by a fellow toddler they have no problem hitting, biting, or pinching right back. If the toddlers hit them again, they just hit right back. No one walks away. Usually an adult has to intervene. If the toddler doesn’t hit back it’s usually not out of fear but out of trained reaction. They have been taught not to react like that or they are not used to being hit.


Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

Stop Crying!

 Have you ever had a 2 year old run up to you crying because another child took their toy? You immediately look at the child that “allegedly” took the toy and try and figure out if you should take the toy and give it back or just see what happens. Usually something does happen, like the child drops the toy and moves onto something else. You try and get the 2 year old’s attention to inform he/she that the toy is now free. They are so distraught that the toy was taken away that they can’t process the concept that the toy is now free. Eventually they get it, but the child that took the toy realizes the toy is once again a hot commodity and ends up running back and gets the toy before the 2 year has a chance to get it back. Lesson learned: Don’t let crying and complaining allow you to miss out on a new opportunity.


What you want a cookie?

Have you ever potty trained a toddler? Usually, when they “go on the potty” you reward them with a piece of candy or maybe a cookie. Why? It serves as an initiative. It provides motivation. It works too! They get so excited when they potty because they know what’s coming. You are excited too because your plan is working. All is good. Then something changes. They are now potty trained, but they still expect you to be excited when they potty. They still want the reward…the cookie. Your attitude has now changed and you don’t feel that your toddler needs to be rewarded for something they are now “expected” to do. They (You) have accomplished what they were expected to accomplish according to their age and ability. It’s like celebrating a high school graduation two years after it happened. It was great when it happened, but now you have to move on. Continue to elevate.

Eventually you have to let the pull ups go!

I’ve potty trained toddlers in a day care setting. Usually parents bring their child in and say they put the child in pull ups and the training has begun. As a teacher you are excited for the child and parent. You still have other kids in your class who are wearing diapers and you hope that they will be motivated by seeing their friend use the potty. Then something interesting happens. A child that was in diapers shows up in pull ups, masters the potty, and is now wearing underwear. You look at the original pull up wearer who is still in pull ups and say, “what happened?” Why haven’t you elevated to the next level? Your friends and peers have surpassed you and they started behind you. It’s something to think about.



During my experience with toddlers I have often watched them play together. One of the most interesting things is to watch them build a tower with blocks. Either one or two things always happens, a friend comes around and tries to add blocks to the tower to make it higher or a friend comes around and knocks over the tower. When the helpful friend comes around, the toddler is often on the defense and tries to make the friend go away. He or she doesn’t understand that the friend is just trying to help. Now when the trouble making friend comes around and knocks over the tower they always have a look on their face like, “what did I do?” They know what they did but they didn’t realize the impact that it would have on their friend. In life you will be the 2 year old building the blocks, the helpful friend, and the trouble maker. When you are the one building the blocks make sure you allow help when it comes. When you knock down a tower, an enterprise, or an empire the least you can do is help the person rebuild it.