After Vacation I Got to Celebrate My Daughter!


I am back from vacation y'all! It was amazing. As far as I am concerned, it's not a vacation without a trip to the beach. So, I arranged for me and the kids to go to Virginia Beach with my mom, sister, aunts and cousins because Andre had to work. And, it was LOVELY! I felt like one of the sisters of the Ya Ya Sisterhood--summering without the menfolk!

I ENJOYED MY VACATION                                                                      Guess what, I didn't check my email a lot when I was gone and didn't take one conference call. My job doesn't give you hours back when you work while on vacation, and since I am on call during the year, I decided to take this vacation as the gift that it was and really connected with my kids.  We had ice cream, hung out on the beach, stayed up too late and did the things we don't get to do when school is in session.                                                                                                                Thank God the School Year is Over                                                                                                                       Don't get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of education. I mean I was literally born in college. My parents had me while they were students. So, my earliest memories involve me on a college campus with college students who were charged with directing my path. Because of that, I have always been a bit of a nerd. Being smart, and being perceived as smart, has been a core value for as long as I can remember. Also, I'm a lawyer for Gods sake. My education has literally catapulted me into a different social class and changed my economic trajectory.                                                                                                            

Despite this fondness for education, I have begun to loathe the school year. The rigors of it. The time constraints. And the homework are a big pain in my neck and cause great stress for my family. I am also not entirely sold on their utility. I actually believe in my heart of hearts that the most important lesson that a kid can learn in grades 1-4 is how to read well, to love learning, and to be a strong math student. Last year, my daughter gained none of those. She is a competent reader, but finds it boring. She believes that learning is a hassle, and has reduced math to a subject as opposed to something that can solve actual problems. 

I was very disappointed with her schooling this year. She attended a public school and her class had 23 students. My daughter has been tested and has a high IQ. Yet, she struggled to achieve, despite parental involvement. I have no doubt that she'll get there. Still, in the meantime, I want her to know what it feels like to WIN.

Children, Especially Those of Color, Need to Learn How to Win

Winning can be as addictive as any drug. And losing can become normalized. I want my daughter to see herself as a winner. Period. 

So, when we returned from vacation, I was thrilled to learn that our daughter was one of the top two fundraisers at her school for the "Jump Rope for Heart Campaign", a fundraising and physical activity program designed to help promote heart health and to raise funds for heart disease research and education. I was also proud of our daughter because heart disease has touched our family. My grandmother died in her sixties after having a heart attack and my father-in-law had quintuple bypass surgery two years ago.

One of her honors, beyond the prizes, was getting brought onto the field for a Pittsburgh Pirates game to get recognized. I was proud that she was acknowledged fr her efforts. She was so committed during the campaign, calling relatives and asking them to give. Her tenacity was inspiring and resulted in her victory. We were so proud of our little girl (and her elf, her aunt, @spelmangemini, who helped win the victory. Beyond that though, after this challenging academic year, I was grateful that she got to experience winning.                                                                    You can judge me if you like, but I believe without equivocation that my daughter will master every lesson. What I am most concerned about at this stage is her spirit. I do not want her to learn to accept mediocrity or under-performing because somehow somebody has convinced her that it is her birthright. Instead, I want her to learn that hard work pays off.                                                                              On Friday, she learned that lesson by experience and it was far more effective than any lecture. Guess what, surprise, surprise, it turns out that she LOVES to win. So, stay tuned, this girl will continue to do great things, including mastering her lessons. After all, this girl is a winner!!!