Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Is Your Parenting Style? Empowering Parenting Tips And Advice Article by Stephanie Lahart.

What are you teaching your children? What are you NOT teaching your children? Do you even take parenting seriously?

Many people have children knowing that they aren't parent material. Many people have children for their own selfish reasons. Many people have children and they know darn well that they can’t afford to take care of them. Many people have children to try to save a relationship. Many people have children because they feel pressured to do so. Many people have children “just because.”

If You’re a Parent, Ask Yourself:

·         Do my children disrespect me
·         Have my children ever hit me
·         Do my children have control over me and the household
·         Is my child/children a bully
·         Do they not respect themselves or others
·         Do my children NOT get along with others
·         Do my children steal from me
·         Does my child/children get bad grades in school
·         Does my child/children have low self-esteem

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, then you may want to keep on reading. You may or may not be ready to accept what I’m about to say, but I ask that you give it some time to sink in. NOBODY likes to feel like they've failed at parenting, but the truth is, we aren't perfect. We don’t always get it right, but we do have an obligation to teach, discipline, correct, nurture, and support our children. They need our guidance so that they will have a better chance at growing up to be overall good people.

When children are young, some parents blow off unacceptable behavior. You allow your kids to talk back and totally disrespect you. You allow them to get away with hitting. You bribe your children with material things, just so they’ll do what you want them to do. You try so hard to be their friend that you forget that you’re their parent first. You overlook their not-so-good behavior. You make excuses for why they do the things that they do. You don’t hold your children accountable for the choices that they make. They don’t listen or follow rules. And your children have an “I don’t care” attitude.

I know that’s a lot to take in, but for some of you reading this, it’s the truth. And sometimes hearing and facing the truth can sting, and YES, even hurt. But I challenge you to really take a look at your parenting style. What kind of things do you say and do around your children? Are you truly setting an example? What can you change and/or do better? What is your parenting style doing for your children? Can you honestly say that you’re proud of who your children are? And most importantly, can you say with all honesty that YOU’RE a good parent? Remember: Good parenting has nothing to do with what we buy our children or what we do for them. Real parenting goes way further than that. It’s NOT material. You can’t buy their love or respect.

You can give a child EVERYTHING, and they can still give you hell and mistreat you.

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to take the steps to make a change. Your children may go against you at first, but stand firm. You have to lay down some ground rules and stick to it. No matter how hard it gets, don’t give up and don’t give in! Your children are acting out because you have allowed this to go on for far too long. Maybe you’re trying to make up for something, but letting your children get away with this kind of behavior is NOT acceptable.

You are the parent! Don’t allow your children to even think that they have control over you. You’ve got to dig deep within your soul and find the strength to take control and get your house in order. Imagine the peace that you will have! Imagine how peaceful your household will be in general. Imagine your life in harmony. Just imagine!

I don’t want you to feel sorry for yourself either. I need you to do what it is you have to do. Things may not be what you want them to be at this moment, and you have to be willing to accept that. Accept it and move forward. Reflect on how you got here and what you can do differently now. Make up in your mind what you’re not willing to accept anymore.

Your children do NOT have a right to disrespect you in any kind of way. Don’t make excuses.

If you have done all that you can possibly do, don’t be ashamed to try counseling and/or reach out to somebody that you feel could impact the situation in a positive manner. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help.

I’ll Leave You with These Tips:
·         Communicate, communicate, communicate.
·         Listen. Listen carefully.
·         Show love. Genuine love.
·         Encourage. Don’t be negative and discouraging.
·         Spend quality time with your children.
·         Show them that you appreciate them.
·         Set good examples for them to follow. They are watching you. They don’t miss anything.
·         Don’t be SO busy that they feel ignored and/or unimportant. Find a good balance.

It’s going to take work, a lot of work. But I’m sure you’d agree that your family is worth it. Your family is worth the fight.

Don’t be afraid to invite change into your lives. The New Year is right around the corner. Do yourself a favor and start the process now! 

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Let There Be LIGHT: A Passage by Stephanie Lahart

Let there be light in how you treat others. Let there be light in your attitude. Let there be light in your personality. Let there be light in your behavior. Let there be light in your conversations. Let there be light in your thinking. Let there be light in how you carry yourself.

When people come into contact with you, does your light shine? Take a minute to think about it. Are you one of those people that like to start arguments? Are you one of those people that bring down the mood? Are you one of those people who gossip all of the time? Are you one of those people that are always negative and have nothing positive to say? Are you one of those people that others dislike to see coming? Are you one of those people that are self-centered? Are you one of those people that like to start rumors and keep up drama?  Are you one of those people that have a bad attitude?

What kind of person are you? That’s a valid question that most people don’t take the time out to think about. If your light isn't shining or it’s dull, it’s time to make some changes in your life. NOBODY likes to be around people who bring them down. BUT, there’s no need to feel bad if you do some of the things that I've pointed out. This is an eye-opener for you and an opportunity for you to make some changes. Change is good, especially if it’s going to better you as a person. I challenge you to really take a look at YOU. What do you see?

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet) 

No Longer: A Passage by Stephanie Lahart

No longer will I allow you to talk down to me. No longer will I be afraid to speak and take up for myself. No longer will I allow your words to hurt me. No longer will I compare myself to the next person. No longer will I feel guilty for saying “NO.”  No longer will I be afraid to eat and enjoy the foods that I like. No longer will I give up on my goals. No longer will I start something and not finish it. No longer will I play second when I should be first. No longer will I allow you to physically or emotionally hurt me. No longer will I allow my precious time to be wasted on senseless things.

 No longer will I be too busy to enjoy and create lasting memories with the people that I say I love. No longer will I be too busy to hear you. No longer will I take your kindness for weakness. No longer will I look for a way out. I will face my fears and disappointments. No longer will I make excuses. No longer will I put off today what is not promised to me tomorrow. No longer will I listen and accept your negativity. No longer will I carry the weight other peoples’ problems. No longer will I be afraid to go out by myself. No longer will I allow my attitude to get the best of me. No longer will I be afraid to make important decisions for myself. No longer will I fail to follow through on what I said that I’d do. No longer will I doubt my abilities. I will give myself a chance. No longer will I allow my past to define who I should be. No longer will I be afraid to take chances.

Today I choose to live life more abundantly. I won’t allow anything or anyone to get in the way of me having complete peace in my life. There’s nothing like having inner peace.

 Choose this day to make that change. Make the necessary adjustments in your life so that you can experience and live in complete peace too.

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet) 

Loneliness: A Passage by Stephanie Lahart

Beware of loneliness. It’ll surely cause you to do things that you’ll later regret.

Loneliness will have you doing things that you never thought you’d do. Loneliness will have you hanging out in places where you know you don’t belong. Loneliness will cause your mind to think about things that are way out of your character. Loneliness will have you lying, cheating, sneaking around, making excuses about the things that you’re doing, and have you start to believe that it’s okay. Loneliness will have you fantasizing about things that you wouldn't normally dare act upon. Loneliness will eventually cause you to question: “What’s wrong with me, why hasn't anybody chosen me?” It will slowly tear down your self-esteem. Loneliness will cause you to hang out with the wrong crowd. Loneliness can attach itself to you and, before you know it, you’ll become a slave to whatever it wants you to do.

I’ll say it again. Beware of loneliness! Loneliness can break you ALL the way down. It can have you addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol, hurting yourself, and so many other things that are unhealthy to your well-being.

That is why it’s so important to love yourself. Things and people cannot complete you or make you whole. You have to reach deep down in your soul and tell yourself: “I may be lonely, but I will NOT subject my soul to hell. I will not lower myself for a quick fix in my life.” You have to understand, it’s just that…A quick fix. Take the time and play the tape all the way through. Ask yourself: “If I do this or if I do that,” what will be the consequences? How will this affect my life? Then go a little further. Ask yourself the big question: “Is this worth ruining my life?” 

We have to value our lives. Each day that we wake up and breathe, it is a gift that shouldn't be taken for granted. It’s important to know that everything has its place and time. Learn to be strong and content by yourself. Your time will come. But, in the meantime, love yourself. Take the time to get to know who you really are as a person. Be patient and remember this: When we try to rush and make things happen before its time, it’s sure to fail. Take this precious time to work on yourself, get to know yourself better, and don’t forget to love yourself. Self-Love is important and needed. You are important! You matter! You count!

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet) 

Don't Be In a Rush: A Passage by Stephanie Lahart

I want you to take a close look at your life. Do you find yourself rushing all of the time?

 Well, Think about THIS: We go about living our lives on a daily basis, and we have what we call a “to-do list.” We have to do grocery shopping, stop by the cleaners, pick our children up from day care/school, wash the car, walk and feed the pets, go by the bank. And the list goes on and on.

Every day we do what would be considered “the norm.” We get SO busy that sometimes we forget to slow down and appreciate life as it should be. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things that we do are important, but it’s also equally important to find a good balance with everything else in our lives. Learn to relax. Don’t be in a rush. Take your time, and remember to value the things that are truly important. Many people don’t realize just how valuable life is until something tragic happens. I’m going to give you an eye-opening example of what I’m talking about.

Do you take the time to hug and/or kiss your loved ones every day? Do you take the time to cook and then sit down with the family to enjoy it? Do you take time out of your day to just laugh, smile, or unwind from it all? Do you make time for “family time?” Do you take the time to ask your mate or somebody who’s close to you “How was your day” and be patient enough to allow them to answer and then talk about it? Do you take the time to say “I love you?” Do you take the time to sit down and have long, deep conversations? Do you allow yourself time to do what you enjoy, or do you spend all of your time only doing what you HAVE to do? 

Can you sit through an entire movie or show without answering or looking at your phone? Are you too busy on the computer that you don’t even notice what’s really going on in your household? Do you allow your mind to take a break and rest? Did you stop doing something that you love because you feel like you’re too old? Remember, age is just a number. When was the last time, or have you ever taken a long train ride and enjoyed the sound, sights, and people around you?

 I could go on and on, but I think that you get my point by now. We have to allow time for the things that really matter. Now that I've got your attention, it’s time for you to ask yourself: “What can I do to bring balance into my life?” When we know better, we should do better. You owe it to yourself. Live life to the fullest! Value what’s most important, and allow yourself to enjoy all of the peace that comes with it.

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet) 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Torn and Confused: Poem by Stephanie Lahart

Damn! I HATE that I’m feeling this way.
I know how much you love and adore me
Always sacrificing and spoiling me
Putting me first and taking care of me
And I know very well that you’re crazy about me

Crazy about my smile
Crazy about my walk
Crazy about the way I carry myself
Crazy about my personality
Crazy about the whole package that you see in me

I love and care for you, but I’m questioning
If I’m “in love” with you
I don’t understand why I’m feeling this way
Women would kill to have a man like you
I’m so fucking torn and confused

I don’t want to hurt you or cause you any pain
I don’t want to break your heart like the others did.
Deep down in my heart
I know you couldn't handle that kind of pain again
I care SO much for you, BUT…

I feel lonely. I feel like I need something new.
I’m bored in this relationship
I feel like I’m not living
The everyday routine is just not enough
I need to see and experience new things

I need to get out of the “norm”
I've got this need to fly and be free
Meet new people and live a little edgy
Make mistakes and let loose
Live on the wild side

When I think about causing you pain
My heart hurts to the core
Can’t stand the fact that I've changed
Growing apart from you, and yet still love you

What am I to do?

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)

Allow Yourself To Be Free: Poem by Stephanie Lahart

Open up your heart to receive the love that you deserve.
Let your past mistakes make you stronger and wiser.
Forgive yourself and be at peace.
Love yourself and see the best in yourself!
Respect yourself!
Be good to yourself!
Take care of yourself because YOU are important!

Leave your comfort zone behind.
Get out and see new things.
Experience all that life has to offer for you.
Be spontaneous!
Let down your guards!
Do things that bring happiness to you!
Smile and laugh, laugh and smile.
You’re on your way to being free!

LIVE and don’t just exist.
Make everyday count for something.
Create memories that will live after you’re gone.
Love, love unconditionally.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable, because it’s okay.
Communicate your feelings, don’t hold them in.
Be bold and stand up for what you believe.

Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.
Always remember how important you are.
Don’t allow anybody to keep you down.
Stand tall!
Keep your head up!
Never lose confidence in yourself!

We all make mistakes, nobody’s perfect.
Learn, grow, and do better.
Pay attention to life and life will show you many things.
Increase your knowledge and be open to learn.
Never underestimate what you can learn or do.
Give yourself chances and don’t doubt yourself!

To be free is to really live.
Live your life and live it well.
No more regrets!
No more shame!
No more thinking about what you should’ve done!

LIVE! That’s all. LIVE and be free!

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)

Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice

Note: I acknowledge that not all officers fall into this category. You do have some officers who value their job and do what’s right. A big thank you to the ones who are fair and just to everybody! I, and many others deeply appreciate you!

Isn’t your job supposed to serve and protect ALL of us? Then let me ask this important question. Why is it that every time I turn on the news another black man has been killed? I mean, can you explain this to me? There’s absolutely no explanation that you could give that would excuse the killings that have been going on as of late. Well, let me take that back. This actually isn’t anything new. White officers have gotten away with killing black men for the longest time. But, I must admit, it’s a good thing to see Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and many other races standing together for justice. Standing together because they know in their hearts that what we’re witnessing is wrong.

I’m beginning to question the justice system on a new level now. You’re allowing police officers to kill black men like it’s the thing to do. Are you trying to send a message? Are you trying to pump fear into minorities? What is it? I’d like to know.

Let’s not turn a blind eye to what’s going on all around the country. Racism is still VERY much alive and police officers aren’t exempt. We all have to remember this one thing: Police Officers are human beings and they have their biases too.

Some officers are racist. Let’s not be fooled into thinking that all officers are created equal, because they aren’t. Some officers are bullies. Some officers joined the force with ill intentions. Some officers are cruel and have no empathy for others. Some officers have hidden agendas and they look for an opportunity to start trouble “just because.” Some officers get off on racial profiling. They live for it, and it’s funny to them. Some officers are just pure jerks! They’re filled with rage and hate. Some officers couldn’t wait for the day that they got their badge. Game on!

How do you live with yourselves? Killing people that didn’t have to die? How do you justify that? You’re supposed to uphold the law, but you’re secretly playing the law. You tell so many lies just to cover up what REALLY happened. But you’re an officer, right? So that makes it okay.

Isn’t it amazing how you arrest people for things that YOU do yourself? Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about? You arrest people for domestic violence, but behind closed doors, you’re a monster yourself. You arrest people for drinking and driving, texting and driving, and driving recklessly, but let’s just be honest here. You haven’t been caught, but you’ve done it too. You arrest people for selling and using drugs. You know the truth! You know you like to party and get wild sometimes. You arrest people for all sorts of things on a daily basis and the reality of the matter is this: Some of the things you arrest people for you’re doing yourself. Hmm…Imagine that! That’s some food-for-thought for you.

How dare you act like you’re SO perfect when you know darn well that you have skeletons in your closet that nobody knows about?!

I’m so sick and tired of some officers exaggerating the situations. Take note:

• I felt threatened
• He was reaching for something under his clothes
• I warned him, but he wouldn’t stop
• I had no other choice

And the list literally goes on and on. Do you not value people’s lives? Do you not think about the hurt and pain that you are causing families? I’ll ask the question again: Aren’t you supposed to serve and protect ALL of us?

What is your problem? Why must you use unnecessary force? Why do you shoot to kill an unarmed man? Have you NOT been trained to shoot to disable your suspect? I mean come on! We all know that you go through extensive training. You know how and where to shoot to kill.

Let me get this straight. Hands up in the air and yet another young black male is dead. Or here’s another one for you: Did it really take you putting an unarmed man in a chokehold until you killed him? Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. How do you shoot and kill a minor with a toy gun? I’d be literally typing all night long if I were to name off all of the black men that are now dead because of our “good ol’ officers.”

This cannot continue to go on. Our black men do matter and they do count! And people all over, from different backgrounds and different races, are making that clear. They’re sending a powerful message that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. There is an overwhelming distrust between cops and the communities. We didn’t create this. You did!

We’ve got too much as it is going on in this world. Can’t we just put racism behind us and have peace? What is it going to take? Who’s going to stand up for what is right? I challenge you to think about this: Who are YOU? Why did you REALLY become a police officer? Only you know the real answer to that question.

I, too, as a black woman have experienced racism from police officers on many occasions and I’ve never been in trouble with the law. It’s downright disgusting to me. I can’t explain how that makes me feel. I just know it doesn’t feel good at all. Why can’t I drive a nice car? Why can’t I live in a nice neighborhood? Why can’t my daughter attend the best schools? Why can’t I have all of this and not be judged? Why must you think that I’m selling drugs or doing something wrong because I have nice things? Reality check: All black people aren’t the same. I would appreciate it if you would stop being ignorant in your thinking. It’s not a good look!

Your job is to serve and protect. Not harass people, bully people, or mistreat people. Your job is NOT to take advantage of your badge and power. Your job is to simply do what’s right. Can you do that?

- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)