Posts Tagged ‘college students’

Do the right thing!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

A student just came rushing to my office and handed me an assignment (part of a final project) which he thought was due today. I gave the assignment and set the deadline as today but I did not take the assignment in. The purpose of doing this is so that the students do their work in increments rather than leave it all until the last minute and hand in sloppy work.

As the student handed me the assignment, I informed him that he was not required to hand it in. I could see the frustration in his face as he asked me why I had told them it was due today. I replied, “So that you would have it done by today.” I then asked him an obvious question; “Did you do it?” “Yes”,  he replied. To which I responded; “Then we have met our objective.”
Even as the student walked away, I could tell he was still disgruntled that he had spent time doing his school work under the impression that it was due to be handed in and then found out that it was not going to be handed in. Just as I thought he had left, he reappeared and asked me to give him feed-back and I told him that I was happy to but not at the present moment. I encouraged him to come to my office during “office hours” and I let him know I would be happy to assist him. He was still clearly disgruntled as he walked away from my office.

The reason why I am sharing this experience is that I have noticed that a lot of students don’t really come to college to learn. They seem to come to college as a means to an end and in my observation, while most of them are here, they do almost everything that they can to avoid learning!

The student that I just described did the assignment as part of his learning process but did not assign any value to the learning. Instead, he was frustrated that he had done the assignment “for nothing”. This is what I take issue with. It seems that college has become a means to an end and learning has become an “inconvenience” along the way. I genuinely believe that this line of thinking is not much different from people who serve others only because they expect something in return or so as to “be seen” serving which will improve their public image.

I’m glad this student came by my office because he made me think about a very important lesson that I leaned a long time ago: Do the right things for the right reasons.

It’s quite possible to do the “right thing” (like philanthropy) and still be wrong because we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason (like boosting public image). It is also possible to do the “wrong thing” (like say “no” to someone you care about) but have good intention (like preserving your time and energy for more important tasks).

The best students that I have come across are the ones who come to college to learn, gather information and improve their skills so that they can reach their career goals and make a positive impact in their communities. These students are the ones who are doing the right thing (getting an education) for the right reasons (improving their lives and those of other people).

The next time you have a task in from of you; ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing and if you’re doing it for the right reason. Failing which, if you’re going to do something that may be perceived as the “wrong” thing; do it for the right reason!

Mindful Mornings: What are YOU modeling?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

People follow your lead. If you respect yourself, they respect you. If you place a high value on your time, they will value it too. It works in reverse as well.

As with anything, there are exceptions but before you complain about how you were treated, always ask yourself one question: What was I modeling?

Sex before Marriage

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

I just read a post that really got me thinking…

“You appealed to his lower nature. You had sex with him and didn’t make marriage a requirement. You continue to have sex with him and still don’t make marriage a requirement. You decide that you’re going to have his baby, and again you still aren’t married because, again, you didn’t make it a requirement, he leaves you. But everything is “ALL HIS FAULT!”

The words above are a simple question that a lot of black woman who call themselves “baby mama” need to ask themselves. I completely understand and sympathize with the fact that “it takes two to tango” and that some men need a little nudge (like a court order) to take responsibility and contribute financially for their children’s needs. Anyone who pays attention to most of the things that I say/write, knows that I believe in personal responsibility. Before you ask or require other people to take responsibility for anything, you first have to ask yourself if you are taking responsibility

Read the post here and let me know what you think. [email protected]

Again, my friends, can I please not get an influx of angry e-mails about how judgmental I’m being! 🙂 Some truths need to be faced and we need to have dialogue so that we can begin to move into a better way of thinking and behaving. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge-right?

A lesson in Courage from a five year old.

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

This morning I went to pick my five year old daughter up from her swimming lesson and as soon as I got to the pool, I noticed she had been crying. Her swimming instructor assured me that she was okay and let me know that she had gotten some water in her nose while she was swimming.

As we walked towards the changing rooms, I asked my daughter what had happened and she basically told me the same thing; that she had gotten water in her nose. I then asked her if she wanted to continue with the swimming lessons and she nodded her head, meaning “yes”.

As we got into the car and drove home, I started thinking that my daughter had just showed a great act of courage. I imagine that at the time when water was rushing into her mouth and nose, she was feeling a lot of fear and panic and yet, not long after that traumatic experience, she was still willing to continue with her swimming lessons.

How many of us, as adults, experience something unpleasant, (not even traumatic), and from then on decide never to try it again? The answer, of course, is that most of us, at some point in our lives, have quit because something was just too hard, uncomfortable or too scary.

When you set out to do something to improve your life, don’t let a little (or a lot of) fear get in your way. Sometimes it’s not fear; it could be discomfort or it could be that whatever it is feels too hard or it could be that some people are laughing at it or discouraging it. Take a lesson from my five year old daughter and just keep at it!

One day, you’ll look at your life and it will be so much better! Positive change takes time, but it begins with overcoming one little (or big) thing at a time.

Peace

African American Women and thier families

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

This morning I read an excellent article that reminded me why I decided to raise the standard of my behavior and why I continue to do my best to become a better woman, wife and mother.

When my baby boy was born two and a half years ago, my life changed and it has never been the same. Considering that I had already had my now five year old daughter, I couldn’t understand why having a baby had such a transformational effect on me.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that the reason why the birth of my son changed me so much was because I live in America and my son is one day going to grow up to be a “black man”. Being a black man in America, I believe, is one of the most complex of existences. Currently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of black men is at 18% while “white” male unemployment is at 8%. I generally don’t watch the news anymore, but when I used to, more often than not, I would see a mug shot of some black man while the news commentator said something along the lines of “wanted” or “armed and dangerous”. And now I am raising a future “black man”.

Since the birth of my son, I have become more aware and maybe even sensitive to how young black men are perceived and treated. I’ve become more aware of how I treat my own husband because he is the model that my son is looking at to shape his perception of how a man should be treated as well as how he should behave. I cannot control my husband or what he says and does, but I know that I can control myself and how I behave. My son (and my daughter) is watching and for that reason, I will never stop being the best role model that I can be.

You can check out the article here.

Tyra Banks to become a “baby mama”?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

This past week, many news outlets have been reporting that while on CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ show Tyra Banks hinted that she “may be” trying to have a baby soon. She then went on to say that there were no wedding bells ringing any time soon and when asked if marriage should come before the baby, she replied, “I don’t think it’s necessarily necessary.”

Now, generally, I have nothing but love for Tyra Banks but I’m disappointed by the way that she seems to be treating such serious issues so lightly! First of all, having a baby, if at all, is something that should be very well thought out and planned if you’re going to walk that path unmarried. Second of all, Tyra Banks should and probably does know that the statistics of unwed women having children in African American communities is alarming! These same statistics have been shown in study after study to have a correlation with a lot of the negative issues that people face in African American communities, such as the institutionalization of young black men and high pregnancy and high school dropout rates for young women.

I have said it before and I will say it again, women like Tyra Banks are role models and they have a responsibility to young women (and men) to hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct. Obviously Tyra has the right to make choices for herself that make sense for her but she has to do so in a responsible manner. Carelessly going on television and throwing words like “maybe” and “necessarily necessary” around while discussing issues as serious and sobering as marriage and having children fall way below the expectations that I had for Ms. Banks.

My appeal to Ms. Banks is simple: Be mindful of what you’re saying and doing. A lot of young women look up to you to set the standard for “model” (pun intended) behavior!

You can accomplish your goals with Burning Desire and Belief

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Recently, a student came to me and told me about one of his aspirations and solicited my help in turning it into a definite goal and then creating an action plan. It is standard practice for me to ask my students to e-mail me any requests that they have. I do this for two reasons:
1. Putting their request in writing encourages them to get clearer about what they want to accomplish as well as what they are asking for.

2. This process weeds out the students (and people, in general) that are not serious and have the potential to waste my (precious!) time.

It has been a week and the student has still not e-mailed me. There are three possible reasons:
1. He does not believe in himself and therefore does not believe that he can or will accomplish the goal (Lack of Belief)

2. He does not believe in me and therefore does not believe that I can help him (Lack of Belief, again)

3. He is not serious about his goal; he does not have a burning desire. (Lack of Desire- lack of burning desire)

I can confidently say this because I know that when you have a “burning desire”, you do not make excuses, rationalizations and justifications about why you cannot accomplish your goal. I also know that sometimes we experience fear and doubt, which causes a lack of belief. Sometimes the lack of belief is a result of a low self esteem or lack of confidence. This is what I know for sure: if the flame in your “burning desire” is hot enough, it will push you past any fear, doubt and lack of belief, as well as distractions and everyday life and work issues that people tend to use as excuses.

So what’s the lesson? It’s simple: Find what you love; what you’re passionate about and then use your imagination to light a fire under it.

If you do this, you will accomplish your goals and I’m ready to work with you! [email protected]

President Barack Obama’s Biggest Error and Michelle Obama’s Greatest Victory

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Recently while giving a lecture on Leadership, I used The President as an example of one critical error that many leaders make. This error is usually made as a result of ‘chronic people pleasing’ and while it may seem noble, it is still a very critical error.

The error is quite simply leading without a clear Definite Purpose.

Some years ago, I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and my main take away was the understanding of the importance of Definiteness of Purpose. This is what I am suggesting is lacking in the current presidency.

Since President Obama assumed office, he has tackled many, many issues including “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Race Relations (remember the Black Harvard Professor, Dr. Henry Gates and the Caucasian Boston police officer?), The War in Iraq (Or is it Afghanistan?), Unemployment and a devastating Economic crisis. The list goes on and on and on!

Before I go any further, let me be clear; I have a lot of respect, admiration and even Love for President Obama and my intention is not to start a campaign on why he should not be President or how lousy of a job he is doing as President. As a college instructor and a life strategist, I teach leadership and personal development courses and programs so I am able to recognize basic leadership errors and my intention is to point out one very common and critical error that many leaders (even President Obama) make.

Lacking Definiteness of Purpose is the reason why many leaders fail. Having a definite purpose is the anchor of every accomplishment by a person, company, institution or even an administration. Former President George W Bush was on Oprah sometime last year and while I do not agree with most of the policies that he enacted while he was in office, I can honestly say about him that he was clear about his purpose; War on Terror! He tackled many issues, as of course any President would, but he remained clear about his purpose; Get the Terrorists! His policies, agree with them or not, were aligned with the purpose that he was clear about from the beginning; Get the Terrorists!

So, what is President Obama’s purpose, as a President? No one really knows… Yes, he has made history by becoming the first Black President and even then, some argue that he is not “black enough’. That being said, I believe that President Obama does not have a definite purpose. After he leaves office, what will his legacy be, other than that he was Black? What is the one thing that we will remember him for?

Success is quite simply accomplishing what you set out to do. Former President George Bush had a definite purpose and he accomplished it. Again, agree or disagree with him, but he was successful. (Remember Saddam Hussein?)

Another great example of a success story is Michelle Obama. As First Lady, she has had one main goal and that is to start a process that will eliminate childhood obesity. This is her DEFINATE PURPOSE and we all know about it. When I watch children’s television shows with my babies, I often see her on the kids’ channels encouraging the children to be more active. Again, this is part of her “Let’s Move” campaign which she is using to start the process to eliminate childhood obesity. She encourages us to prepare and eat healthier meals and she has led the way by planting fresh vegetables in the White House garden. There are many other actions that she has taken and I won’t go on with the list but the point is that her purpose is clear and her actions are in alignment with her purpose as First Lady and this is her victory!

So, what’s the lesson? The lesson is simple, if you want to be successful, approach your goal with definiteness of purpose. Be deliberate about thinking thoughts, speaking words and taking actions that align with whatever that purpose is. If you do this, you will be successful; you will accomplish your goal! As for President Obama, let’s continue to pray for him as he leads the country and hopefully, before his term is over, he will leave a Legacy that we (and he) can be proud of.
Peace

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Relationships: What they’ll do with you, they’ll do to you

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

couple-having-conversationI had a female student come to me and ask me for relationship advice. The student had a male friend who was in a relationship with someone else. The problem was that she had developed a romantic interest in her male friend. “So, Professor, what do you think I should do?” she inquired.

Upon speaking with her a little more, I got the impression that she cared about her friend and valued the friendship. My advice to her was just to refrain from letting him know how she felt and appreciate the friendship that they had as it was. She then told me that she had a feeling that he felt the same way about her and this is the point where I saw a teachable moment.

Have you ever heard of the saying “what they’ll do with you, they’ll do to you”?
What I asked the student was what I would ask anyone in this predicament; “If he leaves his current relationship to be with you, how secure are you going to be about him having other female friends?” Here’s another question: “If anything inappropriate were to happen while he is still in the relationship, would you be able to trust him if you eventually ended up in the relationship with him?” And “Should you trust him?”
The reason why I was asking these questions, of course, was so that the student would be able to see that if she told her friend how she felt, any action that he took, even if it initially gave her what she wanted had the potential to cause problems down the line. If she eventually ended up in a relationship with her friend because he had left his girlfriend, I predicted that she would have a difficult time trusting him not to leave her for someone else and this would not be unreasonable considering that she knew he had done it before. Basically what I was saying to her was that if her friend left his girlfriend to start a relationship with her, I believed he was capable of doing the same to her. Another scenario was that if her friend became romantically involved with her, while he was in a relationship with someone else, even if the other relationship eventually ended, again I believed that he was capable of doing the same thing to her, hence the saying “what they’ll do with you, they’ll do to you!”

At the end of our conversation, the student assured me that she would leave the friendship as it was and I hope that is what she did.

This principle though is not only applicable to the scenario that I just described. Gossiping, lying and treating others badly are just a few of the examples of how this principle can be applied. Anyone who says negative things to you about someone you both know, for example, will more than likely say negative things about you to other people in your absence. The list is endless, but the lesson is the same in each scenario. We all learned it in the first grade: If you don’t want something done to you, don’t do it to others.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter

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