The Invisible Student-A National Epidemic

Early one morning, a student named invisible awakened to an empty home. Dad left the family years ago and mom is so consumed with her boyfriend that she’s frequently in and out of the home. For the sake of equality, lets say that this kid could also be in a two-parent home with mom and dad, but both work 18-hour shifts, so the invisible student has to get up and moving on their own in the morning. Invisible does not get the traditional “kiss on the cheek” or the “breakfast is ready” morning proclamation from mom, because no one has ever been there to see them off. Once dressed in the same clothes they have worn for years, the invisible student eats breakfast, packs a meager lunch and heads to the bus stop.

While on the corner, several kids tease the invisible student for they are not part of the in crowd. No friends to talk to so the invisible student curls up in the corner on the bus, feeling alone once again. In school, the teacher says nothing to the invisible child for they don’t see them. They give amazing shout outs to the students who are doing well in school and are highly visible, but not one peep about the invisible student because to them, this student does not exist. The invisible child is picked on and teased by their peers all day long because they are not popular and do not wear the latest clothes. The invisible child gets to the point that they begin to wonder if their life really matters and contemplates suicide. They have come to the conclusion that “nobody cares about me, so why care about myself!”

One day the invisible student walks into the school and a new teacher says to them “You have a pretty smile.” The student ignores the statement for since they are invisible, this teacher can’t be talking about them! The next day, the same teacher tells the student, “I notice that your grades have improved slightly and I am glad to see that you are moving in the right direction.” The invisible student stares at the teacher but begins to doubt the their sincerity. The teacher later in the week tells the student, “I have been noticing you for a while and I want to let you know that I think you are talented and gifted. I would like to sit down with you and discuss programs in the school I think your talents would be beneficial to. You are very special to me and I want you to know that your life counts. Together, we are going to show the world how great you really are!” Suddenly, the invisible child now wakes up in the morning with sense of enthusiasm. They pack their lunch, iron their clothes and sprint to the bus stop. The negative words of their classmates begin to diminish for they realize that this invisible student has become visible, and is now displaying confidence. Many peers admire the new-found strength of the newly “visible” student and begin to befriend them. The school begins to rally around the visible child and connects them to organizations that can help their home situation improve. The invisible student, now visible, becomes one of the highest rated students academically, and eventually graduates with honors. The amazing realization of the story is that the invisible student became visible, because one teacher, by taking the time to notice this child, freed them from their mental bondage.

I am sure by now you can see that this story is fiction. But in some ways it is truthful for many schools have countless invisible students. In my staff programs nationally, I share with teachers and school stakeholders, I believe invisible students are one of the biggest hidden problems in schools worldwide–kids walking into and leaving schools, totally unnoticed.   As mentioned in my writings in the past, many kids, after my motivational assemblies walk up to me and share their stories. Most recently in a program in Kansas where a young lady in high school told me she was planning on dropping out and moving to another city. I shared this information with the organization that contracted me to speak to the students and they followed-up with intervention. I often ask the kids why they felt comfortable sharing this with me and not someone in their school? Many tell me that they feel like nobody around them cares!

If we are ever going to close the gap, race to the top, or establish common core standards, we better first realize that the kids we are working with are human beings who without self-esteem and self-worth, will never reach their full academic or life potential. The one motivational push I have in my work/mission is to see schools nationwide, develop fortitude in the majority of the school stakeholders to pick up the mantra held by the aforementioned caring teacher. Then and only then will we level the playing field in our education systems.  History is the best data to prove this!

What are your thoughts on this topic. Have you witnessed this before?


The Fate Of The Western Civilization Is Riding On The Shoulders Of The Fathers

Several years ago my son and I attended a father-son retreat and the director of the organization that coordinated the event shared this statement in the beginning of his speech.  This one sentence has echoed in my head almost non-stop since then.  I think the primary reason why the statement touched me is my deep concern for how fatherhood is being downgraded in America.  No matter what anyone says about manhood, if there were no fathers, there would be no families. God established from the foundations of the earth that it would take a man and a woman to make a family.  We can try all kinds of alternative ways to produce children but no matter how you slice it, it takes two to tango. Fathers and mothers play critical roles in the raising of healthy, value-centered children.  What Mainstream America seems to be doing, from my perspective is pushing today’s youth to honor anything and everything, except their dads.  As a matter of fact on most shows on TV, Dads are the unintelligent ones in the family and the wives are the brilliant thinkers of the home. Mom’s wisdom is cherished and Dad is the laughing stock.

Fathers bring a good balance to the family, especially for the children.  A good father will show his daughters the unconditional love they need to develop confidence and self-worth. Absent of dads love, girls often find themselves grasping at air for acceptance and love.  A young man with the wrong motives will do his best to fill this void in her life.  Mothers, I am not saying that you cannot raise a strong and self-confident woman by yourself; thousands of you have done this very well.  What I am saying is that a caring compassion father makes this process much easier because girls find strength in their dads.  I will never forget one time when my daughter was 5 years old; she was approached by a little boy at a soccer game who proceeded to say “Hey honey why don’t you give me a kiss.”  My daughter immediately responded to this boy’s advances (at a very young age) by saying, “As far as I can see, you do not look like my husband!” My wife and I, from the youngest ages of our children’s lives have communicated the importance of marriage.  I also believe she was confident in responding this way because she did not need a little boy to affirm her.  She receives unconditional love from her father and this makes her feel confident in who she is.  I was not at the event, but I was told several girls gave in this Junior Romeo’s advances.

My boys are in the same boat.  As a result of having a committed father, they do not have any desire to find relevance with hanging out with large groups of boys and more importantly, joining a gang. As a father, I affirm my boys just as I do my girls (4 children total) and in doing so; they do not have to turn to television, celebrities or even their peers for a sense of significance.  I remember one day my son was playing basketball in our front yard with some of the neighborhood boys.  One of the boys was harassing him non-stop on his Christian faith and his Church attendance.  My son and the neighborhood friends did not know that I could hear the conversation from a window in our home.  My son responded to this barrage of attacks on his commitment by saying “you should try visiting sometime.  It might change your life.”  He did not argue, stomp his feet or combat with the young man, he simply stood his ground in a humble way. He was confident in his stance because he is confident in himself. A good father can help their children feel this way about themselves.

Back to the original statement, I believe way to many young men and ladies are selling out to a system that is trying to redefine them. Many do not have a sense of identity, so the world is waiting to give them one.  Some of these kids are without their dad or have limited fatherhood influence.  Divorce is becoming rampant in our country so as aforementioned; we are experiencing a dearth of fatherhood.  For the dads who are at home, many are not honored in the way they were years ago.  Scores of fathers are belittled and disrespected by media and in some cases, their own families.  This will one day prove detrimental to our nation for no matter how you feel about fatherhood; dads will always play a significant role in the development of our families.  When dad is in the mix, our nation as a whole benefits.  If we remove the importance of fatherhood from the family, this nation will lose its power.  We are already seeing signs of it as we speak. High dropout rates, teen murders and suicides on the rise, teen pregnancy becoming the rule instead of the exception, broken homes, ravished communities and much more.

America needs to get back to its foundation of honoring fatherhood or we will continue to suffer as a nation.  Mark my word; what happened to other superpowers can happen to us.  More to come on this subject but please if you know of or live with a person, who values fatherhood, honor them today.  Our nation needs for them to succeed-in being a good father and family man.   If not, our fate as a nation looks bleak!

School Bullying Has Got To Stop! Parents Step In !

I have personally visited hundreds of schools in my career as a speaker and trainer.  The subject of Bullying is slowly becoming one of my major concerns because I can see the hurt in many kids eyes as I present at their schools.  My presentations give them a glimmer of hope, but this is just a foundation. In the past several years I have been able to personally stop several kids from committing suicide.  Parents, you need to talk to your kids about bullying. If they are a bully, you need to let them know the rules have changed, and as we see, kids are going over the edge to get revenge. If your kids are being bullied, you should know and do something about it. Don’t allow you child to live a daily hell as a result of kids who lack values. This is a plea, not a comment.  What happened in Ohio (I spoke at a school not to far away from there yesterday) should be our last wake up call. School is for learning, not harassing. If you child is a bully or being bullied, make it a top priority to help them!!!!

I understand bullying all to well because I was harassed as a child because of my weight. I was also teased because of the clothes I would wear from time to time due to poverty.  I hated many of the kids who made negative comments and despised seeing them. Occasionally some of my family members joined in.  I can tell you first hand, it was painful.

If your child is a bully:

  • Focus on reestablishing family vales of respect and honor.  Help them understand that they represent your family when they go to school.
  • Get other family members involved.  Ask for their help in helping the child see the wrong in what they are doing.
  • Get psychological help if this is depression or self-esteem related.
  • Partner with the school to monitor their behavior.

If your child is bullied:

  • Tell them that you are not “weak” for telling on the person who is causing the harm.
  • Let them know that you support them and will back them in fixing this.
  • Set up a meeting at school with the parents of the harassing child.  Discuss what is going on and how it effects your child.
  • Ask the school to monitor the situation.

WE HAVE TO STOP THIS MADNESS!! Every parent who has a child in a school should make it a top priority to communicate anti-bullying to their children.  Don’t assume that your child is not a bully or being bullied.  Children are good at hiding things from their parents.  Parents if you choose to do nothing, you are a part of the problem, not the solution.  We need your help!




If your child is bull

The Success Trap

Recently there have been several articles highlighting highly successful athletes blowing hundreds of millions of dollars in a relatively short period of time.  First of all, I could not imagine what is like to have this much money but if I had, I could not fathom blowing it.  I am a pretty frugal person so chances are, I would live way, and I do mean way beneath my means.  This is my mindset, hence my perception.  One thing I can comfortably say about my perception and that is this, I will never go broke if I were to have hundreds of millions of dollars come my way.

For these famous athletes, this is not the case.  Many of them, like myself, grew up in poverty and one thing I often remember from my childhood is this, We all were going to do something big with our lives.  Many athletes, entertainers and other who come from lives of lack, have the perception that I am going to show the world who I am by my wealth and success.  Not only do athletes and entertainers have this mindset, many preachers and others do as well.  Their personal perception is this, I am somebody by the way I am accepted by people because of what I have.  What they do not realize is that perceptions of this nature very rarely have good endings. When your perception is steeped in doing something in order to win people over via success, you will always be trapped by this mindset.

I call this the “Success Trap” and this mindset is more damaging than any I know.  It has caused the aforementioned athletes to blow more money in a day than most will make in a year.  It causes both husbands and wives to work 18 hour per day jobs and leave their kids open to anything and everything. It causes a corporate executive to destroy the future of thousands of employees just lo live a life of glamor and acceptance.  This trap is doing more damage in the USA today than every before. Politicians are trapped by it, business people are trapped by it and so are many every day workers.

My plea to you is this, wake up!!!  Learn to be happy where you are and appreciate the people around you and the success you have already achieved.  I tell my children all of the time “the first floor of your home is bigger than any apartment we ever lived in as kids.” I am grateful that we have a home we can enjoy.  If gratification is based by acceptance of society by the wealth you are pursuing, you will wake up one day and see that your kids are now grown, your spouse is gone and all the people around you are only interested in you for one reason.  Just like the athletes, take away financial success, and everybody leaves. My question to you is this: are you trapped? Are all the people hanging around you submitting because of what you have (or perceived wealth?) Do you now have no one in your life that cares about you, for the real you?  If you answered “yes” to any of the aforementioned questions?  It is time for you to wake up.

In closing I took notice recently to many of the wealthiest people in the world and in many of them I noticed one thing, their success was a by-product of a love for creation of an amazing product or service.  If you were to see many of them in person, you would not even know they were wealthy.  They don’t wear it or drive it. If your success in life is living to show off your life to others via the “Success Trap” then you are imprisoned with a life sentence. Remember this, it is not too late.  Free yourself from this mindset before you destroy your own life and the lives of others.