A good series of laughs for your weekend! Great humor because it’s mostly true!
Black Parakeets Only Hatch in December is a collection of humorous anecdotes about life, love and everything in-between as seen through the eyes of a young black boy growing up in the Midwest. And while that description may seem very narrowed, it has actually reached people of all walks of life, love, religion, orientation, practice, politics and more. From the collective reactions regarding the book, here are five life lessons that many have learned from Black Parakeets.
5. Life is the same – we’re all the same. Many readers of the book have surprisingly discovered that they had more in common with an African-American male raised in 1980s Northwest Indiana than they would have suspected. We’ve all laughed. We’ve all loved. We’ve all lost. Human connectedness runs much deeper than common race, religion and more.
4. Life is unpredictable – expect the unexpected. The unpredictability of life can mean rapid highs and sudden lows. We can be paupers in one moment and royalty the next. Appreciate the peaks the valleys one in the same. The better prepared one is for life’s surprises, the better one can adapt and those who adapt to life can enjoy it no matter what.
3. Life can be hard – be tough. To quote the great Rocky Balboa “Nobody hits as hard as life.” One second you’re up and the next second you’re not. Jobs are lost when they were expected to be forever. Hearts are broken by the ones who repeated our vows. It rains on the just and the unjust alike so take your hits and keep moving forward.
2. Life can be short – be loving and grateful. The saying “Here today, gone tomorrow” is actually optimistic. At times life can be “Here today, gone today.” We lose the ones we love but how we lose them is up to us. Leave nothing unspoken when it comes to loving and appreciating what others mean to you.
1. Life can be great – live it. That sums it up.
The Black Parakeet represents the best and brightest qualities and characteristics that the city and people of East Chicago exhibit. The Black Parakeet is creativity, wonder, wisdom, dedication, love, hope, joy and adventure. It is human connectedness and – so importantly – compassion.
Each month a person(s) or group(s) will be showcased as the epitome of the qualities seen in the Black Parakeet himself. This recipient will be spotlighted on all platforms of… Black Parakeets Only Hatch in December and notified of their notice as having stood out and given back.
It is with great honor that I announce the next Black Parakeet award goes to Valencia Price. For years, Ms. Price was an East Chicago School teacher and an avid believer in education, the church and the betterment of children’s lives via learning. She touched the lives of every student she came in contact with and especially put emphasis into young women and their feelings of self-worth. She was also an impetus behind the introspective writings that eventually led to Black Parakeets Only Hatch in December. It is fitting that she be the first recipient of the award in 2017 as January marks the fourteenth-year anniversary of Ms. Price’s sudden passing while teaching. It is also terribly subjective that she be the recipient as Val was and will always be my beloved sister.
Congratulations to Valencia Price, an educator, a gentle soul and my big sis.
December award –
The Black Parakeet represents the best and brightest qualities and characteristics that the city and people of East Chicago exhibit. The Black… Parakeet is creativity, wonder, wisdom, dedication, love, hope, joy and adventure. It is human connectedness and – so importantly – compassion.
Each month a person(s) or group(s) will be showcased as the epitome of the qualities seen in the Black Parakeet himself. This recipient will be spotlighted on all platforms of Black Parakeets Only Hatch in December and notified of their notice as having stood out and given back.
It is with great honor that I announce the next Black Parakeet award goes to the men and women of the East Chicago Police Department. In a time when concerns grow about negative policing, there are those who uphold the shield with distinguished performance. These brave souls have not only protected the city with their own lives but they have made us proud. One need only scratch the blue surface and they will find our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and even mothers and fathers who have taken oaths to keep the Twin City safe. In East Chicago – where crime has touched all of its population and overshadowed a great city’s achievements, it is a great honor to put focus on our family and friends who have become the shield protecting us day in and day out.
Congratulations to those who put themselves in harm’s way so that others remain safe.
If you’ve read any Black Parakeets, you know that I am a child of the 80s. Being that as it is, this time of year brings to mind some of the best moments of my childhood – moments exemplified by some of these commercials. Enjoy and from me and mine to you and yours – Merry Christmas!
THAT is a long blog post title!
But it’s an important one. The holidays are upon us and it is all too easy to lose what makes them so important. When we were little guys and girls, this time of the year filled us with so much hope and excitement that we were ready to burst. Then we grew up and now we dread the holidays, we drag ourselves into the season and we complain about everything from the top of our heads to our mistletoes.
But we do not want to see this happen to our children, do we? Do we want to see them lose the zeal and wonder that rests just underneath the surface? Will we allow them to become overly materialistic all while they grow into jaded versions of ourselves?
No. And not only can we save the holidays for our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews (and so on and so on) but we can reclaim the holidays for ourselves. Here are the Black Parakeet’s Five Tips for you and your child’s holiday season!
Start or re-start traditions – We either have lost the things that we did as kids or we never had them to begin with. Re-start the hot cocoa or the family visits or watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” whatever it was. Start new traditions if you had none and keep what works. Pass these on to your little one’s by including them.
Do cheesy – Ugly sweaters, loud music and wacky holidays ideas (although cookies exchanges are awesome!) may be goofy things to practice. But do them and do them big. The cheesy stuff is what pulls us out of comfort zones of jadedness and disappointment. The holidays are meant to have some silliness to them – embrace it.
Immerse yourself with seasonal muses – There are things that put holiday in your heart and the heart of little ones. Every time I hear “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” I am right there in the season. So, I fire up the MP3 and let it loop when I need to get in the zone. A certain holiday album or a particular annual cartoon – whatever your seasonal muses are, know them and tap into them as soon as Halloween clears!
Make it about you a little – One of the things that fries us out and our kids is that we burn ourselves out. The holiday parties, the hours of frustrated shopping and the countless lists of pricey items can grind us into grinches and grumps. So set some time aside to get a hot coffee at your favorite place or buy yourself a little something while shopping. Take your little one to get their favorite treat and maybe get them an early gift on the spot. This helps remind you that you’re important to yourself.
Enjoy the small things – The holidays are about more than just gifts and food and people. They are about enjoying and appreciating what we have. They are about gratitude for another day. Sometimes it is that peppermint cocoa your favorite eatery carries in December. Sometimes it’s the look of fresh snow or your child’s artwork of Santas and Nativity scenes. Whatever the small thing is, enjoy it and explain to your child why they should enjoy it too.
And last but not least (I know this would technically be the sixth tip) volunteer and bring your little one into the idea of giving back to others. Instill in the them the need to do good and they’ll help others all year round.