AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT: If You Have a Business, Give This Site A Look!

AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT: If You Own A Business, This Company Deserves A Look

In today’s technological world, I have become increasingly interested in the writing of code and the creation of software. I do not technically understand either, but I have several friends who operate their own businesses. As an English major, I have the research skills necessary for helping my friends. As a teacher, I have a bit of free time right now to assist with some research. A few of my friends with businesses discussed tasking me with researching companies that write code and create software. As I conducted my searches, the one company that stood out for me was:

ITCRAFT—Agile Software Development, located at:

http://itechcraft.com/agile_development/

A tech presence is critical in today’s world of business, and the analytical feedback provided by many types of software is highly beneficial for businesses; however, like my business-owning friends, other company heads do not have the time or knowledge to maintain a web presence or learn how to write the code necessary for creating needed software. That’s the main reason my friends asked me to conduct some research for them.

I myself was unfamiliar with many of the terms I encountered during my search; however, visiting http://itechcraft.com/agile_development/ not only helped me to become more knowledgeable but also aided me in explaining newly learned terminology to my business-owner friends. Basically, Agile Project Management offers businesses various options, choices that differ from the usual methods of managing projects. The software used by this company helps businesses to prepare for and adequately respond to unpredictability in the market where their businesses function. That is a key component to understanding a company’s success or area for growth.

A term I first came across when studying the Agile Development Methodology was “scrum.” Married to a former rugby player, that’s the only reference I had to scrum prior to agreeing to check out multiple sites for my friends’ businesses. However, I discovered that the scrum approach, unlike traditional approaches, helps business to acquire feedback in an empirical manner as well as enforces team self management and working to create properly tested products in a strict and timely fashion. Visiting the company’s site is highly beneficial; one will find numerous training videos that sufficiently demonstrate the project management methodology of ITCRAFT and Agile Software. If I found myself intrigued by all of their informational tutorials, then certainly businesses will think they’ve hit the lottery.

The company has discovered that traditional approaches to project management lack in the area of communication, especially the communication necessary between each specialized group that is involved in completing separate phases of the project. It’s like putting a puzzle together with a friend. You can both agree to complete different sections, but at some point, you must come together to collaborate and make all of the pieces fit together in the correct way. Using traditional methodologies to create and build software can, in the end, cost businesses time and money. Agile Software was developed in such a way that a company’s vision or big picture can be realized before the software is in the completion phase. Thus, the software is created around the company’s vision in order to avoid wasted time and resources.

Agile works in increments, evaluating a project bi-weekly in some cases to ensure precise progress and success. The team revisits every aspect of a business project, meaning that if one part or certain parts of the project are not functioning properly or are not headed in the most prosperous direction, there is time and opportunity for change. Traditional approaches do not permit such flexibility.

Agile’s approach to software development greatly reduces the cost of development as well as cuts down on the time needed for a company’s product to hit the market. With Agile Software, companies are able to see and monitor end results and successes, not stare at brilliant ideas resting on shelves, never brought to fruition. Working with this company, according to my research, means that your business will be in the hands of a company that is people-centered and concerned with customer satisfaction. The company always begins with the client idea and then builds from there. Reading some of the feedback on the site, I noticed very positive and complimentary remarks. Like anything else, everyone must decide for him or herself what is best. I do believe visiting the site may be convincing.

I know I am a novice when it comes to code writing and software development, but I am so glad my friends convinced me to complete this assignment for them. I have learned a great deal, and the company’s website is loaded with informational, tutorials, and knowledge. I am going to continue visiting this site and building my knowledge, even if I don’t own a business or company. Maybe after navigating this site thoroughly, I will!

SO PROUD OF MY TECH-SAVVY DIGITAL CITIZENS

MY DAUGHTERS:  LEADING THE WAY IN OUR DIGITAL WORLD

 

I am so proud of my two daughters, one newly-turned 10 and the other 12. I have pictures of both of them using technology from abut the age of 2. Now, granted, the technology looks pretty funny, but it was in their little hands. My 10-year-old, on a family trip to New Orleans, is seen in a picture at the New Orleans Airport holding one of the chunkiest ipods I can remember seeing. But, our children are definitely digital citizens, born into the technology world and growing up with it. I guess when it comes to technology, I don’t give my kids enough credit. However, my examples below will demonstrate that they actually know more than I do

 

Beginning with my first example, a few weeks ago, my daughters’ swim team was looking for an adult to put together the swim DVD for the annual picnic. Obviously we adults are fairly overloaded. Our 12-year-old wanted to volunteer, but both my husband and I thought perhaps the task would be overwhelming for her. So, an 11th grade boy from the swim team took on the job. When I ran into his mother, she was telling me that he was struggling a bit; he was attempting to make the video using only GoogleDocs; however, he could not incorporate any music to the presentation. So, I offered the services of my 12-year-old. When I told her, she was more than thrilled. She and this older swimmer exchanged email addresses and text numbers. They have been working together through GoogleDocs for 3 days now. The tasks she is able to complete are amazing me. He puts together slides in GoogleDocs, sends them to her; and she manipulates them and enters them into imovie, along with the chosen songs. I am seriously thinking about signing up for a class with her before school starts up again! I am a teacher with 19 years of experience, but I am not a digital citizen. Both of my girls are way more knowledgeable in the area of technology than I. My husband is a technology director, so he can rival their skills.

 

I am so glad I helped her to become part of the project. I am proud of her, and she is loving every minute of the work she is doing. The swim picnic is in 2 days. So I will update everyone in regards to the success of her collaboration efforts. Think about it: not only has my daughter used her technology skills, but she has also collaborated with another student without ever meeting him in person. The power of technology is tremendous, and the example mentioned above is a primary example of how technology can be used for beneficial purposes. In all honesty, I think my daughter may have found her niche; and technology degrees go a long way in finding jobs these days. We all know how tight the job market is and may be when our children are old enough to enter it. So, I am impressed and proud of my kids.

 

When their grandparents first bought into the idea of the iphone, neither side knew what in the world was happening. My mother-in-law is 73, and my mom and dad are both 61. Technology was and still is a bit daunting for them. But, if they had questions and my girls were around, they were saved. Now, my parents do not even have a home phone anymore; they rely on their iphones. I never thought I would see that day. My mother-in-law was deathly afraid of relying on technology, but with the help of her granddaughters, she now feels comfortable using the technology. In fact, she has an iphone 4 and is thinking of upgrading to either a 5 or 6. Again, I never would have dreamed I would see the day.

 

Throughout school last year, both girls’ teachers would inform me and my husband of how instrumental each girl was in helping with classroom technology instruction. As a teacher myself, I know how difficult it can be when you have students with all different levels of technological advancement. Some students are basic while others are extremely advanced. It helps greatly to have those other students assist in the learning process. Plus, teaching their peers is a benefit for everyone involved in the educational process. Often times, “kid speak” is much more understandable than adult talk! My husband and I were constantly showering both girls with praise for their ability to help within the classroom setting.

 

I am also lucky in the sense that my girls are very technologically safe. I taught internet safety for 4 years, and both girls were students in my media specialist classroom. They have come to learn that with the positives of technology also come the consequences. Both girls are aware of online dangers and the realization that nothing online is ever truly private, nor is anything you post ever actually deleted, no matter what you do or think. My girls will come to me and share everything that takes place in their accounts. Part of that is their responsible sides, and part is knowing that I stalk their every tech move. When I say stalk, I mean it with the best of parental intentions! The great part is I know I won’t find anything or have to worry—at least not yet! I am not naïve; I understand that one day that could change. It will probably be a day when I have lost all control, a day when they are off at college without me.

 

However, until then, I am just proud of my little digital citizens and their abilities and accomplishments in terms of technology. When it comes to school, they always ask the teacher if they may somehow incorporate technology into projects, assignments, presentations, etc. It is a great feeling knowing that my children are ready for the future that lies ahead.

 

DEIDEI

A Field Trip WORTH Taking

A FIELD TRIP WORTH TAKING

 

My husband and I are both involved in public education. At one time, we both worked as teachers; now, I remain a classroom teacher, but my husband has moved on to serve as a director of technology/technology integrator. However, we are both very passionate about education and how it impacts children, especially our own. As educators, we both see the value of field trips, as long as they tie in to the curriculum being taught to students and contribute to the learning of students. So, when our 4th grader brought home a permission slip to attend a baseball game during the educational day, we both questioned the educational value of the trip. No reasonable explanation could be given, and no curricular connection could be made. WAIT….the connection was this: it was EDUCATION DAY at the ballpark. In our minds, that was not suitable justification, so we took matters into our own hands.

 

From the time that our 9-year-old had been 4, her passion centered around pandas. My husband and I discussed what we could do rather than send her to the ballgame. It was decided that my husband would use a personal day to journey to D.C. with our daughter so she could meet Bao Bao, the baby panda residing inside the National Zoo walls. It was the best decision we could have made.

 

Before leaving for the trip, my husband created an assignment for our daughter. He told her to select 3 to 4 animal for her focus. She would take her ipad mini on the trip in order to collect as many photos and videos as she could. Upon returning home, she would create an ibook and an imovie featuring her trip and the many photos and videos she captured. Not only did she meet Bao Bao, but she was in for a special treat: six lion cubs were also living at the zoo.

 

When I finally caught up with her that night at swim practice, she was so excited to share her day with me. She gushed over the baby panda and all the other animals she encountered. Additionally, it just so happened that a panda trainer was on site providing interviews at certain times for anyone interested. My daughter interviewed the trainer and learned a great deal about working with pandas. Her intervie is documented on her ipad mini. Although she’s only a 4th grader, she now knows what courses are required for becoming a panda trainer/caregiver. She would have to study biology and offer at least a year of free internship services. She was also told that working with exotic animals would offer a better chance of obtaining a job working with pandas, a job that does not require relocation to China.

 

So, our child could have attended a baseball game with her classmates. Some classmates chose not to go on the fieldtrip. They remained behind and spent the day in scattered classrooms throughout the school. If you talk to any of the students in her grade level—either those who attended the game or those who stayed behind– and ask what was learned, I doubt their answers would match those of our daughter. Not only did she create a photo album and an imovie, but she is also planning to enter several of her panda photos into the technology digital photo show hosted by her school district each year.

 

Field trips can be a great asset to the educational process if they contribute to a student’s learning. However, fun field trips, in our opinion, should be reserved for summer time. My husband is a baseball aficionado, so we travel to many ballparks over our summer vacation. The zoo trip was a phenomenal experience for our child. Bao Bao will only be a baby for so long, and after a certain amount of time, baby pandas must be returned to China.

 

We made a personal choice for our child, and we could not be happier. Reminds me of one of my favorite Robert Frost poems, “The Road Not Taken.” The two roads diverged in the yellow wood, and the speaker chose the one less traveled by. According to the speaker, that choice made all the difference in his life. The less popular choice certainly paid off for our family as well.

 

DEIDEI

MY FIRST PUBLISHED IBOOK

Well, I have done it. I’m not sure how great my novella is, but it is out there on the Apple iBooks store. Below is the title of my book; actually, it is a novella.

The 100 Club: Not All Clubs Are Worth the Membership

by Deidei Vert

 

I wrote this story based on a true social media crisis that hit a rural school in my local community. Social media is so much a part of our lives; however, the youth of today do not fully realize the impact of their technological decisions, well, not until, that is….it’s too late. I try to explain to my own children and my students that nothing they post online is ever truly private, and nothing ever completely disappears. I wrote this story in hopes that young people would read it and realize how real the dangers of social media can be. We shall see how it goes.

 

DEIDEI

Link

ESSAY HELP ONLINE AND TIPS

ESSAY TIPS AND HELP   Are you struggling with a written assignment and just do not know where or how to begin? Know there is hope and help for you. Below you will find tips for starting and writing an effective essay. Essay help can also be obtained online. One site I have researched and found to be very appealing is:  http://online-essay-help.net/ Not everyone is born with the talent of writing; some people just require a tad bit of help, and with today’s world of technology, that help is there for anyone needing it.   Below are some tips to help you start the writing process. For extra help or even a final check, visit the site listed above.

  1. READ OVER THE ASSIGNMENT DESCRITION carefully; make sure you are aware of and understand ALL requirements of the assigned essay and topic to be covered. For example, does the essay require research? If so, which type of research format is being requested? MLA? APA? Or another format? It is very important to know whether the essay may come from your own knowledge of if you must utilize additional sources. REMEMBER: additional sourced must be CITED, meaning you must properly give credit to those sources used. Again, if you are not sure how to complete this step, check out essay help online. If you plagiarize or copy someone else’s work, you commit a major academic crime. With the existence of online plagiarism services, it is simple for teachers, professors, employers, etc. to plug your work into any one of these online programs to check for academic dishonesty.

 

  1. IF YOU ARE REQUIRED TO USE OUTSIDE SOURCES, a good rule of thumb is this:

 

*Try to cite your additional sources at least once in the middle of the paragraph in which the source is used and again at the end of the paragraph.

*Of course, if you copy anything word-for-word from any source, you are required to use quotation marks and cite that source, NO MATTER WHAT.

  1. BRAINSTORM/PRE-WRITE before you start any piece of writing. In order to organize your thoughts and ideas, you should always outline or sketch your ideas before you begin writing. Just as an architect makes a draft plan before beginning a major project, writers should jot down ideas or create a skeleton outline of the essay one plans to create.

 

  1. FOCUS ON THE START of your essay. A title for your work may only pop into your head halfway through your writing or even after the piece is finished. That is fine; however, all written works should feature a title, set up according to the paper guidelines provided for you. Right after your title comes the first paragraph, also known as the introduction paragraph. An introduction paragraph is key to any essay; it is the hook, the writer’s way of gaining reader interest and curiosity. Be imaginative and creative. Do not forget, however, to also include a thesis statement. Without a well-constructed thesis statement, any essay will flop. The thesis statement is the main idea of your entire work, the backbone that holds your writing together.
  1. ALL PAPERS NEED A BODY, consisting of at least 3 or more paragraphs that provide details and explain the main topic/thesis statement. Be sure to use appropriate TRANSITIONS that tie ideas together. Transitions should connect ideas within a paragraph but should also be used to move from one paragraph to another smoothly. A paper should fit together like a puzzle; there should be no disconnect from one paragraph to another. The reader should easily move through the paper without feeling lost or confused.

 

  1. DO NOT LOSE FOCUS as you write. Always stay on topic by referring back to your thesis statement periodically as you write. If you find yourself straying from your topic, go back and read over your thesis statement in order to remind yourself of the goal for your paper. What are you trying to prove in your writing? What do you want the reader to take away from your writing?
  1. FORMAL ESSAYS should be written using 3rd-person pronouns such as one, someone, he, she, etc. The first-person pronoun “I” and second-person pronoun “you” should not be used in formal writing. If you are writing an essay for academic purposes or employment, chances are the person requesting the work wants a formal tone, which is 3rd person. As mentioned above, read through the assignment directions, and if not clear, ask.

 

  1. BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR FINAL COPY, have another person read, edit, and proofread your work. Often, when we check our own work, we read the words and sentences as we intended them. Thus, we often miss mistakes, even simple ones. It is always beneficial to have someone else take a look at your final work. If you are looking for professional help, visit:   http://online-essay-help.net/. For a minimal amount, you will receive customized assistance that will provide you with confidence and assurance.

MY TOP 10 TIPS TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT USING SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m Really Glad I Didn’t Grow Up in a Social Media World: My TOP 10 LIST OF IMPORTANT INTERENET TIPS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS

 

Think about kids today; every move they make is traceable if they are a part of any social media and if they post pictures and comments. Now, I was in no way a rebel as a child or teen, but in my college days, I will admit, I did some things I would not want posted for the world to see. It is so difficult trying to teach the youth of our generation that nothing is truly private, and once something is posted, it is posted for life, whether you delete it or not.

 

For the past 4 years, I have been a media specialist/computer skills technology teacher. Part of technology instruction included teaching about internet/online safety. I went over so many crucial components with my students who were in grades 3-5, and they swore to me that they never participated in any of the actions that we discussed. However, what they did not realize is that I have a child going in to 5th grade and one approaching 8th grade. Unlike some parents, my husband and I are Instagram stalkers. So, when those kids would swear up and down that they did not post private information, I had to just nod, knowing that sharing my true knowledge would incriminate one of my own children. When I was growing up, it was bad enough that everyone knew my parents and were more than happy to report my every move to my parents. Kids of today are even more vulnerable, but not only to their parents, but also to predators of the dangerous kind. Below I am going to share some of my tips that I used with my students. Some of them took my advice to heart, and some of them said that if their parents were okay with their online behavior, it was none of my business. That was in deed true. I respect every parent’s decision, so please do not take what I write as a criticism. Some kids are more mature than others and can handle more online freedoms. Also, some parents are very vigilant. On the other hand, I had parents who refused to even purchase one technological device for their children. So, as I am saying, it is a matter of personal choice and parenting style. My tips are merely suggestions. Until I started teaching internet safety, even I overlooked some of the items I am going to mention.

 

TIP #1: NEVER GIVE CLUES ABOUT YOURSELF IN PICTURES THAT YOU POST.

 

This tip is true for kids and adults alike. I would always tell my students, “Do not wear t-shirts that display your team names. People can search your area and seek you out. Do not take pictures of yourself in front of your house with the house number on the door and the street sign visible on the corner.” I would always have at least one or two children raise their hands to tell me that their parents do this, so it must be okay. I would simply tell them to just be careful. I also cautioned them about taking group photos in front of their school, photos that displayed the school’s name. You can never be too careful. I know that Instagram features many apps that can be used to alter or dress up photos. For example, my daughter would use an Instagram app to place a smiley face or flower over a tee that displayed her team name or location. I am not implying that the photos cannot be posted, I am simply suggesting safety.

TIP #2: NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION ONLINE

 

I always instructed my students to use made up names when signing up for online gaming services. When my own children sign up for sites, they use either my birthday or my husband’s. If we are too old, I have them make up a birthday and year. I didn’t even care if they were using Webkinz; I did not want them disclosing their real birthdays. The same goes for addresses, phone numbers, school addresses, and anything considered personal information. I would have students ask me what they should do if they are shopping online. Personally, I always do the online shopping for my children. If they want some independence, I allow them to type in my name, address, and birthday. However, I always do the credit card information myself. My 2 girls know: When in doubt, ask Mom or Dad. I cannot stress enough that you can never be too careful when it comes to your precious children. One never knows what hackers are able to pull from photos or information we provide online. That is the scary aspect of online use. Do I think the internet is powerful and very useful? Absolutely. But, at the same time, I also find the internet to be a very scary and dangerous place for our youth. If you are interested in a great online source for helping you to teach your children about internet safety, I used commonsensemedia,org in my classroom. It was a free site with videos and online games. The kids loved it, and it allowed for some great conversations. Sometimes students would tell me way more than I bargained for, but that goes along with teaching. For example, when I would tell students that they should never go out and personally or publicly meet someone they met on the internet, they would say, “What if my parents are with me?” I could not dispute that one. If parents are okay with it, then that question was out of my hands. Many children told me that their parents used online dating sites, and that is fine. But, I did instruct my students not to use those sites, not at their age, anyway!

 

TIP #3 ALWAYS SHARE YOUR ONLINE USE WITH YOUR PARENTS OR GUARDIANS

 

In order to sign up for a Facebook account, students are to be 13 years of age. Many of my 3rd grade students—we’re talking 8 & 9 year olds—told me they had their own Facebook accounts. In many of those instances, I was told that parents set up the accounts. Now, 1. Maybe those students were not being completely honest with me, and 2. If parents are okay with it, then that was not for me to judge. However, I did caution them about the materials and pictures that they chose to include on their Facebook page. As I mentioned, I do not believe that students truly grasp the concept of once something is posted, it could live forever in the online world. Some of them would say to me, “Oh, I deleted that picture. It’s not on the internet anymore.” Really? What I would then explain to them is the concept that 100 or more people may have already captured the image or comment. Therefore, what they believe to be gone is not. Like in my day, gossip, though it was hurtful, did not live forever. With the internet, everything has the possibility of being forever present. I tried to drive this notion home with my students. I certainly have it drilled into the heads of my own two girls!

 

TIP #4: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST

 

Even when I was a kid, my friends were my friends one day and my enemies the next. I always told my students to never share their passwords to accounts with anyone but their parents. Some would tell me that their best friends knew their account information and passwords, but they trusted them. I told them that was a slippery slope for the reason mentioned above. I can only hope that I caused some of them to change their minds or at least discuss the issue with their parents. Last year we had a horrible incident occur at a local high school. About 99 girls sent naked or semi-naked photos of themselves to boys. Some sent them to boys who were “trusted” boyfriends. Others just sent them because the boys made a request. Those boys turned the photo sharing into a game of trading cards, much like we would have traded baseball cards when we were young. Many of those girls suffered great humiliation. Some of those boys, those 18 and over, ended up in more trouble than they had imagined. It’s not easy being a youth or parent in today’s digital world. Everything that is posted must be carefully thought about before being sent. I always tell my own children that if what they are about to post would embarrass them or us, their parents, do not share. I tell them to ask themselves, “Would this post land me in trouble with my parents? Would my parents be disappointed in this post?” If they think the answer would be “yes,” they are not to make the post.

 

TIP #5: WHAT YOU POST ON THE INTERNET COULD AFFECT MANY AREAS OF YOUR LIFE

 

Whether people are aware of this or not—and this tip goes for young and old—employers, colleges, and others are now turning to social media to evaluate people and their character. People have been fired from jobs based on what they post on the internet. Just this year, we were given a small talk about what we should and should not post to online sites as teachers. I am a parent, a taxpayer, and an employee in the same district. That causes quite a conflict of interest. For that reason, I choose to post nothing. I want nothing in writing that could be used against me. Referring back to the case of the high school boys, one of them lost a very prestigious sports scholarship as a result of his involvement in the picture scandal. The internet is mighty, for both positive and negative purposes. Kids need to be taught the difference at a young age. They need to know they can trust their parents and teachers with questions they may have about their internet use.

 

TIP #6: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION BEFORE POSTING COMMENTS OR PHOTOS OF OTHERS ONLINE

 

Again, this tip applies to children and adults. Some people do not like having their picture or behaviors posted online. For adults, jobs could be placed in jeopardy. With children, parents may be against the postings. In some cases, friends could inadvertently bring bullying into the lives of their friends over what they perceived to be an innocent picture. I will share an example from our family. My husband is a Technology Director in our school district, so we are very open with the devices we buy our girls and their use of technology. However, we are also very stringent with our policies. Our girls know that they could be “audited” by one of us at any time. I know that sounds silly, but it is that knowledge that keeps them in line. Our oldest learned an online lesson the hard way. One of her friends from another school made a collage of the band One Direction. But, in place of one of the band members, she inserted the face of a boy with whom they are all friends from the swim team. When my husband noticed the post by our daughter, he questioned her as to whether or not the boy was aware that 1. The picture collage was created and 2. Did he know that it was being re-circulated? Our daughter said that since another friend of theirs made the collage, she just assumed it was okay to repost. My husband explained to her that without the permission of the boy, it was not okay to repost. He drove her 40 minutes to that friend’s house so she could apologize for reposting a picture without his permission. Our daughter was not happy with us at all, and her friend was upset as well. He was not aware that the collage was created and was being sent around. His response shocked our daughter and caused her to think about her actions. She did apologize, but she also felt bad for not checking with him. We taught her a valuable lesson, one we hope she remembers.

 

TIP #7: NEVER TELL PEOPLE ONLINE WHERE YOU ARE

 

My students struggled with this one, because they told me that their parents use those check-in apps all the time. I explained to them that when we check in somewhere, we are telling the world where we are. If they are not with their parents, they could be inviting trouble into their actual lives and worlds. If their parents know they use the apps, then that is a parental decision. But, if their parents are not aware, the students could be creating a serious situation. For example, so many people—both kids and adults—will post when they leave for vacations and when they are returning. I informed my students that basically they are letting everyone know when their home will be unattended. I advised the students in my class to wait until they arrive home to announce the vacation and post the photos. That was just my suggestion, one that of course not everyone has to take into consideration.

 

TIP # 8: NEVER PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE POPULARITY QUESTIONS

 

My husband and I started noticing posts on Instagram that pitted 4 images together. Sometimes they were 4 female images, and other times they were 4 male images. The object was to vote for the prettiest or hottest person. We explained to our daughters that if we see them partaking in these surveys, they will cancel their Instagram accounts. Of course they were confused. What is the big deal with voting for people based on their looks? In today’s society, it is a huge deal. We tried to explain to them based on how they might feel if they are the number 4 person, or if they were to receive no votes whatsoever. Even though the intentions are probably not cruel, the voting basically creates a bullying-type situation. You have to take into account the feelings of everyone involved. Once we explained our feelings, the girls understood what we were trying to explain to them and what we were trying to prevent.

 

TIP #9: PREPARE YOUR CHILDREN FOR FEELINGS OF ISOLATION AND EXCLUSION

 

With the existence of social media, all kids are able to view what others are doing. When I was growing up, if I weren’t invited to a party, I only discovered that information on Monday morning at school. Did it sting a little? Maybe. But it was not as devastating as watching an instant play-by-play on social media. This happened to our oldest daughter. She was excluded from a party, and the girl hosting the party was—at least in my daughter’s mind—one of her really good friends. My daughter started posted comments such as, “Where are you? Why are you celebrating?” and so on. The posts made our child look very upset and desperate. We explained that although we understood her feelings, she could not be posting comments to the photos. We tried to make her see how those posts made her look. Was it hard for her and for my husband and myself? Sure. But, we as parents have to prepare our kids for these moments. Our youngest wasn’t invited to a birthday party. The girl could invite 10 kids, and our daughter was number 11, so she did not make the list. But, that did not stop the girl from texting my daughter pictures of them at the spa, pictures of her birthday cake, and others. I was so agitated; my husband had to talk me off the cliff. Okay, so my child was not invited to the party; I was okay with that. I was not okay with the “I’m going to rub your exclusion in your face” part of the event. Not all kids are kind digital citizens; that’s why we want our girls to be. If we have a party, we usually tell them to post pics the next week or privately share them with those involved. We have experienced a great deal of drama as a result of social media. Sometimes I wonder if our youth are too young for social media. Some adults cannot even handle being on the sites. I have seen many adults fighting openly on Facebook and other sites. At any rate, we need to educate our kids and prepare them for the ugly sides of social media.

 

TIP #10: JUST LIKE YOU ARE EXPECTED TO ACT LIKE A DECENT CITIZEN IN ORDINARY LIFE, YOU ARE ALSO TO BE A RESPECTABLE DIGITAL CITIZEN WHEN YOU ENTER THE ONLINE WORLD.

 

We always teach our daughters, and I used this practice in my classroom as well, that you should behave online exactly as you would behave in public or face-to-face. I realize that may vary from child to child, but for those of us who actively monitor our children’s social interactions, we need to set our expectations for them. They need to know what we are looking for in their behaviors. Our girls know that if we enter their Instgram accounts, there will be certain behaviors that will not be accepted by us. We have been blessed with the fact that our girls do listen to us. Part of that is due to the fact that we pay for everything. Their devices were paid for by us, and their services are paid for by us. So, essentially, anything they own is technically ours. Therefore, if they cannot correctly use the devices, they will lose the devices. That’s that; end of story

 

Technology is an amazing tool for so many aspects of our lives. But, just like anything else, if used incorrectly, technology can be used for evil. Our children must know that anything inappropriate witnessed online must be reported to either their parents or a trusted school official or teacher, no matter if that inappropriate behavior is directed toward them or toward someone they know. Online bullying has become so prevalent in our world. Our kids need to know that they have a responsibility to protect themselves and others, no matter what world or realm they are exploring. I hope these tips help, and if you have any questions, please contact me. I love technology and the opportunities it provides for all of us. However, I know that I must also be aware of the negative sides and challenges presented by the use of technology. If everyone uses technology as a positive benefit, then all will run smoothly.

 

DEIDEI

I FELT LIKE AN OUTSIDER

I Felt Like an Outsider at My Own Grandfather’s Funeral

 

I know it may sound strange, but once the background story is set into place, feeling like an outsider at my own grandfather’s funeral makes perfect sense. I dreaded the day so much that my stomach was knotted and twisted for 3 days leading to the memorial.

 

My children are very close to their grandparents on both sides of our family; however, as a child, I was not as fortunate. My father’s parents divorced when he was 6. My father’s older sister was given the choice of parents; she made the right choice. My father, unfortunately, was stuck with the wrong parent. Needles to say, my dad lived a life of Hell at the hand of his own mother. I will give you a spoiler now: despite his upbringing, he became a very respectable man who treated my brother and myself as the best gifts God had ever given him. Growing up, my dad’s mother had boyfriend after boyfriend. Oh, yeah, that’s the reason she and my grandfather divorced; apparently, she had fidelity issues. Anyway, she came first; my father was just an extra tag-a-long with whom she had to deal.

 

My father was born with clubbed feet and had to wear braces on his ankles. His mother dated one man who, regardless of my dad’s disability, beat him with a wire hanger, hitting him in his most vulnerable area—his feet. His mother went through men like most of us go through our wardrobes. She didn’t even care if my dad were in sight or sound wave of her escapades. As long as her needs were met, her little boy basically went unnoticed. My grandfather caught wind of the beatings, and he did track the boyfriend down to give him a warning. But, he NEVER once fought to gain custody of my father. He continued to shower his time, attention, and money on his princess. Meanwhile, my father was pawned off on anyone who would take him or taken along on adventures that were not meant for children.

 

Even though my great grandparents were amazing people, they refused to allow my grandmother to be irresponsible, so they refused to keep my father while she ran around with random men. As a result, my dad grew up with resentment for his grandparents, his mother, and his father. Of all of them, I guess he was closest to his father, but that’s not saying too much. Anyway, my grandmother went on to have 3 more children, all from different fathers. She certainly was a gem. My father, at the age of 6, would be dropped off on his dad’s back porch, whether anyone were home or not. Some nights he would sit outside until the dark had arrived. As a small boy, he felt as though no one wanted him; what other thought would he have? He developed a fear of the dark, a fear that he never really escaped, no matter how hard he may have tried to hide it. I mean this metaphorically, of course.

 

My father worked throughout high school, but due to a lack of parental interest and support, his grades were not great, and his dedication to sports was sporadic. He was a phenomenal athlete with a hot-headed temper. So, if a coach ticked him off, he just quit the sport. He worked at a local newspaper office, but his mother would go into his room and take his money for herself. It didn’t matter that her son attended school with holes in his jeans and sneakers that were literally falling off his feet. What did she care? Were her needs being met? I guess as best as they could be.

My dad entered the Army National Guard at the age of 19 and remained in the military until he retired at the age of 60. He’d still be working today if permitted. He loves God, his family, and his country. My mom and dad married because of my conception; in the 70’s, that was the proper thing to do. I’m not sure whether or not they would have ended up together otherwise, but I’m glad they did. My parents had me at the age of 21; my brother came along 2 years later. My father decided that he would never be the type of parent that he experienced growing up. He worked hard to give us his love, time, dedication, and protection. My dad was and is the greatest man I know. His resiliency is a story that is not often told, because it just usually doesn’t turn out that way.

 

As a child, I watched my grandfather provide for my 2 cousins, the offspring of my father’s only, older true sister. My dad would always tell us not to worry about it because we had him and Mom; we didn’t need anyone else. My grandfather really wasn’t concerned about anything that pertained to my brother or myself. It stung a bit as a little girl, but I became accustomed to his absence. My other grandfather, my mom’s dad, died of a heart attack when I was 5. He showed me love and affection, but he was taken from me early. My mom’s mother was our caregiver when we were children, but the loss of my grandfather caused her great depression, so much of her day was spent in bed, sleeping away her grief. She died last year in a nursing home, living into her 80’s. I was closest to her of all of my grandparents. I have 1 remaining, my dad’s mother, but I’m not even sure what I consider her to be to me.

 

So, back to my dad’s father. He fought in WWII, so when he was diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of years of smoking, he spent the remaining months of his life in our local Veteran’s Hospital. They took great care of him. When he deteriorated to the point of having just days remaining, he was moved to the hospice care wing. In his final months, my grandfather asked to see all of his great grandchildren. My mom and dad visited him each night and took my 2 girls when we were available. I visited him twice, but he didn’t even remember me. That too hurt, but as I said, it was such a familiar feeling that I just accepted it and moved on.

 

He died June 21, 2014 and was buried June 26, 2014. He lived a long life, born in 1926, died in 2014. Facing his funeral filled me with anxiety. I knew that my father’s sister’s side would be a mess. I, on the other hand, merely felt numb, not sure what emotions I was experiencing. I was told that one of my dad’s other sisters would be there, and that sent more pangs of anxiety through me. See, when I was 18, my father’s half sister lived in Hawaii. One Christmas she sent him a Christmas card, but she didn’t stop there. She wrote inside, “I wish you a Merry Christmas, but I will never understand why you were such a negligent brother.” I was livid. My father was my rock, and no one attacked him or even said one disparaging word about him without my rushing to his defense. I drafted a letter to my aunt, explaining to her the Hell that my grandmother, her mother, had put my father through as a child. Grandma failed to share those shining moments with my father’s siblings. Rather, she, being the upstanding woman that she was and is, allowed my father to be the failure in the situation. That did not sit well with me, and my letter did not sit well with his family. For a long while, his sisters failed to believe what I wrote, calling my father to tell him what nerve I had writing such horrible things about their mother. I did tell my dad about the letter before I sent it, so he was aware of my defense response. He told them that everything was true, and they could choose to believe it or not. He really didn’t care.

 

The morning of the funeral, I felt sick to my stomach. I was prepared to go on the defensive if my aunt made even one attempt at approaching my father with negative remarks. My cousins cried from start to finish. I walked up to the casket with my daughters and my husband, looking at a man that I felt I hardly even knew. My father shed a few tears, and that hit me hard. I probably witnessed tears falling from my dad’s eyes on maybe 3 occasions in my life. I think the tears were based more on a feeling of WHY than anything else. I truly believe my father wishes that he could have been closer with own dad, but it just wasn’t his father’s intention to treat him and his sister equally. A the preacher presented his sermon, mentioning all of the time my grandfather spent with his grandchildren; I wondered whether or not everyone else inside the funeral home was aware of the fact that those times were only spent with 2 of his 4 grandchildren. My grandfather never loved me; this man the preacher described seemed like a stranger to me. My daughters cried; they knew my grandfather better than I did. He only started bothering with me after I had children. I was about 30 when he started coming around to see my kids. It’s somewhat difficult to build a strong bond at the age of 30, especially when you harbored such feelings of indifference based on your father’s sad upbringing.

 

I struggled with my grandfather’s death but not in the way that many might think. I struggled because I lacked closure. In the end, his cancer spread to his throat, and he could barely speak. I wanted to ask him why he didn’t fight for his little boy, for his name sake, even though he knew he were being abused at the hands of some strange man. I wanted to now why my brother and I were always afterthoughts in his life. So, I didn’t shed tears for the memories lost; I didn’t have any. I shed tears for my father’s negative memories and for the lack of closure that everyone on my dad’s side of the family felt. My brother and I both felt very indifferent toward our grandfather. He abandoned our father and showed concern for us when it was convenient for him.

 

Now that the funeral has passed, it is time for the settling of the estate. For most families, this brings about a time of fighting. The funny part is this: my dad stood to gain the most. For some odd reason, my grandfather had savings bonds dating back to the WWII era, and ALL of them were in my father’s name. Rather than being greedy, rather than acting as though he were due, my dad went to the courthouse and signed a form saying he would split everything found fifty-fifty with his one, true biological sister. He agreed to share everything left to him with the sister who was given everything her entire life. So for me, rather than being upset and arguing that my father deserved his share, I feel more proud of him than ever. My dad is evidence that people can rise above adversity and be good people. Too many times people blame their upbringings and circumstances for their bad behaviors. My dad suffered a great deal throughout his life, and he is still the most altruistic person I know.

 

I am so proud of the man my father has become. I am so grateful that he is the role model his grandchildren have to look up to in their lives. While I may have felt like an outsider at my grandfather’s funeral, I am trying to find the positives in all of this. Maybe in some strange way my Pa-Pa, as we called him, loved my brother and myself. Regardless, life moves on, and I am just going to be happy with the family, the life, and the father God granted to me. There is a silver lining to this story, and I call him DAD.

 

 

DEIDEI