Saturday, July 27, 2013

Move The Snooze

You hear the alarm in your head, telling you to get up, get out, and do something. For some, they spring out of bed and start grinding. For others, they press the snooze button. They tell themselves, "I will do that tomorrow, next week, or next month." Putting it off, you know, that thing that feels right just means you will never do it.

I had a goal to wake up in the morning and workout before I went to work. This was a wonderful idea, but when it came time to do it, that was a different story.  Sometimes, we have to break old habits by forcing our way through. So, two years ago,  I starting  waking up at 5:00 a.m. I was excited! The first week was no problem.  The second-no problem. The third, well, the excitement wore off and the grinding started to kick in.

I did not want to get up at 5:00 a.m. anymore. For one,  I was not seeing the results Two, I felt like I was not getting enough sleep; and three, my mind did not want to work that hard. This was all true! Deep down,  I wanted to finished this 90 day workout routine and would have felt like a failure had I quit. So, I had to move the snooze.  That's right!  I moved the snooze.  I had to push beyond my comfort zone and turn a chore into a habit. I moved the alarm in a distant place which forced me to get up and off the alarm.  I knew if I was up,  I would not lay back down. I went on to complete P90X four times.

Do you need to move the snooze?  Do you need to do homework when you do not want to?  Do you need to make the doctor's appointment you are dreading? Do you need to enroll in the college course you have been avoiding?  Do you need to start or end a relationship that has been consuming your mind.  No matter what it is, move the snooze, and do what needs to be done. Period!

-Rodney S. Lewis, Ed.D.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Have To's" & "Want To's"

I will never forget what Denzel Washington said about life. He said, "You do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do." That makes so much sense to me. Once, this guy said to me, "Rodney, I do not want to work at this job, it is wack! My response was, "Well, you do not have to!" He would go on to tell me that working at his current job was a necessary evil because he had bills that needed to be paid. I understand!

There are some things we "have to do" in life such as paying taxes and dying. We have to do those things. You may feel you "have to" work on a dead end job. You may feel you "have to" stay in a crappy relationship. Most of the things we feel we "have to do"-we feel forced to do them. What about your dreams and goals? See, when it comes to your dreams, you are working on your own time. There are no penalties for not calling potential clients. No one cares if you do it or not.That is up to you! 

The sercet I have learned is that when you get to the point when the thing you "want to do" becomes the very thing you "have to do",your life is going to change forever. No joke! Let's take this a step further. When the "have to's" become your "want to's" it will become a whole new world. Stay with me.

See, if you are like me, you love working out. However, it was not always this way for me. Only on, after graduating from college with my BA, I "wanted" to workout. I did it sometimes and sometimes I didn't. Also, my diet was suspect at best. I was downing Big Macs and Whoopers whenever. Here was the tipping point, when my workouts changed from "want to's" to "have to's"- Ooooo wee! I changed the game. Yep, my body composition changed, my eating habits changed, and my body weight changed. That's real! When your dreams become you, you bring them to life.

While working as a sercuity guard at a local high school in 2004, I felt beat by  life. I needed the job, but I did not want this one. For goodness sake, I had a BA in Broadcast Communication. Now, I was making sure high school kids were not skipping class? Really? Here was the tipping point, when I transformed a job I needed into something I wanted! Do you get that? I made that job the greatest job a graduate from college would ever want! I coached basketball, worked with teachers and administrators, and mentored students! I changed the game, folks! I made it necessary for me to show up and show out!

Listen up, I will leave you with this-your "have to's" and "want to's" are all part of your success. There will be things you "want to do" and "have to do." It is all part of the achievement process. The closer you can bring those two together, the better your chances of briniging your vision to life! Simple!

Stay Hungry! Stay Foolish! Let's Get It!

-Rodney S. Lewis, Ed.D.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What's The Purpose?

What do you do that is like breathing? What wakes you up early in the morning? There is more to life than paying bills and clocking in and out! For you, I do not know. For me, the thought of writing and speaking wakes me up early and keeps me up late. There is nothing I enjoy more.

What is it for you? Whatever it is, follow your passion. We all have a purpose for living. You were not put on this earth to build someone else's dream! Are you kidding me? You are here to give back and make this world a better place. It is that simple. There is no need to complicate this stuff. It is what it is, you know? Your unique gifts make you one of a kind. That is what makes you, you!

It does not matter what people think! It really doesn't! This is your dream, your purpose, and your vision! This is about you. As long as you are willing to pay the price and not count the cost, and put forth the blood, sweat, and tears-your purpose will reveal itself in determination, guts, and sacrifice!  Stop playing with life and take what belongs to you-your purpose! BOOM!

-Rodney Lewis, Ed.D.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I Am....Who I AM

You are a scrub!” “You can’t play basketball!”  Those are the words from my classmates after my basketball games in my senior year of high school. I remember, I would hear those comments and just shake my head, as I would walk to my next class. One of the most important lessons I have learned in my short lifetime is that negativity, like the sun, will always gleam on you. You can’t avoid it, and you can’t hide from it. That is just a fact of life. Sometimes you may feel that the more you do, the more people tend to rain on your parade.  Well...they are raining on your parade! Don’t be upset about the rain, just learn to dance in the rain.

I have to be honest; I love a little negativity. I need people to drink a full cup of Haterade and then give me their opinion. Oh ...yes...I needed people to tell me that I was a scrub! I needed people to tell me that I was a bad employee. I needed my ex-girlfriend to tell me I was not a good writer! I received the love and support of my co-workers, when they claimed that I stole FREE food from a summer program I managed! (By the do you steal FREE food?). I needed people to call me a nigger, monkey baby, and porch monkey. Oh..yes...I ate it up like a BBQ chicken dinner!! My mouth just waters when I think about all the words of encouragement from my past!

This is life! You may have experienced words like this in your life. The natural tendency is to get mad and fight! That is an option, but please allow me to challenge that notion; what are you fighting for?  Who are you fighting for? Are you getting mad because someone hurt your feelings? You better get tough skin because the world does not care about your feelings. As great as Michael Jackson was it seemed like he was the butt of many jokes in his short life span. I would conclude to say that most of the world thought he was a great American artist. Why did he get hated on so much? Why? Why? Why? Was it because he was different? He was different. He was coined the King of Pop. Not the Servant of Pop, not the Best of Pop, but the King of Pop. In my eyes that is different. As he sat on the king’s musical throne, people continued to throw rocks at his throne. To respond, Michael just made more and more hits!

I need hate like the grass needs the rain. The rain helps the grass, along with the sun, to grow strong. Do you get it?  We need that hate, some hurtful words, and negativity to grow strong. Do not get me wrong; I’m not saying that hurtful comments are the only thing we need, because you are missing the point. As humans, we need positive energy to propel us into the future! We also need some resistance from life to keep us striving for more. If we allow it, the hate can provide us inspiration to achieve our goals and live our dreams.

Furthermore, why would I waste my time on individuals that I call Social Cancers? These are people that always find room to hate on you. If you try to do something they can’t do, let the hating begin!  If you believe something they don’t believe, let the hating begin. Hell, if you try to change your lifestyle and they can’t do it, then let the hating begin. The more you build up, the more they tear down. I will not allow Social Cancers to tear down nor knock down what I have built. Like, the King of Pop, I will continue to strive for greatness until they put me six feet in the dirt! As Kobe Bryant say, “ I do, what I do.” Those are great words from one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. Those words from Bryant are just a small peek into his mindset not only as a professional athlete, but also a person. He is saying despite what people say about him, despite if he wins or loses, he will continue to do what he believes to be true for him.

Here is the deal, I’m the one that is putting in the work to be successful for my life!  When I wake-up every single morning and I brush my teeth and wash my face, I ask myself one question, “do I like what I see?” If the answer is no, then change must take place. It may be a small change, a mental change, a physical change, or a social change, but something will change! We don’t have the time or the energy to waste, trying to get the approval or consent of haters! As the great Les Brown states, “It is a full-time job to work on yourself.” Let haters hate. It is there job to hate. They have earned master’s degrees and Ph.D in the major of hating. Since, I’m the captain of my ship, I will not delight or entertain what people think or say about me! Period! I’m not sure how you can focus on your success and worry about other’s perception of your success. Something has to give. When I came into this world, I was born alone and when I leave this world I will die alone. So, I need enough hate to wake my ass up when I don’t want too.

Before, people said, I was a scrub, I was in the gym 5 to 6 days, every summer working on my game. I was watching and analyzing old Michael Jordan games I recorded on VHS. Before they said, I could not be a writer, I have been waking up at 3am to write papers and read my doctoral assignments. Before, people called me a nigger, they didn’t know I was raised by my mother from Mound Bayou, Mississippi. They didn’t know that my mother picked cotton to provide financial support for her family. My mother is the definition of Black History. They didn’t know that my mother instilled what I called “Mississippi Faith” in me. That is an undoubtable, undeniable, and supreme belief in my abilities.

A colleague once stated, “If you don’t understand my STORY, you won’t respect my GLORY.” That is powerful and so true!
If you are willing to wake up in the morning with me to write the papers, or if you never went to the gym with me to participate in some of the most grueling workouts, you would not know my story! You would not have a clue of what I could or could not become. To all the haters and social cancers, please continue to provide those words of encouragement, then “Kick Rocks!”.

"I am who I am and I say what I think. I'm not putting a face on for the record."

-Ron S. Lewis, Ph.D. Candidate

Enjoy The Time

It seems like yesterday, we were working this summer in the library trying to refine and redefine the culture of our school. 

Time flies! We have done so much together and the best is yet to come! If you remember, we created posters of what we wanted our school to look like, sound like, and feel like. 

Our quest is to create greatness and become one of the best elementary schools by having strong instructional practices, effective day-to-day systems, and trust and support from each team member.

As Spring Break draws closer, I want to thank you sincerely for the dedication. As you my know passion rages because I care deeply.

Our children deserve the best, and I am personally dedicated and motivated to ensure they receive it. That mindset makes the hardest task appear easy. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where there is no path and leave a trail.” 

There is no doubt we are leaving a trail! Enjoy the break with your family and friends. 

"Wonder rather than doubt is the root to all knowledge."
-Abraham Joshua Heschel 
-Rodney S. Lewis, Ed.D.

Leaving A Mark

0ur students are experiencing some challenging times. Having the opportunity to serve as the principal gives me the pleasure of interacting with our entire student body. 

The concerns traveling to the office the last two months have been disheartening. The behaviors, in many cases, are a massive cries for help. Without looking at the whole child, and accounting for what it “brings to the table” , it would be negligence on our behalf.

There is a Chinese proverb which sums up this lead the best, “Every child is like a piece of paper, on which every teacher leaves a mark.” Those are powerful words! What you give them is going to stick with them for the rest of their lives.  

It is at this time, when our students are faced with circumstances beyond their control, we have to be cognizant of the marks we leave.

I cannot help it, but the father in me is drawn out when I am working with our students. Regardless if it is a boy or girl, I cannot help but to imagine I am speaking with a little girl with long black hair, big beautiful brown eyes, and a three year old voice full of hope and promise.

I want my students to have the same opportunities as my little girl. If nothing else, I want them to feel the support and optimism about their existence. 

Finally, ponder these questions: Whose students are they? Are they “those” students, “your” students, “my” students, or “our” students?

How you answer this question, may determine the mark you leave. 

“Be kind to everyone, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


-Rodney S. Lewis, Ed.D.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Re-inventer

Malcolm X

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for today."
-Malcolm X

Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. His father, an avid civil rights activist, was murdered by white supremacists in 1931, forcing his mother to admit herself in a psychiatric ward. 

Despite the hardships in school, Little was extremely intelligent. However, his perspective changed when his teacher told him he could not become a lawyer because he was black. 

It was in prison, in 1946, where he regained his loved for learning and began devouring books . In 1952 Malcolm  dropped “Little” as his last name and replaced it with “X”. This was a tribute to his African ancestors, and in the same year, he officially joined the Nation of Islam.

X’s powerful rhetoric for blacks such as ending racism “by any means necessary” and “you don’t have a peaceful revolution, you have a turn the cheek revolution”, helped the Nation of Islam accumulate 399,600 members in eight years.

After leaving the Nation of Islam, on bitter terms in 1964, he traveled to North Africa and the Middle East to regain a since of focus and deeper self understanding.

On February 21, 1965, at the age of 39 years old, Malcolm X was shot 15 times at point blank range by three Nation of Islam members.

Throughout his life, Malcolm X was constantly reinventing himself. Like X, our students, should take note that we are not written off by our past, but creators of our future. Malcolm went from a childhood of dreams, to a young man embraced by prison, to one of the most respected and controversial voices in the civl rights movement; and finally, a man who ended his life believing all men and women in this country had a place to live together in harmony. 

Malcolm X shows our students that we can use our voice to change the world and more importantly, change ourselves!

-Rodney S. Lewis, Ed.D.