Letter To Your Younger Self Project

handwritingIf you knew better you’d do better, right? That’s what our young people deal with everyday. They make mistakes or carry regrets because they simply didn’t know better or they didn’t understand the consequences of their actions.

They didn’t have the luxury of having people share honest truths about their experiences. Sometimes people are ashamed of sharing their experiences for fear of being judged but it’s critical for our young people to know that there are situations they might find themselves in, that there are people who’ve been in them before, and there is another side!

They need to know that there are overcomers and that everyone’s story isn’t clean and perfect. They need genuine, authentic, transparent, honest individuals who are willing to help infiltrate their minds with stories of resilience and strength.

There are sometimes that we wish we could go back and tell our younger selves what we know now to save ourselves from making poor choices or to have made a better choice. I decided to create the “Letter to Your Younger Self Project” to collect letters from people who have sat down and been very intentional about giving quality advice to themselves and compiling them into a book. So here’s what I need for you to do.

Take about 5-10 minutes and go to a quiet place. Take out a blank sheet of paper or take out your tablet or laptop and write a letter to your younger self. Write to the “you” that was rebellious, invincible, stubborn, and independent. (You know the “you” I’m talking about). Think back to the most challenging times in your life and share what it was like in that moment for you. What were you thinking and feeling? How did you come to your final decision? What was it like when you overcame that challenge?

Our youth need to hear your story! Once you’ve completed your letter please email to regina@reginacoley.com. If your letter is selected you will need to sign a release waiver to be included in the book.

I look forward to reading your letters and I thank you in advance for your commitment to empowering the lives of today’s youth.

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Luke 6:42

We Need A Revolution-

And What You Can Do About It

revolution_small

There’s a big problem in America-in every state and quite possibly right in your own neighborhood. We’re living in 2015 and blatant racism still exists.

If you are African American and haven’t dealt with it yet, you’ve managed to beat the odds. However far too many families have had to say goodbye to loved ones before their prime. Not just the ones who’ve made the nightly news, but the ones who go without media coverage everyday.

As an Educator and Youth Advocate, I work in a sector that works primarily with urban youth; the population mostly affected by these events. As a mother that frightens me for my children’s future but as a member of society it should frighten all of us for all of our futures.

As leaders we have to be aware of what we’ve done wrong and what we’re going to do to fix it. Without our foresight, insight, and vision of the future we won’t be able to lead the change.

Society has glorified an urban culture that depicts instant gratification and the faster and easier way. We don’t teach process anymore we appease the product and what’s in your hand.

When I compare our cultures past to our current culture, I see a loss in several areas that have brought us to this place.

I see a loss in church attendance. I mean real church not just the motivational feel good church but the service that used to teach you principles, values, and struck fear in the hearts of the consequences from God if we didn’t live right. For many African American families church was our foundation and therapy when we had problems. Now we allow coaches and people to solve our problems.

I see a loss in raising children. Notice I said raising and not rearing. There are many parents who support their children, but not all of them are raising our children. When you raise children you are the voice in their head, you are the eyes through which they see the world, and you are responsible for elevating them. Parenting is not just about feeding, clothing, and getting them to school because your power as a parent is then given to the school system. It’s about nourishing, edifying, and cultivating your child until you see them bloom into independent, self sufficent adults.

I see a loss in community. There are so many nuts walking around the world that we have become fearful of each other. We don’t trust other people with our children, we don’t trust businesses, books, programs and ideas. We don’t accept others influences and words because there have been so many phonies that have taken your money in exchange for crappy products and services. Which leads to me to the loss of integrity.

I see a loss in integrity. We don’t teach character in schools anymore. We aren’t teaching honesty, responsibility, accountability, respect for authority but we still expect it. How can one expect what hasn’t been taught?

Every great leaders know that we have to inspect what we expect. That means that it must be taught and monitored. What programs and systems are in place in our society for this “inspection”? This is why we need a revolution!

Revolution’s have occurred all throughout history. They’ve stemmed from major changes in culture to global events. With recent events in our society we desperately need a revolution.

We need to rise up and revolt because the opposite is complacency and stagnation. For slavery there was the abolitionist movement, for civil rights there was the civil right movement.

Why would these times require anything less of us? Peaceful protest are a great ways to start but what are we saying to the rest of the world and how are we saying it? Who are our leaders that we hope to account for this change? Who is our cultural representative?

It’s not enough to just be upset about what’s going on and chat about it with our friends and co-workers, we have to get organized and we have to continue to have a much needed conversation within our homes, within our schools, and within our communities. This should spark new ideas, new community programs, and inspire others voices to be used as a vehicle for change.

We must recognize what we want our young people to recognize and that’s where we’ve been and where we are going.

They have lost their identity and their way because they don’t fully understand who and what they come from and it’s diminishing the path of where they should be going. When youth path is diminished, the future’s path is diminished.

We need a revolution that will remind our young people of not only what they can do but who they are. Then I believe the #BlackLivesMatter movement will make more sense to us all and it won’t just be something that’s nice to say and looks good on a t-shirt, but will take root in their hearts and birth something magnificent enough to truly change our society and the mentality that so greatly needs to be changed.

Question: What do you think youth need to know to spark a new revolution?

What Happened to Youth Voice?

lost-my-voice

Recently there was a girl who on Spring Break and was gang raped on the beach while others recorded on their cell phones and did NOTHING to stop her attackers. When I first heard this story it made me extremely upset to know that anyone had the audacity to violate a young lady in public. The moment that sent me over the edge was realizing just how many witnesses were there and did nothing to intervene!

Since when did young people become so complacent and so comfortable that they can’t step up to the plate when someone is being done wrong? Since when do they run their mouths about young black men who are shot by police and shout “Black Lives Matter!” but can’t show it in their actions?

Since when did they learn about their ancestors who have sacrificed their safety, security, and their lives for them to have opportunities and not seize them? Since when did young people get to the point of complacency that it’s okay to just “go with the crowd” rather than stand up and be the leaders and change they so desperately need?

I have a huge problem with this and I’m sure you do too! So what can we do about it? We’ve got to teach them better. We have to remind our young people WHO they are and teach them to be accountable to each other.

They are more than “likes” on Social Media and more than “followers”. They are leaders, they have voice and they have purpose. They have to be as on fire as we are about matters that affect their lives.

When I think back on who started movements, it was young people who pulled together and worked collectively under one vision. We have lost our way as a people but our young people need responsible people like us to guide them, teach them, have patience with them and not grow weary. They need me and they need you!

Here are several ways we can embrace youth voice:

1. Give youth a safe, non-judgemental environment in which to share their thoughts and ideas.

2. Allow them to use language that is comfortable to them. They aren’t us and will express themselves using acronyms and slang that’s generational; that’s okay.

3. Create or allow the young people to create a platform to share their voice. This may  be an online magazine or YouTube channel.

Let’s not forget our responsibility to them. Be present and show they way! Let’s help to restore their fires.

Question: What will you do this week to help youth find their voice?

The Power of Being

The Power of Being

Courtesy of Can Stock

You have to “be” before you can “do”,  and you have to “do” before you can “have”. -Zig Ziglar

I was reviewing some notes from a conference I attended 4 years ago and I came across this quote from Zig Ziglar whom I had the pleasure of hearing speak before he passed away. There was something about it that resonates with me this week in the power of “being”.

He says that we must first “be”. What does that mean exactly? It means that we must first make a decision as to who it is that we are becoming. Who are we growing into? Who are we transforming or turning into? What are we made of? What has God designed us to be? It means that we must develop self-awareness. Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

3 Key Elements to Living A Higher Standard

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 NIV

When I share my most challenging times in life, I realize that it was a result of losing my standards. I’ve always had a high regard for living ethically and doing what’s right, but there came a time when I no longer cared and I wanted to just live freely like everyone else.

What helped me most in “getting back on track” was remembering the high standards in my life and going back to them. I realized that my attitude towards myself and my life had to change for my life to change. I needed a renewing of my mind.

The One Thing Every Great Person Has In Common

What All Great People Have In Common

Can I be real with you today? This week has been an extremely stressful week for me but one that caused me to think. I was thinking about the limitations that have been placed on my life and who put them there.

I couldn’t help but feel that I kept reaching for new goals, but I felt that the power to accomplish them was in someone else’s hands and it caused me to feel that I was lacking in some areas. I don’t like feeling that way and I had to check myself and remind myself who and whose I am.

This presentation was created from the powerful words of women who I feel are speaking to our black girls today. Listen to the words and take them to heart. This is your life and your story can and should be the beautiful tale of your determination, strength, and commitment to what you believe in!

The Keke Palmer School of Leadership

Not only is KeKe an amazing singer, actress, and now talk show host, she is also a perfect example of what a true leader exemplifies. She understands and leverages her leadership skills to becoming the successful young lady she is today. KeKe was quoted for saying ” I always try to set a positive example for my generation and promote confidence.” That’s right, the essence of leadership! So grab a seat, a cup of coffee and let me introduce you to The KeKe Palmer School of Leadership!

 

Photo Credit: Uptown Magazine

Photo Credit: Uptown Magazine

1. KeKe is relatable, and every leader needs to relate to her audience. KeKe is the kind of girl you want to have as a friend and one you’d be willing to take sound advice from. The amazing thing about her is that she interacts with her fans. They have questions and problems and she gets right into the conversation with them and answers them! That’s what a leader does.

Leadership Lesson Takeaway: Look for ways that you can solve small problems around you and find ways to add value to your peers, soon they’ll begin to realize that your are a valuable resourceful leader.