Being different is a GOOD thing

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Something that I don’t think I’ll ever understand is why people are judged or made fun of for being different. I’m not talking about being different because they have weird quirks or march to the beat of their own drum. I’m talking about the big differences…. Differences in race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, etc. Of course everyone judges. It’s human nature. We have to make judgments in order to make decisions in life. The judgment that I am referring to is the negative judgment of stereotyping people before you even get to know them personally. Our society is so quick to judge and steer away from people who are not like ourselves. Why do we fear the differences of others? Why not embrace them instead? Imagine if we were all the same. Imagine if we were all the same race, the same religion, from the same culture, or believed the same things. How BORING would that be? People have become so fearful of being different from the “normal” stereotype. Can you blame them?

Today in class, we had to complete an inventory sheet on cross-cultural sensitivity. There were 30 statements on this survey, and we had to rate ourselves on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree. Here’s a few examples of the statements:

  • I avoid people who are different than me.
  • Culturally mixed marriages are wrong.
  • The very existence of humanity depends on our knowledge of other people.
  • I think about living within another culture in the future.
  • The way other people express themselves is very interesting to me.

We followed up with a class discussion about this inventory and how we are going to be dealing with different cultures, races, beliefs, etc. in our classrooms one day when we’re teaching. I guess for me, I’m not closed minded when it comes to people’s differences. You live the life that you want to live. Regardless of what I believe, as long as you are not personally, negatively affecting me, you do you.

I just hate that our society immediately judges or stereotypes people because they’re African-American or Muslim or an Atheist or covered head to toe in tattoos or gay or different from “normal”!!! A person could be the kindest, friendliest, most respectful person you’ve ever met, but society is still going to immediately stereotype them when they find out that this person is different because we have a preconceived notion about their difference.

“Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.”

I personally enjoy the differences in people. In the second grade class that I observe in, the teacher is African American and the majority of the students are African-American. There are a few Hispanic students and one who is Micronesian. There are only two white students. The majority of these students come from single parent, low socioeconomic status households. The majority of them do not have the same skin color as me. They/their families may not believe the same things that I do or practice the same religion as I do or they may not even be religious at all. They’re different from me. I am white. I come from a home where my parents are happily married. I have been blessed with a hard working dad, who provides for his family, and parents who want the best for their daughters. But I love every single one of those beautiful second graders just the same, no matter who they are or where they come from. It is not my place to stereotype or judge them. It’s my job to love them. I love their differences. I love that they’re different from me.

We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another. Don’t stereotype. Be open-minded. Get to know others before you form an opinion of them.

Now get out there and love the people (and their differences!!!) who make life so great!!!

xoxo,

Jaime Madison

“Things change… and that’s okay”

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Sometimes, this really fun thing happens where you think you have your entire life planned out…. and then all those plans just disappear in the blink of an eye. Can you relate? I think most people can. It happens to the best of us. It’s stressful. It’s scary. But things change… and that’s okay. Most of the time, when life takes a turn for the worst, it ends up making another turn for the best. You end up realizing new things about yourself or about life in general. Although it can be scary, you just have to roll with it and see where life takes you. When life hits the point where you feel like nothing is making sense, try to focus on the things that seem to be going right (even though they may seem far and few between).

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we’re meant to be.”

Recently, I came to a new conclusion about my life. Although it may seem small to some of you, it was a real eye opener for me. An idea that has been planted in my head for a few years now was completely wiped away. With everything else going on in my life, that’s just what I needed… more change *so much sarcasm applied*. If you’ve read my past blog post, you all know that I will become a teacher in a few short years. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to teach kindergarten. I can specifically remember myself just a few months ago saying, “I don’t think I’d even want to teach higher than first grade.” Kindergarten has always been the plan. When people ask what I am going to school for, my response has always been “I’m majoring in early childhood education and I would love to teach kindergarten.” Last semester, I had the opportunity to observe in a pre-k class, and although it was a little younger than I wanted, I really enjoyed the class. At the time, it really reconfirmed my dreams of teaching and teaching kindergarten in particular.

Fast forward to the beginning of this semester. I got assigned a second grade class to observe for the entire semester. I wasn’t bummed about that per say. I just wasn’t ecstatic. After observing for a few weeks, I was really enjoying the class. I was actually enjoying it more than I expected to. However, there was one day in particular that really stood out to me. A few weeks ago, I was able to go to the class in the morning when school started and stay for the majority of the day. I was able to work in small groups with the students, help with individual assignments, and really get into the everyday routine for these kids. I honestly cannot pinpoint what was so different about this day, but I found myself sitting in this classroom surrounded by a bunch of wonderful 7-8 year olds, helping a group of students with some addition and subtraction problems, and thinking, “This is it. This feels so right.” In a moment, my plans of becoming a kindergarten teacher were wiped from my mind and second grade was all I could imagine. Although I really enjoy being with the younger students, I had never had a feeling like that in a classroom. It was that feeling that you just know “this is right.” Every day that I am able to go see these kids is such a blessing, and every day makes me more excited for the future. It’s a strange feeling having something like what grade you want to teach be planted in your head for years, and then all of the sudden, that vision that you had is ripped from you and a new one appears.

This may seem so minuscule to some people, but for me, it was so life changing. It showed me that things can change, your views can change, life can change, plans can change, even your future can change… and everything is still going to end up okay. What I’m trying to say is that whether someone else takes your plans from you or you change them willingly, most of the time, it ends up working out for the better. Just because things change, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It may seem bad or scary at the time, but make the best of it and let life take its course. You never know where you may end up, and who knows, maybe you’ll actually end up with everything you’ve ever wanted. Life works in mysterious ways.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

and ya know, it’s better to figure things out now rather than later on when it’s too late… right mom? 😉

xoxo,

Jaime Madison

“Go For It”

Recently, I was writing in my book of 300 writing prompts and came across a prompt that asked, “Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net?” This prompt really had me thinking about myself and how I live my life. Want to know how I responded to that question? See my initial response below:

“I believe that I prefer taking risks. I don’t think that there is any need for a safety net. If you don’t take risks in life, you wont be able to experience the adventures that life has to offer. Sometimes things are scary or you may think people will judge you, but you just have to go for it. It’s totally worth it.”

“Don’t ever be afraid to take risks, for they make life worth living.”

After thinking about this question, I started thinking about myself. I’ve realized that when my friends are wondering whether they should do something or not, my usual response is “go for it.” When I’m asking myself if I should do something, I usually think, “Just go for it.” Now some readers may be thinking that that’s a stupid philosophy, but it hasn’t failed me yet!! When it comes to taking risks, a person’s main concerns are usually getting hurt, being judged or being embarrassed. Whether it’s telling someone how you truly feel or trying out for the lead role in a play, there’s always the risk. There’s the risk that that person may not feel the same way that you do. There’s the risk that you may not get that lead role…. But you’ll never know until you try, right?

Okay, it’s story time.

So for the longest time, I wanted to go skydiving. I thought it seemed like such a great experience. However, I was also super freaked out at the thought of jumping from an airplane 13,000 feet in the air while strapped to a person with only a parachute to save me. Despite all of that, I told my parents that for my 20th birthday, I wanted to go skydiving. Now, I knew in my head that I was really nervous, but I simply told myself I was doing it and didn’t really give myself a choice. Once the reservation was made, there was no backing out. Turns out, I didn’t get nervous even one time throughout the entire process, and it was by far the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life. If I had not taken that risk, I wouldn’t have had that amazing adventure and the awesome story to tell. I would’ve missed out on something extraordinary.

The same thing goes for everything else in life. If you don’t take that risk and just go for it, you’ll never know how things could’ve been or how something could have turned out. I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day that said, “great things never come from comfort zones.” That is so true. In order to experience life to the fullest, you HAVE to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time. This could be trying a new activity, talking to someone that you’ve never spoken to before, or speaking up if you usually keep your opinions to yourself. If you don’t try, you’ll never know!! It’s as simple as that.

Say yes to the adventure. Take the risk. Drop the fear. In the end, you’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take.

And now you’re wondering… “Should I do it?” Of course you know what I think. Just go for it.

xoxo,

Jaime Madison

Click here to check out my skydiving experience!

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“Just A Teacher”

Picture this. It’s 7:55 in the morning. I’m walking to math of all classes. I’ve already been up since 6:15 because Regan convinced me that it was a good idea to go to the gym that early (why?!). I’m irritable and exhausted, and I really just want a nap already. On my way, I run into a guy I know.

Him: “Where ya heading?”

Me: “Math class”

Him: “What math are you in?”

Me: “3911. It’s for education majors.”

Him: “Oh you’re an education major? Wow. I just don’t think I could do that.”

Me: “Yeah, well I really just love kids. I think I’m meant to be a teacher.”

Him: “And you’re okay with just being a teacher?”

Um, excuse me?? Dude. Way to ruffle my feathers and it’s not even 8 AM yet. What do you mean by JUST a teacher? Honestly, I am really just so sick and tired of the negative attitude people constantly have towards students majoring in education. I hear it all the time. “She’s just a teacher.” “Her classes are so easy.” Or the oh so popular quote that all teachers/education majors know so well: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Like ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This quote is basically saying that those who are not successful in other majors/fields end up as teachers. Personally, that’s just a whole bunch of BS to me. If I wanted to major in nursing or business, for example, I would do it and I would do it well. But I want to be a teacher. Not because I can’t excel in any other field, but because I feel that I’ve been blessed with the ability to be a positive influence in the lives’ of children. Someone has to do it, am I right? To all the people who degrade those who want to teach: who do you think is going to teach your kids? It will be me and all of the others like myself who JUST want to be a positive influence in your child’s life.

I actually overheard a girl talking to her friend the other day about switching her major. She specifically said, “I think I may switch to something easy, like education.” I almost lost my mind. Why do people think that majoring in education is easy? No, we may not have to learn how the entire human body works or take multiple business and accounting classes. But we do have to:

  • Use effective verbal and non-verbal techniques to gather information, support collaboration, and develop supportive interaction in the classroom.
  • Know how to adjust curriculum in order to adapt and accommodate for students with disabilities.
  • Use classroom routines to maximize instructional time in order to support the needs of the learners
  • Implement various assessments used in schools, including administration of the assessments, as well as evaluation and analyzing test data to drive instruction.
  • Create extensive lesson plans that differentiate between all types of learners

This list could go on and on and on… All majors have their difficulties. They’re just their own type of difficult.

Let me just put it this way… What if I throw you in a room full of 20 five-year-olds and say, “Alright, your job is to teach these kids to read.” How easy does that sound? All of you saying that teaching is easy would probably break down in tears before you could even accomplish the task.

“A teacher plants the seeds of knowledge, sprinkles them with love, and patiently nurtures their growth to produce tomorrow’s dreams.”

Regardless of if you think teaching is easy or not, why degrade me for wanting to do it? It’s my passion. I have a heart for children. I want to teach because teachers change lives. Teachers have the opportunity to deliver children into an entire world of knowledge. They form the minds of the future. It brings me so much joy when I am able to observe in a classroom and listen to a group of five year olds tell me about the seasons or the letters of the alphabet or about patterns and counting. They are so excited to learn and understand things. They thrive off of the lessons their teachers create for them.

I can’t wait for the day that I get to step into my first classroom filled with a group of smiling kindergarteners and lead them on the path to an amazing future. Until then, I’ll be here standing up against every person that says, “You just want to be a teacher.” Yeah, I JUST want to be a teacher. I just may be your kid’s teacher one day… if you’re lucky!!

xoxo,

Jaime Madison

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He Doesn’t Deserve You

Raise your hand if you have ever been so screwed over by someone that you’re actually confused at how they could have once said that they cared about you. I’m currently waving both of my hands around in the air screaming “ME ME ME!!!” Maybe it was by a friend, a guy, or even a family member. For me, it was a guy. I know what some of you are thinking…. “Really? A guy?” Oh yeah, A GUY. Actually, let’s call him a boy. Because that’s what he is. An immature, little boy. A boy that I put up on his own pedestal. A boy that I supported well beyond measure. A boy that I gave my everything. And in the end, what did I get in return? SCREWED.

Now, before you quit reading, this isn’t going to just be vent session over how screwed up boys can be. That could be a whole different article in itself. No, this one is for you. You, the girl whose heart is broken. The girl who is confused on how someone could care one moment and disregard you the next. The girl with so much built up anger. The girl who wonders how he could have moved on so quickly.

“Once you realize you deserve better, letting go will be the best decision ever.”

Let me say this one time. YOU. DESERVE. BETTER. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably say it a million more times. But it’s true, so I’m going to give myself a pass. You deserve better. It’s as simple as that. You deserve someone who compliments you, someone who shows you off, someone who shows you that you’re his entire world. Your man should support you, encourage you, and most importantly, continue to pursue you even after he’s already dating you. Does your guy lie to you, degrade you, act like he doesn’t care, or even hook up with other girls behind your back? Maybe all of the above?! LEAVE HIM. Of course you don’t want to get out of a relationship that you’re comfortable in. I get that. I didn’t either. But would you rather spend the rest of your life arguing with your significant other who supposedly “loves” you? Some guys seem to forget that we CAN get out of the relationship whenever we want. They’re the ones who are lucky to have us, remember? For you girls out there who are in a relationship that continues to screw you over, you CAN get out of it. You aren’t stuck. Yeah, it’ll hurt. Yeah, it will suck when you see him with a different girl the very next day (yeah, guys actually do that. Such a low blow). But I’m pretty positive that you’re much better off without him. And to you girls that are not in this situation, but are tired of waiting for your Prince Charming…. Don’t settle. He will come, and he will make you realize that your patience was worth it.

In the mean time, while you’re slowly piecing your heart back together, do something for me. Make a list of every single reason that you can think of not to be with that stupid boy. Every reason why you’re better off without him. Every reason why he doesn’t deserve you. And THEN, you’re going to make a list of every characteristic that you want in a real man… your future boyfriend and hopefully future husband. Trust me on this one. It is LI-BER-ATING. You’ll feel so free getting all of those negatives down on paper and even better after making the list for the man that does deserve you. Plus, it’s good to keep around for when he wants you back. Check out that list and think “yeah sorry, you don’t deserve me” (or you could just tell him that he doesn’t deserve you, that’s fun too).

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Bottom line is, do yourself a favor and don’t settle. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve fought for something that, in the end, wasn’t worth it and just continued to hurt me. It’s not worth it. Break it off, find yourself, and wait for that guy who DOES DESERVE YOU. You’ll look back and thank yourself for it in the end.

Now step outside, get some fresh air, and remember how fabulous you are!! You deserve it!

xoxo,

Jaime Madison

Wanna get to know me??

My name is Madison Sikes. Friends call me Maddy, my sisters know me as Ma-Ma, and the occasional uncle calls me Mad-dog. But to you readers, I’m Jaime Madison. I am 20 years old and currently majoring in Early Childhood Education at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga. When telling people that I am majoring in education, I tend to get the usual responses of “I could never do that” or “You must really have patience. I can’t deal with kids.” In all reality, I would much rather be talking to a 5 year old than an adult anyway. They tend to be better conversationalists. I have a heart for children, and my dream is to be teaching kindergarden in a few years. I have a mom and a dad, who are still happily married after 21 years, and they have 4 children, me and my 3 younger sisters. Regan is 18 years old and is going to school here at Armstrong with me, while Kennedi and Taylor, who are 13 and 11 years old, are back home enjoying middle school in my hometown of Blackshear, Ga (ahhh, the good ole days…NOT). And yes, if you caught on, we are all named after presidents. Pretty neat, huh?

When you first meet me, I tend to be a little reserved, but once I’m comfortable around you, watch out. I’m loud. I laugh a lot. I have a thing for stupid jokes. I’m sassy and I’m dramatic. I tend to be a bit bold at times, and you’ll usually know exactly how I’m feeling. I don’t hide my emotions well. But contrary to what some of you may be thinking, none of those characteristics are bad things. I love my sassiness. I love my tendency to laugh really loud. I love it all. Don’t like it? Take me as I am or watch me as I go!! I’m addicted to french fries and Panera Bread, and if I’m watching Netflix, there’s a 100% chance that it’s an episode of Friends. I have the Friends box set of dvd’s and the board game. If you think you know the show better, I’ll be happy to show you up. I’m Nicki Minaj’s biggest fan, and if you ask me to prove it, I’ll hit you with her chorus in “Monster” quicker than you’ll be able to pull out your phone to video it. I am a true book nerd. I could read for days. Let’s put it this way, my bookshelf is currently full, with more books back home and 2 stacks forming on my desk. Last Christmas break, I bought around 15 books in a matter of 3 weeks. It’s a weakness. I love meeting and getting to know new people. Talking to me is like a game of 20 questions, and if you’re lucky, I’ll usually throw in a story from my past because I don’t forget anything!! It’s so fun!!

Want to know more about me? Just ask! In the meantime, I’ll be here sharing my thoughts with you and trying to prove to myself (and everyone else) that Regan isn’t the only one in our family who is an amazing writer!!

xoxo,

Jaime Madison

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