Monegan the thinking machine!

I have lots of thoughts to share!

My goal here at cliffordmonegan.com, is to assist everyone by sharing positive, productive, information, and insight that will strengthen us all. We must support our surrounding businesses, and our college students. Community safety, education, self-esteem, health, and success, should be in our minds at all times. Together we can enlighten each other’s understanding. Join us in our endeavor, to be a strong, assertive, community.

What about education!

Education gives us the tools to be successful.

Always look for positive information so that you can learn more. I found this information in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

There’s all types of different colleges for different careers. If you would like to know more about different colleges and universities in Gainesville or around the world, please do some more research, and I am sure that you can find the college or university that you would like to attend.

Deaf culture describes the social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are affected by deafness and which use sign languages as the main means of communication. When used as a cultural label especially within the culture, the word deaf is often written with a capital D and referred to as “big D Deaf” in speech and sign. When used as a label for the audiological condition, it is written with a lower case d.

Members of the deaf community tend to view deafness as a difference in human experience rather than a disability.

The community may include family members of deaf people and sign-language interpreters who identify with deaf culture and does not automatically include all people who are deaf or hard of hearing. As one author writes, “it is not the extent of hearing loss that defines a member of the deaf community but the individual’s own sense of identity and resultant actions.”As with all social groups that a person chooses to belong to, a person is a member of the deaf community if he or she “identifies him/herself as a member of the deaf community, and other members accept that person as a part of the community.

Deaf culture is recognized under article 30, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states that “Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.

.”Do you know Sign Language?” Here is the Alphabet!

Learning Sign Language is fun.sgn

First you have to learn the alphabets. When you learn how to sign, you will be able to communicate with those who are deaf/or hard of hearing.

More information will be posted for you as we go on about this topic.

EDUCATION4

Should we be open to gangs in our neighborhoods and communities?

When I was a teen I thought that being in a gang was normal. I thought that it was fun and exciting and a good, fast, way to make money, and I was wrong. I knew better but I was ignorant of the negative influence, and the way I should behave and conduct myself while out in public. I joined a gang for different reasons but the biggest reason was, I had a low self-esteem which made me vulnerable to the manipulation of others, to believe that I was not doing any wrong and that was the way of the world. Not all teens join gangs but some do, and some end up on drugs, in jail or prison, or dead.For whatever reason teens do associate themselves in a gang, I would like to say that it’s not life. So what can we do to prevent our teens from joining a gang? I think that our teens should have mandatory classes in school about self-esteem. Parents and guardians should promote self-esteem in the household when children are very young. All the people in the community should be activists against gangs and create a positive movement that aligns positive self-worth with conscientious decision-making. I don’t think we need a brilliantly written book with lots of big words to read. All we need is a basic book on self-esteem that will teach children about the complexity of being assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and passive, self-awareness, morals, values, and behavior modification, etc.Also I think that we should put up something about sel-esteem on big billboards in every city, something about self-esteem, so wherever they go, they can see them. I also think that we should consider all gangs as organized crime, because it is. Anyone that calls themselves a leader of any gang has laws, policies, rules, and principles that control the way it’s members think and feel, etc. It starts from the top down to the foot soldiers. Organize crime is against the law. A gang members is affiliated with organized crime. Help our teens to be safe and educated on manipulation, and build up the community.

What is a Belief system?

Do you have a belief system?

If you do have a belief system, can you explain what that belief system is?

What does your belief system do for you?

What does your belief system consist of?

Where does your belief system come from?

Why do you believe in what you believe?

Do you think that you have to make up your own belief system?

Do you think that you believe in to many things that are not true?

Do you really understand what a belief system is?

Why do we need to have a belief system?

Is it important to have a belief system as a teen?

“A belief system”

Is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The belief of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or combination of these. Noun – Faith based on series of beliefs but not formalized into a religion; also, a fixed coherent set of beliefs prevalent in a community or society. A set of beliefs, values, and practices on different teachings of spiritual leaders or even people that you really admire.  A belief system can be based on moral codes, culture and subculture, practices and institutions associated with such belief system.

Being a teen is like being a sponge. Teens can and a lot of times do absorb all type of beliefs about different religions, practices, cultures, myths, superstitions, tales, fables, ideologies, facts, philosophies, etc. What’s normal about this is that when we were teens, we possibly did the same thing or at least I did and it was at some point a little bit confusing. However, I myself have learned that it does take several bits and pieces of positive information to establish a foundation where I became able to live right in society and follow laws and rules, and live in peace, with integrity and respect. I had to learn that we do make poor choices but a poor choice can be turned into a better choice. I had to learn that life is what you live, and if you live right it’s easier for you to be proactive. “But still I had to learn” Then and only then was i really able to form a realistic, positive, strong, belief system that worked for me.

“See, we may not tell a teen that they are believing in to many things until we see that they show some type of behavior where they need to be informed about the things that they believe in.” From my experience I have witnessed that lots of teens do not really understand how to put all of their beliefs in perspective, and it can be very confusing to them.

perspective: the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

  1. “a perspective drawing. 2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. outlook, view, viewpoint, point of view, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, attitude, frame of mind, interpretation, approach.

Lots of teens are not even aware of how confusing it can be to believe in all sort of things because to them, if you’re not a little confused, you’re not a teen. We as adults/grown-ups know that when we talk to some teens that they can’t comprehend, profound, knowledge. We know that they can’t process the meaning of life as fast as we can because we know that life is also about experience, and experience is a great part of learning, and learning helps us to put things into perceptive. We know that in order to form a realistic, belief system that works for us, that we have to be able to apply ourselves and be able to have acceptance, and also courage to live by certain standards and principles. Accepting change has a lot to do with how you put things in perspective. Also you have to learn about self-esteem and then you can practice self-efficacy.

We also know that if no one has taken out the time to educate our teens on what a belief system is, then they will almost always try to press everything they believe in, or heard about into a song, movie, feeling, activity, or even a situation that occurred in their life. So why not take out your time and talk to a teen about this subject. Honestly, I didn’t learn about the belief system until i was about thirty years old. I knew of it but i didn’t apply it to my life, because I really didn’t understand how it worked to my advantage. You would think that having a belief system would make you have a high self-esteem, but it doesn’t.

After I learned more about a belief system, I was open to accept the fact that I also had to learn about self-esteem. Then after I learned about self-esteem, I had to face my fears and character defects, and what I didn’t like about myself. I had to rebuild that person I thought I was. I had to re-program my way of thinking and never even looked back at the old me. I became more interested in creating a new me. The more I learned about me, the more I accepted change. I had to take everything I’ve ever learned and believed in and sort it out and add and subtract different morals, and values, and reservations, etc. A lot of times it was hard for me but I understood that if the frame work isn’t strong enough, then the house can not stand.

So what’s more important, to teach teens about self-esteem or a belief system or both? From 13 to 19 is a very ripe age to teach a person things that will help them to be a positive, productive, successful, strong, motivating force, that can help our world continue to be a great place to live in. The world is changing daily and we as people should be aware of how the next generation thinks and feels. We should always be conscience of what we say and do around our teens. Teens are very, very, important to our future. They must have a positive, realistic, strong, belief system, that gives them the tools to stay confident, assertive, and goal orientated. If you are a teen, you must learn about the belief system. In fact, I think that this subject should be on going in high schools around the world.

If you are reading this and you are a teen, I would like you to keep reading what I have to share with you. Apply yourself! Be mature! Follow the law! Follow the rules! Be more than willing to learn! Read books! Listen to motivational speakers. There are lots of them on youtube! Love school! Do your home work! Don’t be afraid to ask question! Listen to advise! Don’t join gangs! Don’t do drugs! Don’t smoke at all! Be kind to people! Share with others! Volunteer and help the poor sometimes! Respect your parents! Get proper rest! Eat as healthy as possible! Exercise at least three days a week! Believe in yourself! Understand that “I BELIEVE IN YOU!” You can count on me to exchange thoughts with you and share the right information that will help you to have a strong mind and a clean conscience so that you will be happy in who you are, and who you are going to become. If you are over 18, feel free to contact me and ask for advice, or post a topic we as a community can share, and we together will find the answer.email – admin@teenstructure.com

BELIEF SYSTEM 2 

Self-efficacy; is the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals Psychologists have studied self-efficacy from several perspectives, noting various paths in the development of self-efficacy; the dynamics of self-efficacy, and lack thereof, in many different settings; interactions between self-efficacy and self-concept; and habits of attribution that contribute to, or detract from, self-efficacy.

This can be seen as the ability to persist and a person’s ability to succeed with a task. As an example, self-efficacy directly relates to how long someone will stick to a workout regimen or a diet. High and low self-efficacy determine whether or not someone will choose to take on a challenging task or “write it off” as impossible.

Self-efficacy affects every area of human endeavor. By determining the beliefs a person holds regarding his or her power to affect situations, it strongly influences both the power a person actually has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make. These effects are particularly apparent, and compelling, with regard to behaviors affecting health.

Judge et al. (2002) argued the concepts of locus of control, neuroticism, generalized self-efficacy (which differs from Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy) and self-esteem measured the same, single factor and demonstrated them to be related concepts.

Theoretical approaches

Social cognitive theory

Main article:Social cognitive theory

Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations. One’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges. The theory of self-efficacy lies at the center of Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. The main concept in social cognitive theory is that an individual’s actions and reactions, including social behaviors and cognitive processes, in almost every situation are influenced by the actions that individual has observed in others. Because self-efficacy is developed from external experiences and self-perception and is influential in determining the outcome of many events, it is an important aspect of social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy represents the personal perception of external social factors. According to Bandura’s theory, people with high self-efficacy—that is, those who believe they can perform well—are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.

Social learning theory

Main article: Social learning theory

Social learning theory describes the acquisition of skills that are developed exclusively or primarily within a social group. Social learning depends on how individuals either succeed or fail at dynamic interactions within groups, and promotes the development of individual emotional and practical skills as well as accurate perception of self and acceptance of others. According to this theory, people learn from one another through observation, imitation, and modeling. Self-efficacy reflects an individual’s understanding of what skills he/she can offer in a group setting.

Self-concept theory

Main article: Self-concept

Self-concept theory seeks to explain how people perceive and interpret their own existence from clues they receive from external sources, focusing on how these impressions are organized and how they are active throughout life. Successes and failures are closely related to the ways in which people have learned to view themselves and their relationships with others. This theory describes self-concept as learned (i.e., not present at birth); organized (in the way it is applied to the self); and dynamic (i.e., ever-changing, and not fixed at a certain age).

Attribution theory

Main article: Attribution (psychology)

Attribution theory focuses on how people attribute events and how those beliefs interact with self-perception. Attribution theory defines three major elements of cause:

  • Locus is the location of the perceived cause. If the locus is internal (dispositional), feelings of self-esteem and self-efficacy will be enhanced by success and diminished by failure.
  • Stability describes whether the cause is perceived as static or dynamic over time. It is closely related to expectations and goals, in that when people attribute their failures to stable factors such as the difficulty of a task, they will expect to fail in that task in the future.
  • Controllability describes whether a person feels actively in control of the cause. Failing at a task one thinks one cannot control can lead to feelings of humiliation, shame, and/or anger

How it affects human function

Choices regarding behavior

People generally avoid tasks where self-efficacy is low, but undertake tasks where self-efficacy is high. When self-efficacy is significantly beyond actual ability, it leads to an overestimation of the ability to complete tasks. On the other hand, when self-efficacy is significantly lower than actual ability, it discourages growth and skill development. Research shows that the optimum level of self-efficacy is slightly above ability; in this situation, people are most encouraged to tackle challenging tasks and gain experience.

Motivation

High self-efficacy can affect motivation in both positive and negative ways. In general, people with high self-efficacy are more likely to make efforts to complete a task, and to persist longer in those efforts, than those with low self-efficacy. The stronger the self-efficacy or mastery expectations, the more active the efforts. However, those with low self-efficacy sometimes experience incentive to learn more about an unfamiliar subject, where someone with a high self-efficacy may not prepare as well for a task.

Thought patterns & responses

Self-efficacy has several effects on thought patterns and responses:

  • Low self-efficacy can lead people to believe tasks to be harder than they actually are. This often results in poor task planning, as well as increased stress.
  • People become erratic and unpredictable when engaging in a task in which they have low self-efficacy.
  • People with high self-efficacy tend to take a wider view of a task in order to determine the best plan.
  • Obstacles often stimulate people with high self-efficacy to greater efforts, where someone with low self-efficacy will tend toward discouragement and giving up.
  • A person with high self-efficacy will attribute failure to external factors, where a person with low self-efficacy will blame low ability. For example, someone with high self-efficacy in regards to mathematics may attribute a poor test grade to a harder-than-usual test, illness, lack of effort, or insufficient preparation. A person with a low self-efficacy will attribute the result to poor mathematical ability. See Attribution Theory.

Health Behaviors

Choices affecting health, such as soking, physical exercise, dieting, condom use, dental hygiene, seat belt use, and breast self-examination, are dependent on self-efficacy. Self-efficacy beliefs are cognitions that determine whether health behavior change will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and failures. Self-efficacy influences how high people set their health goals (e.g., “I intend to reduce my smoking,” or “I intend to quit smoking altogether”). A number of studies on the adoption of health practices have measured self-efficacy to assess its potential to initiate behavior change.

Academic Productivity

Research on Australian science students showed that those with high self-efficacy showed better academic performance than those with low self-efficacy. Confident individuals typically took control over their own learning experiences, were more likely to participate in class, and preferred hands-on learning experiences. Those with low self-efficacy typically shied away from academic interactions.

The Destiny Idea

Further information: Locus of control

Bandura showed that difference in self-efficacy correlates to fundamentally different world views. People with high self-efficacy generally believe that they are in control of their own lives, that their own actions and decisions shape their lives, while people with low self-efficacy may see their lives as outside their control.

Factors affecting self-efficacy

Bandura identifies four factors affecting self-efficacy.

  1. Experience, or “Enactive Attainment”

The experience of mastery is the most important factor determining a person’s self-efficacy. Success raises self-efficacy, while failure lowers it.

“Children cannot be fooled by empty praise and condescending encouragement. They may have to accept artificial bolstering of their self-esteem in lieu of something better, but what I call their accruing ego identity gains real strength only from wholehearted and consistent recognition of real accomplishment, that is, achievement that has meaning in their culture.” (Erik Erikson)

  1. Modeling, or “Vicarious Experience”

Modeling is experienced as, “If they can do it, I can do it as well.” When we see someone succeeding, our own self-efficacy increases; where we see people failing, our self-efficacy decreases. This process is most effectual when we see ourselves as similar to the model. Although not as influential as direct experience, modeling is particularly useful for people who are particularly unsure of themselves.

  1. Social Persuasion

Social persuasion generally manifests as direct encouragement or discouragement from another person. Discouragement is generally more effective at decreasing a person’s self-efficacy than encouragement is at increasing it.

  1. Physiological Factors

In stressful situations, people commonly exhibit signs of distress: shakes, aches and pains, fatigue, fear, nausea, etc. Perceptions of these responses in oneself can markedly alter self-efficacy. Getting ‘butterflies in the stomach’ before public speaking will be interpreted by someone with low self-efficacy as a sign of inability, thus decreasing self-efficacy further, where high self-efficacy would lead to interpreting such physiological signs as normal and unrelated to ability. It is one’s belief in the implications of physiological response that alters self-efficacy, rather than the physiological response itself.

Genetic and environmental determinants

In a Norwegian twin study, the heritability of self-efficacy in adolescents was estimated at 75 percent. The remaining variance, 25 percent, was due to environmental influences not shared between family members. The shared family environment did not contribute to individual differences in self-efficacy.

Theoretical models of behavior

A theoretical model of the effect of self-efficacy on transgressive behavior was developed and verified in research with school children.

Prosociality and moral disengagement

Prosocial behavior (such as helping others, sharing, and being kind and cooperative) and moral disengagement (manifesting in behaviors such as making exercise for bad behavior, avoiding responsibility for consequences, and blaming the victim) are negatively correlated. Academic, social, and self-regulatory self-efficacy encourages prosocial behavior, and thus helps prevent moral disengagement.

Over-efficaciousness in learning

In certain circumstances, lower self-efficacy can be helpful. One study examined foreign language students’ beliefs about learning, goal attainment, and motivation to continue with language study. It was concluded that over-efficaciousness negatively affected student motivation, so that students who believed they were “good at languages” had less motivation to study.

Health behavior change

Social-cognitive models of health behavior change cast self-efficacy as predictor, mediator, or moderator. As a predictor, self-efficacy is supposed to facilitate the forming of behavioral intentions, the development of action plans, and the initiation of action. As mediator, self-efficacy can help prevent relapse to unhealthy behavior. As a moderator, self-efficacy can support the translation of intentions into action. See Health Action Process Approach.

Possible applications

Parents’ sense of academic efficacy for their child is linked to their children’s scholastic achievement. If the parents have higher perceived academic capabilities and aspirations for their child, the child itself will share those same beliefs. This promotes academic self-efficacy for the child, and in turn, leads to scholastic achievement. It also leads to prosocial behavior, and reduces vulnerability to feelings of futility and depression. There is a relationship between low self-efficacy and depression.

Self-efficacy theory has been applied to the career area to examine why women are underrepresented in male-dominated Stem fields such as mathematics, engineering, and science. It was found that gender differences in self-efficacy expectancies importantly influence the career-related behaviors and career choices of young women.

In a study, the majority of a group of students questioned felt they had a difficulty with listening in class situations. Instructors then helped strengthen their listening skills by making them aware about how the use of different strategies could produce better outcomes. This way, their levels of self-efficacy were improved as they continued to figure out what strategies worked for them.

At the National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, researchers investigated the correlations between general Internet self-efficacy (GISE), Web-specific self-efficacy (WSE), and e-service usage. Researchers concluded that GISE directly affects the WSE of a consumer, which in turn shows a strong correlation with e-service usage. These findings are significant for future consumer targeting and marketing.

Furthermore, self-efficacy has been included as one of the four factors of core self-core, self-evaluation, one’s fundamental appraisal of oneself, along with locus of control, neuroticism, and self-esteem, Core self-evaluation has shown to predict job satisfaction and job performance.

Subclassifications

While self-efficacy is sometimes measured as a whole, as with the General Self-Efficacy Scale, it is also measured in particular functional situations.

Social self-efficacy has been variably defined and measured. According to Smith and Betz, social self-efficacy is “an individual’s confidence in her/his ability to engage in the social interactional tasks necessary to initiate and maintain interpersonal relationships.” They measured social self-efficacy using an instrument of their own devise called the Scale of Perceived Social Self-Efficacy, which measured six domains: (1) making friends, (2) pursuing romantic relationships, (3) social assertiveness, (4) performance in public situations, (5) groups or parties, and (6) giving or receiving help.

Matsushima and Shiomi measured self-efficacy by focusing on self-confidence about social skill in personal relationship, trust in friends, and trust by friends.

Both groups of researchers suggest that social self-efficacy is strongly correlated with shyness and social anxiety.

Academic self-efficacy refers to the belief that one can successfully engage in and complete course-specific academic tasks, such as accomplishing course aims, satisfactorily completing assignments, achieving a passing grade, and meeting the requirements to continue to pursue one’s major course of study. Various empirical inquiries have been aimed at measuring academic self-efficacy.

Other areas of self-efficacy that have been identified for study include teacher self-efficacy and technological self-efficacy.

Clarifications and distinctions

Self-efficacy versus efficacy

Unlike efficacy, which is the power to produce an effect—in essence, competence—the term self-efficacy is used, by convention, to refer to the belief (accurate or not) that one has the power to produce that effect by completing a given task or activity related to that competency. Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s efficacy.

Self-efficacy versus self-esteem

Self-efficacy is the perception of one’s own ability to reach a goal; self-esteem is the sense of self-worth. For example, a person who is a terrible rock climber would probably have poor self-efficacy with regard to rock climbing, but this will not affect self-esteem if the person doesn’t rely on rock climbing to determine self-worth. On the other hand, one might have enormous confidence with regard to rock climbing, yet set such a high standard, and base enough of self-worth on rock-climbing skill, that self-esteem is low. Someone who has high self-efficacy in general but is poor at rock climbing might have misplaced confidence, or believe that improvement is possible.

Self-efficacy versus confidence

According to Albert Bandura, “the construct of self-efficacy differs from the colloquial term ‘confidence.’ Confidence is a nonspecific term that refers to strength of belief but does not necessarily specify what the certainty is about. I can be supremely confident that I will fail at an endeavor. Perceived self-efficacy refers to belief in one’s agentive capabilities, that one can produce given levels of attainment. A self-efficacy belief, therefore, includes both an affirmation of a capability level and the strength of that belief. Confidence is a catchword rather than a construct embedded in a theoretical system.”

Self-efficacy versus self-concept

Self-efficacy comprises beliefs of personal capability to perform specific actions. Self-concept is measured more generally and includes the evaluation of such competence and the feelings of self-worth associated with the behaviors in question. Education is very important. The internet is awesome when you need to do research.

NOW LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT TEENS

Teens are really interesting. Teens are very smart especially when it comes to parenting. I’ve watched teens be very manipulative when interacting with parents. Sometimes I wonder why the parent falls for the teen magic.

When i was a teen…

When I was a teen I would trick my mom into believing lots of things and sometimes I would lie to my mom or even manipulate her into giving me different things. My mom was smart though even though I would trick her, she knew lots of times that I was up to something. Sometimes she would say don’t think I’m dumb, I’m going to give this to you but you will work for it later, and I did.

How do you know when your teen is lying? How do you know when your teen is trying to manipulate or trick you into doing something?

Teens can be very, very, manipulative and they do lie. If you are a teen and you are reading this: my question to you is do you lie to your parents or manipulate them into doing different things for you?

 

A little bit about my days as a teen.

I grew up on the south side in the ghetto streets of Chicago. Chicago was drug infested and gangs, drug dealers, and pimps and hustlers, were everywhere. Crime was an everyday thing to see so I was used to it. Hustling for lots of teens in Chicago was the normal way of life, and honestly I thought that It was like that everywhere in the world, because I was ignorant of life and had a low self-esteem. I had little or no coping skills. I believe in Yahweh but most of my belief system revolved around gang literature from the Gangster Disciple Nation. Which formed Growth and Development. I will share that later. However, I don’t regret my teen years because through my experience I’ve learned how to be a positive, productive, person, with integrity, and now I am more than overjoyed that I can reach out to our community and give back to our teens.

Well lets go into the story.

I had just got paid from my summer job, and it was about 5:30 in the evening and before I went home I hung out with my friends and you know friends, friends can talk you into anything. Well my friends influenced me into going over to Dave house because he was throwing a birthday party. When we got there they were playing back gambling, chest, dominoes, shooting dice, smoking weed and drinking wine. It was great because the music was playing and the girls were flirting and dancing and everybody was having fun. I knew that I had to go home and give my mom fifty dollars for rent, but I couldn’t say no because if I said no then I would be considered a goody two shoes and I would of been about the only one that didn’t come to my best friend’s party. I was ignorant really because all I had to do was go home first and give my mom her money, change clothes and come back. “But of course I didn’t”.

Soon as I came into the backyard, I was offered a drink and then a pull of weed and I totally forgot about my mom. The next thing you knew, I was on my knees shooting dice. I pulled out a twenty first. Back then we would carry around a lot of one dollar bills and put a big bill over it and call it a bank roll, because that made us look like we were big shots.

I perceeded to bet on the side, and I was winning so I got into the game. I knew It was only 4 good dice shooters and that was Me, Sil Jr, Sidney and Pharaoh.  I knew I was one of the best dice shooters on the block so I loved the challenge. I waited patiently until It was my turn and I made my bet. I bet five dollars on the fade, and I made three side bets for five dollars and I rolled the dice. Just like I predicted, the dice hit seven. I won forty dollars! I was so excited I took another sip of wine and shook the dice and rolled again and just like I knew, I hit eleven and won eighty dollars just that quick. This went on for hours. When I looked at my watch it was eight o’clock, and when i dug inside my pockets I saw that I had lost every dime I had, plus I was buzzing like a honey bee on a strawberry.

I set there a while thinking about what do I do now. Usually when I lost all my money I would just go out on the Ave with some of the other gang members and hustle and sell weed or go ten blocks away with a couple of friends and break into a garage and then go up the street to the lounge and sell whatever I stole to one of the grown ups. But I really didn’t want to because I was too buzzed. So I thought to myself, what I’ll do is rip my shirt and go to the house and tell my mom that I got rob and at least she wouldn’t be mad at me.

She was so kind that if you explained to her or if something went wrong with you, that she would forgive you or help you out and say be careful next time. So I walked down the street and when I got close to the house I ripped my shirt so that it could seem that I was robbed and I put dirt all over me and ripped one of my pockets.

When I got to the house my mom was in the backyard still doing laundry.  “Hey, Cliff, she said”. I looked down to the ground and said with a sad voice, ‘ hows everything mother. She then looked at me and said, what’s wrong what happened are you alright, and i said naw, I was robbed. She looked at me and said oh my baby who robbed you, and I said I don’t know but when I catch them I’m going to see to it that they never rob another person.

See I knew that one thing my mom didn’t want is for me to get into anymore trouble. Because when I was a teen I stayed into all type of trouble. Growing up in the ghetto streets of Chicago was nothing but trouble. I mean, you had a choice to be a nerd or a church going good guy, but the only thing about that is that you would get beat up all the time and you had to pay the bullies not to hurt you, and I wasn’t taking that because I had a reputation as a young gangster. In Chicago it was easier to be a gangster then to be a nice respectful teen that followed rules and did everything your parent said.

Well, anyway my mom knew I always had money from hustling, so she told me to clean myself up and not to worry, that she had money and I could pay her later. So I went and cleaned up and came back downstairs and sat on the back porch and watched her as she folded the last shirt. She then said, “Cliff I know that you need some money and I’m going to give you fifty dollars, but you have to dig my garden on the weekend okay. I smiled and said okay. She gave me the fifty dollars and kissed me on the forehead and said, please don’t get into any trouble, and I said I’m not and right before I was about to walk away, she said, your daddy used to shoot dice and lose all his money and then come home and beat me and take all my money. She made me feel really sad. Because for some reason she knew what I did but how did she know. I sometimes thought she was a psychic but mothers are very smart and they know what teens do.

I looked at her and said thank you. I’ll be in about two o’clock. She knew I was lying and I manipulated her, but she was cool. She was my best friend. I was so sad that I lied to her and that wasn’t the first time. I knew the dice game would go on all night and I had more then enough time to go to the weed dealer and buy me an once of weed and flip it and then go back to the dice game and win my money back, and that’s just what I did.

Soon as I went back to the dice game, I could see that they were still having fun and everyone was buzzed and Sydnie had won all the money as usual. Sydnie was a hard core gambler. He would shoot dice all night if you let him. I had skills too. We had broke each other a thousand times over. One thing I knew about Sydnie is that when he has a lot of money, he will go for broke and all you had to do was keep betting him over and over again and make him upset by catching the dice a lot. You also had to keep talking to him so he couldn’t concentrate. So that’s what I did. But he was slicker then grease on a Mcdonalds french fry. If you didn’t watch him closely, he would slide them dice across the rug really fast, so you had to always say, shake the dice G. When he shook the dice he would always roll out snake eyes and lose. That would make him so frustrated that he would get frantic and lose focus.

We went up and down exchanging money from hand to hand like we were on a roller coaster ride, for another four hours. We both were sweating, and I tricked him and said, why don’t you drink some wine because you’re sweating like a pig. But I knew that if I got him drunk that he would get out of control and lose that stack he had, and I wanted that stack! Well as you know, that’s just what I did! I even poured the wine for him: in the biggest cup I could find! Then as he drank it he rolled and lost. It was my turn and I rolled and won, and when I look at my hand I saw that he had lost all his money to me. He asked me for fifty dollars and I gave it to him and he said, let’s keep going and, I said i’m cool. I’m tired, and he said, yeah, you better be tired because I’ll take all that back! I said, bro you know I’m not going to let you win this stack back, and we laughed and went over to the girls and participated in the birthday party.

At three thirty I left and walked home. When I got home my mom was still up. She wouldn’t go to bed until all her kids were home. That’s a mom for you. I immediately pulled out about five hundred dollars out of my pocket and gave her two hundred and fifty dollars, and said, I’m sorry for lying and she said boy I know more than you think I do. Your plate is on the stove. I laughed and said, why didn’t you tell me that you knew I was lying and she said, boy I don’t tell you a lot of stuff. She said but you don’t have to keeping thinking that you have to lie to me or you can manipulate me. Just tell me the truth. But she should have never said that because the things I told her made her almost have a heart attack, but that’s another story.

Teens are not grown…

Teens are not grown. You have to treat a teen like a teen. If you don’t you will have a problem. Lots of parents treat their teens like a sister, cousin, friend, next door neighbor, or a parent. You know what happens after they do that don’t you?

They start to act grown and in most cases they rebel or act out. Because they start to think that they know more than you or they know as much as you. They can get very arrogant and selfish and sarcastic, toward everyone in the household, and the only thing you can do is whip then, or fight them or lock them up or put them out! I’ve seen parents war with their teens because of this, and it’s not pretty.

But If I were a parent, I wouldn’t tell my teen everything I’ve done or allow them to know about everything I do or tell them my deepest secrets until they get twenty one. Because when you tell them everything there is, they think that they can be your twin by your information you’ve given about yourself. So don’t pour out everything to them. Let them be teens and if they need to know things that will help them be positive or safe or motivated through life, let them know. But if you’re a parent, you don’t tell a teen how you were a pimp or how you had to beat up four guys with a bat for messing your money around. You don’t tell a teen how to manipulate their girlfriend or how you tricked your boss into giving you two weeks off. Its cool to tell them things but you have to watch what you say, and keep things in context. But anyway, so what do you do when your teen starts acting grown and stops listening and rebeling?

  1. Teens need love and respect, and need to respect and love others.
  2. Teens need to stay busy, with some type of hobby or activity.
  3. Teens need responsibility. (Not lots but some responsibility).
  4. Teens need to have a positive belief system, not only church but morals, values, principle, standards, etc. (give them a book on Plato, Descartes, Aerostato, and Socrates. They may enjoy it!
  5. Teens should know that respecting their parents helps them to understand behavior and what rewards it can bring later on in life.
  6. Teens need to act like teens, (be mature, patient, motivated, confident, and concentrate on school.) If I had a teenage daughter, she would not be allowed to wear makeup or have a boyfriend. I Would explain to her that beauty is only skin deep and be amazed at your inner beauty, and teenage pregnancy. Also about STDs, and its better off to finish college before she falls in love with a boy. The teen boy would not be allowed to hang out or party. He would always have a book inside his hand and he would carry a book everywhere he went and I would always have some type of job for him to do and tell him how important it is to provide for his family. I wouldn’t allow my teen to stay up all night. In my house everybody would be in the bed sleep by 10:00pm. I wouldn’t let them have a cell phone or if I did, it would only dial my number and emergency numbers. They would not be allowed to play video games. They wouldn’t be allowed to listen to rap music or music that promotes anything negative. The word respect would be on the inside of my front door, so when they leave the house they would always see that word.
  7. Teens need a basic book on self-esteem, and they need to read it with their parents on a daily or weekly basis.
  8. Teens need exercise because exercise gives their bodies the right chemical balance, plus if they exercise, then at the end of they day, they will sleep better.
  9. Teens need to eat right, because eating right also plays a big part in behavior, and your body’s chemical balance. (no greasy food or candy all the time)!
  10. Teens need to read books, and parents need to read with them.
  11. Teens need a job. If you can get your teen a job, that would be great. They need to be taught when they’re young about hard work and the way of the world.
  12. Teens need to have family meetings once a month, and parents need to always have family activities to share with their teens.
  13. Teens need to have conversations with their parents. If they do not have conversations with their parents, they feel left out and make can feel not wanted or not loved.
  14. Teens need more attention than children. Because if you don’t give them attention and participate in something they like or want to do, they honestly will go and find someone out in the streets to participate with. Children do need to be watched over and loved and cared for but teens need lots of attention, and need participation from parents.
  15. Teens need clear, honest, positive advice. A lot of parents let the preachers give their teens advice and that’s great but preachers preach god or the bible. You need to go in dpt with your teen and talk about feels and emotion and confidence and community.
  16. Teens do not need to be hollered at and threatened and cursed at and punched by their parents.
  17. Teens need to be disciplined when they do things terribly wrong, but they shouldn’t be given harsh punishment like they are in prison. Its a way you can discipline a teen without beating them half to death.
  18. Teens need to sit down with their parents and write out their short term goals and long term goals. Those goals must consist of a finical goal and a five or ten year goal so they can have a clear ideal of where they are headed and why they want to be whomever they would like to be when they reach a certain age.
  19. Teens need to sit down with their parents and do what you call an evaluation on their life. A. they need to talk about themselves. B. they need to write down what they think about family, friends, school, and life. C. they need to list 4 things they don’t like about themselves, and 4 things they do like about themselves. D. They need to write down what makes them feel or think the way they feel. You can make this exercise as long as you would like to. I know it works, so try it.
  20. Teens need to study and learn 3 different languages, and sign language. If you learn 3 different languages, you will be over joyed at how important it is to others.
  21. Teens need lots of different books in the household. Where’s your house library?
  22. Teens do need a laptop or a desktop computer, so they will be able to find good positive information. I am not against a teen having a computer. but I do think that you should block lots of sites that have nothing to do with positiveness, and you will have to honestly check what they are doing on the computer from time to time.

Moms and dads can get really busy and not really pay attention to what they’re teen is going through so if you are a teen and you are reading this, if your parents are always busy, talk to them or go talk to a trusting adult about the way you think and feel. Do not hold things in. Be talkative, be assertive.

One of the best things I’ve saw  a teen do, is volunteer to feed the poor, because then they learn that life isn’t always about them. That life is about everyone on earth. The other thing is when they participate in the police summer classes. Because then they learn the difference in doing right and wrong, and living right and wrong. Trust me! Let them be involved with the police summer activities!

I know my mom was a good parent and she taught me well, but I had a low self-esteem and I didn’t know I had a low self-esteem. My mom worked a lot and raised 9 kids and grand kids, at the same time. She lived more by example and I guess she trusted me to be a man and be strong because she knew that we lived in the ghetto slums and no matter what I would face, that in the end I would be successful. My mom talked to me and showed me lots of positive things. And when I did wrong I was confront or disciplined with an activity that made me think. “She always said, Cliff, you don’t have to be in a gang. Your real smart. Your going to be famous one day. So I owe her my life, because now I can share my experience with teens.

My mom was a little bit old fashion and she wasn’t that educated on a lot of stuff but I never asked her about self-esteem because I didn’t know about it myself. But I bet if I would have asked her, she would have told me about it. So she could’ve known about self-esteem. She knew I was smart but just like lots of teens, I didn’t really go in depth with subjects with her until I was thirty years old. I talked to her lots and lots of times when I was a teen but I grew up so fast in the streets that I took on the roll of a man and seriously I wasn’t a man, I was a long way from a man. Its so important to have a positive belief system as a teen. You have to identify with what you really want to be in life or at least what you want in life!

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