Hey all. So much has been going on over here Ricketts household, just busy busy. Today, our oldest is wrapping up his final day as an elementary school student and heading to middle school[eek]. Yesterday was awards day…our son brought home the 1st place ribbon from his Reading Olympics competition at the end of April and a certificate for band but he was extremely upset… those weren’t enough; he wanted the award he was working hard for the entire year – the Technology Award.


Our son wants to be a video game designer so this year he has spent a lot of time in class and during recess working on a video game he created using Scratch. The tech teacher also enlisted his help with testing new STEM gadgets and tech toys. So a few months ago he thought he was a shoo-in for the tech award but it was given to another student (one that worked on the school’s tv program). Bryce had a conversation with the teacher and she explained that she alternates her awards between tech and tv program each month.

Fast Forward:

Yesterday, he was passed up for the end of year tech award, it was given to the school’s TV program group- our son was frustrated, angry, sad and feeling discouraged. I stared at him as tears were streaming down his cheeks, face red, lip quivering, jaw clenched trying not to sob and fists balled up tight, all I could do was get up and hug him. I consoled him and in that moment I realized our son is

The invisible boy.

You are probably thinking “where is she going with this?” or “how did she come to that from their son not getting an award?” I’ll tell you…

When there is a black kid in a prodominantly white school that kid falls into one of three categories. 1. The athlete (all around popular, outgoing, talented kid, lots of friends, teachers, staff and other parents know and like him), 2. The kid with behavioral issues (aggressive, angry, misbehaving, the stereotypical kid that many assume most black boys are, seen and heard and remembered but in a negative light), and 3. The invisible (not especially outgoing, not loud and boisterous, good student, same group of friends, blends in, doesn’t stand out and is easy to forget). Our son is the latter.

No matter how many times he was in his technology teacher’s classroom helping her and working on his coding and no matter that she talked about him with her other classes…when it came time to point out his hard work and dedication by awarding him in front of a crowd of his peers the teacher simply forgot he existed. In that moment he was invisible– nevermind the fact that he’s in the teacher’s room several times a week or that when he hadn’t been selected for the award before, he built up the courage to go to the teacher and have a conversation(big deal for our shy guy), but again that end goal that he worked so hard on was just out of his reach.

It was tough to see him break down, hard to encourage him when he felt like he was deserving and worked so hard. We teach our kids that hard work pays off but in this moment I had to explain to him that sometimes you can put in the hard work only to be overlooked and have someone else receive reward. But we know and his friends/classmates that have played his game know how hard he worked and they enjoyed what he created. Sometimes we have to take solace in knowing that just because we didn’t receive recognition we still worked hard and created something wonderful >> we are so proud of our son!

I will end on this note a black boy in a prodominantly white school has to work 5 times harder to get the same recognition as a white kid who just attends. He has to make sure he is always ON (on-task, on-point, on-time), he is extra polite, non-threatening and always willing to go the extra mile.

We will encourage him to keep pushing, working hard, never give up, and to know that he isn’t INVISIBLE.


B days: Am I too strict??

Hey there, so wanted to bounce wp-image-1046492507something off of you all. What would you consider to be too strict in a home when raising children? Every time I lay down the law in our home by making and enforcing rules I ask myself, am I too strict…


Once school started back up our son isn’t allowed on his devices during the school week, so no iPod apps, no Nintendo DS, or video game console[for the record I think it sounds pretty fair.] The reason that came about was because he’s so engrossed that nothing gets done or he rushes to get things done (i.e. chores and homework) in order to get to his device of choice. It would drive us nuts his homework was sloppy he didn’t check his work, at times he “missed” assignments, his chores were done half-assed (example of that he was supposed to fold and put away his clothes I found them all shoved under his bed-yup I saw red that day). My point is that in my head I’m doing what I think is best for him to be the best he can be without those distractions so he can stay focused…or that’s what I tell myself.

Yesterday I made an exception because it was his birthday. After he completed his homework I handed him his iPhone (just an old phone that isn’t activated but he can get and play apps-we will save phone convo for another post no time soon) but when I tell you he wouldn’t put it down he barely looked up to give the waitress his order (drives me nuts more than anything), then it died “thank God” I said to myself now he can come up for air and join us at his birthday dinner. As soon as we got to the car he charged it and was glued and when we got home somewhere between I can’t take this anymore and I have go be rigid I told him “alright night’s over you have school tomorrow turn over your device and off to bed.”

Then, I go on my iPad and an app is opened it’s one of the games he’s been begging to use my laptop to play, to play with his friends…I have no clue when it was downloaded and when he’s been sneaking on it but I’m fuming a little bit but then I wonder…is it me? I too strict? Are these rules unfair? Am I the Fun Police? I always thought I would be the cool mom and sometimes I am but most times I’m the enforcer. But the rules are put in place to keep him focused and because I tried the laxed approach and it just got me a kid glued to the screen, not paying attention to a damn thing, whose response to everything was “oops, I forgot”

So my readers any suggestions? What works in your home? Should I stay my course and if he doesn’t like it tough shit??? I truly don’t want to create an environment where our kids are sneaking all the time.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Gearing up for back to school


how many parents are like us and give your kid a break during the summer ? {laxed on bedtime and wake time, laxed on screen time and don’t push school work} Well in our home our son has free range… he is free to enjoy his summer only thing we ask is take showers on a regular basis [ which you would be surprised how much push back we get], handle all your chores and read a book of your choice for 1 hour a day and once you have completed a book give mom{me} a paragraph or two about what the book was about. Well about a month before it’s time to head back to school we slowly adjust the bedtime and wake time so that he doesn’t end up in shock.

So… Starting starting this month his bedtime started at 10:30pm  and will work its way down to his school day bedtime of 8:30pm. And his wake time starts at 10:00am and will work its way down to his AM wake time for school of 7:00am. That’s not all though, he has also started his bridge workbooks for school. image We purchased these books from and paid no more than $18.00 for the both of them. Our soon-to-be 10 year old will be entering 4th grade {birthday cut-off, he always says he’s supposed to be a grade up every year} so these books are refreshers of what was covered in his previous year as well as gives him some idea of what to expect for the upcoming school year. Subjects covered are Math and English (vocab, spelling, reading comprehension).

Gotta’ keep the mind sharp! It’s not a lot of work …usually a page in each book front to back daily. It’s not meant to stress them or have them sitting for hours but to get the mind working again <focus>. Our son is easily distracted when in class so here he has numerous distractions such as his 2 year old sister biting the erasers off all his pencils, smacking him in his head, coloring in his books and just being a whole handful so he sure will be all set to take on classroom distractions. <If you can handle tot screams you can handle classroom chatter >

I highly recommend these books for a parent that isn’t home school teacher material but wants to keep their child’s mind active by sprinkling in a little painless school work.

I’m interested in hearing from other parents, caregivers and teachers…what do you do to prepare your child[children] for back to school? Any tips or tricks for a smooth transition? I would love to get some fresh ideas that we can keep in the parenting guidebook for later use.