Monthly Archives: September 2016

Thoughtful Thursday: A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay

Thoughtful Thursdays are back! To the newcomers, on Thursdays GCP offers a poem, a song, a sampling of African American created or inspired culture to uplift your day, and share with your sons. Today’s offering comes courtesy of the wonderful journalist Michele Norris, who tweeted this poem out this morning. Given the beauty of the poem, and the times we live in, we just had to share it. “A Small Needful Fact”, by Ross Gay, focuses on an aspect of Eric Garner’s life not otherwise noted in the coverage of his death at the hands of NYC police.

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Gay is the author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award and a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award; Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011); and Against Which (Cavankerry Press, 2006). He earned a BA from Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University. He teaches at Indiana University. Speaking about this poem during a PBS Newshour, Gay said, “What that poem, I think, is trying to do is to say, there’s this beautiful life, which is both the sorrow and the thing that needs to be loved”.

A Small Needful Fact

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

Ross Gay

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Back to School and Back to GCP!!

After stepping away from regular GCP blogging for a while to work on a parenting book proposal, GCP is back and I will be back to more regular posts.  While the posts will still primarily focused on raising boys,  so much which has been posted already can apply to parenting girls as well as boys.  A lovely young friend with twins (a boy and a girl) recently told me how she had taken my advice to become involved in their school and is a class mom for this year.  Thrilled to hear. So all you girl moms out there, please join us and let me know when GCP advice works for you!

* * * * *

School is back in session!   I’m sure you have focused on getting your son ready to go back to school.  Make sure you also take the time to focus on your back to school checklist:

  • If your son is in a single classroom all day, have you met his teacher(s)?  If he is a middle or high schooler, do you know what he is taking this year and how he feels about his classes so far?
  • Have you volunteered for a classroom and/or school activity? If your working hours prohibit this, have you found the parent/buddy who will keep you in the loop about what is going on at school?
  • Have you put the Parent’s Association meetings in your calendar and do you plan to attend one of the earlier ones in the school year?
  • Have you focused on his afterschool activities?  Making sure he is not over scheduled and that he is doing things he enjoys?
  • If necessary, have you focused on the technology he will need for the school year? If he uses a laptop, is it in good working order and does he have the means to BACK IT UP ( an external hard drive is best)?  This is really important;  neither he nor you will want to deal with his losing work following a computer crash.
  • Have you made sure your son has a good space in your home in which to study? Free of obvious distractions (no TV nearby), a comfortable chair and a good reading light?
  • If he has regular homework assignments, does he have a calendar/assignment book?  If the school doesn’t provide one, get one for him and help him figure out how to use it to keep track of his short and long-term homework assignment and projects.  Some students prefer to keep their calendars on their phones.  This works best, of course, if they are not easily distracted by the 7 zillion other things going on with their phones.


Take care of your checklist, and your son will be off to a great start for the school year!


Carol Sutton Lewis

Ground Control Parenting


*** P.S.  I have plans to build up the GCP network this year, and I’d love to hear about what is working for you and your sons.  Good parenting ideas need to be shared–we all need all the help we can get!  Please follow me on Twitter @GndCtrlParentg,  tell your friends to read GCP, and send me your comments! Thanks. 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽📓📓




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