Lessons from an Uber Ride

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Traveling often, Uber has become a regular mode of transportation for me. I often enjoy talking to the drivers and hearing their story. Many stories - and the lives of the people - have been fascinating. For instance, last December while in San Diego, my wife and I had the privilege of riding with a young man who served our country during the most recent war in Iraq. His story was different, however. He was an Iraqi citizen and supported the US military through intelligence and as a translator. We spent time with him before getting out of the car as he showed us pictures of his service and we listened to his heartbreak of the current political climate in his homeland. The US offered him the opportunity to move here after the war and he's currently working multiple jobs to build a new life. He was amazingly grateful for the opportunity and his new-found freedom. We thanked him for his service, got out of our Uber ride with a tremendous sense of gratitude, and have thought of his story many times over.More recently, I was speaking in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When it was time to leave I pulled out my phone, ordered an Uber, and a few minutes later was off to the airport. My driver for that trip was a young, single mom by the name of Conliseah Davis. When I hopped in her car, Conliseah began asking me about my trip to Baton Rouge, why I was there, etc. When I started talking about education, policy, and shifting schools to ones that better worked for kids, her passion for children and learning radiated. She shared her story, having three kids of her own, and working a number of jobs to make ends meet. Conliseah shared how she was an aspiring writer. I admired the work she talked about and her tireless efforts as a mom - doing whatever it takes for her family.As I grabbed my suitcase and exited her car, I thanked her for sharing her story as she was truly an inspiration. I handed her my card and told her that I'd love to see and share some of her work. A few weeks later, her name appeared in my inbox. I was glad she chose to follow-up and it's an honor to share one of her pieces and introduce you to Conliseah Davis, an amazingly talented and passionate lady from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


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Conliseah J Davis, is a 32-year-old multi-disciplined advocate for children, a passionate writer and a poet by nature. She's a single mother of three children RaNieah, Jeremieah, and Xavier Davis and a native and resident of Baton Rouge, La. She loves to read, write, and spend time with family and friends.

Our Children - A Different Perspective- A guest post by Conliseah Davis

The journey to adulthood for some of us began with moments of being misunderstood or overlooked. We felt as if our opinions were not valued and our thoughts were so small in the large scheme of things. The problems that we faced or feelings and emotions we may have had were just that...ours. As children we dreamed, anticipated and looked forward to adulthood. The opportunity to make our own decisions and voice our opinion on the world around us without ridicule.As adults, we often forget that we were once a child and felt as if we were incapable of voicing our views and opinions. It is imperative that we remember children want to feel a part of the family - a part of the team. Children would like to be heard and understood. They are not always verbal about these feelings, and sometimes may become silent.Silence opens the door for other feelings and emotions that are not voiced to be heard. Attitudes and sudden mood swings can be written off as adolescence or puberty coming into play when in actuality it can be a shift in the child’s personal realm of things. The loss of a friend, failure on an assignment, and a range of other possible scenarios can all play a factor in why a child has become silent. Instead of asking what is going on, we as parents, adults, sometimes simply assume.Children want to know somebody cares. They want to be asked questions about their day, listened to and feel as if their voice deserves to be heard. Unfortunately some adults forget the sensitive stages that we encountered as children. When this takes place we find ourselves being aggravated by the simple things children do when just being a kid. We, as parents and adults must be conscientious of the manner in which we treat our children based upon maturity and height and consider that no matter how smart or gifted they are, they are still children.My eleven year old daughter is very mature in mannerism and speech for her age and is above average in height. There are times when I forget she is only eleven by talking to her and seeing her. If she does something I consider to be childish or immature I have to remember that she is just a kid and still learning. She is going to do things outside of the norm, she will test her boundaries, and not always do everything the way I would have. When giving her advice on friendships or ways to handle her younger siblings I have to be patient while accepting the fact that she is different from me.  She is her own person and should be allowed to voice her opinion on things going on around her.Children want a chance to grow and develop into their own person rather than a tiny replica or carbon copy of their parents. As parents we discover that we want our kids to understand things and see things the way we do in our current state of mind. Your sixteen year old will not see things the way you do at thirty-five or forty. They would prefer a discussion versus a debate, feel as if they are being counseled and advised rather than on trial, accepted and valued no matter the situation. They want to feel secure and confident in knowing if they have no one else -- they will always have mom, dad, or both.Children want to go to a school where the teachers enjoy teaching them and watching them grow throughout the year. They want a school atmosphere where it is ok to ask questions and give a different perspective on how to arrive at the same answer through a different route. A place where they are challenged to think outside of the norm and reestablish the creative mind where imagination once existed. They would love to have a teacher who remembers what it felt like to be a kid and can have patience with them.When parenting there should be a balance of wants versus needs. The greatest need or want, the greatest gift is the unconditional presence of love and time spent. There are moments when time spent triumph a gift bought. We have to go back to our days as children to see through their eyes. We have to humble ourselves enough to remember what it felt like to be a kid, to just want to matter, so I urge each one of you with children to take a few moments out your day and make your child, niece , nephew, grandchild, or just a kid you know feel special. Remind them yes, you do matter, if to no one else...you matter to me.- - -Regardless of where you are, take advantage of the opportunity to get to know and invest in those around you. I was brought together with Conlisea and a young man in San Diego by chance and through an app and some GPS. Yet their stories and their passion for life will stay with me for a long time.Thank you, Conlisea, for sharing your story, and for being an inspiration to a visitor in your hometown.Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 12.12.20 PMConlisea can be reached at liseahdavis (at) gmail.com.