How to Repair the Black Community (Part 2)
At some point, most of us have heard Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Most often, we’ve taken that to apply to spiritual upbringing and concepts, but why haven’t we applied it in the natural sense?
If we believe that our society already views us negatively, then our chances of gaining meaningful employment are smaller than those of other backgrounds. So, why aren’t we teaching our children how to be competitive in the job market, or better yet, how to work for themselves?\
Truth #1- For everything we do, there is a professional level and someone willing to pay for it. What happened to the days of making the children watch and learn while we fix things or complete certain tasks? Most of the men in my family can take a car apart and put it back together because they watched their fathers work on them and often assisted. Another branch in my family tree runs a logging company. They clear land and get paid to do so. Another branch builds houses. Of course many went to school for certification, but they already had vast knowledge beforehand.
Truth #2- It is up to us to identify our children’s strengths and interests and guide them towards the best paths for their futures. From a very young age, my daughter showed an interest in jumping and flipping. As soon as she was old enough to understand as much as she could, I started taking her to gymnastics meets. Now, her father and I have enrolled her in gymnastics classes, and she loves it! She tells anybody who’ll listen, “I go to gymnastics!” People speak to her all the time, and she rarely talks back. When she does, her statement is more often than not, “I go to gymnastics!” Some girls take a strong interest in doing their dolls’ hair. Others like to change the dolls’ outfits. Those could be future stylists in the making.
Nothing says that these children will keep the same interest as time goes on, but it’s often harder to completely stop doing something you’ve been doing “all your life” than it is to start searching for something you do well later in life.
Truth #3- Your participation in your child’s academia is necessary. It’s not enough to just go to parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings. Visit your child’s school REGULARLY. Eat lunch with him/her, sitting at the table with the entire class. You’ll get a great understanding of your child’s peers and how they interact. Form an alliance with the other children’s parents (at the elementary school level, when they don’t change classes), and create a schedule for each parent to dedicate an entire day to volunteerism and don’t let the children know when you’re coming. You’ll get the chance to catch the children in their normal environments, whether they’re actin up or behaving well. In addition, the presence of another adult to report to other parents will discourage misbehavior.
Truth #4- Children learn what they live. If they sit and watch you do nothing but go to work, complain about your job, and quit said job to draw unemployment, they’ll think this is the way things should be and never learn work ethic. If they see their brilliant parents continuously work for someone else for the sake of stability when the parents could work for themselves and live more abundantly, they’ll learn to suppress their capabilities for the sake of stability.
Truth#5- Children yearn for guidance and boundaries. Without them, they feel as if their parents don’t care. So, they become apathetic themselves. I can’t begin to express how often I’ve heard, “I wish my parents cared like you do.” The sad thing is that most parents do. They just don’t know how to express it. Some think that providing their children’s every desire proves their love. It doesn’t. Most often than not, it gives children a sense of entitlement.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way claiming to be a family therapist or community specialist, but these are small steps we can all take in guiding our children to where and who they need to be. I know what worked for me, my siblings, my relatives, and friends. And I also know what didn’t work for some of us. It is said that we perish because of a lack of knowledge. It would be wrong for me to not share what I know and guide my child the best way I know how while letting others fall through the cracks. It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our homes, our children, and our communities. Our ancestors fought and we continue to fight for certain liberties, but we do it better when we do it together.