Are Our Future
It’s Back to School Again
A new school year begins at the end of
August for Baltimore-area students. This year students return to
school before Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. Parents,
guardians and students are gearing up for another “first day
of school.” For many pre-kindergarteners and even some
kindergarteners this is the first formal experience away from
Little ones often cling to mothers,
grandparents and /or fathers on that first day. They fear that
first step towards independence. Even at that tender age they
know something about the ills of this society in which we live.
These youngsters must stay with twenty or more other crying
children in a colorful classroom with strange and different
objects. There are usually only two adults to 20 or more
I have had the opportunity to participate in
many “first day” miracles. Yes, the miracle is realized much
later when I see four or five year olds develop an enormous
amount of social, emotional, and academic skills in just one
year. In the poem, Everything
I Need to Know I Learned in
author delineates well all the grown-up things we learn in
As an African American educator for more than
30 years, it still gives me the shivers to see all the students
from our very youngest to our middle school students come to
school with so much hope and potential. Their eyes are often
bright with anticipation about the things they will experience
in this new school year.
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we
have failed our youth. We
adults have not done all that we could, personally or
corporately to educate our youth. We are in the business of
blaming the victim. We say that Johnnie is sassy and rude, but
how did he get that way? He didn’t come from the womb sassy or
Many African-American students don’t feel
valued at home for whatever reason, and then come into the
schoolhouse and is not well received. There are those who
criticize little Malik’s hair, his clothing, his voice, his
body language, and, yes, even today his color. Our middle and
high school students are dropping out in large numbers. It is
our responsibility to change their hopelessness to hope.
This must be accomplished by any means
necessary. There are so many problems facing our large urban
communities, such as crime, poverty, drug abuse, poor housing,
and health issues.
While there are many issues to be addressed
by and for an oppressed people, a chief issue for this educator
is one of access to a quality education for our children. They
really are our future. What will we do about our future? If our
children fail, we die as a people. I would like to suggest to
everyone to become a villager and help raise our children. We
all have a role to play.
Parents, guardians, and family members you
are key to your children’s success in school. Do something to
make this year the best year ever for your youngster. Get
involved and be a part of your child’s success.
Here are a few tips to help your child get off to a good
Purchase needed school supplies for your child
before school starts. If possible
get your child
involved with technology. Some churches and all libraries
computers if you do not have a personal computer.
Keep the lines of communication open with your
child. Talk about school with your child.
Visit your child’s school and meet with the
teacher at least once a month. Make your child’s education a
Monitor your child’s school work. Create a quite
place for your child to study.
Review home assignments with your child each
Read to or with your child each night. Visit the
library with your child. You and your child should borrow
library books together.
Read books by many different authors, including
African American authors.
Read the newspaper, magazines, comics, information
from web sites and informational text with your children.
Help build your child’s self confidence by
encouraging and supporting him. Never use
abusive language, even when he does something that is wrong.
Know your children’s friends. Plan activities
for your child and his friends.
Ask for help from professionals if you need it.
Enjoy your children. Have fun with your children;
Watch them play sports and other activities. Be an active
participant in your child’s education.
Our state and local governments have the
charge to expend fair and adequate fiscal resources to our children. Students should never be used
as pawns in a dangerous tug of war about control. Children of
color deserve the same resources as all other children.
Our churches have a responsibility to support
the schools in their community. Many churches are reaching out
to schools on a small scale. We have so many mega-churches
with lots of members. If each member
literally reached out and touched just one student, it would
make a difference in the lives of so many of our children. Every
church should be connected to at least one school. Yes, we need
to pray about our youth, but God also expects us to act.
Children are the future of the church too!
I charge each of us to connect with at least
one school or one child. There is a lot to be done. You could
adopt a class or adopt one student. We need serious mentors in
our schools. It does not cost a lot of money to be a mentor. The
most important thing to many of these students is to have
someone who cares. Do you want to be a part of the village? What
will you do about our future?
A final note:
I love ChickenBones: A Journal because there is
so much information about our past and our present experiences.
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is Assistant Principal at Waverly Elementary School,
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Sister Grief: Defined and Conquered in
"Sister Grief: Defined and Conquered in
Jesus" is an engaging book that
confronts the universal experience of
living with death and dying. The author
personifies the personal loss of loved
ones as "Sister Grief." The book, partly
autobiographical, provides a holistic
plan for conquering grief through faith,
through a special relationship with
Jesus. This plan is designed to help
navigate one through the grieving
process. The book includes personal
stories, poetry, testimonials, letters,
practical suggestions, and strategies
based on a love for the divinity in
one's life. Although the circumstances
that cause grief may be sad, this book
is filled with love, encouragement, and
hope that lead one towards spiritual
health and wholeness.
* * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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posted 24 August 2005
/ updated 28 March 2010