The Parent's Notebook

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SANKOFA
The Education Debacle continues to teach.  This current attack on teachers regardless of the tactic used amounts to elimination of rights and concentration of power.  In New York City the catchphrase is “Merit not Seniority”.  The million dollar question is “Who or what defines merit?”  Considering past evidence, I’d say it would be Mayor Bloomberg and Company.  So while merit compared to seniority might seem the better – we need to remember that the real problem is one of values.  A German philosopher said, “All things are subject to interpretation.  Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”
In a value system (traditional African, Afro-American, Native American and Hispanic) where the highest-held value lies in the interpersonal relationships between men and whose logic is the union of opposites, merit might be a considered choice.  However, we live in a culture (traditional European, Euro-American) where the highest-held value lies in the Object ($) or in the acquisition of the Object and whose logic is either/or / Edwin Nichols, Ph.D.’s The Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Difference.  While it’s important to recognize the fundamental value system forming the basis of the power structure, it’s important to realize that values are not permanent.  While African values empowered slaves to survive and thrive, somewhere during that journey we bought into wanting to be like the Master and keeping our fellow slaves down.  The result – lack of power which comes with unity and the condition of our families and our children today.  Can we turn this around?  I think so.
As we conclude with Black History Month, I think a serious search to retrieve our African values must begin, to practice them, not just recite them.  Nana Camille Yarbrough advises, “We must attach our African values to the cultural dress.” I invite parents and grandparents who see the need and are willing to heal relationships to join in the journey so we leave future generations with a greater sense of self-esteem and freedom to rescue themselves from being the victims in this deadly game of choosing profit over human lives.
Working to revive the African value of interpersonal relationships and the union of opposites cited by Dr. Nichols and starting in our family, we take on the challenge of one family, one organization, one block, one school creating a world that works for every one with no one left out.
Last week we talked about creating a family mission statement and working on instilling win-win concepts in problem-solving.  It’s important for parents to remember that we’re teaching all the time.  Children are always observing what you do and will mimic your actions, doing what you do more than what you say do.  So the most crucial part of this campaign is adults healing relationships – one at a time until you have to search for someone against whom you’re holding the slightest resentment.  We’re talking about major clearing here…that’ll not only allow you to be fully present  with children, allowing them to get that they are valued but it’ll also have you connected with your own  purpose and passions.  The project starts this month.  E-mail parentsnotebook@yahoo.com or call 718-783-0059 for more information and to add your name to the Home Works! Challengers.
I’m off to catch the 7th Annual Cultures Collide Community Film Festival’s opening.   The festival celebrates the efforts of multicultural films and local filmmakers, featuring short-and full-length films.  Opening film will be For the Next 7 Generations, a prizewinning documentary,  tells of thirteen indigenous grandmothers from all four corners of the planet forming an alliance. For the weekend schedule March 3-March 7th, contact info@americantheatreofharlem.org