The Parent’s Notebook

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By Aminisha Black
Parenting is a Balancing Act
Effective parenting in this culture is a matter of fulfilling physiological needs, nurturing emotional and social stability and advocacy.  Acknowledging the necessity to handle and balance all of these can provide a map of sorts for this job, which can and often does become stressful.  Taking responsibility for meeting the needs of our children forces us to seek ways of recreating the village.  When we get clear that skimping in any area is destructive to the child, we will realize the need for Ujima – collective work and responsibility. 
Physiological Needs – The need for food, shelter and clothing must be met in order for the child to move beyond survival and begin to climb the ladder towards achieving his/her potential.  The challenge is distinguishing needs from desires so parents pursuing objects do not abandon their children.  The possibility is collectively meeting these needs – sharing best buys, collective purchases and exchanges to name a few ways.
Nurturing Emotional and Social Stability – There’s a lot of agreement that the major job of parents is to have children find their authentic selves and to socialize them. This segment ranges from self-discovery to education with emphasis on relationship and social responsibility.  Behavioral problems, academic failure and violence can be traced to deficits in this area.  The challenge is to understand the role that our history has played in our development, truthfully assess the negative attitudes we inherited and pass on to our children, refuse victim status and take full responsibility for our child’s development or lack of.  The possibility is collectively creating safe spaces and support networks for parents and children to heal, problem solve and grow without judgements and stigma. 
Advocacy – The acquisition and possession of objects is the highest held value with human needs and development ranking last in this culture.  You have only to watch the stream of commercials aired in 30 minutes of TV to recognize what runs this economy.  To boost this system we are conditioned to devalue our abilities and relinquish our fate to experts.     The challenge is to accept the fact that there is no area of your life or your child’s life that you can turn over to another individual or institution.  This leaves parents responsible for maintaining vigilance from birth throughout.  The possibility is to establish or join advocacy groups where policy and procedures can be simplified and made available to parents who need assistance. 
Our work is laid out for us.  Realizing that people are resources, we heal relationships we can share human resources for the benefit of our children.  We begin by sharing the following information. 
College Bound Students
**Harvard University is offering scholarships for high school honor graduates whose annual family income is less than $40,000.  For information visit http://adm-is.fas.harvard.edu/FAO/index.htm or call the school’s financial aid office at (617) 495- 1581.
**Full scholarships are available to students of color who want to become doctors in order to bring health services to poor communities of the US.  For information call International Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) at 212.926.5757.
**Black Enterprise is offering summer internships for talented and motivated college Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students to participate in its 2005 Summer Internship Program.  Deadline is January 31st. Contact: Ms. Natalie M. Hibbert, Employment &Benefits Manager Black Enterprise Magazine -130 Fifth Avenue -New York, New York 10011.
**High School Seniors should have mailed applications to colleges over the past two months.  The financial aid form FAFSA can be obtained after January 1.  The book,  “8 Steps to Help Black Families Pay for College” – a Princeton Review and Tom Joyner Foundation publication, is an excellent guide for students ninth grade and above.    
Other
**Roots Revisited has scheduled its next college tour during the month of February for students 14 years and under.  Call 718-778-0009 ext. 17.

**New high schools can hold fairs on Feb. 5,6,10,12,13.  Have your 8th grader see the Guidance Counselor if you’re still looking.

Advocacy Opportunity
** NYS Governor has cut $10 million (10,000 jobs statewide) from The Summer Youth Employment Program’s 2005 budget. To join the campaign to retain jobs for NYC youth call Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s office at 718-643-6140.
This year we will practice the Nguzo Saba by bringing collective support to  parents who are facing the same issues in isolation.  Join the Ujima Circle by contacting parentsnotebook-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or writing Parents Notebook, P.O. Box 755, Brooklyn, NY11238 with your contact information.

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