There is no question that we are living in dangerous times and as quiet as it’s kept, the lives of our children (biological and other) are in our hands. We have a choice – using our energy in protesting the countless unfair practices or doing some introspection, changing some habits and raising children who will create communities and a nation where people, not things, are valued most. The journey has always and continues to begin in our homes. Following are suggestions considered important in growing the children who will bring the much-needed change.
1. Do remember that the most important thing you can do as a parent is to keep your child’s self-esteem intact. This means protecting your child from words and acts (yours and others) that threaten your child’s feeling lovable, capable, worthwhile and responsible.
2. Do make time for your child to do the things he/she enjoys. It makes for a happier child and it gives you leverage in terms of a reward system. If there’s nothing to gain, what incentive is there to improve?
3. Do remember that children know that they are on the planet to have fun. Look for ways to make learning fun.
4. Do remember to learn from your child. They have an authenticity that adults have lost over the years. Our focus must be to protect them from physical harm – supporting them in finding their internal voice and spirit. We must be careful not to indoctrinate them with fearful, insecure attitudes resulting from the experiences of African-Americans in this country.
5. Do refrain from bribing, beating or punishing your child into submission. Getting your child to see the value of being and doing his best should result from incentives and acknowledgements which enhance self-esteem and your skill as a negotiator.
6. Do look for ways to connect classroom learning and theory to real life, i.e. making calls for reading. Conflicts are resolved using problem solving skills, letters to relatives and friends who live elsewhere, essay and poetry contests require writing; nature trips, pets, study of stars reinforce and ignite interest in science.
7. Do remember that quality time doesn’t have to look a certain way. Anytime you can manage five or ten minutes to connect with your child, you make a difference.
8. Do acknowledge all efforts and improvements made by your child. The object of our focus increases. We’re conditioned to see, speak and react to what’s “wrong” but give little or no notice to the “right” things done. Children (or adults for that matter) are not motivated by put-downs and we certainly don’t rise to low expectations.
9. Do involve your children in setting goals for themselves. We may have desires for our children but they are the ones who must own the goals if they are to reach them.
10. Do make them feel that they contribute to the family. Assign chores- teaching responsibility – not punishment, hold family meetings, including them in discussions about family issues.
11. Do devote time for spiritual enlightenment. The objective is to find and maintain a sense of inner peace – an ability to access calmness in spite of the circumstances. You will choose the path but remember the goal.
12. Do provide the Genuineness, Love, Unconditional acceptance, Empathy (GLUE) that creates and sustains the nurturing environment equipping your child with a sense of emotional security and purpose with the ability to work with others forming peaceful and productive relationships, putting an end to the violence existing today.
***Sat., April 20th , 4-5pm – Today’s Children- Tomorrow’s Parents – Grand opening of program supporting parents sponsored by Bethel Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 457 Grand Ave., Tele. 718-783-3875; 718-783-3630.
***April 25th , 4-7 PM – Mix & Mingle – an intergenerational event sponsored by Bailey’s Café and the Grace Agard Harewood Senior Center featuring a Talent Showcase and dinner connecting generations to strengthen the next generation, making a better world. Event includes an opportunity for the generations to meet and share stories, finding a common bond despite age differences, and dinner. If interested in performing contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-670-7063.
***Summer Youth Employment Applications available at www.nyc.gov/dycd.
NYC residents between the ages of 14-24 must apply by May 10th. For more information call 311 or 1-800-246-4646. Selection is by lottery and not everyone who applies will be selected.
***Join Citizens Defending Libraries– calling for the community to recognize and protect these community assets from the underfunding and threatened shrinkage and sale to private developers. Contact your local council and Assembly members. Contact Carolyn McIntyre 718-797-5207. For more info on the movement and to sign an online petition go to signon.org, in search box enter “libraries”.
***Sunday, April 28th – 3pm – the Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry (BEPAA) hosts Dr. Ray Winbush who will give a slide, lecture and book presentation on the Warrior Method for Raising Healthy Black Boys. The event will be held at the John Henrik Clarke House located at 286 Convent Ave. in Harlem.Admission is Free.