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Parents Notebook: Our Families and the Nation Are Still Up To Us

Statistics from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence reported the following for the year 2010. The precincts in Brooklyn were in the top 10 of the city in 2010 for gun-related arrests. We will continue to search for current stats and local deaths. Note the six neighborhoods that made the top 10 in New York City. It’s past time for parents to take responsibility for preparing our children with the skills to navigate through these perilous times. Trust me, it starts with us at home from the crib and it’s long past overdue for parents – mothers and fathers ( regardless of your relationship with each other) –to take responsibility for bringing your children into this world. Following are some thoughts for considering and preparing to join a movement, not of meetings or protest marches but one for restoring our African highest-held value – Relationship between humans. It starts with each one of us adults and we owe it to the children – all children to model the behavior. Also, following are some segments that speak to the elements of strong relationships, beginning with the importance of Self-Esteem.

“The transformation of a nation begins in the homes of its people” is not original, it’s a derivative of the African proverb “The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people”. Further research revealed a pamphlet published in 1978 by National Organization for an American Revolution: “ Our Families Are Up To Us!’ In the pamphlet we find the following passages:
“One of the greatest characteristics of human beings is the ability to create a new reality by envisioning how things can be.” Citing the voyage of Pilgrims who were tired of being subjected to the Church of England and denied the right to control their own destiny and the Declaration of IOndependence from Britain in 1776.
In this modern age of technology, it’s difficult to see individuals in any position other than one of dependency, but it’s necessary. And the bottom line is adopting (living) values that give our children roots to grow….a sense of history, the understanding that the world is constantly changing and that individuals joining together for what they believe can influence and change the direction of the world.

We need to challenge our children to develop their full individuality which includes a sense of responsibility. We are not raising them to be doctors, lawyers, engineers – or even presidents – but to be whole human beings who will respect themselves and others for who they are as persons and not for the things they have or the jobs they hold. We must create a world where humane human beings are making decisions based on love and respect for humanity.

So this column is written in search of parents and adults who can buy into a mission that puts the yoke of responsibility for change in our hands and vow to make our families the laboratories from which transformation will take place. There’s a saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. So first things first…

Create, Revise or Review …
The Family Mission Statement
Sell the idea of a mission statement to your youngsters by telling them that the adopted mission statement ensures every family member fair and equal treatment… and promises support for individual projects, opportunities to gain experiences and skills among other benefits. Ask them to contribute benefits they’d like from family. (Some may need to be altered following discussion.) Be sure they understand that the adults are responsible for their well-being. This might be necessary when including adolescents. An example:
The mission of the Black Family is to have each and every individual appreciated and acknowledged as a unique being; to support each member in utilizing their innate talents to grow and contribute their gifts towards building family and community. To accomplish this mission we will do the following:

a) Have regular family meetings where updates are given, household management chores are assigned, issues resolved and acknowledged, problems aired, arguments resolved and kudos given for any and all accomplishments.

b) Provide opportunities for each person to pursue his or her own passion as well as participate in family events.

b) Create a method of problem-solving that features the win-win concept. When fights erupt, have the opponents work at creating a situation where both win. This exercise moves them from the “you or me” positions which create the disunity we currently experience in families and community and sends a fresh perspective to school and community. For more information on Home Works! E-mail parentsnotebook@yahoo.com.

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