Fathers: Are You Setting Your Children Up for a Death Sentence
Chinua Achebe, “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others
without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely
in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another
down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
“The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays”
“Fathers, it is time to lift our children, our families, our culture,
our communities from the mud of poverty, ignorance, death and
destruction.” William Jackson – My Quest To Teach
Fathers have a choice to be a blessing or a curse to their children,
to lead them to a life of safety or condemn them to potential death
sentences of poverty, lack of education and no societal voice.
They (fathers) are supposed to be the foundation, the rock that
their families can stand on during the storms of life and the
challenges that they will face. The national deaths by violence of
children are a signal that parents are not doing their jobs and
importantly too many men are not parenting, fathering, guiding
and mentoring. Too many are talking, their lips are moving,
but their feet and hearts are standing still.
Fathers are influential in the social and educational directions of
their children, they set the tones for social interactions, establishing
the direction of their children and others around them growing and
developing the social graces and humbleness that boys and girls
developing into men and women will need. Children are modeling
their father’s activities, insecurities, negativity in mentality and
social involvements. The father is the model whether at home or
Social graces are not just the vestiges of social requirements; they
are the patterns of behaviors for survival that boys and girls of color
and culture will need to know in order to grow in a society that is still
struggling with boys and girls of diversity and color. The directions
of life take many twists and turns for youth especially Black youth,
this is NOT another hate the system or hate the government blog,
nor is it a blog on what the educational system is not accomplishing.
This blog addresses the responsibilities of “men in the village” to
re-evaluate and re-prioritize their thinking and to be of service to
their communities. The great Nigerian author Chinua Achebe
through his writings of the past tries to teach men that positive
emotions to their children are beneficial and “do not fear being
thought weak as a man” because men show emotions, they should
to establish a connection with their families.
Men have a right that extends to the accountability and responsibility
to be involved in their children’s educational growth and development.
How can hundreds if not thousands of men attend sporting events in
support of their children, but cannot consistently volunteer, visit,
mentor, support their children’s schools that are preparing them
for life in this nation? Achebe shares, He (fathers) do not show any
human emotions and sentiments so as not to be seen as weak,”
are creating un-caring societies where children are forgetting the
value of love, compassion, sympathy and honor.
How many men can blame the State Attorney’s Office and law
enforcement if they won’t “man up” handling their “business” and
parental responsibilities in raising their children? Prisons are not
Day Cares, Learning Centers, Enrichment Organizations; how
many men can blame the school district if they have not started the
process of educating their children in the basics of reading, math and
social behaviors at home that allow for education in a formal setting
The streets, back alleys, corners and clubs of our communities will
teach skills that will lead to death or prison as seen in children today,
what real father can be proud of that? Real Talk needs to be continued
as seen from events like Real Talk Real Change forums, true and honest
dialogue to prevent fatherlessness from continuing.
Fathers need to be involved in a dialogue that is growing,
young fathers that need help. Matt Thompson of the Jacksonville
Children’s Commission asks an important question: How can young
fathers cope in this dialogue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgTMPivxo1c
An appropriate quote from Nigeria that the late Achebe shares,
“People who do not seek their fellow human beings’ help when in danger
or difficulty are therefore animalistic.” Running away to fend for themselves,
but ultimately running away from the problems that they hope will consume
others and not them.
Fathers and learning, there should not be an effort to save public libraries
because libraries should be full during the day with fathers sharing the
empowerment and need for exposure to educational and cultural resources.
Children should be seen holding their fathers hands, sitting on their laps and
involved in FREE activities that build critical thinking skills, encourage problem
solving abilities and promote higher order thinking that creates language
development, increased vocabulary and appreciation for being intelligent.
“People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to
do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.” Chinua Achebe
The term “School-to-Prison Pipeline” is resulting from a combination of
social issues, economic challenges and generational mentalities that
are created by a growing population of hopelessness from unemployment,
single parent homes and school systems unable to provide struggling
students with enough resources and support that they were not designed
to address. Because of continuous generational tragedies young people
of color are thereby increasing their likelihood of entering correctional facilities.
Strategies need to be developed that educate and provide guidance and
mentorship outside of schools involving the whole family, this takes the
efforts of places of worship, cultural centers, the arts, and community
non-profit organizations. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan describes
initiatives aimed at improving the in- and out-of-school outcomes for Black
boys: increase the number Black male teachers in U.S. public schools that
are qualified and willing to make their passions an investment.
To keep children of color from entering into the “pipeline” prevention is needed
not reaction. Fathers are an important part of this effort and once again fathers
need to be trained and encouraged. Ronnie Cage, community activist and
national trainer for fathers and fathering skills has encouraged fathers need
training to be fathers.
As a man, father, and educator, I must learn also from resources in our community
to assist parents. The Real Talk Real Change forums provided by E3 Business
Group opened doors for dialogue that both parents need to be involved in.
Real Talk and Real Change http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khsUSKmzcWU
Parenting is a powerful force, parents have a spiritual connection
to their children and a responsibility to raise them. Parents are judged by
how they raise the generations that come and what they do on this earth.
Research from the University of Maryland (2000) indicates that, “children
who have fathers or father figures in their lives learn better, have higher
self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression”.
Fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships
in a child’s educational environment. “…children who identified a father or
father figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests and had a stronger
sense of competence and social acceptance compared to children without
fathers” (University of Maryland Medical News, 2000). Even culturally both
races are equally affected by the presence and absence of fathers in their
Facts like “black males represent six percent of the U.S. population,
yet 35 percent of the prison population and less than two percent of teachers”
mentioned at the educational conference at Morehouse College in 2009.
All these have an effect on the mental and emotional state of Black boys
girls and Latinos.
In the beginning man was created, so men must setup and be a part of
their children’s lives before our cemeteries have more children in them
than those who have reached a respectful age of maturity.
Parenting Skills Are Important
Videos provided by Anthony Butler, Sr.
E3 Business Group
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