Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to MEET our obligations

I’m driving pass the local High School recently just as Summer School was letting out and it looked like a regular School Day. I couldn’t believe how many children were registered! As a form of general conversation I often ask the youth I come into contact with, "Are you going to Summer School?" and many of them shamefully say, "Yes", usually for Math, Science, and Language Arts. Through one of my close Associates who works for the School District, I also learned that many youth were turned down for Summer School because too many were already registered. Now what surprised me most was the large number of youth who are in Summer School this year for… drum roll… Gym. Yeah, that’s right "GYM"! Who fails GYM?! If the only thing you’re passing in School is ‘The Office’ so you can go to Lunch, and then ‘Gas’ after you eat it, something is terribly wrong with that picture… Aside from the obviously low pay our Teachers get and the poor Curriculum, there’s a serious level of apathy I cee in today’s youth I didn’t cee growing up. I mean, I’m sure some of us were apathetic because I, and my entire Science Class, went to Summer School in 8th Grade for fooling around all year. Yet I have never even fathomed the type of apathy that would have youth, who are not overweight, going to Summer School for Gym. -smh-

Anyway, this serves as one of our biggest challenges for us as Adults, yes even those of you who have taken the initiative to Home School "your" child(ren). Home Schooled children undoubtedly come into contact with other youth who go to Public, Private, and Charter Schools, and apathy is as catchy as pink eye at a daycare. So in otherwords, the youth are ALL of our responsibility regardless where we live it, and even if we don’t have any children of our own. Part of our responsibility is to help encourage our youth to develop a greater passion for learning, growing, and utilizing the resources available to them to help shape "their" destiny -key word being "their". I mention "their" simply because if the youth cannot relate or cee a personal interest in it then it won’t mean anything, even when it’s the truth. The youth are the Ambassadors of the future whether they’re prepared or not, and if we aren’t actively making our contribution to help them solve present day problems, we’re adding to future our problems. So how can we, as Adults, help them MEET the expectations of bringing about a greater World than the one we were given responsibility for keeping? Well here is a simple formula I want to encourage you all to apply with the youth, starting with the youth in your own Family, extending to your Community, and then elsewhere.


M - Make a commitment to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I’m sure many People could relate about the apathy amongst our youth b.u.t. how many of us are actually doing something about it? Are we really committed to cee our youth do better or content with ceeing them frustratingly on a quest for fire? Once our word is bond, that bond will be life, and we should be willing to give our life before our word shall fail, just like we do with anything else we feel/believe is important to us.

E - Examine the reasons for the apathy our youth are experiencing. This means to listen! As Adults many of us are so involved in talking at, talking above, talking around, and talking about our youth that we rarely take the time to actually listen to their concerns, which are legitimate I might add. Listening means taking the time to find out what they think, like, feel, cee, and believe WITHOUT adding our two cents, cutting them off, or telling them what to do. When was the last time you too the time to listen to an Artist who’s lyrics they quote better than a Preacher quotes Bible verses? What was the last movie you went to cee that they counted the minutes, seconds, and hours down to when it comes out? How many times have you actually asked the youth about their day and what’s going on with them and mean it? The Generation Gap we cee is really a Communication Gap, and until we learn how to listen, it will be impossible to (re)establish the relationships with our youth to help close this Gap. If we’re honestly not listening to them, why should they listen to us anyway? -shrugs- We can't ask for what we're not willing to give...!

E - Explore goals/interests that you both share. This establishes a level of Social Equality because now you’re no longer -total- strangers. If you both can’t stand broccoli, watch WWE, enjoy reading, or didn’t like how Bella treated Jacob on Twilight, or any number of things, that’s common ground to build on! Because you’ve already started to really listen to what they think, like, feel, cee, and believe, now you’ve begun to be exposed to things you may have never heard about and even start developing a real interest in. My prejudicial opinion of Drake was that he was W.A.C.K. until my oldest Queen put me on to him; we bumped his Album all Summer a couple years ago. When I first heard about ‘The Pack’ Rapper named Lil B and his BasedGod Movement from some of the youth, I didn’t hesitate to learn what this is about, and because I follow up with them about various things I obviously don’t understand, they don’t hesitate to teach me. Because I’ve learned to "preserve the best part for myself and not be concerned (not care) about the poor part" (1/1-14) when it's appropriate, Yes there are some things I’ve found that are in common with how I cee Life, and these are the things that have helped further solidify our relationship. Now when I cee other youth and talk with them about it, they welcome me as a Newborn, after of course they first look at me like, "Who initiated you into our Society?" Lol If there is no common ground, you can’t build with anybody, especially the youth.

T - Think outside of your box for solutions. When it comes to addressing the apathy our youth have towards Self/Academic Education, and some things that our youth may think, like, feel, cee, and believe that aren’t positive/productive, we have to be creative. We have to come up with solutions that are a Win-Win situation for us both. For example, one day one of my Queens tried to put me onto Nicki Minaj and instead of me throwing up, I told her she wasn’t as nice as Lil Kim. Obviously she disagreed, so we pulled up Youtube on our laptops and went song for song between Nicki and Kim, critiquing both lyrics and technique. There were some songs Nicki got her on and others Kim won, yet that wasn’t my determined idea. In time I discreetly began to sneak MC Lyte (whom she already knew about), Isis, Rage, Bahamadia, Heather B.,Yo-Yo (who she thought was super wack), Boss, and other MC’s in there in order to expose her to other Female Artists. The Win-Win situation in this case was both of us considering something different; thinking outside of the box! How’s that for creativity? Lol Sometimes we have to be even more creative than that, and the "determined idea" (24/1-40) is to agree upon something you’re both willing/able to live with. Some Adults go amongst the youth with this chip on their shoulder like it’s all about what they’re going to teach them -with no respect or consideration for their choice to listen and learn, just like we have. Just getting the youth to consider what you have to offer, just like them getting you to consider what they have to offer, is a huge accomplishment. This is a major contribution to closing the Communication Gap between Generations.

Before we can even strive to tackle the problems going on outside, we have to first address the problems going on inside. Summer School is only the out-side effects of problems going on inside our Families and Communities. Some of the apathy the youth have is simply a mirror reflection of our apathy as their Parents, Guides, Community Leaders, and Elders. If you’re not passionate about something then the youth definitely won’t be inspired by you. The reason I expressed the above formula (MEET) was to demonstrate how this is an interactive endeavor. Why? Because we grow together! And some of you probably thought that we’ll solve these problems going on with youth within our Families/Communities by sharing wisdom from our front porch like robins feed baby birds. No, you may have to play video games, go sledding, play soccer, and do other things the youth do. If you’re not committed to them, in action, why should you expect them to be committed to you? Once we’ve committed ourselves to helping our youth grow and develop, we’ll better position ourselves to MEET a brighter future for us all. By becoming more involved in their lives, our lives, we will better equip the youth with the tools necessary to bring about change. So I challenge all of you to help and continue to help our youth grow into the responsible stewards of a future World. The more they cee and get the encouragement from us to do better, they will. You did! -smile-


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