Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Champagne in The Locker Room or its contributors
[I would like to retract previously reported case information in this article. My condolences go out to the family of 15 year old John Rufus Evans III. – Renee Moody]
Another day in the DMV.
Another senseless act of violence amongst our youth.
While its easy to point the finger at the bad decisions made by our youth. We can no longer just blame them. Somewhere along their way, somebody stopped caring, somebody stopped being proactive, somebody stopped doing their due diligence as a parent or guardian to teach, love and protect them.
There is a generation of parents, within our black community, that have failed us. I’m not going to call anybody out, but it’s no secret. We know who you are. And how do we know? We see your children. In the streets, in the news, in the communities around us. We see your sons wandering without hope and no direction. We see your daughters wandering with no direction and without hope. There is a whole generation of our future that have been left to fend for themselves in a world that’s already not designed for us to win in. With no hope and no direction.
We have to stop pretending that age 18 means adulthood. Let’s stop pretending that an 18 year old is equipped to survive in 2016 without a mentor, a parent, a guardian, or some guidance. Let’s stop pretending that an 18 year old can get a job, a place, have bills, and make it on their own. I’m sorry to disappoint but parenting can no longer stop at 18. Let’s throw that “I can’t wait til they turn 18” phrase out. TODAY.
We have to start preparing our children as they become adults. To be successful adults. Respectable adults. Driven adults. Focused adults. Goal oriented, ambition driven adults. Let’s start by rewarding GOOD behavior, and acknowledging their growth and maturity. The same praises we seek on our jobs for doing good work, lets apply that concept in our homes. The same praises we seek from others, lets apply that concept to our children, so they won’t have to thirst for validation from the world.
We have to get our children back into a church or place of worship. Let’s make sure their phones are off, and they are paying attention. Let’s make sure their friends that can hang out at your house all day doing nothing, have church clothes in their bag to go with you. If your child is that one hanging at someone’s house, make sure they have church clothes to go with somebody else. Lets instill principals in them that won’t be taught on world star or sites they frequent.
We have to start being honest with ourselves, as parents. It can no longer be a competition of whose kid is better than who. The goal is for them all to win. We, as a community, are not at a place to hold our nose up at anyone. It’s a struggle for everyone to survive. Look at the news. Read a paper. Our babies aren’t surviving out here.
It takes a village to raise a child. Let’s stop isolating ourselves from that village. Let’s stop limiting that village to the 8 people you know. Help someone else’s child that has no help. Ask for help for your child. Let’s get back to being involved. Joining the PTA. Volunteering at school when you can. Being pro-active in your child’s academics not just the week leading up to progress report or the week after report cards. Let’s continue to make sure our children are well-rounded. Let’s keep them involved in things they may not think is worth it. Let’s keep them involved in things that are time consuming for us. Let’s encourage our peers to get involved on behalf of those parents who just can’t due to other obligations.
Parents, this is no longer a job that can accept part-time hours. Its go time. All hands on deck, with full participation. You’re going to have to be that parent sometimes you didn’t want to be. You’re going to have to say NO. You’re going to have to NOT compromise. We can’t continue to allow our children to raise themselves. It’s not fair. It’s not fair for us to take the easy way out, and give up. We can no longer wait until they are 16 to play Mommy or Daddy. They need continuous nurturing and guidance from birth. This can no longer about you. And this can no longer stop with you. It takes a village remember? You’re going to have to help someone other than your own. You NEED to help someone other than your own. And if you can’t do it, reach out to someone that can help you.
For those without kids, we need you. Invest some time into a youth program that needs volunteers. And, not just the popular programs you see on social media. There are plenty of organizations that need help, that don’t have a highly visible platform. But, they are there. We need entrepreneurs showing our children how to build and grow a business.
We can’t make excuses any more. We can’t even blame each other. We have to start fresh today, with a new frame of mind. We need to teach our future how to be a survivor, a fighter, be driven by ambition, be respectable, be respected, a believer, a peacemaker, an encourager, a teacher, a person who loves, and is able to give love.
The future has to start now. What are WE going to do?