I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them
Lead the way
show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense
To make it easier
Let the children’s laughter
Remind us how we used
The Greatest Love Of All- George Benson
The summer of 2016 is coming to an end. Even though the first day of Autumn is officially Thursday, September 22nd, for many after Labor Day it’s unofficially a wrap. In the city of Mount Vernon, New York as with many inner cities in the country, we saw a large number of senseless violence, in most cases that led to the death of many of our young brothers and sisters. How many future leaders have we lost to senseless gun play or a privatized prison system created to incarcerate them while they are still in elementary school.
As adults, we realize that the real future lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren. But since most will tell you they realize this simple truth, why aren’t more adults doing more to secure the future of the youth? Why aren’t more adult investing in programs for our youth, either their time or their money or both. Our first priority should be the nurturing and education of America’s youth. Education is not limited to what they learn in school. Like many inner city children, some of my greatest life lessons were learn outside of the classrooms, when school was not in session. We are all products of our environment, but we do not have to allow our environment be who we are.
Like The Rose that Grew from the Concrete by Tupac Shakur, it is about reaching our goals in life despite the hardships and conflicts that we face on the way. Even in this example, there were those who looked out for the young brother and encourage them to not follow their footsteps. But for every case like this there are dozens if not hundreds who do not have anyone to guide them and educate them to the ills of the ghetto and they fall into the trap and some never find there way out. Why you think down south they call dope houses the trap house, its a trap not only for the fiend but also for the dealer who in many instances never find their way out of that life that only leads to death or incarceration. If we do not find constructive things to occupy the youth’s attention, no matter where they grow up, others will guide them and educate them on the ways of the street, to a life of crime & drug selling that puts them in harms way of the senseless violence that plaque many inner cities.
An idle mind is the playground for the devil…
I have often talked about how it was the cats on the block, outside of my family that may have been as important as the words of encouragement I received from my family that saved me from being another statistic. The ones who helped save me, and are largely responsible for the fact I’m not dead or in jail. I was blessed by the presence of these individuals, who for whatever reason saw something in me and they took the time to get at me and let me know where I was headed if I didn’t change my ways.
We say the youth is outta control but it’s us who are failing them and not the other way around. We need to reach out to the youth, teach them, show them a better way to express themselves. We need to volunteer our time and mentor our younger brothers and sisters and we must never forget how we felt when we were their age. The youth can not teach themselves how to be responsible men and women, they need the presence of those who have been through it already to help them in their journey. And for the record when I say it’s us failing them, I mean every adult reading this whether you have children or not, whether your children are grown or not or you already raised your children. They used to say it takes a village to raise a child, where have all our villages gone?
Say there ain’t no hope for the youth
And the truth is it ain’t no hope for the future
And then they wonder why we crazy
When Tupac Shakur uttered those words in ‘Keep Ya Head Up,’ he was trying to point out how people are always discouraging the youth. Tupac was trying to emphasize the fact that the youth ARE the future, and if you discourage and give them no hope then you are doing the same to the future. For those who say the youth are not your problem, they may be when you are elderly and they are knocking you upside your head to steal you money to get by.
I challenge all reading this to do more, to get more involved, make it our business to try to understand what the youth is facing. Instead of telling them what is wrong with what they are doing, show them a better way. Expose them to other experiences and cultures. Share your love for Jazz or whatever it is you are into. But whatever you do, get involved. Like the opening lyrics, the children are our future. The enemy attacks our youth before they get a chance to find their way to kill off our future leaders before they have a chance to grow into their roles God created for them.
They can not do it by themselves. And if you don’t like where you see our youth headed, my questions for you today is what are you doing about it? If you can not answer that question you need to get up, get out and do something. Learn what the youth are into and use those avenues to get their attention and teach them. Our youth are reaching out to us, are you answering the call or just slamming another door in their face?
If you don’t know where to start reach out to your local church, your local schools, the Boy and Girls Scouts or Boys and Girls Clubs of America, your local law enforcement, and many other organizations that deal with the youth, a lot of them already have youth programs. Google youth groups in your area, look in the phone book. There are already many organizations and groups in place but they all NEED volunteers and donations to take things to the next level and be able to do more. Get with local businesses and work with them to start more groups and programs. Set up internships to teach youngsters new skills. Bottom-line you must do something if you want things to get better.
The most important thing I can leave you with is remember when you were young. Remember your rebellious period and what or who helped you get through it or taught you a better way. You didn’t have all the answers but you thought you did. You may not have always listened to adults but you remember what they told you and it help mold you into the adult you are today. Who were the adults that were present in your life when you were a youngster, that were instrumental in your growth or your success? Who is the person you can identify with that saved you from going in the wrong direction many of your peers did? Answering those questions, should you want to pay it forward and be that for the next generation. So I end this with the question I started it with, What Are You Doing To Reach The Youth??? If you are not part of the solution you are definitely part of the problem whether you want to admit it our not!!! REAL TALK!!!