On the heels of my blog concerning the deaths of three black men (Derrion Albert, Sirmone McCaulla, George Woodard Sr.)..comes my afterthoughts.
Sitting reading an interview with Derrion’s great aunt on Essence.com sparked my tears to run again. My emotions to take over. My heart to bleed…as usual. As I read this woman’s words and flashed back to the blog my boy Rippa wrote which had 2 deep videos from a sister named Joy the word “respect” resonated in my spirit. As the sister named Joy broke it down, “respect” simply means to “look again”. To take a second look at something or someone before you make a decision or judgment. That was so deep to me. I love words. I study words and their origins in my free time. I pride myself on having a pretty decent vocabulary…but to me, what is most important…is knowing that the wisdom is in applying the usage to your daily life. So learning a new way to see that word was soul-stirring.
Derrion’s great aunt said that parents should spend more time with their children and that so many parents want their children to be seen and not heard. That is so true. I remember my mother saying to me when I was a child that I didn’t HAVE any privacy to be respected…that it was her job to invade my space. To an extent, I’ll agree…but, I think that parents should give their kids more of their own voice. I fully understand that at the beginning of children’s lives…they need to fear their parents. Their parents are their “God figures” and need to fear them in order to create boundaries when they’re young to keep them safe. Yet, when children begin to formulate their own opinions and independent thoughts…it’s time to reconfigure the parent-child dynamic. Make it safe for them to come to the adults in their lives about whatever pressures they may be influenced by. When kids…especially teens, don’t feel understood or as if they can express themselves, they make alternative routes. All of the pressures they may innately back off from…they partake in to drown out that lost feeling. Whether it’s drugs, sex, gang violence, or other criminal behavior…it’s a way to numb the feelings of being alienated from home.
Early this morning in the 5 o’clock am hour…I saw a woman reporting for Headline News TV. Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell is what it was. She was reporting on the after effects of Derrion’s murder, and she said that a lot of the reason these kids are angry is because of home. She said there is probably physical abuse, alcohol, drugs, etc. She’s right in a way…but, I think other culture thinks those things are the ONLY reason kids act a fool in the streets. MOST black children caught up in gang violence or criminal ways are screaming for attention. A lot of these children’s parents had them when they themselves were mere teens. They’re overworked and underpaid. They’re most likely single parents and have either NO one to assist in keeping watch while they work…or the job is left to elderly family or older siblings. Either way…it’s not always the worst situation. Sometimes it is simply a matter of mom and dad aren’t around like they should be. Not because they don’t want to be, but because bills dictate a working parent.
There’s a lot we can and need to do to grab hold of our youth’s futures. Is it nicely packaged with no damage to parent’s egos? No. It’s raw. It’s a hard road. It’s gonna take a long time…definitely not an over night process…but, it begins “I” believe…with RESPECT. Parents want their children
to respect THEM, but you have to respect them as well. If you treat a boy like a prince and a girl like a princess…then they will learn to behave in the manner of kings and queens-in-training. I don’t mean spoil them with material or allow them to disrespect you…but, teach them their worth by example and reinforcement. Give them the freedom to be themselves and nurture their individual personalities. Protect them and make sure that the world around them knows that there is a lion/father and lioness/mother within arms reach. A child who knows that they have parents to put the fear of God in them…and protect them with the wrath of God…will respect life a little more.
But, that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?