Parents. Get your head in the game.
The slogan, “get your head in the game,” is a profound statement that alludes to one’s taking responsibility for acts they are either required to or have failed to accomplish. You hear it recited in many places where its application is directly attributed to the degree of success associated with a desired outcome.
In some circles, this phrase is nothing more than a cliche, in others a chant, but in this venue it is a call for parents to wake up to the challenge that comes with raising their children. Please do not take this as an indictment on the methodology you have chosen to meet your objectives in child rearing.
This appeal challenges each of us work cohesively to ensure the best possible course of action when choosing the education tract for our children. In doing this, we must approach each decision that affects the success of our child as parents, not merely your sibling’s friend. Friendship has its place, but it should definitely take a back seat when making decisions that impact the growth and successful assimilation of our children into the global market.
Our cheers should be louder for their successful matriculation in the field of academia than they would be in complimenting a touchdown on the football field, home runs on the baseball field, or the successful execution of making a field goal on the basketball court. Not that the later is not important. Every positive contribution a child makes to society, no matter how trivial, should be cherished. Each contribution or effort should be considered as lessons learned as they graduate to the next level of society.
In today’s society, too many of our young men, especially our black men, find themselves caught up in a system that leaves them ill-prepared to function as effective members of society. While their skill in sports are being exploited, their inherent need for achievement in the area of academia is being neglected. They are honored for their athletic contribution to the team but are being deprived of a real chance to succeed as effective members of society. As students, they are being left behind to fend for themselves upon exit from public school.
How are we failing them? We are failing or young men by not making them realize they must earn the privilege to play sports. It is well known that every athlete will not make it to the pros. That being a reality, it is paramount that we keep our young men and women focused on the prize of a good education. It has been proven in numerous studies that a child that can not read at grade level at the age of three is destined for failure. They are more apt to drop out of school and very likely to wind up as wards of the state.
As responsible parents, let’s befriend them by demanding that they be accountable for good grades, a thorough understanding of the basic principles of communications, and a through obligation to be publicly aware of the issues that will undoubtedly carve out their path as they move up the ladder to adulthood.
We can start the healing process by demanding excellence in academic, correctness in social skills, and diligence in the way our siblings deal with the pressures that will affront them as they become recipients of the heritage we will surely leave them. Whatever that heritage will be, it will be the ingredients they will use to carve out their place in society. We can continue to allow them remain afloat on the sea of confusion, or we can refocus our energies to redefine the paths we have allowed them to take.
In this diverse society, inundated with all sorts of ethical and devious vices, we are our children’s link to the future. How effectively they connect within the political, social and moral structure of society is in our hands. We can continue on the course we are chartering or we can drop anchor, consider alternate courses of action, realign objectives that will compliment the growth and success of our children and continue our journey focused on goals that will ensure our children will be more apt to successfully traverse the societal maze that is certain to confront them in life.
Let not our past be defined as a period of indecisiveness and lackluster involvement in the education of our youth. Let us commit to restructuring our priorities to include how well our siblings are fairing in the field of academia.
Let us resolve to prepare our children to achieve academic excellence, corporate participation and other curricular activities last.
A timely challenge. In times past, parents were more involved in their children’s daily homework assignments. Before computes and TV’s and ‘PlayStation consoles’ in the bedroom, the kids sat around the dinner table doing their homework which was then checked by Mom or Dad. That picture is long lost in today’s homes.
I was only allowed to play sports with the understood from the start that if my grades suffered, football was out! Today, too many parents want their kids playing sports more so than excelling in their studies. A sports scholarship is the goal but the child must have academic skills to complete his courses to advance into contention for college, and then, hopefully, professional sports. Academics is the key.
If a child isn’t performing at grade level by the third grade, that child is highly likely to become entangled in our criminal justice system to some extent. As a society, we must refocus our standards for our young people, especially our young men.
Benjamen Franklin said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Let’s make that a rallying cry in our community.