We are as strong as our community
Community; what does that mean to you? What does your community look like? Who lives within your community? How does your community dress? What language is most spoken within your community? Spanish, English, language patterns, such as slang or a deeper connection with wisdom. Is your community violent or one that is peaceful in nature? What level of education is being taught within your community?
As parents, educators, pastors, coaches, even grocery store workers, etc; you must be willing to face the reality about your community and the people in it. We must be able to lead in a community of wealth as well as a community of violence, poverty, homelessness and unfavorable academic success. The school system is working hard to help children to succeed. However with various levels of comprehension, it will take more than depending upon the schools to advocate and be the voice for your children’s discipline and success.
Community creates culture. Culture that includes our ideas, language, religion, history, collective intellect and achievement while culture also molds our ability to succeed in life. Community is a group of people who live in the same place or have particular and common characteristics. It’s a feeling of fellowship, comfort and communication with one another. Community, no matter what that is, share common attitudes, interests, and goals. It’s a social unit with other commonalities such as norms, religion, values and traditions. Your culture and community help to mold your sense of identity.
Think about what your child’s sub-culture looks like? That’s the community within your child’s school, church, ethnicity, even the sports team their part of. These groups of people differentiate itself from the parent culture interaction, in which you may or may not have control of. It develops its own set of norms, political, sexual and social matters. When we build a strong home community, we create strength among those who interact with us eternally.
As parents, we raise our children to be the best they can be. At least, that’s how it should be. Unfortunately, many parents don’t think too deeply into what that looks like. What it look like to set the type of boundaries that require your children study hard? Boundaries that require your children to wear a belt around their pants and not sag them or boundaries that teach men to remove their hat when they enter a room. What does it look like not buy your child every video game they desire just because they want it? It’s important to create a culture that empowers your child’s desire to learn more. A desire to work harder and to strive for greatness.
Raise your children, with the future in mind; knowing that some day they will become adults. Adults who will raise their own families, search for a career and hopefully desire to obtain a higher education. It’s not enough to pamper them, buy them whatever they want, expect them to make good grades or clean their room. That’s great, however that level of simplicity is not enough for children to understand what greatness looks like. Do you yourself know? What is greatness to you? We are as strong as our community.
I remember being a young girl living in, what we called “the projects” (government housing). I lived with my mother, father and twin sisters. I was about 4 or 5 years old. I know this because my sisters were newborn babies and I am 4 years and 7 months older than them. Nonetheless, I remember that the community was of lower quality. Of course, back then, I didn’t realize that, nor did I know what that meant. Now that I am older, more mature and have raised a family of my own, I understand the difference between lower quality living and a more privileged lifestyle of living, in terms of money, status and community. Shortly after my sisters were born, my mother and father separated and we moved to live with my grandmother in a better neighborhood. It was far from wealthy but we were surrounded by family and a community of people which, I remember that I enjoyed being around. Those were some of the best days of my childhood. Eventually, my grandmother moved back to her original home town in Alabama to be closer to her siblings and community in which she loved as a child.
Growing up in the urban community had its challenges, although as a child, I didn’t know those were challenges, it was just a way of life. It was our culture. Apparently, my mother understood those challenges because she sent me to a magnet school far away from home. As much as I didn’t want to change schools then, I understand it now.
I look at the generation of today and I know that we, as adults have a responsibility to teach and educate them with the type of knowledge that will help them to set proper goals and carry themselves in a manner that is respectable, presentable and intelligent.
We are not required to only be as strong as their community. We can exceed our community’s culture and show the world that it doesn’t matter where we come from. What matters most is where we’re going and not where we’ve come from. It is our responsibility to educate the youth of the benefits and consequences in life and how they present themselves to the world. Yes, they can walk around with their pants sagging, hair unkempt and a bad attitude. It’s their choice. However, what does it benefit them? What do they gain? Researchers have identified a series of psychological changes that occur when we wear certain clothes. Science says that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others. Think about it. How do you feel when you wear a classy dress or a 3-piece suit?
As I look back into my youthful years, I think about the type of boys I was attracted to and the type of boys I had access to and they were not the same. Don’t get me wrong, I was attracted to the bad boy as well as the so-called privileged boy who live across town; lived in the suburb and went to the better school. However, I could only see him when I was visiting a relative. It was much easier to interact with the boy in my community; the bad boy. I know my parents did the best they could and I know now that as I raise my own children, it’s important to educate them on how to present themselves in a way which permits them to have the best opportunity possible, no matter what community we live in.
Education is power and when we educate our children, we help them understand and grow into the best version of themselves. We have a responsibility to understand that we are as strong as our community. We have a responsibility to create a culture that is not dictated by the world and external influences. I am challenging you to educate yourself so you can properly educate your children and provide them with the highest benefits of living in a strong home community so they can be a strong leader.