The late, Great, but never forgotten Whitney Houston sang it best when she described, the Greatest Love of all. I can hear those lyrics now:
“I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess in side. Give them a sense of pride, to make it easier, let the childrens’ laughter, remind us how we used to be…”
Now I’m sitting here wondering how the lyrics to such a beautiful song can feel so far from the reality of this world we live in. With all the shootings around the country in elementary schools, high schools and colleges, it’s as if securing a place where dreams do come true for our young people is like crossing over into a fantasy land full of fairies and a boy that never grows old. Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the world, yet we are overwhelmed with gun violence that is taking the lives of our children. Watching the news has become unbearable for me, because I dread to see the face of the next child or teen that’s been shot. And then to make matters worse, we have the impending risk of watching over 100 schools be closed. With all that is happening, wouldn’t it make sense to keep All schools open and work on restructuring our schools in impoverished neighborhoods and building more community centers for our children to have somewhere to go after school?! Now before my realists (or shall I say my corporate thinkers) go in on my question, I do understand that all of this takes money. As a state, we seem to be lacking in that area due to the extensive deficit. But the philosophy and belief of where there’s a will, there’s a way, seems so fitting for this situation. It’s not that any of us want to spend money that may not necessarily be in the budget, but it’s the need (or honestly, the ‘must’) to make things better. In order to see improvement, we should be spending more time coming up with solutions versus deciding what the easiest and cost effective route to getting out of debt would be. How can we show our kids that we believe they are our future, if we don’t’ try at all costs to make sure that they are given the best resources possible to be the best human beings they can be?
In Proverbs 22:6, it reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old and he will not depart from it.” This scripture to me, is a firm declaration that the gift of life requires much work, and with adhering to doing the right thing according to God’s word, the ability to raise a child up right can be done for those who believe. It’s a Blessing that should be appreciated for it is the greatest job on Earth. However, there are so many times our teachers are tasked with not only the responsibility of teaching our kids, but also with helping to “raise” them. The lesson plan is not just to help build up their mind, but it becomes a guide through life. Don’t get me wrong, there are kids, like myself, who have both parents and a strong supportive family, yet they still cling to the knowledge they receive from their teachers. That teacher that seemed to have all the answers, and who never let them give up on their dreams. Who pushed them, even when they resisted, and kept pushing until they reached their goals. I have so many fond memories of those teachers and the influence they played in the woman I am today. But what happens when you’re surrounded by violence and the people you thought you could count have no control over the outcomes, where is the hope in that?! How can they strive to be better and want better when the system they depend upon during those crucial developmental years, seems to think that by closing schools and placing them in even more dangerous situations is for their own good?!
I don’t claim to know everything about what is happening within the Board, and my jargon may not be as articulate as those who are well versed, however, I’m a taxpayer, and I’d rather my tax money be spent on helping to uplift and improve conditions for children in lower income communities. They deserve it as much, if not more than any of our children. I was one of those kids growing up on the Southside, around the corner from Ida B. Wells, before being Blessed with moving to a better area in another city. See, I wasn’t supposed to leave the hood and go to college and become the woman I am. That’s the stigma that our kids face even today. I am also a concerned aunt, Godmama, cousin, and future parent (and I mean future), and I feel it’s my duty to make sure that our children remain the future leaders of this great nation. We have to keep them, protect them, teach them, rear them, discipline them, inspire them, reward them and ensure that they have every chance life presents to make a choice toward Greatness. Please support the Teachers’ Union, local community centers, the park districts, the DuSable Museum, etc… It’s time to come together as a city and pray, take a stand, march, speak out, write about, but don’t turn our backs on our kids…they Need us!
My God can do anything but fail, and I’m standing on the promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that reads, “For I know the plans I have for you”, said the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I send this out to our children here, there and everywhere. Keep the Faith!!