Reading, listening or watching the daily news, we are bombarded with the rampant violence occurring in our homes, neighborhoods and cities. Interestingly enough, while perpetrators (some) are sought and prosecuted for their acts of violence, our government rewards young men and women for volunteering to go into other countries wielding weapons and unknown numbers of lives, including those of civilians, are taken. The question arises: How can we expect our young people to value human life, including their own, when violence is accepted and in cases of invasions glorified?
Since our children are being killed and are killing each other, I’ve found it impossible to follow the trend simply as the latest tidbit of current events. As Kwanzaa approaches and while reviewing the Nguza Saba (Seven Principles), I once again realized these were the pathways to creating a community that would nourish the children and allow them to discover and pursue their purpose in life. In order to save our children – the future, we must provide opportunities for discovery of purpose and opportunities to explore and develop. The good news is we can and must start on the home front. Interestingly enough, when problems with youth are cited, parents or caretakers are blamed. There is a need to reframe this; in fact, we must reframe this. Parents and caretakers, please know that the power to protect and empower your child is within your reach.
PN acknowledges Maulana Karenga for creating a holiday which provides an occasion for African-Americans to revisit and appreciate our African culture. The first principle,”Umoja”, spells out the foundation – to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. Acknowledging Dr. Edwin Nichols’ work, which states the African’s highest-held value as Relationships between mankind , aligning with the Umoja principle , we find caretakers in the ideal position to take responsibility to create a self-esteem environment at home in their relationship with children in their care. We invite you to join the Kwanzaa 2013 Challenge where you follow a guide for creating self-esteem. Where the Umoja principle begins with maintaining unity in family. The PN guide begins with one’s self.
The world is held together by relationships. Pure and simple. Can you think of anything that you do in your life that does not involve relationship? Your effectiveness at home depends on relationships with mate, parents, children, siblings, relatives, landlord, neighbors, etc. Your effectiveness at work depends on relationships with your boss, co-workers and others with whom you interact.
By effectiveness, I mean producing the best results, expending the least energy in the shortest period of time. If we rate effectiveness at home, on the job, in our communities and city at large, the score would probably be extremely low. There is a correlation between the breakdown in getting needed information and services and the breakdown in our relationships. Since families are microcosms of the larger society, if we want to make a difference in the larger system, it’s logical to start where you make the most impact, where you have the most control…in your relationship with others.
Our relationships survive (not thrive) in a sea of distrust, dependency, competition and hostility. The bigger problem is that we accept the level of mediocrity as normal. We don’t expect cooperative, harmonious relationships. The greater portion of our conversations are devoted to complaints about someone, or to the poor relationships that keep the soap operas on the air. Bad relationships are popular.
It’s expected and accepted that people will gossip about each other…that a lie to save face or get over is an ok lie…that in order to feel important I must make you feel small, needy or helpless….that I cover up and lie about my mistakes so that I can condemn yours…that I will say whatever is expected at the moment or whatever will make me look good and then do whatever is convenient…that I am more loyal to my friends rather than principles, so if my friend lies or steals, I cover the lies and the theft….that I repeat words spoken to me in confidence…that I make assessments and judgements about others without giving them an opportunity to respond…that I don’t take responsibility for my expectations and blame others for not meeting them…that I don’t know what forgiveness is….and on and on and on.
We are more powerful than we know. It’s Our Time to uncover our power and release that of our children. For more info: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.