Parents Notebook: Empowering Children at Home
Power is synonymous with authority, control, influence, supremacy, clout or dominance. Gubernatorial candidate Charles Barron articulates the mission of the Freedom Party as accessing power for the masses of people. Gaining power on the political front will require unity and unity depends on individuals’ ability to exchange capitalist-honed values from “What’s in it for me?” to “What works for all?” If African-American parents can take the lead, empowering our children rather than raising them to fit into the current value cycle, we will add energy to the Freedom Party while ensuring its sustainability by preparing empowered individuals to continue the work. It’s time we took responsibility for changing the systems that impact our lives.
Regent Adelaide Sanford’s report, “Perform or Perish”, challenged parents, children, teachers, administrators, school boards and elected government officials to contribute to achieving excellence in education for all children. Each group was given a “to do” list. In her wisdom, parents were numbered one on the list. According to Regent Sanford, “Parents letting children know every day that they are capable of success and ensure that their children set high expectations.
In a sane and orderly society, parents are responsible for the well-being of their children and that responsibility is accompanied by influence and power. In this society, parents are virtually rendered powerless as they are made the needy component in an agency’s profile. The first step in empowering your child in education and life is taking responsibility, an attitude that “the buck stops here”. Making a distinction between responsibility and blame gives rise to power.
Being a parent is a challenging task in a capitalistic culture which must have needy populations to survive. Children and parents are separated early by parents having to work and time spent nurturing family cultures diminish and relationships are strained if not downright antagonistic. We are faced with the task of reaching into the rubbish, healing our wounds so we can take deep breaths and allow our children to express their innate gifts. The lesson we adults must learn is that we have been programmed to “Not know who we really are”. We’ve been programmed to look outside ourselves for some material sign that we’re okay and we pass that on to our children. In short, we’ve turned our power over to others. Human beings are never more loving and free than in infancy and early childhood. And they learn to crawl, stand, walk, talk, feed themselves without classes, so I think that says a lot about children’s innate ability to learn. So let’s begin the steps to empowerment.
Step 1 – Accept your connection to Source – whatever you call it. We’re all unique expressions. As you accept your own uniqueness and uncover your purpose and passion, you’ll automatically create space for your child to explore and discover theirs.
Step 2- Accept the fact that people see things differently. While you and another may be observing the same thing, each of you are viewing it through personalized lens and perhaps giving it a different meaning. That goes for your child, as well as others. We’ve been programmed not to tolerate differences. From family squabbles to International wars, the core cause is intolerance of differences. If we can accept, tolerate and communicate differences with our children while seeking a common goal, we heighten their self-esteem by letting them know their opinions are valued.
Step 3 – Include them in home management. Hold family meetings, assign or allow them to choose duties for one-or-two week periods. Depending on age, they can feed pets, wash dishes, inventory and write shopping lists, in stores, find items on list; examine sales papers to find best prices, at Checkout, making sure the price shown on shelf and the one rung up are the same. Include them in family-and-school related problem-solving. These are many ways to allow children to participate and by participating they gain a sense of making a difference..something they will take into the classroom and all other areas of life – “I am capable”. Remember, Nelson Mandela herded sheep at the age of five.
From Councilman Vann
**Free Community Tennis Program – on-site registration – Foundation Academy, 70 Tompkins Ave. – Mon., Wed, Fri. 9-12. Call 347-417-8154
Funded by Council member Al Vann and Speaker Christine C. Quinn
**LIU’s Liberty Partnership Program for High School rising Juniors and Seniors. Call now 718-488-100,0 ext. 3056-Bklyn residents only.