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The Parent’s Notebook

By Aminisha Black

Sankofa – Home Remedies
Let me begin by stating that I am distraught and in this space I have no room for hearing anything other than how and when do we take responsibility for protecting and nurturing all of our children. The recent murder of the 18-year-old by policemen called by his mother was the final straw for me.  I know the pain a mother feels at the loss of a child.  I can’t imagine the torment felt when a mother plays a role in the violent death of her child. 
 The conversation I want to engage in is one based on the fact that we were endowed by nature the ability to bring children into the world.  Since this is true, it must follow that we are equipped and it is our duty to nurture them to reach their potential.
Let me quickly add that this is not a conversation for calling the role of past victims of police violence.   It is not a conversation for blaming the youth who arm themselves, name an enemy and declare war on each other.  It is not a conversation where we label every act as racist.  The prerequisite for this conversation is our taking responsibility and consequently garner the power to save our young.  
Homicides and Violence – We’re losing our children in the streets at the hands of paid policemen whose job it is to protect them; on our blocks when our children form gangs or resort to violence to settle disputes and in our homes when sick parents abuse or allow others to abuse children. 
A Violent Culture – The home has given way to institutions that function within a capitalist framework – placing value on profit instead of human development and according to some, ensuring that there will always be a needy population for the social agencies their needs generates – agencies designed to handle problems – not solve them. The prison industry is one example. There are more.  Violence is accepted and revered in this culture.  Remember the Native Americans?  Remember the wars – past and current?  In order to save our children from cops and each other, we’ve got to take a stand on violence period.  Are we allowing our children to watch violent cartoons and TV programs or play violent Game Boys?  Are we purchasing the products advertised on these programs?  Are members of our families volunteering for the armed forces? 
Home Remedy – From birth, look for the gift that your child is, find things to acknowledge your child for.the things done well, the ideas and opinions you solicit from the age they can talk throughout adolescence, finding things to appreciate about them, especially those things that differ from yours, thanking them for any and all participation and involving them more as they get older.  Self-esteem is crucial and home is the place where it either dies or thrives.  Loving and accepting self sets the stage for making constructive choices.  We can’t change the world from outside but we can certainly transform it by beginning where we have the most influence – with ourselves within our homes.
 Do some self-inspection.   Do you have any of these issues:  seeing only negatives in others – including your children, do you make statements that communicate your power over your child or feel a need to always  be right, tend to compare yourself and compete with others, comparing your child to others, feeling obligated, not doing the things you enjoy.  These are a few examples of low self-esteem.   As quiet as it’s kept, self-esteem doesn’t come with positions, money, material possessions, attire or authority.
Some years ago. I designed the Self-Esteem Project with workshops and radio blurbs.  So often I would get challenged by folk feeling self-esteem was connected to religion and accusing me of not giving Jesus credit.   Self-esteem is based on love. When we master the art of loving ourselves, we can love our children, not because they look or behave a certain way but simply because they are.  Loving ourselves and our biological children opens the door to loving all children and humanity.  And interestingly enough, it has nothing to do with their religion or nonreligion.  Then as the other species of nature, we will create ways to protect those we love from all predators – even ourselves.
PN Alert!
Loving and caring for the Mind, Body and Spirit is a perfect place to begin.  Wholistic Health and Urban Gardening are forging a partnership with a forum on Nov. 17th 10am-2pm.  Call l-718-387-2116.

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