I just got off the phone with a friend whose son is constantly skipping school. He’s a senior, in high school, once was in honors classes and now just doesn’t seem to care about his education or his future.
Is he unique?
Unfortunately, not at all.
Sadly, so many of our youth today are not focused on finishing school…much less excelling and pursuing higher education.
And it’s not just the kids at less than exceptional schools or kids without parental support or guidance. Yes, we have a lot of work to do with the educational systems in our country. We also have a lot of work to do with our kids. WE.
With this being Black History Month, I especially reflect on the torture our ancestors endured so that African Americans could simply go to school. With me being a woman, my heart breaks for the countless women who are denied education or are killed in pursuit of it simply because they are women.
Why have people fought for education? Because education is power. It is life-changing for families and generations. For communities and for countries.
After I became a mother when I was fifteen, I didn’t let anything stop me from finishing school. I graduated number eight in my class and went to college on a full scholarship where I graduated magna cum laude. I later graduated magna cum laude with my MBA.
My education and hard work got me an incredible job with amazing companies including the NBA and FedEx. It got me a comfortable life that my parents didn’t enjoy at my age and couldn’t give me. My education provided me with the resources to give back to my grandmother who helped me as a teenage mother so that I could do that very thing that would change my life—get my education.
I don’t have all the answers and, in fact, may not have any, but I’m doing everything I can to help our children care again. To help them see that the way to change their lives is to get an education or training on something. To see the vast array of possibilities for career paths. The alternative to street life and constant struggle.
The new curriculum for my book, Life After Birth, is almost complete. Using Common Core standards, it presents the events in my life and choices that I made—both good and bad—to provide character education and life skills. Once kids learn those, just maybe they will understand the importance of their education. And go get it!
What can you do to help our kids value education more?