I know we’ve all heard or may have used this cliché in the past. I try not to use too many clichés but this immediately came to mind as I thought about writing about the importance of mentoring and tutoring the youth today. I always assumed what this meant and I was partially correct but looking on Wikipedia, this term derived from the US during slavery, when Africans and African Americans were denied education, including learning to read. Many, if not most slaves were kept in a state of ignorance about anything beyond their immediate circumstances which were under control of owners, the law makers and the authorities.
Even though this term goes back to the days of slavery, which I feel still exists now, it can be applied to today’s society. Instead of the slave masters (law makers and authority) physically keeping our people trapped, we are mentally locked down. Some individuals feel there is nothing better than their current circumstances and they have no desire to leave their environments, mentalities or educate themselves. When these mentally locked individuals have children that mentality is passed from generation to generation. So it is all of our responsibility to show each other there is another way and whole different world right at our fingertips, we just have to embrace it and put in THAT WORK!
About 7 months ago, I began working with a tutoring program that is geared towards inner city children and some have minor learning disabilities. In other words, some of the parents receive a check when they say their children have disabilities, they get them on drugs and are able to get disability checks. Yes, this was a shocker to me as well. But back to the subject, I was working with a set of 7 year old twin girls and I immediately fell in love with them and their mother is such a great young mom! She really wants the best for them and does any and everything she can with what she knows. I’ve always loved working with the youth but when I began talking to their mom it made me even more driven to help these girls improve on their school work as well as just being a mentor to both the kids and the mom. Most days we would go to the library to work on their school work and other assignments I came up with on my own. Then some days I would take them downtown Washington, DC to a lot of the museums because some kids are hands on learners and it was a good change of scenery knowing how children can get bored really quick. I was surprised when their mom said they had never been downtown and they live in Washington, DC but had never left their immediate environment. She always thanks me for taking out the time to spend with the kids and showing them that learning is fun and also teaching her how to bond better with her children. The two girls got most improved in school and one of the twins, who would hardly speak in class because she was intimidated by the other children, began getting in trouble for yelling out answers in class all the time LOL.
So I said ALLLLL that to say, there are parents out there who really need and want the help but they just don’t know where to start to look for these resources and they just want someone that cares and can give them a helping hand. If their parents never taught them, it’s hard for them to teach their children so if we could all just get one child we could make a big difference in the learning curve between us and other races. We have so much talent, skills and creativity and all it takes is that one catalyst to change one person which in turn will flow from generation to generation.