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Faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future.-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Faith is, perhaps, our greatest weapon. It can keep us strong in times of stress, keep us motivated to build the kinds of lives we dream for ourselves and our families.
Yet, strange as it may seem, we are often our own worst enemies. We adopt cynical attitudes that cheat us of potential fulfillment; we abandon hope for positive change and learn to live with the inevitable bitterness. Our children suffer and, like sponges, absorb our despair.Without question, we need to be relentless in shoring up our faith. Daily meditation and positive thinking can help. Distancing ourselves from negative individuals and actively seeking out inspiration (through self-help books and biographies, through magazines and lectures) can also fortify US. So, too, can prayer.
On this day, I will take five minutes to talk to my child and communicate to her the faith I have in her and in our People.
Celebrating Kwanzaa is not an end in itself Neither is having an African medallion swinging from your neck, wearing a kente cloth hat, or giving yourchildren African names.-- Eric V. Copage
A fitting quote for the Jay after Kwanzaa, no? While our annual celebration may be over, the goals and ideals it emphasizes and engenders should help us accomplish all we have to do throughout the year. After all, our pride inbeing black cannot substitute for pride in our individual efforts and contributions.
Let us indeed draw upon our culture, our traditions, and our history to inspire us to do our part for ourselves, our families and our people. And not just during Kwanzaa -- but all the time.
On this day, I will take five minutes to discuss with my child an item relating to black pride -- kente cloth, for instance, or a family photograph -- and suggest that he let that object inspire him to excellence throughout the day.
Most folks just don 't know what can be done with a little will and their own hands.-- Gloria Naylor, from her novel Mama Day
Some folks just don't want to hear any of that positive thinking stuff. It requires them to act, when we all know it's much easier to complain, blame, envy, and belittle. Maybe they tried on a "can do" attitude once; it didn't,, pay off immediately, so they gave up.
We cannot be defeatists, just as we cannot raise a new generation of defeatists. What would happen to our people?
On this day, I will take five minutes to talk to my child about the successful individual -- the one who doesn't mind work and hangs in there long past the time when others have given up.
Children barn by seeing people doing things. If all they see are people who don't try, it's going to be difficult for the, to try.-- Faith Ringgold
Let us first tap into our family archives to pull out the success stories that can inspire our children-and us, too. They need not be grandiose stories to be motivating; yet, they will exemplify perseverance, diligence, integrity.
There are many books available on historical figures and contemporary achievers in all fields. There are monthly magazines highlighting real-life stories of African in American who are realizing their-dreams. And in some of our schools, there are events such as African-American career day, where local citizens in various professions come to share their knowledge and inspirational stories.
On this day, I will take time to encourage my child to discuss her heroes-large and small, famous and unsung.
My heroes are and were my parents. I can't see having anyone else as my heroes.-- Michael Jordan
We probably don't feel much like heroes most days. We're too busy just trying to get dinner on the table on time and to make sure our children are on the right track. But our children watch us constantly. They see how we handle adversity and stress; they bear our views on life and love; and, more than anyone else in the outside world, are witnesses to our character and integrity.
We cannot simply demand our children's respect, but must live up to it-or lose it.
On this day, I will take time to think of three ways I can improve my approach to life so as to inspire my child. My everyday acts can speak with understated heroism.
For most Of us, keeping up with the popular culture is one of the first things we let go. The problem is that sometimes this lack of attention to the music that both shapes and reflects our children makes us miss important developments in their world, and by extension, our own.-- Pearl Cleage
Let's keep in touch with the television and radio stations that play such an important part in shaping our child's world. We can listen to the groups and ask, What are the lyrics saying? Do they glorify violence? Demean women? While we may hate the idea of becoming the old-fashioned parent, it is important for us to keep our finger on the pulse of our child's entertainment, which is to keep our finger on values being pumped into him.
On this day, I will take five minutes to discuss with my child his favorite entertainer. It needn't be a confrontational talk, just a friendly chat so thatI'm aware of my child's influences and his opinion of those influences.
We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.-- James Baldwin
Our world and our children's world are one and the same. As long as we are living and breathing, it does not do for us simply to point fingers.