As a Source of Pride, Joy and Inspiration
The history books say that African Americans arrived on American shores in 1619, as slaves. New history books should say that, in 2008, African Americans had overcome slavery and overcame legalized Jim Crow and discrimination, and conquered the country and elected a Black President named Barack Obama. The message from President Barack Obama to the children is, "we still have more work to do." That message is for individuals and the nation, as well.
Teach the children that this new President was re-elected in 2012, against all odds, and the loser is still wondering how he did it. Tell them that his father was absent and his mother was, at times, on welfare. Teach them that life is not where you start but where you end up, and what you do between where you start and where you end up counts.
Teach the children that the difference between where this president started and where he ended up was that he was committed to education. And while you are teaching them the lesson of the importance of education, ask yourself, what is your role in making sure that they get an education and prepare to move ahead. Teach the children that it doesn't matter what, or who, the enemy is, or what their strategy is, you must understand your role and your goal, and stay the course.
For President Obama, there were questions of whether he was an American, whether he was a socialist, and silly questions like whether he loved America. Then there was also an entrenched, well-funded enemy called the Tea Party/Republican Party dedicated to making sure he would not have a second term as President.
Let the children know that while they should set their personal goals for success, when they reach success, they should shed the selfish goals and make there to give something back. Show them that President Obama shed his selfishness and he cared about others to the point of dedicating himself to laws on the rights of others such as women, gays, seniors, middle income families, the poor, and health care for all. His reward, like that of Dr. King's, was the satisfaction of success.
Teach the children that there are other models like Robert Johnson who was blessed to start a Black Television station, called BET. His wife, Sheila, told him that BET should use its powerful forum to help inform and empower its viewers. He said no, and made billions, but lost his wife and stained his place in history by being the guy who mainstreamed garbage for the African American community through a show called Comic View. In the book, "Million Dollar BET", the writer says, "For many people, watching Comic View was a guilty pleasure – publicly they feigned disdain for the lowbrow show, but privately many of them tuned in to . . . get their laugh on." And then there came the vulgar, demeaning gangsta rap that demeaned an entire race of African American people, especially our youth.
At the end of the day, BET was a financial success, but the drug dealer and the pimp may also be considered financial successes, however, there are worthier things in life than money. Lots of people have learned the lesson that all money ain't good money. In being a pimp or a drug dealer, or even the founder of BET and Comic View with its race demeaning programming, their success is based on inflicting pain on others. Obama's success is based on helping others.
With that in mind we need to all encourage our youth to study the life of Barack Obama. They will find inspiration for their life as they seek success the right way.