Kids who think that they are not suppose to learn in the summer are simply wrong. School is formal education and everything else is informal education or other components in the learning process. What about the family that plans summer vacation trips to hit historical sites and science centers or the families who would send the city kids to the country and vice versa? Listening to grandparents’ wisdom and knowledge helps complete the well-rounded child.
The teens of south Georgia should spend a few weeks working in the infamous “fields.” When I harvested watermelon, cantaloupes, and tomatoes, my muscles ached but I learn that the slaves and sharecroppers had in rough and this was not the work for me. I was on the honor roll the next year because I was trying to have educational and career options to keep me out of those fields…unless I was the farm owner.
Some of the kids today don’t know how to learn. The information covered in class should be used everyday for the rest of their lives. Kids walk out of English class speaking the worst English you ever heard. Parents should be mindful of the English spoken around kids at home and correct mistakes. I was a “community organizer” with a community development program at my alma mater and my duties included teaching job skills and academic refresher classes in a welfare to work program. My students would complain about not getting jobs in retail at the local mall and I would tell them the real reasons—they couldn’t speak or listen properly.
The first thing I noticed was their fast manner of speaking. One student would repeat everything three times to get the listener to understand. “WhatagotoBurgerKing, WhatagotoBurgerKing, WhatagotoBurgerKing.” I pointed out that it would have been easier to say it one time a little slower and speaking slowly was the considerate thing to do..like an attorney during court cases on Law and Order. With the addition time, a speaker could construct grammatically correct sentences and be that much closer to the coveted job selling chinos at the Gap. Of course, working in the mall might introduce them to a man who was more focused than the kuckleheads from some of their pasts.
I tried to teach them to be resourceful by watching the more educational channels and news discussions rather than a constant diet of music videos and “he is not this child’s father” shows. To me, Maury Povich and BET can damage America as much as Kim Jong-il.
What Obama does for or to our community cannot compare to what we could do by being more resourceful and deliberate in our formal and informal educations and President Obama will quickly tell you that. During the July 4th cookouts, we should look for two groups at the same party. One group will feature “uncle in and out of jail” telling glorious stories about his sordid past. The other groups will feature “uncle the military gave me options” who will be emphasizing personal responsibility and consequences. The first uncle talks fast and you can hardily understand what he is saying while puffing on a Newport. The second uncle speaks clearly and composes his statements around a central theme…while puffing on a Newport.
While the cookout does not take place in a farmer’s field, both uncles will plant seeds with the youth. In twenty years, the kids from that cookout might reflect lessons learned that day from the uncles.