Didn't Mama Tell You?!
(This article is co-authored by two of my very dear friends and Sisters in Christ. They are both very concerned and active in their endeavors to improve our plight as a people, as members in the body of Christ, and especially our children and their future.)
Didn’t mama tell you that you have an obligation to provide your children
what they need? Truly amazing is
that those who can least afford it often spend the most on their children this
time of year. For the sake of "Saving
the Village children,"
if you are going to buy gifts for children during this time, buy them what they
I live in a southern town where the academic performance of far too many of the African-American children is dismal. Our children are often functioning grade levels below where they should be in math, reading, language, science, and social studies. Children in middle school who can’t add single digit numbers (9+7) without using their fingers is the norm. State test scores for the predominately black schools in this town are very low.
I was asked to help a charitable organization shop for Christmas presents for disadvantaged children. I was at Wal-Mart at 5:00 a.m., the day after Thanksgiving. African Americans were there in mass filling shopping carts with the following items:
Skateboards - However we were not buying helmets or knee and elbow pads.
19’’ color televisions - Numerous studies have shown that African-American children watch more television than any other ethnic group. Do we wonder why our children are failing in mass?
Game boys - How will this toy improve or promote academic success?
Basketball Hoops – Yes, our children need to exercise. Is Hakeem at least
passing basic math at his grade level? This level of performance may enable him
to get employment at a McDonald’s Restaurant or a janitorial job.
Mickey Mouse on Roller Skates – How is this toy going to help our children
learn to count or read?
Gold Chains for Malcolm – Why are we promoting the Mr. ‘T’ look for our
boys and young men? Why are we buying into the stereotypes? Malcolm is
probably in the 9th grade, reading at a 4th grade level and can’t speak one
complete sentence that is grammatically correct. Are gold teeth on next year’s
shopping list for Malcolm? Bicycles – no helmets. Yes, Shameeka needs
exercise. However, if Shameeka is in the 5th grade and can’t add 5 + 1, then
the bicycle can wait and you need to buy flashcards or Quantum Leap’s Turbo
Twist Math (which by the way costs considerably less than a bicycle).
Out of the mass of African Americans in this Wal-Mart, I could count on one hand those who had educational toys in their carts. How pathetic! Leap Frog, Playskool, VTech, Sesame Street and Fisher Price have reasonably priced educational toys and games. Our children need items that will teach them number concepts, sharpen their basic reading and math skills, promote logic, and improve perceptual skills. Have we forgotten about Lego's, puzzles, and chess? This is a wonderful time to give books and games on African (and African American) history and heritage.
There are toys for children 6 months old that can be used to begin teaching colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. The crucial years for cognitive development is from birth to three years of age.
Please those of us, who know better, seize every opportunity to engage the villagers in conversation about what our children need. Adult villagers must stop the ‘dumbing- down’ of our children. We are destining our children to be at the bottom rung of society. Didn’t Mama Tell You?
Trying Desperately to Save the Village Children,
I thank you my sisters for your continuing contributions to our Villagers!
Remember, Madison Avenue doesn't love you...just the dollars that you spend. Your children love you just because but they will "Love and Respect" you... just because you cared enough to prepare them properly, educationally, and spiritually.
(See the Archive article, "A Return To Christmas")
~Let That Marinate!~
Pastor Jerome A. Rogers, Sr.