The Voice of the Man Matters:  Who is Raising Our Children?

When we think about the future of our country, society, and communities – we can look around see what we see now. Confusion, upset, a disconnect… So many things. Things that can leave us hopeless and fearful for what it may hold. It often poses the question to start a dialect of – how did this happen? So many different opinions and perceptions, that its possible we may never know. However, we can choose to let it define us, or we can hope, pray, have faith, and take action to change it.

As we celebrated Father’s Day over the weekend, it sparked another conversation… Who is raising our children? We had the opportunity to host several guests that helped us dive into the conversation deeper of discussing our influence, our legacy, who is responsible, and what can we do?

Nicole S. Mason, Esquire was our first guest of the show who discussed with us the topic of our influence. Nicole achieved her law degree and successfully operated her own law practice for seven years. In addition to completing her law degree, she also holds a Master’s of Law with a concentration in Litigation and Dispute Resolution, a Divinity Degree and a Leadership Coaching Certificate.

The Law of Influence helps us get to the point where we are able to help people live the best life that they can live, and to give their hearts to the Lord – which is our ultimate goal. This requires us to be wise servants, but also as gentle as doves. Referring to our own law of influence, Nicole prompts us to ask ourselves: Are people following us because they want to – or because they have to? That is a powerful question, and one that we should reevaluate often. It is important for us to remember our “why?” It is also important for us to remember that our titles and positions are not what intrigues people to listen to us, but rather what they see inside of us.

Courage… Conviction… Calling… Confidence… Are you a leader? Do you desire to lead? Are you exuding these attributes? Are you submitting to your calling? Are you operating with integrity?

Remember that it is not only what we say, but what we do. Our lives are the perfect tool for us to use to witness to others... What we do with them will determine our influence on others.

While the topic of discussion is “Who is Raising our Children?” we then had then opportunity to engage in a very enlightening and heartfelt conversation between three successful and passionate educators.

Dr. Marco Clark is a well-respected author, public speaker, and veteran in the worlds of urban education and is the Founder/ CEO of the Richard Wright Public Charter School in Washington, DC. He is a partner of Broken Promise Schools, and co-Founder of the Chicago based student-leadership program, Peace through Urban Exchange.

Mr. Terrance Frazier, is a Baltimore City Public School Educator – Special Education. He is also the Owner of City of God’s Apparel in Baltimore City. His store serves as a

sanctuary in community – which further provides a significant influence in his community.

Mr. Ronald Wooden Jr. is the Principal at Havre De Grace Elementary School. He was chosen in 2008 as Harford County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. In 2008 he was promoted to Assistant Principal, in 2013 Acting Principal, and finally in 2014 Principal of Havre de Grace Elementary School.

Upon the discussion of the engagement of parents role in the home, the schools, and our communities, the three gentleman shared some valuable insight regarding the topic…

In our society today, people are looking for a superman to come and save our schools, communities, and fathers when they are released from incarceration. Although an easy solution, unfortunately there is no superman coming – it is up to us. We have to be willing to put ourselves out there – take the risk, take the opportunity, take on the challenge… Because that is exactly what it is going to take to save or community. Dr. Clark himself has had the lifetime fight of fighting the label of something that he knew he was NOT. It pushed him further and harder to fight for the students behind him, to never experience the same thing that he did. The parents of our children, the backbone of the community, must also take the stand, rise up, and not allow our children to accept the labels being imposed on them. The parents must also accept the challenge to be involved, be an advocate, be involved, and lead our children in the way that they should go. Should we accept this challenge collectively – the labels will not be able to stick to our children once placed onto them. It should instead provide resilience, which only then – will our communities push forward.

“Our families must be equipped and prepared to raise our children.”

-Ronald Wooden Jr.

In a society such as the one we live in today, as an educator Mr. Wooden empowers himself and his faculty daily to focus on what is within their locus of control. We can not just simply blame the parents. He chooses to empower his staff to focus on their impact from the time the students walk through the door until they leave. It is a conscious choice to ensure that every kid in the building leaves as a successful, equipped, and prepared child that knows they can conquer the world in which they will face. Mr. Wooden’s motto is “What can we do in our time frame to uplift our children, and to let them know that there is hope, there is a future, there is a journey, and that they have to believe in themselves first.” It is important for our children and students to receive daily affirmation, reassurance, and encouragement that they are the future. It is there that we begin to also empower our community.

He was taught and believes that excuses are lies… Excuses are for the incompetent. When we push ourselves and our children to do what they think is impossible, it provides the opportunity to show that ALL things ARE POSSIBLE through Christ. As previously expressed by Ms. Nicole Mason, even when we can not speak the Gospel through our words - we can express the gospel through our lives. We can ensure that we demonstrate the characteristics of the Holy Spirit by living our life every day in our jobs and buildings. Being kind, giving hugs, sharing our stories, empowering one another..

Guest Eric Braswell prompts us to asses when it comes to the parent… What should the parents do? What can the parents do?

Unfortunately, we’ve been blaming everyone else… The schools.. The teachers… The Administrators… Everyone but the parent. The parent is the first teacher. We are responsible as parents to teach our children right from wrong.. The ABC’s, the 1-2-3’s, the fundamentals. As the parent, it is an unwritten law of – I am going to do my job. We are responsible for providing the balance of our children being able to learn and apply what is taught in the school.

However, on the contrary we must be reminded of sometimes the parents can’t be in the classroom. The parents may be incarcerated, on drugs, have a lack of income, lack of hope, current abuse.. Their environment is not to a high degree and it can be a fight for involvement. But if you fight for them to be there and to be present and to be involved, - it will happen. In the role that educators take on, Mr. Frazier believes that its also at times comes at the account of empowering parents at times as well.

“Kids are being programed to fail. We have to change their mindset…”

-Terrance Frazier

Dr. Clark expresses concern that if we look at the school districts that are high performing, their parent involvement is high. If we look at the systems that are failing, their parent involvement is low. We can not make excuses, for parents not doing their jobs. The parent is the first teacher.

As an educator for 21 years, Mr. Frazier recognizes and was called to work in Baltimore City for the deficit of what they’re faced with. As a 5th grade teacher, but also as an outsider in the community, he recognized a rich black culture that has been through a lot of challenges itself. Despite any odd that the children are faced with – the believes that they are able to overcome them with the proper and optimal support. However – it takes the involvement of everyone. When caring for our children, we have to think about the long haul. We have to think 20-30 years from now… Because that is what starts our legacy. Provide them with jewels that they can walk away with for their lives that equips and empowers them.

Despite the position or perception of one, in solving the problem… We need strong leaders in our schools… However, the family is the first ministry. It was the first ministry created by God… If the family is out of position, the community is out of position. Our homes are the pillars of the community. So when we look at, who is raising our children? The male is the head of the household, and is required by God to lead his home properly… In all areas our faith, spirituality, education, careers… It should challenge us to evaluate our own lives and our own Law of Influence… Who are we leading and are we doing it well…


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