Thursday, December 15, 2011

I was a poor black kid and Gene Marks is right to some degree

As a poor black kid, I was taught to absorb everything. I walk into a building and I usually know everything that will be happening that is posted. My mother often stated "Do as I do" because "do I say, not as I do" simply does not work. As a mom who worked very hard her entire life on this earth, I started out with the same traits. I began working at the age of 14. I worked 2 jobs as I got older.I worked my way through college at Seton Hall University starting as a Business Manager of The Biblical Theology Bulletin. I then moved to the south when I became pregnant and worked as a Credit Analyst and Teller for First Union.

However, mom also exposed us as children to other things. She faithfully had me watching Oprah, reading Susan Taylor's articles and exposing us to other successful people and wanted me to know what success was. She said "I do what I do so you won't have to." She worked at the hospital and had us volunteer there on weekends and sit with the patients. We never saw her sleeping around or having men in our home in a disrespectful manner. However, she married twice and she stayed in abusive marriages.

Life started off great until I chose to dabble in adult things as a young lady. I got pregnant and then I married. I still obtained my BA and went on to be a court reporter which was the closest to what I wanted to be and still raise my family. The point is we can work hard and do all the "right things" but our social exposures can still play a vital part in our decision making. I have often been told by successful people to leave my husband because he can not take me to where I want to go basically. Yet my mom showed me love is more important than money. I could have compromised myself to achieve success but at the end of the day...... I have to live with myself. I have to know the consequences of my actions effect more than just me. I also know that what I needed more than anything was my father and I would never do anything to jeopardize my daughters relationship with her father. My husband does more staying by my side than the richest man can do with his success.

Most would say I did better than my mom, yet I still did not fully achieve what I set out to do yet. There is generational building that takes place in life. Of course success comes easy to Mr. Marks because that is what he has been exposed to and he is building from generational successes. He is right we can get our children into private schools and I have gotten my daughter into one. My hope is that she will be exposed to more than I can give her. I want her to have a strong foundation by learning what she needs spiritually most importantly and academically. She is achieving with a 3.75 GPA.

However, it is very expensive even with her scholarship. The fact is it is not as easy as following those formulas. For if it was all of my children would be in private school and I would be off obtaining my JD. However, I know I can not leave my children to the streets or to the care of strangers. My mother died in 2005 and my sister works very hard. Therefore, there are few people we depend on to care for our children.

I often teach my children repeatedly.... "do not get in a hurry to be an adult." Enjoy your college years and your road to success and then have your family. Yet I know I was one who got off track. Therefore, I can pray that they will choose a different path and I do all I can to guide them but the reality is they are seeing life happen before them.

As a result of societal influence and statistics, I home school 3 of my 4 African American sons so that they will not be subject to become anyone's statistic. I teach them to be independent learners because that is what I was taught to be. I expose them to other teachers with proven track records and lectures. However, not everybody has the opportunity to do that. I was blessed with a husband who works three jobs to help that take place. However, it is not easy as the article conveys. They watch their father lose his job, not always due to his own error or his race but his upbringing as well. He is resilient and he bounces back but the reality is my sons see his struggle as an African American man in America. My hope is they will own their own businesses and not have to rely on the mercy of others to give them a job.

The point is Mr. Marks is definitely giving us the proper solution that education and hard work are key. However, the social issues that exist are still a contributing factor. He can afford Sylvan if he needs it, most of the children he is referring to can not afford dinner tonight. So yes we should take heed to the resources Mr. Marks is providing and absorb everything he is sharing but we also have to examine how we can change things so there are less poor black kids in America who have to struggle period.

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