Hello Good People! The summer is quickly moving along…and I am enjoying every minute of it! 🙂
This past week, I had the pleasure and the honor to host a very important and distinguished person. This individual has a bright mind and very inquisitive. Truly a quick study! This person is an artist, specifically a singer. And their brilliance is only surpassed by their love and compassion for others. Who is this person? A former professor? A professional mentor?
This person happens to be my 13-year-old sister. It was truly a great experience to spend time with my baby sister. It was an exchange of ideas, opinions and knowledge. The generation gap reared its head from time to time, especially when it came to music. The Boo and I were wounded when Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” came on the radio, and she exclaimed “Oooo! Keyshia Cole’s song is coming on!” Once we corrected her, she added insult to injury by saying Keyshia Cole’s version was better! *Lawd take me now.*
Later on, we were looking through my records. She is a big MJJ fan, and she wanted to listen to one of his records. I became puzzled when she said, “Kellie, show me how to play a record. I have never played one before.” So I showed her how to place the needle on the record *holding my breath and silently praying she didn’t scratch it*. She was so excited to do this for the first time in her life. *We had another first earlier in the week, as the non-meat eater, me, taught her how to fry chicken. What can I say? Kellie loves the kids! 🙂 But I did buy her free-range, corn-fed, antibiotic-and hormone-free chicken from Whole Foods. So I did the best I could under the circumstances.*
So as we sat down to listen to MJJ, Janet, Stevie and Roger on vinyl, we talked. And I realized an unintentional divide is happening. She did not totally understand the gravity of sacrifice and impact of the Civil Rights movement, Jim Crow laws, MLK, apartheid and Nelson Mandela. I went from being wounded to puzzled to mortified, not from anything she had said or done. I was mortified because I assumed she should know these things already. And I think many of us are guilty of this. We become too distracted and have placed too much responsibility on our school systems. Besides, why would we give the schools total authority to shape our children’s minds? Especially when we know textbooks are more than likely bias and inaccurate. Just look at Texas! I am not saying that schools haven’t any merit, but I am saying that we have misplaced our responsibility for raising our children to the schools.
Furthermore, we have to do better job of passing down our cultural legacy. Our youth read about the great accomplishments of our people, but they have no context. They are just reading words on a piece of paper because there is no frame of reference. We have to provide the context by telling them our experiences. Have them talk to Grandma or Grandpa about living in a time of segregation. Visit the Reginald F. Lewis African American Museum like we did, and talk about the struggles and accomplishments of black people. Do a music exchange by listening to one of their favorite songs, and you expose them to your favorite songs.
However, the biggest lesson I learned is that all that is needed is time….to talk, to laugh, to build, to disagree, to hug and to love. This attention can go a long way not only for them, but for you also. Her youthfulness invigorated me, updated me and uplifted me. When she entered my world, I was afraid to relinquish my predictability and comfortable order. However, her loud-talking, infectious laughter, goofy jokes, constant texting and messy room was truly missed upon her departure.
My mother always said to me “we make time for who and what is important to us.” And this is true. When you look at how you spend your time, who and what is important to you? It just might be time to re-prioritize.
Peace & Blessings.