Sabbatical Day #3

I was starting to get nervous. My time away was half over and I was still waiting to see how all of this praying was going to pan out. I’d read the articles and emails and had responded to some of the authors. I’d participated in long SMS conversations on my iPhone. I’d even downloaded a faxed copy of an article that hit my email early Wednesday morning about the need to talk about the “problems linked to Expo.” And then, as I started to type it all came together.

Everyone Has A Solution

OK, let’s create a Safe Zone. Let’s create a task force to review the security measures during the Summer Celebration. Let’s search people coming downtown to reduce weapons and fire arms near the downtown district. Let’s put up a barricade or two or three. Let’s cancel events for the youth to attend. Let’s commission a report. Let’s hold hands. Let’s sing an old Negro spiritual and then how about we, after all of that, we go back to business as usual.

Sound harsh? We might as well. Why? Because none of this is going to do any good until we deal with the REAL issue. You know, the pink dinosaur in the room! Have fathers and the male figures in our teens lives been replaced with public defenders? Are there any fathers besides Reggie Clark, Sr. who are shaken by what happened last weekend? OK, let me put it another way. Are there any fathers who are willing to put aside their salary, titles, degrees, politics, or denomination to look at the continuing violence for what it is. It’s a result of lack of attention. I know paying child support is important to many single mothers. But, paying attention is just as important to a child who is developing a psychological necessity called attachment.

If your life’s ship crashed in the middle of an ocean and you can’t swim, the only way you’ll survive is to grab a hold of something . . . anything. To stay alive you don’t care if it’s a broken piece of the ship, as long as you have something to hold on to. Too many children are facing death by drowning or holding on to broken pieces. They’re faced with doing whatever they can just to stay sane within environments that are saturated by senseless violence.

Time To Step Up . . . For Real!

So, how do we put the pieces back together? It will take father’s to do what they can to learn how to be what many of them didn’t see growing up. Can it be done in one generation or will it take as long to fix the problem as it took to cause it? Look at the life of President Obama and you tell me.

Who needs to step up? Every father who knows he has a child somewhere but has left his responsibility of fathering to someone else must stand up. No one is perfect and all father’s, at home or not, incarcerated or free, divorced or married, saved or unsaved, employed or unemployed, baby boomer or buster, degreed or not, white collar or blue collar, known father or father-less, has an opportunity to initiate a New MENtality.

Every “Old Head” who knows the value of hard work, respect and education must step up in the lives of sons and daughters you know are headed down the wrong path. Every “Other Mother” who understands her value as the consciousness of the her family and community and who is the prayer worrier over the lives of those who’ve forsaken the assembly must keep the porch light on. Every pastor who steps out of the pulpit and into the arms of children who share him or her with their congregation must be willing to be the standard they preach about. Every law enforcement officer who leaves his/her own children vulnerable while protecting the lives of other people’s children must be willing to look at every child as if they were his or her own. Every mother who seeks the best for her children and understands that they must put their child’s need for paternal attachment ahead of their need to get even. Every politician who says they’re in position for the betterment of the community must put their money where their mouth is and stop wasting time and lives lining their pockets, being politically correct, roll up their sleeves and do what they were voted into office to do — Lead! Every business owner who benefits financially from our communities must stand up and be as fearless in educating and employing the children of our community as they are in profiting from our children (In other words, I’m not afraid to make money off of them, but I’m afraid to employ them). Every teacher who invests so much of their time, effort and energy into our children must be willing to be sensitive to the needs of every child and to stand up, advocate and embrace emerging methods of educating children with non-traditional learning styles. And every child who knows there is a hole in their heart that can only be filled by the compassion of a loving, attentive father must step up and acknowledge that what they’re searching for can’t be found in a gang, gun, sex, a baby, alcohol, nor drugs.

Barricades won’t do it. Safe Zones won’t cut it. Tasks forces will put forth a great effort, but their reports will fall short. As strong as Expo’s history is, they can’t do it — alone. It will take godly MEN, FATHER’S, UNCLES, GRANDFATHER’S, and MENTORS to crack the code that unleashes the best in our children, our community and our future. It’s just that simple.

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