As parents, we should be the driving force when it comes to encouraging our children to have big dreams and visions The first chapter of my book “Step Into Your Glorious Future” talks about why this is so important in determining their future. This weekend we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he meant to the struggle for equality in our country. Even though his “I
Have a Dream” speech was delivered over fifty years ago, most of us remember the spirit of what his speech was about today. It aimed to not only end racism but sought improvement when it came to civil and economic rights. Honoring the significance of this speech, in my opinion, doesn’t call for us only to look back and reminisce about how great a speech it was but instead recognize the fight for justice, equality and economic freedom must continue with a purpose. As iconic as the “I Have a Dream” speech was, Dr. King, made it clear when he spoke at the Riverside Church in New York City that time is of the essence when he said, “we are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today“.
Parents have a responsibility to engage our children in these types of meaningful discussions because their future in most cases will depend on the actions we help them to take now. Scripture tells us “…to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12, ESV) which amplifies the need for us to be focused on our actions now as tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Our country is embroiled in what appears to be non-productive discussions involving immigration as well as some issues that will affect our children for years to come. It appears that those same politicians are having a hard time deciding whether or not they heard something said, who said it, etc. There was the discussion about only allowing certain people with technical skills, from certain countries, and in some cases even proposed banning some with certain religious beliefs.
A March 2016 Pew Research report showed that Americans are more racial and ethnically diverse than in the past. The U.S. is projected to be even more diverse in the coming decades. This means that despite the growing demographic shift, minorities find themselves not having the voice they should. The photo above gives us a glimpse of the demographic makeup of the people making decisions that affect our lives socially, politically and economically. The alarm has been sounding, now it’s up to us to not only get involved but
to encourage our children to do the same. So how do we honor the dream?
Change requires action. The restoration of the family is the key to success. Spending time with our children making sure homework, chores, coming home at a decent hour, etc. are small but significant things. We must have an expectation of excellence amongst ourselves and not continue to throw our hard earned money to the courts, convenience stores in our neighborhoods which we don’t own, athletic shoes and video games that decrease in value instantly, and so much more. Protests will always be a part of how we seek to get things done but shouldn’t be our only priority. By reinforcing family values we can be the group that has the funds to send our kids to college who then become district attorneys, judges and those who decide whether or not a case will go to trial. We could also have amongst us, a group of young men and women who choose to go to the police academy and come back to their neighborhood as respected members of their communities. This will alleviate the issue of police that live far away but come into neighborhoods they don’t live in to restore “order”. The list goes on and on in terms of the various paths to successful careers our young people can embark on. However if as parents and community leaders our primary method of addressing the manner in which we are being treated at the local, state and national level is waiting for something to happen to protest, those in power will continue to take us for granted and change will be slow if it comes at all.
Let’s honor the dream by encouraging our children to take their education seriously, build strong friendships, work hard, grow spiritually, take care of themselves physically, read, speak up, run for office and vote. We’ve Heard of young people running for office right out of high school even college. The choice is ours, continue to complain about who is in office, how they are breaking the rules, lying, being vulgar, etc. or get our house in order by strengthening our families and putting ourselves in position to be the decision makers. Let’s be the “drum majors” Dr. King talked about being when it came to justice, peace and righteousness by taking action.
Marko Gittens, Author, Speaker