A week or so I was interviewed by George Kilpatrick of New Inspiration for the Nation. During the interview, Mr. Kilpatrick asked me a question that I had never been asked. George asked, “Is this a hobby for you or is this a lifestyle?” My response which surprised even me was that writing, speaking and advocating for children is a revolutionary statement.
Over the past year or so, it has become increasingly clear that my purpose is to be a part of a larger revolution. A revolution to inform, inspire, and prepare parents to become – by any means necessary – zealous and purposeful advocates for ALL children. My call is no more than the same call that I believe ALL parents should willingly accept. A call that commands that we do everything humanly possible to ensure that ALL children receive the best opportunity possible to fulfill their God-given ability.
THEY COULD BE MY CHILD
By nearly every socioeconomic, academic and global measure, my son is doing well. Thus far, we have been able to create and foster an environment that provides him with an opportunity to reach his maximum potential. Despite his fortuitous history and promising future, I find myself increasingly unsatisfied and perturbed.
I’m dissatisfied and disturbed by the current state of children’s affairs in part because of the deep and rich love I have for my son. I’m offended and incensed by the lackluster approach so many adults take towards the profession of parenting – a profession I esteem. I become horrified and exasperated anytime I contemplate the unimaginable circumstances that would have prevented me from championing those battles my son was unprepared to fight or direct his path during those journeys he dares not go alone.
Thank you, George Kilpatrick, for asking the question. Thanks to your question and the subsequent contemplation, I understand and accept my purpose with renewed clarity and vigor.
Someone has to advocate for ALL children because it’s just not acceptable to care only for my child. So to borrow from a cliché expression: “if not me then who? If not now then when?”
THE REAL FAILURES
Centuries from now when archeologists and historians look back on this period, many will wonder why in the world we allowed things in America to get so drastically out of hand. Looking at the U.S. in the micro, researchers and scientist will ask how people in the midst of great technology, creativity, and innovation could not have disrupted the societal issues that eventually ruined their civilization. For example, the scientists and researchers will ask:
- How in a country of such great wealth could any child simultaneously be homeless?
- How in a country where there is mass obesity could any child suffer from starvation?
- How in a country where nearly everyone has a Smartphone could anyone be uneducated?
Just as we examine other generations, our time on the planet will be investigated and inspected ad nauseam. A plethora of books, papers, documentaries and the like will be published and televised to give the details on the fallen society.
As historians and researchers have done throughout time, hypotheses will be made and experiments will be set up to test those theories. It won’t take long for scientists and researchers to uncover the reason for our abrupt decline. And no matter the question, the cause will almost always be the same. The culprit of this nation’s falling skies fall will be parents.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Parents will be the blame and parents are going to be the people history will judge unkindly. Why am I so certain, you might ask? The answer is simple. People and nations either evolve or regress and just like the disappearing U.S. middle-class, there is nothing in between. Parents either raise children who help improve the world or we raise a child who make the world worse. It’s just that simple.
Sadly, today too many parents are uninformed or unconcerned about the plight of our children and the fate of a nation that rests on the children we raise. So often parent’s lack of awareness and indifference towards tomorrow manifests itself in a ridiculous illustration and posturing of pride and prejudice. Seemingly clueless about things that truly matter, children rapidly and continuously learn from their parents the art of being oblivious and heartless.
One need merely look at the most important aspect of a society’s foundation, the educational level of the masses. Most of the nation’s schools are being operated by “school leaders” who don’t have a clue about the meaning and value of education. Far too many parents – themselves behaving like the robots who are replacing them in the workforce – send their children off to school like drones without the slightest idea of the educational needs of their own generation let alone the next generation.
GRADUATION RATES AND STATEWIDE TESTS
Ask most parents about their children’s academic performance and just about everyone will tell a story about how their kids are doing “okay”. Ask them to quantify what “okay” means in the context of a global technological society and you will see an abundance of people looking at you as if you have two heads.
Listen to a school leader talk about the performance of their school and they will toot their horn about trends in graduation rates and statewide educational exams. Ask those same school leaders to quantify “graduation rates” and “statewide educational exams” in the context of children who will be prepared to capitalize on the “Global Workforce Crisis” and a sudden awkward silence will occur.
To the uninformed and disinterested, the responses by parents and educators are the reasonable and acceptable norm. In truth, the responses are neither reasonable, acceptable nor should they be the norm.
Our children and the future or our nation are being doomed by careless, lazy and pretentious parents. Our children and the future are being sentenced to worldwide irrelevance because of you and me.
IT’S NOT OKAY
American children are not doing okay. American children are failing miserably. American children are doing so poorly educationally that the World Economic Forum ranks the US 52nd in the world in education. American children are so unprepared to perform on a global economic stage that two-thirds of PhDs awarded in Science were earned by foreign students.
The U.S. has many of the world’s best universities and it is a location where many foreigners are being educated and trained to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Speaking of a foreign invasion, take a walk around the campuses of some of the top technology companies in Silicon Valley and you will think you are visiting the United Nations. Where are the advocates of more restricted immigration policies? Hmm! But I digress.
The most powerful nation in the world won’t continue to be the most powerful nation in the world if the non-voting citizens of its nation continue to flounder academically. The citizens of the world economic leader won’t benefit from its nations status if the children of its nation are unprepared for the best paying careers of tomorrow. The world leader is quickly becoming the world follower because parents don’t know or understand the significance of making sure every child receives a great education – an education that far exceeds bastardized graduation rates and globally trivial state examinations.
While schools and parents misguidedly argue over Common Core, U.S. students precipitously fall further behind other nations. While politicians and local leaders irrationally and irresponsibly fight over school funding, the students of other nation’s coast past U.S. students all the while spending significantly less on education than the U.S.
My grandmother always seemed to have an expression to remind me to raise my level of thinking and behavior. One of those idioms was “there but for the grace of God go I”. The meaning was unpretentious yet profound. If not for God’s grace, the misfortune of others could be mine. Thinking of my grandma recently, reminded me of how best to answer George’s question.
My grandmother believed that we all possess the ability to be great and much of that ability depended entirely on fortune. As a parent, I believe it is time for everyone to take my grandmother’s words to heart. The time is especially overdue for parents who are engaged and enlightened to heed my grandmother’s words. It’s time for parents to zealously advocate for ALL children so that every child will have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given ability.
In case, you don’t believe my grandmother or subscribe to the tenets of her faith perhaps you’ll believe R. Buckminster Fuller. Mr. Fuller said, “Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.” Just as I believed my grandma, I believe the architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor was correct. ALL children are geniuses until the process of parenting de-geniuses them.
Let’s use grandmas and Mr. Fuller’s words to fulfill our call as a parent. Let’s treat EVERY child as a genius regardless of DNA. Let’s do nothing that would de-genius them.
How does your child measure globally? Name some things you are doing to zealously advocate for children other than your own?