Schools are finally closed for the summer, much to the delight of those children fortunate enough to be free from summer school requirements and the like. They have now turned their attention to things like swimming, skateboarding, texting, surfing the net and sleeping in late.
But given the academic deficiencies which continue to plague and hamper far too many children of color, Black youth specifically as iterated by the ominous “achievement gap,” parents can ill afford to allow their children to take a time out from learning during the summer months. Instead, we must be diligent in helping them to further stretch their minds and advance their intellectual abilities or skills to greater heights.
A national advertisement campaign popular in the ’70s asked the question, ‘Do you know where your children are?’ The ad actually spoke to the importance of keeping children safe, knowing where they were at all times and with whom they were playing. Sadly, many parents are so consumed with their own stuff that they have little time to be the kinds of parents that every child deserves.
Summer time is a great opportunity to youth to run, skip, jump and have fun. But it’s also a time when we should take our children to the library, expose them to museums, let them learn new skills through their participation in neighborhood camps, day programs or vacation Bible study schools.
White families tend to better understand and take advantage of utilizing these next several months for the betterment of their children by exposing them to educational opportunities or situations that teach them how to better resolve conflicts while also introducing them to those who are far different from them.
Our children did not ask to be born. They have never put overwhelming requests in our laps. All children ever want is to feel loved and safe. They just want a chance to dream with the possibility that their dreams can actually come true.
So, don’t use the summer to let your children watch Netflix or play video games on their cellphones from sunup to sundown. Arm them with the tools they’ll need when school doors reopen in the fall.