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Race Relations
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Labor Day: Summer Ends & Learning Begins
Published:
9/9/2015 4:41:33 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch


Labor Day was organized by union workers to pay tribute to the American workers. According to the United States Department of Labor, the first Labor Day celebration was held on September 5, 1882 in New York City.

It was the laborers that created the wealth in this country yet most laborers are not wealthy. Oftentimes, they die penniless. Isn’t it ironic how the true meaning of holidays gets lost in its observance?

While Labor Day signals the end of summer, it should signal the beginning of serious settling down and studying for students. I often find the idea for articles in the most peculiar places. This time, it was in the elevator in a Florida hotel.

As I entered the elevator, a young child was in the elevator so I engaged him in a conversation. I did not get his name but he left me with an image of many young black intelligent males that have to fight every day to get noticed. He appeared to be around eight or nine years old. I said, “good morning, how are you?” He said, “fine”. I rebounded with, “what grade are you in and how are you doing in school?” He said he was from Jacksonville, in the 5th grade and doing well in school.

My final question was “how are your grades?” As the elevator door was closing behind him he said “A’s” and “have a good day”. He was not timid but rather refined with good diction and good eye contact. My sister said, “wow! we will read about him in the future; he is going places.” I said yes, he is the type of student we hear so little about.

The reality of the achievement gap between black and white students is real but by design. I have never bought into the premise that black children can’t learn or learn at the same rate as white children. If provided the same tools and level the playing field, all students can learn.

Below are some pointers to help students navigate through a challenging system:

• Study hard!! The first rule to success.
• Don’t follow the crowd. The crowd may end up in jail.
• Be where you are supposed to be and when you are sup
posed to be there and you will stay out of trouble.
• Listen attentively; you might learn something.
• Obey all rules that are set before you and don’t question
those in authority. As you mature, you will understand
that someone must be in charge and if you work real hard,
you will get your turn.
• Get up before your alarm clock goes off. Getting to school
late because you over slept is an excuse. If you begin to
make excuses now, you will make them all through life.
• Learn to think with your head. No other part of your
anatomy was designed to do so.
• Go with your gut instinct. Nine times out of ten you will
be right.
• Don’t worry about designer clothes and shoes; design your
education and fill big shoes.
• Take time to help others. There will come a time in your
life when others will have to help you.
• Don’t make hasty decisions. Take time to think things out.
• Guns are designed to kill. You can’t give life, so don’t take
one.
• Don’t live to regret anything. You may not get the chance
to correct everything.
• Be adventurous. There is a world beyond yours that is
waiting for you to explore.
• Be flexible. Don’t bend because others say bend but bend
because you know it is right.
• Be your own person. You were designed differently.
• It is important what others think of you but it is more im
portant what you think of yourself.
• It’s not old fashion to say “please” and “thank you”. That’s
called etiquette.
• Don’t avoid classes that you think are hard. Life is diffi
cult. You have to equip yourself to elevate yourself.
• Don’t say “yes” to sex unless you are prepared to be a “great
mother” or a “great father”. If not, you will find yourself at
an early age struggling to take care of your child or making
child support payments. There are no other options. You
have to pay to “play”.
• Stop sitting in the back of the class. You will learn more
up front because you can hear more. You have less
chances of falling asleep. Do not take a back seat to any
one.
• Volunteer to do tasks other than those assigned to you.
You learn by doing. There is no room in this technological
advance nation for one track people.
• Stand out from the crowd. Even if you are short, people
will see you.
• Don’t think you know everything in your short life. You
can learn so much more from others.
• Respect your mother, father and those in positions of au
thority. When you respect others, they will respect you.
• Follow the golden rule. Go to church. The church will
keep you directed and focused on things that are positive
and Christ like.

Are y’all listening?



 

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