This is the time of year when people might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. So here are five New Year’s resolutions that just might help get us on a path to solving this Income Inequality dilemma…
As a transparent person I really can’t ever claim to know anything about the struggles that confront people of color (any color beside transparent) in the United States. I can’t claim to have a real sense of the fear some people feel when a police officer stops them on the street, or the feeling of being turned down for a job when I met every qualification, or the realization that I just won’t be able to give my kids a wonderful “story-book” Christmas.
So please cut me some slack as you read this. It comes from the right place. Give me a chance. Maybe the same chance you might want some day…
I recently watched a speech by a young black man. He had been a victim of unwarranted police violence. He survived physically but the his mental scars cut deep and may never totally heal. A white kid in the same situation probably would not have been victimized. But unfortunately this is the world we live in today. It is appalling…
Although my heart goes out to this young black man for the injustices he has suffered, unfortunately I could not agree with the theme of his speech. And… You might not either…
He restated his theme over and over. He pounded it as hard as those cops pounded on his face. Maybe harder.
His theme was that black kids in this country have no hope of improving their lives. No matter how hard they work they have no hope. Poverty, discrimination, futility was all they could ever expect from life! His words. Not mine.
This young black man was a student at a leading university. He was from a poverty level broken home but he had somehow found his way out of the inner city. He was born when his mom was a in her teens and his father was largely not involved in his life.
The scary part for me is that this young black man is being given a national platform to bring his THERE IS NO HOPE message to the masses. I could picture thousands of five year old black kids hearing this well-spoken articulate young man tell them they had no hope.
My hope is that those kids don’t believe him.
Believing a THERE IS NO HOPE message means only one thing… Failure is assured.
I wish this young black man would have used his new found notoriety to instead talk about how he made it. What were the key things that got him from a desperate childhood to a classroom in a leading university and certainly on the way to a bright future.
Instead of preaching a message of THERE IS NO HOPE maybe he could lay out the four things black families could do to be sure that this terrible Police Brutality, Hopelessness, and Income Inequality gets put a path to ending.
These four things could be just the New Year’s resolution needed that could make a big difference.
First lets agree that education is the key…
Barring any effect related to wizarding magic, winning lottery numbers, and inheritance from a long lost rich uncle the only way to get ahead is to get a good education. In an information centered economy like ours people with a solid education in marketable fields will always find work. You will probably always find work if you are a plumber too. But that takes education also.
So where is the education breakdown in this country?
We can complain about the schools, the teachers, and the lack of classroom technology but all those will probably cost money that schools and municipalities just don’t have. And the rich (those 1% to 10%ers) alone can’t pay for what’s really needed even if we had a 99% tax rate. The middle class has been hollowed out or left the areas where the tax revenue is needed. And those people below the middle class don’t pay enough taxes.
Bottom line… There is not enough money for the government to solve this education problem on their own. If you think they can solve the problem on their own then you probably believe in wizarding magic, winning lottery numbers, and inheritance from a long lost rich uncle.
So… Baring wizarding magic, a huge lottery win, or a rich uncle (even all Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s money could not solve this education problem)… What can be done?
We can whine and moan while we tell everyone else what to do or what we deserve. And… tell our kids their future is hopeless or we can formulate a plan for real change like these five New Year’s resolutions:
- HAVE A BETTER ATTITUDE – Tell our kids that their future is bright if they work hard and make the right decisions. And offer to support them any way we can. More on this later.
- FOCUS ON FAMILY – Teenagers stop having kids so young. Moms have fewer kids. Mom and Dad stay together if you
can. If you split up still take full responsibility for your kids. Forget about your potentially terrible childhood. That’s over. This is a chance for you to make a difference going forward.
- PARENTS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – Own your child’s future. No one else is going to do this for you. Not teachers, not politicians, not anyone. What you do and how you behave will dictate 80% of how your child will end up in life. Things like showing an interest in their school work, providing a good environment for doing homework, requiring they do their homework. Sure you might say that what if the kids are just bad or refuse…. Start when they are four years old. Start the habits early and stick with them. If you are not willing to put in the effort then there is a high probability of failure. Your child’s failure. Like I said no one else can do this. It’s your responsibility.
- MAKE BETTER DECISIONS – You are not powerless. You decide how you spend your time and how to set your priorities. These decisions are a key to what happens in your life. Here’s a secret… Only make a decision to do something that will improve your current situation. If doing something move you to a worse place then don’t do it. The long-term (even just a year) cumulative effect of making decisions that only improve your situation are huge. These small steps add up. I know I’m repeating here but… Little things like showing interest in your child’s school work, going to a parent/teacher conference, praising your child for accomplishing an class assignment, keep the television (one any of the other screens) turned off until homework is done. I’m sure you can think of about a thousand other example decisions you might be faced with in 2016… Before your decide what to do and take action simply ask yourself, “Will this improve my (or my child’s) life?” If yes, then proceed. If no, don’t do it!
- FIND A MENTOR – Absolutely no one has all the answers on their own. Look at your community and try to find
someone you can talk with to help you make the right decisions going forward. This could be a person at your church, a business person, a person at your child’s school, or your great aunt Wilma. Pick someone you admire. Someone whose life you would like to emulate. Whoever you pick, I can guarantee they will be flattered and glad to help. Test your key decisions with your Mentor. See what they think. They may make some suggestion for options you didn’t realize existed.
If you try these New Year’s resolutions and they do not help your child get a better education then you have only wasted a year… A year of having a better attitude, focusing on your family, taking responsibility for your kid’s future, making better decisions, and spending time with a mentor.
Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a year.
Stack up five or ten or eighteen years like this with your kids and you can expect they will value education more, learn from your example on how to make good decisions, and most importantly learn to depend on themselves to make a change in their lives.
And here’s the big secret… These five New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. This is how people have been working for and achieving the American Dream since 1776. And I am talking about people who have splashed up on our shores without any skills, ability to speak English, or any education. And most of these people achieved their dreams in a time when a thing called “Discrimination” was an ugly part of the landscape. There were no laws to protect them.
All they had was hard work, persistence, and hope. And… that was enough!