Over the last few years, I’ve heard many arguments about whether there is still a need for Black History Month. The other argument is whether Black History Month creates separatism instead of ethnic pride. We don’t need Black History Month when have a Black family in the White House right? I disagree. I am of the opinion that until the diverse stories of African Americans are interwoven into the fabric of our lives and integrated seamlessly into our school curriculums Black History Month is absolutely relevant. For African American youth in the foster care system who may not have strong family ties or may not know their family at all, learning about the contributions made by people of the same race can be empowering. I dare say it can help them form a sense of identity and self-worth.
Pumpkins, vampires, even President Obama. Teens and adults across the country will be dressed in Halloween costumes today. We have been bombarded with commercials by retailers who hope to cash in on the phenomenon. Many people plan their costumes weeks and even months ahead of the big dress-up day. Halloween costumes allow teens to pretend to be someone they are not. On Halloween teens can change their gender, change shape, and even change their color without explanation. A Halloween costume can allow a teen to become a superhero or a villain for the day. It’s all fun and games right? Let me pose a serious question…and please take a moment before you answer. Is your teen wearing a mask the other 364 days of the year? Is your teen waiting until Halloween to be the person they want to be? I encourage you to encourage your teens take off the masks and be themselves everyday.
If you are what you eat does that mean that your teen is what they hear on their iPod and watch on TV? For the most part I believe they are.
The media is a powerful influence in our lives and I believe in censorship for that exact reason. Not extreme censorship but censorship nonetheless. I also believe that censorship starts at home. I believe parents have the first and final say about what their teen can freely indulge in or engage in. Parents need not wait for permissions from a school system or movie rating agency to allow their teens to read a certain book or buy a ticket to the theatre.
I don’t believe that parents should shelter their children so much that they are unable to cope in society but parents should protect the minds and spirits of their children from abusive and negative influences.
In the fight again childhood obesity, the physical benefits of sports are obvious. Healthy youth are active youth. Team/organized sports also build social skills – collaboration, loyalty, character. Participation on sports teams has also allowed countless youth to receive a free college education. Despite the numerous benefits of tennis, football, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading, track, and a dozen other sports, building a well-rounded youth requires more than athletics. The life of a well-rounded youth requires balance.
Let’s face the fact. Sports are important in our culture. We prove how important sports are in our lives by paying popular athletes more money than most doctors, lawyers, police officer, fire fighters, teachers, and morticians. Television, movies, and magazines glorify the glamorous lives of athletes – fast cars, big houses, numerous mates, and flashy clothes. Our teens are bombarded with these images and it can cloud their judgment and view of reality.