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I have not seen anybody yet make a sacrifice despite the sweet rhetoric we are buffeted with daily from slick-talking politicians pretending to care about kids.
I want to see them make personal sacrifices by volunteering 5 percent of their monthly salary to fund a scholarship for children in our neighborhoods.
The Detroit City Council, and other elected officials including members of the Detroit Lansing Delegation, can do this if they are serious about the business of the children. I’ll bet you none of them would come forward because some of them reminded us already on the campaign trail that because they are working for the public, they expect to get paid. Others were stammering like babies ready to say their first word when asked during the various candidates’ forum what they will personally sacrifice. I heard none of them mentioned Detroit’s children.
If you have ever paid someone’s college fees or medical bills of an indigent family, please let us know because we would like to write about it. Because I want you to prove me wrong that no one in the political leadership does that kind of public service.
That is why I find no justification in slashing after-school programs and other incentives like the Michigan Promise Scholarship when the future of our children is at stake. I find no reasoning in the mad logic often demonstrated by nutty-head politicians who clamor for educational cuts first before anything else in solving budget issues.
Even when they have options to weigh, education is the first lamb for the slaughter, while their salaries are intact, and then they further engage in the double-talk propaganda of helping our children.
And if you are like Robert L. Emerson, the gloating state budget director who because of the dire economic crisis proposed that Michigan stop paying for a before- and after- school program he himself sponsored as a lawmaker, your tunnel vision offers no vision for children of the state.
So our problem continues because we have so-called political leaders in place who are willing to slice and dice the opportunities for children, denying them what is rightfully theirs.
And this trend of abandoning the needs of tomorrow’s future leaders will continue because we as parents, teachers, administrators and the community have not set better examples of being custodians of a brighter tomorrow for children.
We continue to be poor role models to children who are begging for mentorship and guidance. Some parents have chosen the option of putting aside their children’s educational demands for a week-long wonder vacation in the Caribbean islands or to host the latest award-winning or talk-of-the-town party.
Our messed up priorities are only leaving our children behind and then we wonder why they are coming home with failing grades from DPS. Then we blame everyone but ourselves.
At the same time other parents are engaging in the thrill of shopping madness, finding respite in buying toys and violent games for their children while neglecting important things like books that will actually develop the cognitive skills of the kids.
If parents are the first tutors of a child, especially in the first five years of their development, and the most they can do is buy them junk food, toys which are sometimes filled with lead from China, and violent addictive games, what type of future do we expect those kids to have?
An unhealthy, playful and violent future?
The year 2010 should call for an attitudinal change towards our children.
The politicians are not guilt free. But we do have an obligation as well, especially if we love our sons and daughters enough to ensure a secured and happy future for them.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly stipulates that children deserve the support of us all, noting, “Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community. Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”
Most children around the world are far from realizing the dreams and aspirations ratified in this document, but we in Detroit have an inescapable obligation to help in realizing these goals for our children.
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