Several weeks ago during a morning church service, my pastor made a very simple statement that has been ringing in my head for over a month now.  He said, “Do not cutoff or give up on your kid.  It is your honor to give your life to your children, especially if their lives can be changed in the process, through your patience.”  Then the last statement he made was like an uppercut to my gut!  He went on, “Remember, somebody waited, or is still waiting, on you through your foolishness!”  Those three sentences have not only altered the way I view and speak about my own children, but the way I view other people’s children, and the way I now view my own adolescent years.

I remember the day I sat in a clinic barely listening to a nurse tell me I was going to be a mother.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything she said, because I could only think to myself, “MY MAMA IS GOING TO KILL ME!”  For two days, I rehearsed in agony the moment I would have to face my mother with this news.  The one thing I did not consider was the possibility of her exhibiting the love and patience my pastor mentioned a few Sundays ago.

My mother’s response was very simple, yet firm and sincere.  She said, “Tameka, you’ve done an excellent job at everything you’ve put your mind to, and I believe you will set your mind on being excellent at this too. I will do what I can to help you.”  She indeed kept her word, and for the first year of my son’s life, he was cared for by his grandparents, my mother and my husband’s parents, while we attended college over 120 miles away. 

Seventeen years later, five years after my mom’s death, I now realize that love and patience were imperative to my success, and had she chosen to give up on me, my course of life could have been very different.

With the published statistics and trends, many of you assume children of the current generation are lost and doomed to failure, immaturity, and laziness.  I refuse to accept those assumptions.  By all means, I agree, today’s young people are different, but they are also some of the smartest and most talented people I’ve met.  They possess the abilities and intellect most of us dreamed of at their age.  Between parenting, working, and volunteering, I have many opportunities to interact with young people, and I am always encouraged and reminded of my duty to “Keep hope alive!”

Once a year, I review applications and conduct interviews for a national scholarship organization, and I am astounded by the intellect and personal stories of each student.   The task of narrowing the selection is dreadful and near impossible, but I leave those interviews beaming with pride and excitement about the possibilities of the next generation. 

I understand some are already building prisons for our children and our grandchildren, but it is our responsibility to steer them in another direction.  I know many mothers and fathers are ready to “throw in the towel” as it pertains to the actions and attitudes of their children.  For some, this also includes adult children who are struggling.  Nevertheless, regardless of the age or the details of the struggle, I encourage you to remain loving, patient, and prayerful for your children.  Encourage and help them when you can.

There are enough people in the world betting against our children; don’t board that bandwagon.  Instead, begin paving a road of love and patience through your words and your actions.  When it gets tough, just reflect on the ones who were patient with you…through your foolishness, and how their prayers and patience brought you through.

On the other hand, if your children are striving and thriving, and you feel like you are partly responsible for their successes, share your time and energy with other parents and children who have not been so successful.  It takes a village…a community of people focused on a common goal for all children. Remember, our attitude and patience as adults, even in the midst of trouble and chaos, can steer our children in the direction of success.  It’s never too late to make a difference in the life of your child, or someone else’s child.

Make the decision to intentionally impact a child today!

Peace and Blessings,

Mama Tameka