Act like you know each other

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

I remember how as a youth, I, like most other kids was always giddy about the first day of school.

The biggest thrill was always getting to wear the new clothes that my parents had bought me over the summer.

The anxiety wouldn’t let me sleep the night before as I anticipated how sharp I was going to look on the first day.

Yeah that was me, a little ‘wanna be player’ trying to look fly for the ladies.

When school starts next week, the ‘new clothes’ angst will not be nearly as prevalent as it has in previous years.

The school uniform policy will downplay that aspect of ‘first day of school’ jitters for children.

Adults, on the other hand, will have much to be anxious about, and for good reason.

I have stated many times over, and I am sure I will many times in the future, there is nothing more important to the well being of any community than a properly educated population base, period.

The physician that will monitor your blood pressure concerns and perform the surgery you may need later is attending one of our middle schools right now.

The District Attorney and Sheriff that will make sure your neighborhoods are safe to raise your children in the future are currently students at one of the local high schools.

In fact, the next generation of firefighters, politicians, business owners, barbers, religious leaders, teachers and more importantly, parents, are all being sent to campuses all across the region to be trained in academics as well as life skills.

Educators are tasked with trying to mold these students into vehicles of inspiration, but if educators do not get the support of parents and the entire community, it is hard to expect them to do their job properly.

When I was growing up, there was no such thing as calling social services if you got a ‘whupping’.

On more than one occasion I would look in the back of my classroom and see that my father had snuck in without me knowing and was monitoring my every movement.

It took one surprise visit, coupled with a little too much horseplay, for me to realize that pops wasn’t having the nonsense in school.

When my parents separated it certainly had affect on my grades and overall development.

My mother, Alice Faye (Rascoe) Morris, of Indian Woods in Windsor managed to get my siblings and I through school in tact and with the intellectual acumen to be able to compete in the world.

It was not easy for her being a single mom, but I have a pretty strong extended family that was heavily involved in church and understood the importance of sticking together.

As I traversed my way through life fatherless, several men, who all came from varying ethnic backgrounds and cultures, stepped in at key times in my life to serve as mentors and father figures to push me to do better whenever I was on the verge of self-destruction.

There is no way I could ever thank them all face to face, but I can certainly make the effort to understand what their motivation and spirit was.

We adults have too often seen the disappointments that life occasionally serves up.

It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we lessen the frequency that our children will have to endure similar disappointments.

It would be nice to have inherited millions of dollars that would allow me to pay for my children to go to the nation’s finest schools and have private tutors.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a judge, or a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist as a parent.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t need one.

All I needed was a parent who cared so much about my future that she would make whatever sacrifice necessary to not make sure that I was the best dressed kid at school, but the most prepared.

Local educational systems have been under fire lately for failing to adequately prepare their students for the future.

Enough said about that.

Parents can look forward to new leadership at all levels, in all aspects of the school system, and that is something to be giddy about.

Now that there have been significant changes in the infrastructure, it is important that community reciprocates that effort with personal involvement at all levels as well.

My mother is aging before my eyes and her health is not what it used to be.

At the same time my daughter is growing as fast as a corn stalk and she amazes me everyday with her grasp of the world around her.

Here I am stuck in the middle, tearful for both, trying to make each of them proud.

So if you never pay attention to anything I ever write again, pay attention to this.

It will take each and every one of you to make these changes work.

I hope that the some single mom in Colerain or Conway, or Conway is making sure that her child or children are really paying attention to their schoolwork.

One day that child may have to operate on my mother, deliver my grandchild, put out a fire at my home, pass new health care legislation or fix my plumbing.

So if we all work together now, I can look forward to a positive future with competent professionals everywhere I look.

That future is not far fetched.

All it takes is a little co-operation and community spirit.

Make all of your neighbors your friends.

Make all of your teachers your heroes.

Make all of your children your priority.

Make your future, now.