How do we see our children? How we see them matters because how we see them will determine how we treat them. If we see them as the future and as those who will take us to our promised land as people, that will determine how we advocate, educate, and leave the world better.
When I look at the children at my school, I see them as young kings and queens. When they walk through the doors of my school, they walk to take their place on their throne. Their experiences in our building should be mirrored as royalty. When I refer to them as kings and queens, it is an affirmation of their potential and greatness. There is power in affirmations. Outside the school, our children are under attack, and we have to protect them.
I see our children as the future, so with that, I must prepare them for that future. My job is to show them what it means to those kings and queens. They must understand that as kings and queens, their actions must bring honor to their family. They must know every day they represent what is good in the world, and they have to strive to be their best every day.
At my school, we call our young men gentlemen. There are certain qualities of a gentleman that we want to teach. We want to teach them that they should not lie, cheat, or steal. They must know that a gentleman is always accountable for his actions. We want our gentleman to have the academics in combination with developing other attributes. We emphasize the importance of hygiene, a proper handshake, and most importantly, how to treat a lady. We see our young men as fathers, husbands, and brothers. We see them as the next stalwarts of the community. We do not want our gentlemen waiting for a handout, but instead, we equip them with the necessary skills to be leaders. A gentleman will always carry the excellence that is required and expected of them every day.
We see our young ladies as ladies of excellence. We know that it is important for them to give their best at all times. They are leaders, and how society sees them is not an indication of what they can be in life. We tell our young ladies there is no glass ceiling, only heights that have yet to be obtained. We show them the positive images of women who have accomplished what people said they could not accomplish. Being a lady of excellence means you are a leader and a change agent within our school and our broader community. We believe we are educating our young ladies to become future engineers, doctors, lawyers, Fortunate 500 CEO, Mayors, Governors, and even President of the United States. We tell our ladies they are not just doing this for themselves, but they must always open doors and keep doors open for their sisters who follow behind them. Our young ladies know that it isn’t just about them, but about other young ladies who will soon follow. They are creating the path and providing the roadmap for other young ladies to follow to reach their success in life.
The way we see our children is the way we will treat them. The way we treat them is what they will become. We treat our children like gentlemen and ladies of excellence because we want them to become that. We treat them like kings and queens because that is what we want them to become. When we see our children as smarter, stronger, and accomplished, then they will see themselves that way. We know that if our children see themselves the way we see them, they will see that the world in front of them is open for their taking!
May the souls of Roderick Payne Jr. and Nya Cope rest peacefully. As they were taken from us far too soon. We must not stop until their killers are bought to justice!