"Say what you mean. Mean what you say, and do what you say you'll do."
A new model for mentoring African American youth is presented here for your review and consideration. Will the same model work for other youth as well? Absolutely!
I strongly believe that an inter-generational model that "intentionally" brings seniors and youth together would be effective in addressing many of the challenges facing today's families. The model presented here is rooted in integrity, based in faith, and designed to intentionally engage the "indigenous genius in every child".
Historic migration of youth and young adults away from traditional family homes and structures has had numerous consequences that manifest as anger, violence, disconnectedness, and imprisonment of younger and younger kids. Babies having babies, babies killing babies, drugs and alcohol, gang violence, and the use of prison as a "rite of passage" are all too commonplace.
In many cases youth are being abused, drugged, and often are caring for younger siblings without benefit of adult supervision. Often one or both parents are incarcerated, or on drugs, leaving the youth to fend for themselves. Some say, they don't know their history. And I say, whose fault is that?
The family unit is under attack by a society gone wild with greed and profit motives. The integrity of families and households nationwide is being compromised daily. Whether it is a lack of medical care, poorly equipped schools, inferior education, an overly aggressive juvenile justice system, homelessness, unemployment, or denial of access to needed human services, as a society we have not fulfilled the promises and hope of the next generation. Zero Tolerance in our schools is simply madness!
The Inter-Generational Mentoring Model is designed to bring seniors and youth in our communities together - deliberately, intentionally, and on purpose. They have much to learn from each other. The seniors are the glue that's missing in our attempts to mentor our youth and young adults. Instead of a steady hand and the wisdom of age at life's many decision points, we see our kids making decisions without choices. They simply don't understand that without choices, there's no decision to be made. They are simply reacting, and that's always a bad idea. How would they know?
Our beloved President Obama and Michelle were wise enough to bring the grandmother along to the White House to care for and keep the kids grounded. She's the glue that connects the kids to reality, while mom and dad try to solve the world's problems. All kids want and need the grounding rooted in the love, nurturing and acceptance that come from older and wiser adults. The seniors have one foot in the past and one foot in the present. The youth have one foot in the present and one foot in the future.
Together they meet the challenges of the present, by sharing the benefits of the past and future.