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Are You Ready to Raise a Game Changer?

by guest blogger Nathaniel A. Turner, JD, MALS

Always be mindful that as you raise your children, your ultimate goal is to work yourself out of that job.  Mocha Moms, Inc. is pleased to introduce guest blogger,  Nathaniel A. Turner, JD, MALS.  Mr. Turner is the author of "Raising Supaman", a collection of life lessons written by a father to his son and Stop the Bus, a critique of and counsel for Americas educational system.  Nate coaches parents to be purposefully engaged advocates in their childrens lifes.  His ultimate goal is to provide an ecosystem where all children will have a chance to maximize their ability.  Nate blogs at The Raising Supaman Project.  You can also find and follow Nate on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter.

Read Mr. Turner's thoughts on what parents should do to move the next generation forward.

Are You Ready To Raise A Game Changer?

At the recommendation of Mocha Moms, Inc, I went to see the movie Concussion.  Without spoiling the movie for those who have yet to see it, I wanted to share one of the movies most important messages. 

You probably already know that “Concussion” is the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, his medical discover and his bout with the NFL.  What you might not know is that “Concussion” is so much more.  “Concussion” is the figurative story of the African American community because in many ways, our community also unknowingly suffers from a literal disorientation particularly when it comes to education.  

CHRONIC TRAUMATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.  Thanks to the tireless and fearless work of Dr. Omalu, many of our sons and daughters might now be spared from living a life with diminished brain capacity.  Because of Dr. Omalu, parents now know to pay more attention when our children are involved in contact sports such as football, soccer, wrestling, martial arts and boxing.

Alas, Dr. Omalu’s work and discovery also sheds a light on something we are far too quick to ignore. Dr. Omalu’s work is symbolic of the debilitating and progressively degenerative state of education in the African American community. 

AN EDUCATIONAL CALL TO ACTION 

Dr. Omalu’s story should serve as an educational call of action for all African American parents.  Whether your child aspires to be a doctor or not it is critical that you know that only about five percent of all American doctors are African American.  We should all be troubled to learn that a community which makes up more than thirteen percent of the US population is only able to produce five percent of Her doctors. 

Education like health care is one of the greatest social justice issues impacting the African American community.  If there was ever time and a community that needed social justice, it would be the African American community at this time.  However, the prospects for social justice look bleak. 

Without game changers like Dr. Omalu we might soon find ourselves returning to the days of The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the A.M.A.’s behavior during the Jim Crow era, and the misappropriation of the HeLa cells.  If we don’t increase the production of doctors like Dr. Omalu, who do we believe will work with underserved and indigent populations?  Absent supplementary doctors like Dr. Omalu, do you imagine that African American patients will experience the sense of familiarity that has been shown to enhance communication and patient satisfaction? 

THE IRONY OF FIVE 

While you are pondering the answers to questions regarding the significance of African American doctors, I want to draw your attention to the significance of one more thing.  I want you to notice the number five – as in five percent. 

Five percent is not only the despicable number of African American doctors practicing in the US.  Five percent also represents the appallingly low number of African American students who passed all four of the ACT benchmarks.  

Per the ACT, it seems that part of the reason we don’t have more game changers like Dr. Omalu is directly connected to the academic struggles and deficiencies of our children.  Despite Dr. Omalu’s work to help us protect our brain, it appears not enough of us know how to benefit from our brain’s enormous potential.  The result is that African American children are failing in wholesale numbers to be prepared to meet the minimum proficiencies in science, technology, engineering, and math 

TIME FOR GAME CHANGERS 

Game changers have always been a part of our history.  Although it seems that – as it is with African American doctors and African American students who are proficient in S.T.E.M. – there are far fewer game changers today than at any previous time in history.  In the past, game changing was a way of African American life – almost like an extra set of chromosomes that made up our DNA.  

Game changers revolutionized existing situations and activities in historically significant ways.  Game changers were “average” unassuming people who understood that they were created just like all other human beings.  Game changers believed regardless of their station in life their humanity meant there was no limit to what they could do. 

Back in the day, African American children were raised to believe that they were game changers and as such not only did we know that we mattered but we understood how we lived each day mattered.  Back in the day, game changing parents lived a life based on an explicit and concrete community mission – “to create a better socio-economic future than the one we had experienced for ALL our children”.  Back in the day, African American parents were game changers who were obsessively focused on delivering a world to our children that made it possible for ALL children to maximize their unlimited God-given ability. 

BACKWARDS FORWARD

 Once again, we need to look to the past.  Now more than ever, the African American community needs game changers.  As it was in days gone by, the Community is counting on you and I to do the following four things to increase the number of game changers: 

1.      Becoming zealous advocates for our children – demanding of others and ourselves that our children are always treated ethically and responsibly,

2.      Being well-informed about the quantitative academic performance of our children – questioning and investigating our child’s educational offerings and comparing what our children receive to the world’s best education,

3.      Building children who understand the demands for revolutionary leadership – laying the foundation that inspires children to be willing to disrupt the status quo and a commitment to be radically innovative, and

4.      Imbuing within our children a passion for the well-being of all humankind – creating a new generation of citizens who believe in serving something far greater than themselves. 

Just like Dr. Omalu, we can no longer wait for someone else to be a game changer.  Our community has problems that need to be solved immediately. The future is counting on you and I to raise children who are game changers.  


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