Increased Support Beyond Sports


    “A child does not grow up

                  only in a single home.”

                                        -African Proverb


When I think of family, the words support and foundation jump into my thoughts. These are the individuals who offer unequivocal help and guide you through your developing years with strength and guidance and guide you from a young person into adulthood.

There has to be an honest realization about what family has been and has evolved into over the past few decades. The family structure and core has taken a significant hit in the form of quality in recent years. Although I do believe in the traditional family structure of a man, woman, and children, I do accept and respect any form of family that is presented today. Family structure is a personal and individual choice. Today, I call on you to utilize your family in a more efficient way.

For many of our young people from Pre-K to 12th grade, school is about to be in full swing and it seems to begin sooner each year. My children return to school on August 9th and August 11th and I have heard many parents welcome the early start. I have seen many media ads that push the cause of staying in school longer and preach against dropping out of school. In our communities, we talk a great game about earning your education, staying in school and how education is the key to the future. A solid education is a great equalizer, a notion that I wholeheartedly stand behind. Which is why I am calling for a ramping up of the family support as it relates to academics.

For most of our boys before school starts in August or September, they are engaged in summer football practices. In many communities, football is king. We can’t wait to see our star players out there on the gridiron running, passing, and tackling their way to a productive season in pursuit of a state championship. Football is perhaps the king because it incorporates so many other extracurricular activities. Of course the band has to be in the stands cranking it up and many bands have intensive summer sessions as well. The band can’t be in the building without the cheerleaders, dance team, color guard, and a host of support as well.

Between the football team, the band, and it’s auxiliary support groups, there are many parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who are present in the stands. They are wearing shirts with the players’ numbers on them. They are saying, “That’s my baby out there cheerleading.” They are bragging on the crisp and booming sounds of the band with their baby in the drum section. They are taking pictures of those young ladies who are on the dance team and the flag twirlers and according to these supportive parents, “Ain’t nobody ready for what these young ladies are about to show the world.”

This will happen in communities and cities around our nation and later in the year, it will be basketball and then baseball along with homecoming, prom, and other school events that garner family wide support, yet honestly academics and other important meetings about our children won’t receive the same fanfare, attention or treatment as sports or events during the school year.

As a concerned father I am calling for an increased support of the things we tell our children are so important yet lack the support around the obtaining of those goals, because school is initially about receiving the best academically first and foremost. Could you imagine if we all wore t-shirts to pick-up our children’s report card and bragging “Ain’t nobody ready for what my children are about to show the world” as it relates to academics? Envision PTA meetings just as packed as the homecoming game against the rival team.  What if Family Literacy night and Math/Science night had a child’s whole family there with t-shirts on and banners exclaiming, “That’s my son,” or “My nephew is the one who vividly read those chapters in that book.” High fives to the literacy and math giants. What a clear picture that would show our kids and communities that academics is paramount and at the top of the list when it comes to accomplishments.

I am asking for an increased participation across the board from family members when it comes to matters of academics in addition to other school activities. I’m looking for uncles or aunts to show up to report card conferences if mom or dad can’t make. Big brother or cousin can show up to the father/daughter dance if that family structure doesn’t have a father in the home. Grandparents and friends can volunteer in the classroom or at the fall fair. Yes, I am committing to a greater role in supporting academics and all other activities that directly support the children of our families and I invite you to join me and do the same. For our children’s future lies in the culmination of efforts from all of their loved ones from across the board in order to gain educational success today.

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