My mother said, “gumption.” I didn’t know what she meant; but she was distinctive enough to convey the life changing motivation. The tone of her voice and the context spoke volumes. I learned she wanted me to have “courage.” She wanted me to “persevere,” She conveyed a “never give up” attitude, wanting me to believe that some kind of way I could work my way up out of the housing projects in Birmingham, Alabama and ‘make something of myself’. That’s right, she would say that too, “Jean, you better go to school and make something out of yourself!” [my dear wonderful mother] She would say, “You gotta have some ‘grit’ in your ‘craw.’ I’m still not sure how you spell ‘craw’ (Help!). Imaginatively, I saw a turkey trying to swallow something “gritty” and the turkey didn’t give up until it swallowed whatever the ‘grit’ was!! But, I knew what she meant. She meant you have to be “strong” and “courageous,” “never give up “ and be able to speak up when you have to but do it appropriately! She said, “Jean don’t “sass” your teachers. And don’t have me coming down to that school ‘bout you doing something wrong and not doing your work.” It’s amazing what our parents said and our interpretation. Even more amazing is that ‘we got it!’ Imagine!! Our mission at Today’s Fresh Start Charter School is: “teach our students individually and personally to their personal best and starting from pre-kindergarten through eighth grades an enthusiasm for learning and they’re going to finish college” and make something out of themselves! Unavoidably my thoughts go to Simone Biles, our Olympic champion for all young people and adults too. Simone is an African American young woman who reached the top of the gymnastics mountain by winning the Olympic all-around women’s title. She is a three-time world champion and came into Rio DeJaneiro as the most decorated gymnast of her era even before competing in the Games. She out performed other hugely talented young women by a big margin. At TFSCS we teach our students they must sacrifice some recreation and play to achieve. They have to study and persevere. Biles had a vision of excellence. She worked hard. Here’s my point, “PARENTS, you want your child to achieve highly, you must instill in them a spirit to be “driven, persevere, never give up!” You must start at home first. PARENTS, you cannot expect your child to rise to the heights if you don’t TEACH THEM AT HOME! It’s true! Even in your own lives as adults, you MUST persevere to your goals! Influence your children’s achievement by setting an example at home.
[Teach your children at home. Cooperate with the school.] Jeanette Grattan Parker is Founder-Superintendent of Today’s Fresh Start Charter School 4514 Crenshaw BL., Los Angeles, CA 90043 323-293-9826 [writing is under copyright “Will You Marry Me?”, “Inquiring Minds Want To Know”]; artist, marriage expert (50+) www.todaysfreshstart.org – firstname.lastname@example.org