Take misplaced priorities seriously

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To the editor:

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a place where we have never been before. This generation, our children, are at a crossroads. Gone are the strong role models in many of our neighborhoods. Gone are the lessons of goal-setting and persevering until they’re met. Gone are the days when young people were taught to always walk with their heads up and their shoulders back. Gone are the days when you respected your elders, just because.

Now our role models are entertainers. People many of us will never meet. Our teachers are no longer in the home but on the television and in the movie theater. Pride is a word that is unfamiliar to too many of our youth, and respect is as forgone as platform shoes and disco. Have we, as adults, forgotten that this generation is our future? Have we forgotten that if we don’t teach them now, that the jobs that they should be getting soon will not be there? They will go to the children of other nations, who do put emphasis on education and discipline.

Email newsletter signup

Our youth suffer from “misplaced priorities.” In many instances, it is more important to be “cool” than it is to be successful. Getting good grades in school is not “cool.” Being articulate is not “cool.” On Friday night at John F. Kennedy Middle School, more than 190 students, young and old alike, were to be honored for academic achievements. There were approximately 20 in attendance. Where were all of the others? Where were their parents? Where were the “leaders” in the community who should have come out to support such a noble cause? Was there a television marathon that I was unaware of? Perhaps a big sporting event? Maybe “American Idol” chose their winners that evening. I don’t know.

Will it be the same level of non-support for the “Misplaced Priority” Youth Summit, sponsored by the NAACP Youth Council, on Thursday evening? Three powerful workshops will be offered, ranging in topic from “Dress for Success” to “Educate Versus Incarcerate” and more. These are subjects that need to be addressed. Everyone who has any affiliation with any young person should be there. The opening ceremony itself is going to open many eyes as to the severity of our situation.

If we are truly going to make differences in the lives of our young people, we can no longer sit on the sidelines, waiting for someone else to get in the game.

Charles S. Gates