"To put this in an educational context, the answer to closing the achievement gap is not merely to tell our children to work harder, to have grit, and to overcome, it is also to connect them with peers and mentors, engage their families, affirm their identities, provide adequate nutrition, build safe home environments, and make sure they are responding well to stress. It is advocating for our children, not to leave the communities they come from, but to come back and improve the environment they grew up in so that they can help other children from their communities flourish as well", Deborah Chang, I I Am A Product of Privilege And You Are, Too.
Deborah Chang is an American success story, who rose from poverty, and understands the path out of it.
I have to agree with Ms Chang; as Americans we are products of privilege. Those privileges are afforded us by living in a country that allows us to excel, to succeed. But achieving our potentials is not a one person show. We all need help along the way. Children need the guidance of all the adults they have contact. Coaches, teachers, baby sitters and day care workers all need to be encouraging and able to teach life lessons.
Most important is loving, caring parents and their extended family. I was lucky; I had working parents who guided me toward success. They taught me life lessons every day that have served me well. My grandparents guided me when mom and dad were working. My grandfather gave me a sense of what it meant to be an Italian American and my grandmother taught me things, like sewing and cooking, that I still use today and that I passed on to my children.
Of course I had two uncles that taught me mischief and how to have fun. My favorite uncles, lol. But even their lessons were useful in helping me achieve.
A strong family unit is key to guiding a child to achievement. A sense of who you are and where you came from allows you understanding into what events formed you. Knowing that my ancestors, who first emigrated to America, were dirt poor and made their living as street musicians helped me understand poverty. Their success also taught me that achieving was possible.
My family provided me with all the things Ms Chang describes; a good safe home, the nutrition I needed, educational opportunities and most of all love.
I have tried to instill a sense of responsibility, in my children, toward giving back to the community that raised them. All my children have moved away chasing careers but they still give to the communities in which they live.
I hate agreeing with Hillary Clinton on anything but it really does take a village to raise a child. But the main ingredient in bringing up a child and teaching them that there is a path to achievement is the family unit.