Are You Raising One of the Next Generation of Hoodlums: Shaping Your Son’s Attitude Regarding Education


Joyce Teal

A new school year has recently begun. Your son is internalizing that his education is very important to you, OR THAT IT ISN’T! And make no mistake about this: what is important to you is what already is (or what will become) important to your child. So if you want your son to take his education seriously, if you want him to become cognizant that much of his future success will be determined by the extent to which he values making the most of the equal educational opportunities that are available to him, know that YOU are the key factor!


Begin early in your son’s life teaching him, by the example you set, the importance of making the most of the equal educational opportunities that are available to him. Make sure that he is aware that his ancestors suffered and bled and died so that he would not have to attend an inferior school; that he would not have to settle for an inferior education. Accept that it is your responsibility to transmit to your son that only HE can take advantage of the equal educational opportunities for which his ancestors fought, and assure that he knows the names and history of some of the people who sacrificed much for the advantages that would be available to future generations, including this current generation. Tell him, in no uncertain terms, that no matter how good his teachers are, no matter how superior the available technology is, unless he is serious about getting the education being offered, he will not get it!

Let him know that he must actively listen and participate in order to learn. Talk to him about what it means to actively listen and participate for the purpose of learning.

As a veteran educator, I can attest to the reality that one of the main reasons why Black boys have the lowest test scores and the lowest graduation rates nationwide is due to the fact that the majority of them do not take their education seriously. On one level, they are intelligent and certainly understand that they need an education, but on a deeper level, too many of them do not have good role models to help shape the patterns of their attitudes and behaviors. Consequently, as they progress to the upper elementary level, they lose the focus that propelled them through the lower elementary grades so enthusiastically and successfully.

Parents: be alert to this loss of focus happening to your son(s), especially if he is being raised without the benefit of his father (or another strong male figure) who is providing the role modeling that he needs in order to maintain the necessary focus. Talk to your son, almost daily, about paying attention in class, showing respect for his teachers and completing each of his assignments at the highest possible level. Assure that he isn’t willing to just settle for a grade of “C” when he is quite capable of earning a grade of “A”. Your awareness and involvement are critical.

PARENTS: Your attitude is will make the difference!

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