I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.
Let the children's laughter remind us how it used to be.
These words from the song "The Greatest Love of All" had an even greater impact than usual upon me as I listened to a group of neighborhood girls sing them at this past summer's first annual Sojourners Neighborhood Center summer camp talent show.
Among those singing was Shron Hill, a soon-to-be 12-year-old girl with the smile of an angel, a tongue as sharp as a two-edged sword, and a left hook to rival Joe Frazier's. To consider the future of black America while reflecting back upon the busted lip of Paul Ross, who came too close to Shron's left hook three weeks prior to camp, confronts me with the reality of the songwriter's words. The children must be taught well; the beauty they possess inside must be shown to them, and a sense of pride is something that we black adults must give them.
My past year's experience of helping teach and coordinate Bible studies and developing relationships with the children and families of our Washington, D.C. neighborhood has made me realize that in the midst of the concrete jungles in our inner cities there must be inspirations to brighten up the days of children such as Paul and Shron. They are needed in neighborhoods where grass is a rarity and a basketball hoop a luxury; in neighborhoods where you find more brothers sitting on the corner passing a jug of wine than you have sitting at the family dinner table passing the salt and pepper; in neighborhoods where the rise in homelessness, unemployment, and prison populations are most vividly portrayed.