ALL Kids Deserve a Chance at Success

Today is El Día de los Niños, a day that originated in Latin America to celebrate children. Our nation has been celebrating this day for many years now and many libraries have taken the day to celebrate the importance of literacy for children.

While it is great to celebrate children, what we really need is to invest in them.  Our children are our greatest gift.  They are our future.  They are the ones that will lead our nation and teach our next generation but every day we are failing whole segments of them.

Why?

That is a great question.  I think many individuals will give different answers but I’ll give mine.  I think we allow it to happen because it keeps the power structure intact for those who make decisions.

Take this research.  No Rich Child Left Behind – NYTimes.com.  It details the growing achievement gap between the richest children and children who are middle class and poor, why this is happening, and what can be done about it.

But guess what?  We are not doing anything about it.  The President has a plan but the likelihood of it making it past Congress is probably zero.  As parents, we should be screaming from the rooftops of our homes about the need to invest in our children, but we are not.  The airlines can get Congress to help them stop the pain of the sequester but we cannot get them to stop 70,000 kids from getting kicked off of Head Start.

What does that say about us?  As long as it does not affect my child, it is ok?  I’m sorry to inform you but this will affect your child because your child will become a future leader who will have to deal with the consequences of not properly educating all of our nation’s children.

I, for one, cannot let that happen.  I will continue to advocate for all children because my daughter’s future is tied to the future of all of her peers.  Are you in?

Lessons for my daughter

I know it has been a bit since I’ve posted anything.  I have to try and get better at this and not let life get in the way.  That being said, I just read this blog post yesterday, Lindsey Mead Russell: 10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know Before She Turns 10, and it struck a chord with me especially since I have a 10 month old daughter.  I certainly agree with most of it (not sure about how #10 starts out) but as the mother of a Latina/SalvaRican baby, I think I need to add a few more.  Here are my additions to Russell’s list.

11.  Be proud of how you are and where you come from. Your maternal great-grandfather was a migrant farm worker from Puerto Rico (yes those do exist).  Your paternal parents came to this country from El Salvador without papers to give your dad the best shot at making it.  Be proud of that.  Do not let anyone tell you that you are less American because your family didn’t get here on the Mayflower.

12. Believe in your intelligence and don’t be afraid to show it.  Beauty fades much earlier than brain function.  While it is important to take care of your outside, take care of your inside and let others see that you do.  Read a lot.  Learn a lot.  And paraphrasing my friend’s favorite movie quote, don’t ever let anyone put Baby in a corner.

13.  Learn Spanish (and maybe even a third language).  Communicating with others is essential in this world.  It is especially important to communicate with your family.  I want you to be able to talk to your great grandma and grandparents in their language.  Sounds silly but you will appreciate it later on.

I’m sure I’ll add more to this list but if you have any that you want to share, please post in the comments section.