We Gon Make it
I got a little sister in heaven, and bredren up north finishing sets that would love to see the Don in a Seven...Six Five LI—-before I die—-if I don’t sell a million plus, fuck it I tried.
Only a select few know where that comes from. Refer to the title of this essay (fuck a blog, I write literary essays). Then remix it.
It’s been a long time. Whatever. We done took our share of losses. But we’re still standing. Let’s get straight off into it.
There shall be no ignorance in this body of work (outside the 2 fux I previously gave). These days I won’t waste your time unless I have something to say (and it may be ignorant, just not today). Today I have something to say.
One day last week in after school while I (Operations Director) was setting up the front desk (which doubles as a security desk during the school day), Ms. Gillespie, the lady security guard at the school asked me a simple question semi out of the blue. I mean, it wasn’t from left field at all, but it was the perfect counter question to our discussion. I came in a bit down over prior work related angst (I work in a high school during the day). Anyway, at the end of our brief discussion she asked, “Do you feel like you make a difference [with these kids]?” I immediately answered YES. Ironically, I never explained why. She never asked. The conversation continued in another direction.
These days, as I enter the twilight of my time as an educator/counselor in my third hometown of Englewood, NJ, I candidly admit that I have often questioned my efficacy. Have I really made a difference? Hell, I’ve even doubted myself at times. But today, tonight I can certainly reaffirm YES. But I gave it a bit of further thought tonight, and I can explain exactly why.
First, I’ve never failed to admit the fact that I’m human. I let my babies (any kid I’ve taught/counseled/mentored) know this all the time. I make mistakes. I’ve made some of the mistakes you make (if not most). We all eff up. But redemption is what makes us beautifully human. We have to stop lying to our kids about what’s real and what we’ve been through. I don’t mean small children. But before that young man or woman enters middle school (yes, that early if not earlier, depending on the child), he or she needs to know the real. Lies from adults lead a child to distrust. Especially at a time when a child yearns to know the real, real things only a parent should explain to and educate a child. Distrust leads to experimentation. You finish it. Stop acting like you were Kenny off The Cosby Show (youse are too young to know who Eddie Haskell was), and let them know. It’s a damn good chance that they’ll trust you enough to not make the same catastrophic mistakes you may have made. I mean, I’m damn near 40 and I’ve never smoked crack. I learned fast.
Next, which shoulda been first, I listen to the babies. And I do mean babies. Not just my high school, novella living teenies, but also my preK babies. If they wanna talk about why Mr. T’s belly is so fat, I explain why. If they wanna know why I always wear that horsie on my clothes, I introduce them to the Lo life. It means the world to a child of any age. I just cool out, cool out and listen to them...But most important, I don’t betray their trust. If they tell me something in confidence it stays there. That not only comes from my personal integrity, but also my oath of confidentiality as an educated journalist. They know they can trust me. They know there’s always an adult they can call on to talk to. An adult who’s been where they’re going. An adult who isn’t an undercover sicko. An adult who isn’t trying to be down cuz he was a lame in high school. An adult who’s real enough to confide in.
Third, I pay attention to popular culture. That sounds simple, if you’re a dumb ass. But I don’t mean the things I like or the things a forty year old likes or the things a man likes. I mean damn near everything. I listen to G. Herbo, A Boogie and Logic. I love music. Some of today’s music that the babies listen to is actually ok. And even if I can’t stand it, I readily admit that it’s not for me. It’s for them. I had my time. And I lived it up. I’m not mad. Rock on youngn’s. I WATCH RATCHET TELEVISION. At least as much as I can stand. They watch it. I gotta keep an ear on it. I listen to the slang. I picked that up from the streets, vital whether out of town or living on a Bloody Bronx block.
Last, I don’t switch up. I’m the same with my babies regardless of the venue or whomever is in front of me. I could care less about brownie points from some duck ass administrator. I’m not here to impress them. I’m here for the babies. I’m not a stoolie. I’m not finna runteldat. Sorry. Do your own research. If I do see a problem, I’m stepping directly to the kid. If not I’m gonna converse with a parent or guardian or trusted family friend. I’m not gon be responsible for Child Services prematurely running down on an ethnic household and tearing apart another home. Sorry. Not Ty. However, I am a mandated reporter. ANYTIME I see or strongly suspect harm or negligence to a child, I’m calling dem peoples. Trust and believe. I have to. Don’t you know I’m a mandated reporter? Moreover, I love my babies.
Last, Last...When one of my babies is wrong, I tell them they’re wrong. I’m not worried about hard feelings or falling out of like with them. I love them, I’ll battle for them, but I’m not their friend. Years down the line when they’re adults, possibly. But wrong is wrong. I don’t promote wrong. When I am wrong I admit it and apologize, irrespective of how hard it may be. I hold my babies to the same standard. I tell them all the time if you bought the ticket, you gotta ride the ride. Stand tall. That’s a life lesson. In time, I’m certain this will make them productive persons in life if they maintain this ethic.
LAST, Last, last I BELIEVE IN THEM. ALL OF THEM. AND I TELL THEM ALL THE TIME. WHY? BECAUSE I REALLY DO.
I am a flawed man. But my heart is pure. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I tell the truth. I’m loyal to anyone I consider a loved one. I pay my tax. I present myself as such to anyone I come in contact with, especially my babies. That’s why they love me. That’s why I’ll do anything (within reason) that I can for any one of them.
You ain’t my crew, who are you? Beat it!
But if you are or would like to be, check us out on theunbearablescrew.com. See you on the way to Pulitzer Ave. Many blessings.