|These women are dedicated to being fully involved in the lives of their children and youth with whom they teach.|
Seven savvy and strong women of faith (some of which are mothers) weathered the rain to attend Powerhouse Media Group's free "BE THERE" parent symposium yesterday (Saturday, Sept 29, 2012) at the Indian River Public Library in Chesapeake, VA. LaGuamna Salley Clemons, Carla Kelly Turner, Jamesina Greene, Dee Johnson, Keisha Hawkins, Miranda "Beautiful" Lockhart and Dionne C. Sturdifen didn't make any excuses about coming out to share and receive information on how to be engaged in their children's lives and that of those they interact with, teach and mentor on a daily basis.
Some tears were shed, knowledge was gained, a sisterhood was formed and we walked away changed and challenged to do more, be more and stay involved in the lives of our precious children.
Keisha Hawkins said a mouthful when she stated that her son, actor and straight A student Malique Hawkins, is a gift from God and that she and husband Eric Hawkins are being good stewards of their gift. They recognized it from DAY ONE and continue to revolve their lives around their son.
I was blessed by the speech that my dear friend and sorority sister LaGuamna delivered regarding her and her husband's engagement in the lives of their two-year-old son, Walter. She said: "Between the ages of 0 to 4 years old, children are like sponges so they quickly begin to mimic what we as adults do and say. This is why it is important to us to be engaged in his life at such an early age but to also continue that engagement even as he g rows older and becomes the man that God has created him to be."
Jamesina Greene, author of "Help! I Don't Like Myself" and Founder of A Mother's Cry Empowerment, talked about the journey she has endeavored as a single mom and the effect her involvement had on the lives of her sons. She was transparent and shared heartfelt experiences.
Dee Johnson mentioned that because her father was active in her life, she was given an identity. So upon entering adolescent and adulthood years, no one was able to deceive her because she knew who she was and how valued she was thanks to her father.
Dionne C. Sturdifen, who is currently raising a teenager as a single mom , affirmed that she loved her son to life and makes it her life's mission to "be there" for Denson.
Carla, who I've known since our toddler days in preschool at Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church, dropped wisdom about "adopting" a child to mentor to who may not have a person in their lives currently that is fully engaged in their lives. NOTE: I'm already working on my adoption efforts! As an educator and reading readiness instructor, Carla has seen firsthand because of her line of work the devastating effects of parents who are not involved in their son's and daughter's lives. Yet, she affirms that there are still things that can be done. The mother of three sons herself, she's been actively involved from the onset of parenthood. I'm proud to know that because of her and husband Miguel L. Turner's love and care for their boys, they were able to successfully see their eldest son off to the military (a choice he was able to make -- which they supported him on -- because he had guidance from the beginning.
Miranda, a spoken word artist, was able to poetically articulate the desires of a mother to "be there" for her children. She drew from the experiences of her mother and others that she knew had to struggle but persevered to make sure their children didn't feel left out, forgotten, unwanted, or abandoned.
Lady Clara and Sir Isaac, of course, were there to hear what these lovely ladies had to say. Not only that, their ears and hearts were tuned in. So, after taking a nap when I got in from the symposium, my creative son had designed a picture using a paint program on his laptop. He titled the piece, "Mothers Will Never Let Boys Down" (FYI I'll post it shortly for your visual admiration!). It touched my heart. I felt so good because I know that with every beat of my heart I strive to "be there" for my princess and prince.
Again, I thank these ladies for showing up in the name of being there for their children and today's youth. I will be producing another "BE THERE" parent symposium in the near future for people who were unable to make it to Saturday's event.