The Ramey Commentaries by Mike Ramey


I’d like to remind those of us who are of the darker hue of one thing this Black History Month: Success goes to the prepared, period! This is the sign that hangs over Real Town, USA. It is ultimately the responsibility of the parents to make sure a child grows up to be a successful member of society, with one, single weapon at their disposal.

It’s called: ‘The Mantra’. And, yes MY parents had different forms they used!

I KNEW that I was not only GOING to college, while I was growing up; I KNEW that I was going to graduate in the four year time period. This was thanks to ‘The Mantra’: that short, powerful and constant ‘phrase of focus’ that BOTH of my parents told me, repeatedly–in one form or another–since elementary school. “Never mind about the money–we’ll get the money, but YOU’RE going. END of discussion.” Thus, in the words of one comedian from the Old School: “I didn’t have a choice BUT to graduate, because BOTH of my parents would have buried me in the back yard, IF I didn’t.”

Now, to put it bluntly, my parents knew that a college degree was ‘optional’ for white people, BUT a matter of SURVIVAL for Black people. Sure, there were programs for young Black folk who were skilled in blue collar professions. However, the social and financial route to the top for Black people involved a four-year stint at the ‘college of your choice’. And, yes, thanks to those three animals called ‘work-study’ and ‘summer/winter employment’ and ‘determination’, I got my degree with ZERO student debt. So, you’ll excuse me for being more than a little bit irritated when I meet a young Black man or woman who ‘drops out’ of college after ONE term…or, doesn’t bother to put forth the effort to focus on bettering themselves PAST high school. There’s only ONE reason for this: Their parents have forgotten to speak and use their own version of ‘The Mantra’.

Why do I blame the parents and not their children? It’s simple. Parents are responsible for RAISING a quality child, not creating a casualty along the side of the road, nor a bunkmate sitting inside of someone’s Department of Corrections. A child is only going to go as far as parents are willing to teach them and sacrifice for them. Excuses aside, it is NOT the responsibility of the church, school, or government to make sure that your child is successful. It is the parents. And, it begins with ‘The Mantra’…which, in its simplest form means the following: “We didn’t bring you into this world to be anything other than successful! Now, get your chores done, get your homework done and get your mind ready and right to go to college–AND graduate with MINIMAL debt!”

Mike Ramey, a Minister, syndicated columnist, book reviewer and Modern Street Gangs Specialist, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. To correspond, drop him an email at © 2017, 2019 Barnstorm Communications.



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