Education and Empowerment

A famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi on Education:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever!”

When we educate our women and our youths we are ensuring a better and brighter future and a nation that will succeed through thick and thin.

In the developed countries of the world, many of us take the opportunity to get an education for granted and do not make use of the facilities that are available to us. In some countries, the lives of women are threatened if they try to get an education.

Take for example the fourteen year old girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head and left for dead because she dared to speak out and ask for her right to an education. Today she is in one of Britain’s most prestigious hospitals fighting for survival. Why? Just because she wanted an education!

Meanwhile many of our youths cut classes and do not enroll in College when it is so easily accessible.

The phrase that it takes a community to raise is child, is also applicable to educating a child. The five hours that a child spends in school daily should not be the beginning and ending of his or her educational pursuits. The learning should start from home. Please do not get mad at me, when I say this, because many will claim that they are uneducated and cannot read and write especially many immigrants.

Let me relate a little true story. My mother was illiterate. She could see her name in Huge Neon signs and would not know it. But she had a reverence for Education and instilled a love of learning in all eight of her children. If she was having a hard time getting us to brush our teeth, she would say something like:

“Would you like your breath to smell bad when you speak with your teacher?”

As soon as we got home she would ensure that we had a little snack and insisted that we complete our homework.

There was one incident when I was sick with the mumps and had a really high fever. My mother woke me up at 4:00 a.m. sponged me down with warm water and had me dress in my school uniform to take me to the LocalHealthCenter for treatment. Why so early you might ask? So that she could get ahead on line. The place opened until 7:00 a.m. but they used to put out number tags the night before.

We walked along the dark road as the world was still sleeping and I was a little scared as the dogs barked at us waking them from their slumber. When we got there, do you think we got the number one spot? No, there were already three people ahead of us. As soon as the Medec had treated me, my mother made sure I drank something (I could not eat or drink a lot because of my throat) and then she walked with me to get transportation to go to school. She never wanted us to miss school. So, even though she did not have an education she made a lot of sacrifices so that we could get one.

As parents whether single or not, we should try to inculcate a love of learning in our children. Working long hours and coming home to take care of a family is not an easy task, but we should always make our children’s education a priority. In my book “The Green Grass” I talk about “fighting” for the rights of our children. Please, do not get me wrong, I do not mean to “fight” in the literal sense. Do not go into schools and abuse the teachers because they are trying to discipline our children. Instead work with the school and the teachers and help to channel our children’s aptitudes so that they can be challenged to perform to their highest potential.

“You educate a man, you educate a man, you educate a woman you educate a Nation” by Brigham Young

Our children are the future of our nations. Educate them and we will have done our duty. Our women are the mothers of our children and if they are educated they will be able to make better choices and help our children to strive for success. It is a never ending cycle and one which can only lead to a more peaceful, harmonious environment where we can all benefit. Ties in perfectly with the quotes by Brigham Young and Nelson Mandela. 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!” by Nelson Mandela.

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All Things Are Possible

This has been a remarkable, unforgettable, historical time for all of Americans and especially for those on the Eastern Seaboard.

First of all: Congratulations to the President on being elected for a second term in Office. Unfortunately, it seems as if his re-election has been overshadowed, especially in the Tri State Area by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and then only a week later, a major Nor’Easter.

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Talk about rubbing salt into the wound or adding insult to injury. Besides billions of dollars that it will take to rebuild and regroup, many had to deal with over six inches of snow. Buildings and trees that had been spared miraculously during Hurricane Sandy could not withstand the double whammy and succumbed to the effects of the heavy winds and over laden branches.

To quote one little boy on the news: “It is so unfair!”  This was his reaction to the fact that they had just got back power from the blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy only to lose it again because of the snow and heavy winds from the Nor’Easter. A great reminder that no matter how scientifically advanced mankind has become, we have no answers when it comes to “Mother Nature.”

How do you dig out from these dire situations and what gives you the impetus to do so? As all of us who have ever had to deal with tragedy know, the living has to go on living, and the human spirit is so resilient that we find a way. To the world we may look as if we are moving along quite nicely, whereas inside we may be dead and void of emotions. Whatever the case, we will survive and we have to believe that all things are possible.

With survival as our motivation, we may now be able to turn our attention once again to routine, day to day activities and issues. I hope we never take our minds off of the

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Immigration plight of so many of our fellow human beings. Remember if those of us who were US citizens suffered during these natural disasters, how much more would an immigrant struggle? When we cannot work, we will file for unemployment and our medial needs will be taken care of as well. What does an undocumented Immigrant do? It is unimaginable who some people have to endure!!

Let us hope that the positive trend that was started by the present administration: Allowing young people ages 16 to 33 who are in school or have a GED to be granted work permits, driver’s licenses and some basic legal rights (Albeit for two years) will continue and bring lots of relief.

Please understand no one is advocating that it is OK to break the law, but at times even the Gods were willing to “Temper Justice with Mercy!”