More Men Need to Commit to Mentoring In Schools
by William Jackson
Teachers cannot do it alone we need help from parents, specifically men. Men are being challenged to mentor a child in schools systems, it is not as hard as it sounds to be a mentor and volunteer in schools; it just takes a healthy passion and honest concern for kids to be successful in school and life.
Mothers Traditional Role
Mothers have traditionally been the main intercessor for school visits. However with the challenges youth are experiencing in society, circumstances are demanding more men to make a commitment and be active as mentors and volunteers.
It is imperative for men to go into the schools to volunteer and contribute to the education of our school age young men and to battle the school-to-prison pipeline.
Social behavior improves, academic growth is evident in grades, overall respect for teachers improves, and graduation rates go up because of the involvement of concerned males. If we can fill seats at football games, basketball games, and other extracurricular events why can’t men attend parent/teacher conferences, school board meetings, open house, etc?
Validation Through Data
Data validates men being involved in children’s lives; data from NHES ’96 and ‘NCES ’97 has shown that a dad’s absence in the home through separation, divorce, incarceration and in some cases extended military service leads to dangerous trends that children try to cope with. The loss or absence of the father can result in grieving and this grieving can result in behavioral changes and challenges in the classroom that teachers try to address, but do not have the proper training to address the needs of students and teach effectively. Let’s not forget that when students get to middle and high school they are confronted with the pressures of performance academic standards, state assessments, peer pressure, drugs and pressures to have sex so the need for a strong male figure is needed; even an ear to listen to students concerns and problems with just growing up. Fatherhood Facts (fatherhood.com) has cited studies, children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have a healthy self esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid a high risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
Malcolm X, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Mentors help our children prepare for tomorrows college entrance, social accountability, job searches, and even decisions to join the military. Today’s jobs will require more than a high school education so graduating from high school is a priority. Theodore Roosevelt said “to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society”. Mentors and volunteers contribute to the overall holistic growth of the students not just in academics, but accountability, ethics and social morals.
Educational Levels for Mentors
The educational levels of mentors should not hinder their desire to contribute. They can contribute to students, whether they are college grads, high school grads or graduates from vocational programs or military service all can bring something to the table. There are just some things a book nor computer can teach, a computer cannot teach a firm handshake, a computer cannot teach looking a person in the eyes when speaking to them, a book cannot effectively teach putting on a neck tie and why, nor how to carry one’s self in a job interview, a book cannot teach how and why to articulate words when speaking on a job and not using slang, a book cannot instill in young men why they should pull their pants up and wearing a belt when going to school, church or work. Those who denounce these teachings to improve our young men’s appearance and self confidence are setting our young men up for failure, embarrassment and a continuation of a stereotypical slave mentality.
Legacies To Leave Behind
Teaching children social nuances’ and etiquette is not in curriculums nor addressed in state standards. Character traits like: strong work ethic, honesty, humility, accountability, and even ethics and morals need to be taught and modeled. Men who are blue and white collar workers, serving in the military, and serving in the clergy, are needed as mentors and volunteers in schools across this country. In biblical times the understanding of leaving a positive legacy was known, the Bible says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge”, our mentors and volunteers can provide much needed knowledge from how to shine and excel in the school house to surviving and growing in the corporate house. We are a high tech society, but how can our young men compete when they have low tech mentalities and skills?
In these turbulent times as stated by Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, “The best economic stimulus package is a diploma”. Men, many schools need your help throughout our country to encourage our children, especially those who have no positive role models in their lives or their models are leading them down the wrong paths. Make a change, make a difference mentor/volunteer this school year.
Father of Sean and Shae Jackson