By AYANNA CLARKE
The days of summer are upon us and kids have tossed away everything academic for the next few months. However, just because school is out it doesn’t mean that all learning has to stop. We still want the summer to be a time of learning for kids, just in a different way.
I spoke to an 11-year-old recently about his summer plans. He immediately set about telling me the what, when and where of his coming summer holidays. His vivid prospects ended with a triumphant statement: “And my hair is gonna be blue!” I simply smiled and allowed myself a brief reminiscence.
For those of you who know me, my hair has always, ummm…had its own personality. Sometimes I wore it really long; other times I would chop it off and wear it within a half inch of my scalp. And colour? Let me admit, I’ve never been afraid of colour.
At some point I slowed down and started to let it grow, but I got that familiar itch again and about two years ago I did the unthinkable in some circles. I cut off all my hair and dyed it blue. I didn’t think about it; it wasn’t some elaborate plan. I just wanted blue hair so I got it.
This little tyke’s statement of intent about his hair reminded me of the chutzpah it took to chop of my tresses and then bleach and dye it to the perfect royal blue. Despite what people thought or said, I had enough strength and fortitude in me to wear that blue hair and I did – even recorded a music video. And, wouldn’t you know it, now blue in hair is just one of the myriad colours that can be seen on Bahamians.
I decided to title this summer series “It’s In You”, and gear it toward our young people. Honestly, I am who I am because someone took the time in my formative years to tell me that all the strength, wit, skill, everything I would ever need to live a successful life was already inside me. All I had to do was to pull on those God-given strengths in a positive way. I’ve spent my entire career making sure that everyone around me, the young and the young at heart, learn that exact same lesson.
For the next few weeks we’re going to share ideas and thoughts of our youth – not despising, judging or anything like that. It’ll simply be a sharing of viewpoints to enable them to harness mental energy, and grow beyond their world; and for us – a better understanding of what they think, who they are becoming and how we can better relate to and advise their precarious life journey.
We’ll share many interesting philosophies, some to agree upon, some to agree to disagree upon but none that will hamper their growth, injure their personalities, as they become who God intends.
It is often said that they are stubborn, lazy and entitled in some ways. But really, were we so different at some points? I have learned that the best way to get through to a young person is not to negate your authority but to relate that authority to a concept they can understand – whether it is music, shared experience or just plain old real conversation.
No, I’m not going to advise them to chop off their hair and colour it. But together, my team and I will share that no matter what life throws them, no matter what people have summed them up to be, there is greatness inside of them. Perhaps this series will be the impetus they need to set a pace and be followed, instead of following.
Let’s remind the young people: It’s in you! God bless you this week!