By Katrina Smith
“If you push through the hard days, you can get through anything. It’s a win/win situation. The glory goes up to Him and the blessings come down to me.” –Gabby Douglas
Thank you for visiting B.L.O.G. Magazine Online. They say that the most talented and brilliant people are sitting in the prison system. They just did not have their talents, gifts and abilities properly channeled or nourished. The sad part is that millions of adults and children get stuck in this reality, so with August here, we chose to meet the need with the theme of Back-to-School, The Power of Wisdom and Knowledge.
With the incredible victory of Gabby Douglas, 2012 USA Olympic Gold Medalist, this article comes right on time. With the hit show making it popular to be 16 & Pregnant, Gabby stepped on the scene showing us how to be 16 & an Olympian. How do you raise a champion? With Wisdom, knowledge, faith and a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I’m sure you are familiar with the quote, “Knowledge is Power.” It’s sounds cute and profound but it’s not very realistic. You can spend your entire life learning something, but if you never apply it, it ceases to be powerful. Wisdom, however is knowledge applied. It forms sound judgment, hopes for the best and prepares for the worst. Knowledge often comes from books, education and theory, but wisdom comes from application, practice and experience.
As a child, I wasn’t afforded many educational opportunities. I attended several low funded, inner-city public schools and dropped out my sophomore year after becoming a homeless, pregnant teen, settling for a G.E.D. It definitely made my life harder but it was what I was accustomed to. I had never witnessed anyone in my family reading books or studying for a test. But even coming from generational poverty, I loved to read and write. But where did it come from?
I remember meeting an elderly librarian at the local community center we visited as a child. She would love to read to us for hours and get excited when we asked her questions. She taught us about the fascinating and magical life of the literary world and how it ignites your inner passion and expands your mind. She believed in me. So even though I swam in a sea of dysfunction, she had thrown me a life jacket early on in life. I just had to remember to unpack it when I felt like I was drowning.
After many years of repeating the same behavior, while raising three children alone, I dealt with the internal struggle of working to provide for my children, as well as spending quality time with my children. As a result, I found myself over-compensating by buying them toys, fast food and movies. One day, I came across a book that my daughter was reading in school that I loved as a child and it brought back memories of the librarian. It was then that I had an epiphany. I was responsible for raising them up to be the next generation of leaders, reversing the past five generations of poverty and that was not going to happen with McDonalds, video games and Disney Movies. When tax season arrived, I paid all of my bills in advance, paid for car maintenance and then took a portion and went to all of the local museums, art galleries, theatres, planetariums and zoo to purchase annual family passes. They would give us free entrance for the year for a small lump membership fee.
We would spend all of our weekends at those places, never staying in the house. My children learned about art, music, culture, global issues, architecture, astronomy, science, archeology and world history. They learned as far as the stars and deep as the ocean. I would also find their hidden talents by dabbling in sports and extra-curricular activities that taught them about diligence, hard work and working as a team. As a result, today my children are extremely well rounded, gifted, diverse and talented. I knew I was heading the right direction when my children started correcting my grammar. I didn’t just raise my children, I grew up with them. I learned from them as much as I have taught them.
I wish that I could say that to top it all off, that I also sent them to bible school every Sunday but I was unsaved most of their childhood. But today, they not only attend church and Sunday school, I teach it and we have bible study as a family. They have witnessed firsthand, my transformation.
If you are a parent and you made mistakes as I did but would love to make a change, it’s not too late. Here is a list of things that may help you on your journey of wisdom and knowledge.
For Yourself –
- Write out your Goals. What would you like to accomplish in one year, five years, ten years? Then write out the barriers keeping you from those goals. After that, start working on removing those barriers, one-by-one.
- Community Resources. There are multiple resources in your community that offer free or low cost educational opportunities. They offer computer classes, GED classes, college preparation, job development, resume building among many other things. Take advantage of them and use them for stepping stones on your path to wisdom and knowledge.
- Visit your local library. You can check out books on every single topic there is. Instead of watching television, read a book that will expand your mind and ignite that passion inside of you, like the librarian did for me.
- Read the bible and pray faithfully. The bible will give you wisdom that no degree, no experience or no book can give you. Begin to apply all of it and watch your life transform.
For Your Children –
- Instead of video games, iPods and cable television, invest in items that will nourish their gifts, talents and abilities as well as expand and exercise their mind. Read with and to them often.
- Study the Bible and pray with them. You will be surprised at the wisdom that comes out of the mouth of babes. At first, they may groan, but like my children, they grew to love it quickly and now volunteer to study with us often.
- Have dinner as a family at least four nights per week with no interruptions. This is where you learn about one another’s day and connect as a family.
- Lastly, find their hidden gifts and talents and nourish them. There are so many resources out there waiting to pour into your child and mold them into everything God created them to be. Our job as parents is to seek and nurture them.
Here is a list of places that can help you with your children:
Hobby Lobby or Michaels – They have classes for painting, sculpting, arts and crafts, cooking and baking. You can go to their websites or their locations for their calendar.
Church – Your church will help develop your child’s gift of music. The praise and worship team are always happy to invest in your child that love to sing or dance. They will also teach your child virtues such as patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness and charity. Sunday School plants seed into children that can never be uprooted once they have been sown.
Lowes or Home Depot – They have many courses and classes on building, contructing, gardening and green living. This is great for an architect, electrician or Biologist in training.
Planetariums & Museums – There are multiple places to nurture your child’s hunger for the cosmic wonders, archeology, science and marine biology. You never know if your child could be the next astronaut, historian, archeologist and deep sea diver, finding new discoveries.
Theatres, Colleges and Community Centers – There are many summer and year round free and/or low cost programs that teach your children many things such as acting, improv, comedy, dancing, chess, tennis, spoken word poetry and art. Your child may just be the next Chess State Champion.
Joann Fabrics – There are clothing and fabric stores for a child that is interested in fashion. they can learn textiles, patterns, jewelry making as well as event planning.
Doctor/Dentist/School – If your child is interested in the medical, dental or educational field, contact your family doctor, dentist and a teacher and/or principal and ask them about your child shadowing them for the day. Surrounding your child with real life role models keep them focused on their future. It no longer just a dream, but a goal.
There are multiple other ways to channel your child’s creativity such as having them perform skits, songs and dances in front of you, playing boardgames and cards with them, drawing, coloring, painting and assembling puzzles and legos, bake and decorate cookies and cakes, build forts and birdhouses, create a business and marketing plan for a lemonade stand, babysitting business or cutting the grass, helping them open their own checking account and learning to manage money, create a vision board together and challenge them to teach you a lesson with a powerpoint presentation. The possibilities are endless.
I have learned as a parent to affirm them as much as possible when they are being productive with their time. Don’t allow them to waste precious time during their developmental stages in front of a television set, texting for hours or playing video games for hours at a time. A good method is to have them earn their recreational time by giving them thirty minutes of recreation for every sixty minutes of productive energy.
Whatever the case, never stop learning, growing and teaching. The best teachers are those who are lifelong students. Thank you for taking the time in visiting our site and reading this article. Please read our other amazing articles by gifted and talented writers who express their love of God through their gift of writing.
Please watch this video of an interview with Natalie Hawkins, the mother of the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Gabby Douglas.
Co-Founder, B.L.O.G Magazine™
The Co-Founder of B.L.O.G Magazine™, Katrina is a simple mid-western girl from the inner city of Indianapolis, Indiana, where she is an army wife and an army mother. After teaching financial literacy in underserved communities for eight years, she is now the author and workshop facilitator for The Butterfly Movement book, workbook and workshops and is currently working on the production of her upcoming book, ‘Independent No More’, due to release in the Summer of 2012. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org