Painful Truths: Another Day in the Hood

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind; Always!!”

Just another day in the hood huh. Once again, another monthly, another violent week in our city of Philadelphia. Where we call home. Are we really safe in our own home? Do your kids feel safe? When was the last time you spoke to your kids about how they are feeling, about their friends, about what they experience and face when you are not around you, about their life? Not condemning them, not accusing them, not blaming them, not telling them what they should or should not be doing. Having an open-minded conversation and just listening. Not telling them what you experienced, how you grew up, what your struggles were, what you went through. Just listening to them. Don’t interrupt, just ask more questions. Leave the bias, judgmental statements out. Get a deep understanding what bothers them, what motivates them, what scares them, what their fears may be. Who inspires them, who they look up to? What can you do to help your child survive and succeed emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. If you cannot do that yourself, then reach out to those who can.

Time and time again I see people talk, have interviews and write about how we live in poverty, how there are a lack of resources, lack of opportunities, schools are under-funded, and the government doesn’t help us. Yes all points may be true. Lack of access has been a issue since beginning of time for people. That is what poverty is. You have to work around it and find others to help and assist you. It’s not just our city, but most urban cities/areas around the world. How can you and your family rise above that status quo? What actions are you taking to seek and get assistance ? What services have you contacted? Do you know your city councilman? Your state representative? Your chief officers and elected officials for your community and city? Have you visited your local YMCA or recreation centers and asked for resources and services?
Do you have a plan, or will you continue to blame others for not having such?

We are at war. Spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Year 2020 is no difference because of
COVID-19. We see a spike in violence in our city every summer. No difference when we had sports. Unfortunately, violence, sorrow, pain, and vengeance is a part of Philadelphia. The streets have changed, the game and rules have changed. Everyone have guns now, everyone. And they had them before Covid -19. Most of our teens and young adults response and answer to gun violence is “Imma catch them before they catch me. Never catch me lacking without mines.”
Children can go outside and play. Parents, youth, teens, young adults have ‘CHOICES’. We have options. Not everyone is taking advantages of those options. I ask a question to parents and guardians often, “do you really know what your child(ren) are at and doing when your not around? Some parents are oblivious to the fact that their child is causing harm and terrorizing others. Some once again blame others or say “that is not my child. Somebody must of did something to make my child do that.” We also live by a code; “Don’t snitch, Don’t tell.” So if I am a criminal and I know I can commit a violent crime and no one will say anything, that is what I will do. I will continue to terrorize my community.

When I am coaching and teaching two word I use often are Accountability and Responsibility.
You will be held accountable for your actions and you are responsible for your actions and the choices you make. The difference between average teams and championship teams are those individuals players who hold one another accountable to make sure they succeed as a team. It’s not always on the coaches to check on you and catch you doing something wrong.
The same analogy can be used in life and with parenting and your own community. Are you holding your child and people in your community accountable for their actions? Are you and your child responsible for the choices you’ll make? Or is there always an excuse & someone’s else fault?

We all ask for an answer, we all ask for peace, and say “Put the guns down,” when it involves our own friends & family. Can you say the same for someone else family, for a stranger child? Can you say that to the young man or adult you know just killed someone, or selling those guns? We know what the issue is. We know who the trouble maker are in our own communities. Unfortunately, there are people who we may love and care for that just do harm and cause havoc around them. We are constantly fighting demons and evil spirits. Instead of speaking up, getting those individuals off the streets, we stay quiet, pray, tell our kids to “stay away from…..” We all know what happens next.

Our communities and young folks need trusted adults to STEP UP! SPEAK UP! SPEAK OUT! Actions speak louder than words. We can type behind a computer and have conversations all we want, but if it’s not the right voice, if it’s not creative, if there is no substance or actions behind it, it will pass over. Everything isn’t for everything either. What works for some doesn’t work for all. It’s important to have a team of valued individuals. We already know the cycle and generations curses. What are you going to do to break them? Or will it be “Just another day in the hood.”

“The streets don’t love you. They take those away from you which you love.”

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