My mother was in school for what seemed like forever. I remember her coming home with huge books with pictures of human bodies and a life-size skeleton model and telling me to lay down so that she could practice her hand placement on me. She graduated as a chiropractor when I was about 8 and then began to teach science at my high school.
She was amazingly brilliant and instilled in me that knowledge is power and that I should always be seeking it.
At the time, those words went in one ear and out of the other as I kind of just floated through middle and high school; passing by the skin of my teeth. But now in my adulthood, I take a deeper meaning from her words.
As an adult, as a mother and as a student I know that education is the key to just about anything. And when I say education, I don’t just mean having a degree, I mean being knowledgeable. Always looking for a deeper understanding, searching for answers and not just accepting what people tell you to ben true.
I have two sons (6 and 2) and I stress the importance of education to them and try to set a good example on a daily basis. The house may be dirty, the dishes may not be clean, and I am usually running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but they know that mommy is in school working towards her degree and that I stick with it even when I don’t really want to.
I make an extra effort to talk to them after school and daycare, “Did you have a good day? Tell me three things you learned today.” And while sometimes, my 6-year-old answers, “nothing,” I sometimes get a wide-eyed response telling me about the planets or what Martin Luther King Jr. was known for or how we have solids, gases and liquids. Sometimes he even asks me questions, “So mom, what have you learned from your class this week?” And we quickly sit and talk about it before his attention is moved to some other, obviously more important task.
Being a single mother while working and going to school is not easy, but it is so important. Education truly does begin in the home. And it is important for children to see the people around them striving to learn more, know more and be more so that they know that it is possible.
While the history of Black people in America should be recognized year round, Black History Month is important for everyone, not just people of color, to see and to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter who you are, that if you seek knowledge, work hard and stay focused you can achieve anything.
It inspires us personally because my Brown boys can know that people that look just like them are being put in the spotlight for doing amazing things that they may not have even thought possible.
Learning about people of the past and the present, like Carter G. Woodson or President Barack Obama, is significant to them so that they know that no matter the color of their skin or where they came from, if they put in the work they can achieve anything. For them to not only hear it from me, but for them to feel like the sky is actually the limit.