Growing Up Alone – How To Raise Independent and Responsible Children

At the Corner of 3rd and Douglas

Intersection of Life photo by Frantzou Fleurine on Unsplash
Photo by Frantzou Fleurine on Unsplash

I live in the Edgewood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. across the street from a school. When my wife and I bought our house, it was a public school serving a low to moderate-income population that was 95 percent African American, reflecting the neighborhood demographics.

Each morning when I headed to work I’d find a trail of discarded Little Hug juice bottles, honey bun wrappers and empty potato chip bags leading to the school. Weeds sprouted through the cracks in the asphalt on the school grounds and the play structure was tattered and rusty. The schoolyard looked more like a laboratory for tetanus rather than a playground for children. Inside, portable walls, not classrooms, separated the kids who were group two grades at a time (1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th). When I visited the school to inquire about volunteering one morning, I heard several teachers instructing their students at the same time, and a disruption in one classroom affected the others.

The school closed a few years after we moved in and briefly became a hangout for older teens and young adults who smoked weed, drank and played dice.

Eventually, gentrification took over, the school was reopened as a charter school and the building was overhauled.  The playground was upgraded. Sunflowers and a community garden replaced the weeds. Woodchips covered the fissured asphalt. A section of the sidewalk was replaced and white children soon made up about 40 percent of the new student body—although the neighborhood demographics barely changed. Former First Lady and President Obama even came to christen the new facility. Even the litter got an upgrade, with Honest Juice boxes and string-cheese wrappers in the gutter instead of the cheap, corner-store junk-food trash.

Parking is a little harder to find, hey, that’s life in the big city.

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“Is My Child Next?” – How raising black kids is affecting our mental health

This article originally appeared on Shondaland

"Is My Child Next?" The anxiety caused by raising children in a climate of escalating racial violence is real and is affecting your mental health.
“Is My Child Next?” The anxiety caused by raising children in a climate of escalating racial violence is real and is affecting your mental health. Photo by Thinking Good.
Feeling afraid is part and parcel of being a new mom. We’ve all laid awake at night pondering irrational questions like, Am I going to break this baby? How can I raise a tiny human when I still don’t have my own life really figured out? But soon after the birth of my now 16-year-old son, I became palpably aware of a different kind of fear, one that was heavy and poisonous at its core: I was now responsible for raising a black child and, in America, that means my kid is always in danger.

Any time that we can remind each other that these reactions are based in reality, that’s healing.

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