It’s back-to-school time. All over the Qcity our kids are starting a new school year. It’s time for back-to-school clothes, new shoes, backpacks and school supplies.

I believe it’s also time to remind parents that back to school doesn’t end with a backpack full of paper and pencils. Our kids and our teachers need us to be involved. We need our parents to attend teacher conferences and open house. Yes, your child will hiss and moan and say they’re too old for that and that no other parents are going… but go anyway.

Please, make an assignment notebook with your child and check it nightly. Limit television watching on school nights. Have a mandatory study time. They will say they don’t have homework, but the TV stays off, whether they have homework or not. Use those nights to encourage your child to read. Talk to him about what he is reading. Share and listen to your child’s thoughts and ideas. Let him see his value in your eyes. Share your values with him.

Encourage and reward good grades and good behavior — they go hand-in-hand. Tell your child it’s expected of him to use good grammar. Use good grammar around him. Tell your children that using proper grammar is not “talking white.”

Let’s tell our children to compete. Tell them they are smart, that they can grasp anything. Love your children enough to seek out resources when they have a problem — it might be an older child or a few afternoon sessions with a teacher or tutor. Sacrifice the time to take your child to a library if they have a school project. Become involved in the project with your child, but let them do the work.

Visit your child’s teacher at the beginning of the year. Let them know they can call you if needed. Give them your cell phone number. Be a partner with your child’s teacher, working together for your child’s best interest. If a problem arises, know that you should probably believe the teacher. Most teachers are going to be honest with you about your child. Be respectful of your child’s teacher and demand that your child do the same.

Find a few hours every once in a while to volunteer at your child’s school. Go on a field trip as a chaperone or help out in the classroom or office. Your child will feel important just knowing you are there, and the faculty will get to know you and feel they can talk freely to you about your student.

Attend every event your child participates in. Cheer the loudest! Display some of his work. Show off her report cards. Smile over B’s. Scream and brag over A’s. Push them to be the best they can be. Challenge them not to settle for second best. Start talking NOW about scholarships and college.

Watch who your children hang out with. Don’t be afraid to interfere in any relationship that is unhealthy. Be your child’s parent; he already has enough friends.

Fathers, your child needs you to be active in his education. Start now. It’s not too late. No one can replace you in the life of your child. Buy your child a book and read it together, then buy another one. Let that become your gift to your child, a memory he will carry with him always. Let’s buy our sons a belt. Let’s teach our boys to respect our girls.

Mothers, carry on. You are the wind beneath their wings. Don’t let them wear their shorts too short or their blouses too low. Watch the boy with your girls. Tell them their brains will take them places their beauty never will. Be an example of strong womanhood.

In these days of failing black schools, lets all pull together. We are the only ones who can make a difference in the lives of our children. Lets not fail them. Lets all strive for an A+ as parents. Let’s be present! Let’s be prepared! Let’s all learn to be the driving force in the academic lives of our children.

Let’s ALL get on the bus. Let’s make this school year the best one yet.


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D. Barbara McWhite grew up in York County, S.C., and now lives in Orange Park, Fla.

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