7 Principles of Kwanzaa: A Parenting Model

October 16, 2012

Continuing Series

You hearers seers, imaginers, thinkers, remembers, you prophets call to communicate truths of the living way to a people fascinated unto death, you called to link memory with fore listening, to join the uncountable seasons of our flowing to unknown tomorrows more numerous, communicators doomed to pass on truths of our origins to a people rushing deathward, grown contemptuous in our ignorance of our source, prejudiced against our own survival, how shall your utterance be heard?

-Two Thousand Seasons

Two Thousand Seasons tells the story of the tragic consequences of Africans on the continent abandoning their culture ways in pursuit of a European way of life and value system.  African culture, known as the Way, anchored African people in a value system which taught: respect for all human beings, reverence for all life, solidarity, caring and empathy, collective ownership of land and public resources, and interdependence.

Similarly, African American parents and families have lost their way and are now paying a steep and serious cost.  The unprecedented rates of incarceration, the school dropouts, and the self-destructive behavior manifest through gang members and violence, drug use and trafficking, and a suffocating cynicism all can be traced back to the home and parenting. The African proverb says: “The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.”

What is absolutely crucial for black parents is the adoption of a value system and parenting model which they can embrace as a collective whole, and transmit to their children. The individual, adaptive model of parenting weighs against the community model, and makes less likely that we will adhere to the proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” The next installment in this series will show the benefits of the Kwanzaa values Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) and Ujamaa (Cooperative Economic) in parenting children and in safe and productive home and neighborhood environment.

What is first necessary, however, is that African Americans acknowledgement that they have lost their Way. The family, community, and national dialogue this Kwanzaa needs to center around how blacks in America can collectively reclaim the value system (7 Principles) and community parenting model which was so productive and beneficial in the great generations of women and men.

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