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The time to go back to school is around the corner and I know that many parents and caregivers are getting clothes, books, and supplies ready for the first day. And while we spend a ton of time, energy and money-getting our kids, and some helping others kids get ready…the question is are WE ready.

Parents, family members, and the broader community are sometimes ill prepared for the shift back to school even as we get these babies ready. So there are a few things we need to do if we are going to model for our kids what they need to do.

1.      Create Order: We will not have students with order if we are living in homes that are out-of-order. The summer can be an even more hectic time than the school year and normal habits sometimes fall to the wayside. Spend the next two weeks organizing rooms, areas where homework will be done, setting up space for supplies and begin to talk about how things will be done if they are not in place. Order is also about rest. Too many of our kids put us to bed. One of the things that will greatly affect their success is rest.

2.      Know what they need even if you may not be the one who ultimately provides it:  It takes extra time, but please go to the website of your child’s school (if they have a good one) or call the school if they don’t to make sure you have the school calendar. Keep important dates up in the kitchen so EVERYONE knows what they are ahead of time. Find out from teachers what they will be covering, what books they will be reading, and things that may be helpful to support the work at home. Know their teachers from the jump as that relationship can help during good and challenging times in the classroom. This takes time many of us claim we don’t have. But it’s worth it.

3.      Read and Talk:  If you can read, just a little of what you children read and have dinner, in the car or down time conversations with them about it. It creates accountability and you also may be really impressed with what they know and how they think.

4.      Sacrifice Now To Receive Later: If we show them sacrifice they know how to model it. Give up your TV show to sit with them during homework. Take the precious free time you have to spend some of it talking to them about their future. We are all pushed to the limit and sometimes our kids still try to do the opposite if what we do just to get at us. But they wont forget what they see, positive or negative.

And if you have no kids, Find one you can be an inspiration and motivation to once a week. Our kids are the sum total of the adults who invest in them. You show me a crazy child, I’ll show you crazy models.  Frederick Douglas said it best “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men/women”.

I’m Jeff Johnson and That’s My Truth:

If you want to be inspired by a Baltimore 8th grader ready to go back to school, check out Lil Key (Keyon Meyers) and his YouTube video “Backpack Flow”. This is some hip-hop we can all support. Visit here.