Focus on Achievement-#9 in a Series of Discussions
By Joan E. Gosier, CEO of HBCU kidz, Inc.
Definition of GAP [a problem caused by some disparity]
Pronunciation: \gap\ Function: noun
Science +Math +Artifacts of Culture +Reading +Test Taking Tips (S.M.A.R.T)=Gap Closure
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” Mathew 5:5
According to Bishop T.D. Jakes in an article written earlier this year:
“Roughly 50 percent of African-Americans do not even own their homes, and I think we have so much we could do together rather than keep score on who is winning a battle that shouldn’t even exist between us.
In light of Alan Greenspan confirming what many of us have already suspected — that we are in the midst of a recession, I would ask all churches as well as the media to help guide and encourage us through the storm of fuel bills, lost homes, lost jobs and the untold effects of this recession…”
I see this article as providing a battle cry to churches of all ethnicities and denominations to not allow the perceptions of the few to distract us and prejudice us from the needs of the many.”
Well, likewise, I see our Focus on Achievement topic for this month as a battle cry to individuals who have eyes and ears. Eyes to read this message I am trying to convey and ears to FINALLY stop and hear the voices in your family and friend circle who are crying out for help. This summer we see and hear people all over the country in financial turmoil over various mortgage issues and refinance challenges.
Why is there a 29% gap in the rate of homeownership between black households and white households?
Source:U.S. Census Bureau 2005 American Community Survey
Well, I believe that it always begins with a choice. Determine at home is there a desire for a new home. Look around at your surroundings. Are U happy? How much of an impact does your happiness play in your interaction with your munchkins? I have to admit that there is nothing more relieving than to be able to run outside in your own yard and play an impromptu game of kickball. We cherish this opportunity with all of our hearts because I recall the feeling of confinement when I lived in an apartment. I know how it feels to be stressed when a fire in your building threatens your home due to no fault of your own. I can recall the feelings of unfairness when a neighbor’s roach or rodent problem quickly becomes yours despite how clean your parents keep the apartment. So the question is not one of entitlement or fairness, but does it really make a difference in the achievement of a child?
I often wonder why homeownership seems to be such a controversial concept? For example, I once had an investment advisor tell me that the worst thing that I could do for myself as a single young professional earning an annual six-figure income was to purchase a home. When I asked him for his rationale, he explained that homeownership was more than a mortgage. There would be insurance, taxes, new furniture, new appliances, maintenance bills, landscaping expenses and a whole host of problems to go along with being an owner vs. a renter. Of course with my daddy’s teachings from my childhood that “home is where U can paint the walls without asking for permission”, I nodded in agreement and terminated my relationship with him. Why? My instinct told me that he had another agenda in play. Yes all of those expenses are real. However, he failed to educate me on the fact that there are significant tax advantages to homeownership as well as a sense of accomplishment that cannot be measured in terms of dollars but sense. Anyone who has ever played monopoly knows that it is always better to collect rent than to pay it to someone else. Factually, I later learned that this advisor was in the process of trying to buy his very first piece of real estateâ€¦a new condo. So was it a tall glass of “hater-ade” being served to me? Who knows or cares but my point in sharing this is to say that only the prospective homeowner can choose if and when ownership is appropriate. From a child’s perspective, why not have a discussion on what impact the stability of owning where U live has on him or her being able to enjoy learning?
Determine at home what information God has placed in your heart to teach a child about homeownership and wealth creation. According to blogger Tamar Rasyth, “By the time our children are 20 years old they should have a home completely paid for and tens of thousands of dollars in the bank. They should know financial responsibility as well as they know their ABC’s and popular music.” Her website posts creative and unique tips on how to generate wealth through intelligent investing in heirlooms, real estate and other appreciating assets for children. Tamar asserts, “You can be the one to break this cycle within your sphere of influence.” Her informative article is at http://richeswealthprosperityinallaspects.blogspot.com/2008/06/passing-your-wealth-on-to-your-children.html
Have you ever just asked a child how he or she feels about his or her current neighborhood? I recently posed a question online on “Can U embrace yourself and leave the hood behind?” Many people responded with the fact that their childhood environments taught them valuable lessons that have helped them in life. I have also heard from people who feel that their inability to leave their childhood environments have prevented them from growing into responsible and adventuresome adults. I believe there is no right or wrong answer to the question. William Shakespeare said “To thine self be true!” or as Russell Simmons says, “Do You”. But please be sure to hear what comes from the mouth of babes too! How do the other people who are consistently around your child feel about the above ideas/options? Are they the type of people who would help them grow beyond the environment or would the kids be better off in a totally new environment?
It is really not true that all community resources for learning are maintained the same. We all know this fact. I recall in one community that I lived in the public library was closed down for months due to a faulty air conditioning system. The children had no where to go for resources for over 6 months! It took community activism to get the publicly elected officials to move on the project. Imagine if there were not activists living in the community? Who would have done what? It truly takes a village so if everyone moves out of the community what happens to those who cannot move away? What about the children? Can homeownership occur right where one is currently renting? Should it occur? I think it depends on the impact on the children. Whether you plan to move or not, I believe it is always a good idea to FEEL FREE to DECIDE. Why not explore all options?
1) Determine the process of becoming pre-approved to purchase a new home
2) Compare the potential opportunities to build equity in real estate
3) Call the real estate professionals in your community to get a list of top rated schools
5) Identify a neighborhood school that will encourage a love of reading and exploring the world
The Achiever in Training and S.M.A.R.T curriculum are exclusive copywritten and proprietary programs developed by HBCU kidz, Inc.
For more statistics and academic resources please visit http://www.HBCUkids.com and click on “Educate.” To comment on this article, visit the Blog. To communicate with other concerned Black parents, please visit http://www.blackparentconnect.com.
For more information about the program or the limited edition gift collection, visit http://www.HBCUkids.com. The site contains information and ideas to proactively promote positive images for African American children and their families. Contact Joan Gosier at 1-888-HBCU-kid.
Joan E. Gosier