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Kokomo Tribune (Newspaper) - May 8, 1994, Kokomo, Indiana lam the luckiest child in the world to have had a mother and father who rather than just What I power we parents have for good says the Adults must pledge anew to protect and invest in our own children and in all family who taught their children that being honest was more important than being honored and that faith was a safer and more enduring harbor than B Y M A R I A N W R I The author front at about age next to her friend Behind them are lr Marians Olive Maggie brother Harry Arthur and brother we celebrate Mothers Day M an American child is M abused or neglected every 13 is born to an un married mother every 26 is born into pover ty every 30 is born to a teen mother every 59 is arrested for a violent crime every five min utes and is killed by guns every two Every 1234 children run away from 2860 see their parents children are home and latchkey children come home to houses in which there is a The crisis of children having children has turned into the tragedy of children killing as too many of our young mimic the adult conduct they Never have we witnessed the threats to family sta bility posed by soaring outofwedlock birthrates and an epidemic of teen births among rich and poor Today two out of every three black babies and one out of every five white babies are bora tounmarried And if its wrong for 13year innercity girls to have babies without benefit of its wrong for rich celebrities Never has America permitted children to have such easy access to rely and gangs COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY EDDIE ADAMS PAOB 4 MAY 1984 PARADE MAGAZINE rather than on neigh community institutions and religious congregations for protection and Never have we pushed so many children into the tu multuous sea of life the life vests of nurturing families and sense of right and enough adult role models they can with out challenged job prospects or And nev er have we exposed children so early and relentlessly to cultural messages izing alcohol and It is time for all parents and adults to stop our hypocrisy and break the code of silence about the breakdown of spiritual values and parental and munity responsibility to nurture and protect While we decry rising youth drug use and antisocial the plain truth is that we adults have preached moral and family values we have not practiced consistently in our religious con communities and national PARAOB MAQAZ1NI HAY 1994 PAQ8 6 A It is adults who have produced and per i formed in the TV shows and media that have f made violence ubiquitous in our It is adults who market and make available guns to any j body who wants including pur It is adults have taught that racial and gender intoler greed and selfishness are family It is 5 adults who have left millions of children without a healthy a head a fair start and a safe start in It is adults who have taught children to look for meaning outside rather than inside ing in Martin Luther Kings to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to And it is ers and must accept responsibility and pledge anew to morally protect and invest in our own children and in all If you are a recognize that it is the most im portant calling and rewarding challenge you What you do every what you say and how you act will do more to shape the future of America than any other The Ashanti proverb that the ruin of a nation be gins in the homes of its people means that its success also begins What power we we who continue to disproportionately bear the re sponsibility of child for good As we must value children enough to dis cipline spend time with be decent role models for them and fight for what they need from our communities and And we must tell our chil dren that forming families is serious business and not to have children until they are ready to support them emotionally and economi A terrible story is just un It reflects the per sonal and national conse quences of hundreds of thousands of runaway and throwaway AIDS orphans and children shunt ed about in outofhome care the legacy of count less parents of privilege who have emotionally abandoned their children for personal plea sure or work and the toll on children of parents who are stressed daily to the lim its of survival by jobless too few community supports and How many chil dren are turning to gangs and cults and drugs and too early sex in suburbs and in neTcities they cannot find at home As I look back on my own it is nearly unimaginable that I could have overcome gender and racial discrimination without the strong high expectations and steady support of my whose legacies still guide and sustain me every I was 45 years old when my Maggie Leola Bowen died in Yet nothing had pre pared me for the feeling of being of not being someones When my dad had died 30 On this Mothers I urge you to join me in the following pledge I promise to my children Communicate with my children Teach my children right from wrong and be a good role model for them time with and pay attention to my children Educate my children in body and soul Work to provide a stable family life for my children fray for and see God in my children and all children Vote for my children to ensure them equal opportunity to Speak out for my childrens needs and join in a movement to see that no child is left behind in our two out of every three black babies and one out of every five white babies are born to unmarried And if its wrong for innercity girls to have babies without benefit of its wrong for rich celebrities years I was 14 years old and the youngest of five This devastating loss was cushioned by my who was a rock that I and my siblings leaned upon for continuity and My a Baptist minister who lived every day the faith he preached on had been the strong fam ily head and outfront community leader while my he called pal and in the keeping home and church running Although we worried how she would man age without my mother did not miss a beat in as suming either the family or church leadership My brother Harry assumed my fathers and my mother continued as family navigator and church organist and and nurturer of my fathers legacy of service in and outside the She prospered by giving and led by She opened our home to 12 foster children and continued operating the Wright Home for the which she and my dad had begun behind our until she three meals a day for senior some of whom were younger than until we in sisted in her later years that she hire a She kept up her community and church work until a few weeks before her death she I did not promise the Lord that I was going part of the I promised Him I was going all the way until He tells me other And when she was no longer able to be pro ductive or to walk under her own steam when faced with a rapidly growing she quietly announced she was ready to did not want to be a burden to her children and refused further My deep sadness at being unable to pick up the hear her voice and seek her advice passed over time as her seeds of love bloomed in new The South Carolina home where I was born and my sis ter and three brothers were raised serves today as a youth development center of the Childrens Defense Fund and bustles with laughter and activity from com munity parents and Two of her grand daughters help their father care for the nine senior citizens in the Wright Home for the There is never a day when I do not think of her and never a time continued
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