Catch Them Young- The Time is Now!

By: Dr. Dee Dee Freeman

Spirit of Faith Christian Center; Temple Hills, MD

In every generation certain individuals impact the lives of young people. These individuals become responsible in their roles as mother, father, teacher, mentor and friend. Often, they are the only light these young lives are exposed to, thus ensuring that they become healthy and productive adults. Joy Stevenson is one of these individuals highly qualified to speak on the importance of providing a sound and stable foundation for them. She is an outstanding mother and friend, not only to her own daughter, but to countless other young men and women.

It is evident that she was predestined for this work, and has proven it to be of utmost importance to her. Over the years, she has exhibited an unwavering dedication to the mission of Catch Them Young. Caring is important, but taking actions is what’s needed. We want to inspire you to do the work and touch the lives of the young people around you. We want to ensure that their future, and the future of our society, is one of full promise. I hope you too will be inspired to Catch Them Young.

The State of Our Youth Today

By: Francis S. Cole, Ph.D.

Regional Director

U.S. Department of Labor

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Statistics tell us that 40% of children born in the year 2011 were to single mothers. We must question our position in many areas, the first three that come to mind are: family values, health relationships and sexual activity. It has become acceptable for a family to have one parent and multiple children, fathered by multiple men. Gone are the days when we automatically think of family as a father, mother and children. Too many commonplace things seem to be sexually driven. You cannot watch a television commercial or look at a car advertisement without the scantily clad, smooth talking, cosmetically manicured model that has absolutely nothing to do with the product.

All these images and messages about faster, stronger, skinnier or sexier are telling our children they are not good enough. This subliminal messaging continues to measure up to unrealistic false standards. If we were to spend more time teaching our children right from wrong, and teach them to stand up for what they believe in, they would weigh the consequences before they act, and we would have children who are smarter, stronger and better equipped than generations before them.

Positive Affirmation For Your Children

By familiarizing our youth with the richness of their culture and giving them constant reinforcement of who they are, we can produce a stronger, more confident and assertive generation. Below are suggested affirmations that can be recited aloud with your children, students and youth groups on a daily basis.  As they consistently recite these affirmations, they will begin to live, breathe and see the manifestation of what has been spoken. Additional affirmations can be added based on their personal needs.

-I am the answer to someone’s problem

-i am distinctively different

-I am not a mistake or an after thought

-No one can do what I have been created to do

-I will live and not die, no incident or accident shall be permitted in my life

-I will fulfill the destiny I was preordained to accomplish

-i am unstoppable, there is nobody like me

-I walk in love and not anger

-I am a light in the midst of darkness

-I possess mental toughness

-I will not allow ill-spoken words to hinder me

-I love me

-I will not allow the opinions of others to stop me

-I excel in every area of my life

-Everything I touch prospers

-Peer Pressure or Negative Influences shall not distract me

Failure is Not An Option

“I can accept failure and everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

~Michael Jordan

Having Mental Toughness will help you achieve your goals in EVERY area of your life. It can be developed. Look at the Marine Corps, the strictness inflicted upon young soldiers, the rules they must abide by, the way they make their beds, tidy their footlockers and spit polish their shoes. They have to be tough! These young men and women are being trained to defend our country. Don’t you think at times, they feel like it would be easier just to quit and walk away? These soldiers are forced to endure. Oftentimes we chose to just give up instead of standing in the midst of adversity and discomfort. Can you imagine the Mental Toughness required to be a Navy Seal?

No one wants to endure when things get hard. It takes discipline, having self-control and self-determination to be successful in life. The world is full of lonely men and women walking around looking for someone to do it for them, or to make them happy. Only YOU can make YOU happy! Change your attitude…change your mindset…commit to being a FINISHER!

Practice Mental Toughness every day and soon it will become a way of life. Think about and imagine whom you want to be, the life you want to live, or the career you desire. The desire is evidence that it exists. Some of you may be asking, ok, what does that mean? God wouldn’t give us a desire for something that was impossible to obtain. If the desire is there, it’s possible. Take the limits off! It doesn’t cost you anything to dream, so if you’re going to dream, DREAM BIG!

BE UNSTOPPABLE!

Music- A Mind Altering Force

A great and inexpensive way to get a handle on this generation is to pay attention to chart music. Basically, it is the top music of our culture, and the most popular music being listened to by most people. It has a variety of music genres, and each week the top music is put on the radio for the whole country to hear. So if you are looking for a way to get up to speed with the youth of our world, and more importantly your children’s world, then tune into chart music.

So, how do you pay attention to chart music?

Well, the first thing that you need to do is just listen to it. Instead of going for your favorite radio station when you jump in the car each day, find the radio stations that are playing the chart music and listen in to those. Your kids can tell you those popular radio stations if you don’t already know. You do not necessarily have to set aside hours of valuable time each week to get to know chart music, instead you can just utilize your time in the car for a different purpose.

Other ways to pay attention

-Talk to your kids about the music they are listening to

-Let them put on music of their choice when they are in the car

-Ask to borrow some of their CD’s

-Listen to the words they are hearing

-Be prepared that you may be offended with their music choices

-Determine ahead of time that you want to get a grasp of their lives

-You do not have to discipline them in any way

The lyrics in chart music are a huge reflection of what the youth of our nation are thinking about and caring about. So listen up. You may find that you learn a great deal. The depth of thought and emotion that our youth are experiencing each day may also surprise you. Chart music is a great way for parents and educators to keep a handle on the interests of their kids. Take time to listen to what your kids are listening to!

At Catch Them Young, during our music workshops we discuss the impact of the music we listen to. Our minds are like computers. The music we listen to can impact us positively or negatively. The majority of todays’ popular music promotes violence, profanity, promiscuity and the like. We teach our musicians the importance of writing original music that promote the positive.

Code of Conduct

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”

-Malcolm X

I have found there are a few codes of conduct that make a tremendous difference in the lives of those who must use them. Listed below are a few common courtesies that MUST be taught:

1) No sir

2) Yes sir

3) No mam

4) Yes mam

5) Please

6) Thank you

Parents, we owe it to our children to teach them small courtesies. They will prove to be valuable. If we love our children, we will give them the tools they need to not only succeed in life, but to stand out in the midst of their peers. Again, we are raising our children in a society that is geared toward failure. Whose responsibility is it to teach our children? Is it the teacher, the church, your next-dorr neighbor? No, it is the parents responsibility.

I watched as a young man gave up his seat on the bus for an elderly lady! Wow! I thought to myself. It’s been a while since I saw someone display such an act of kindness. Immediately, after that  thought came another. Why is that so? Back in the day that was the norm. That is the way we were taught. We never gave it a second thought, it was automatic to offer your seat when someone elderly got on the bus, or was in a situation where they required a helping hand. Not long ago, when we had a large snow storm, I shoveled off my neighbor’s walkway. They are elderly, so I knew they would need some assistance.

It appears that society has become more selfish than ever. We are in a time where everyone is out for himself or herself. Adults have no reverence for the law. How can we expect our children to have that respect? Laws and rules are created for our protection, like obeying traffic lights and signs so we don’t experience traffic jams and accidents, or obeying Police Officers so we can have order in society. Their jobs were created to protect mankind from the negative behaviors of some individuals.

Man Talk

“If the Children are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences than it would have done in their correction by a good education”

~Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, 1818

Recently, a nationwide survey was done consisting of teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. They were asked to identify the person with whom they most admire as a role model other than their parents. Previous research showed that when mentioning parents it became almost an automatic response to recite parents as role models.

So whom do teenagers have for role models? Even while limiting the answers to non-parents, family members still come out on top. The most commonly mentioned role model is a relative- 37% of teens named a relation, other than their parent, as the person they admire most. This is typically a grandparent, but also included sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. After family, teens mostly mention teachers and coaches (11%), friends (9%) and Pastors or other religious leaders they know personally (6%). The other role models unfortunately named in these communities are either incarcerated or gang lords.

A majority of teens indicated that the people they most admire and imitate are those with whom they maintain a personal connection, friendship or interaction. If this is true, what happened to African American or Hispanic communities, where the majority of their family members are female?

Statistics say that young boys raised in single parent households, run by men, are not as likely to go to jail as households run by women.

I feel truly saddened when I see large numbers of idle young males filling our neighborhoods on a daily basis. We see them hanging on street corners, with sagging pants below their butts…smoking cigarettes, weed and drinking beer. What’s happening in our communities? Again, its the lack of parental guidance, role modeling and responsibility to children. Many of our young people have opted to join the military where they can at least receive the opportunities to obtain a good education and receive benefits.

Being a Lady in a Society Where Anything Goes

“The future, which we hold in trust for our own children, will be shaped by our fairness to other people’s children”

~Marian Edelman Wright

During the Catch Them Young (CTY) “Self Esteem Workshops”, we teach our ladies how to win in their male to female relationships. The makeup of the male gender is discussed at length. A man is created to compete. He possesses a competitive edge. He likes to compete, work and finally conquer. The female gender in todays’ society has much work to do in this area. They have made themselves so readily available for all types of promiscuity and sexual perversion. Guys can so easily, as this generation says, “smash” a young lady without hardly any effort. Girls are throwing themselves at the guys. The clothes young ladies wear today leave nothing to the imagination, everything seems to be hanging out exposing every part of their body.

At CTY we thrive to teach our ladies the importance of dressing modestly. NO! I’m not saying dress like a nun, I mean dress stylish and fashionable, but show just enough for him to admire and wonder. Men are very fleshy…they are motivated by their senses, more so than women.  Sight really stimulates them. Ladies, don’t allow the pressures around you to cause you to compromise your standards. Just because everybody is doing it, or that special guy that you really like says, “If you really like me, you will do it”.

One of the hard lessons I learned in my life, anything you compromise your standards for, you will ultimately lose. As a lady, if you are interested in a guy, you can create a desire to be ignited in him toward you. They love the adrenaline rush! This will cause him to pursue you. It’s the chase that he really likes and it stimulates him. If they really like you, they will do it all to conquer. When they see that you are not like other females-you don’t give out freebies or lower your standards, they are more likely to committ. They want a lady who they can trust. If you aren’t easy with them, they figure you wont be easy with anyone else, therefore, they wont have to worry about infidelity. As a result, they will be apt to open their hearts and openly trust.

Morality and Integrity

“The Life of the Nation is Secure Only While the Nation is Honest, Truthful and Virtuous”

~ Frederick Douglass

Most parents and teachers realize that values and perspectives must be planted by personal examples. However, in practice we sometimes try to build our children and students behavioral routines that we personally have not yet mastered. We insist that our children get proper sleep, even though we scrape by on far less than we need. We insist that they eat properly, even though we survive on coffee and donuts. We insist that they control their anger, even though we sometimes show rage. In short, we find it easier to work on our children than ourselves. The hypocrisy has disastrous results. Too many children legitimately view their parents/teachers as insincere because they witness them saying one thing and then doing another.  Disrespect burgeons slowly, and often around the ages of twelve and fifteen, it strips the parent-child or teacher-student relationship. Children then reject the moral authority of the adults in their lives. They isolate themselves emotionally from parents and teachers, and begin making their own (self destructive) decisions. We have got to take a look at ourselves and see how our actions have a major impact on the lives of our children.

In the last decade we have experienced a suffering economy, political unrest, job loss and unemployment benefits being over utilized. We currently live in a society of liars, cheaters and manipulators who lack integrity and honesty. It has become the “norm” to have multiple sex partners. Honesty, morality and virtues have become a thing of the past. To encounter such individuals with these qualities is very rare. This current generation has conformed to the example we have set for them. They are only reproducing what has been modeled before them. Often with comments such as: “Well my mom was on welfare and she got a check, why can’t I? What’s wrong with that?” So many young people feel that if it worked for mama, then it will work for them.

They continue to follow a vicious cycle that will perpetuate through generations unless an intentional action is taken and this habitual cycle is broken.