How are you doing? I am fine. Happy the 100-degree weather is almost over here in Dallas. It has been HOT. I can appreciate the cool weather and its benefits.
I am dedicating this column to my first son, Javin, who turned 18 earlier this year and also graduated from High School. It is the joy of any parent to see their child (ren) born, grow up, develop into their own person, and by the grace of God, understand what is expected to be of them in life.
His formative years were in Beltsville, first at KIDS IN HIS CARE off Ammendale Road and later at the Beltsville SDA School. I also must mention, Nanny Fraser in St. Kitts, who helped us and took him in as one of only three children that she babysat. The other two, Arielle (is in St. Kitts) and Ashley (in University in England), have also grown up well. Thanks to all his teachers through the years. I used to teach when I was younger, first in Brooklyn New York and later on back in St. Kitts, so I can appreciate what teachers go through. I was blessed to have a super duper first grade teacher, who coincidentally taught me and my other three siblings, in 1st grade, regardless of the ten-to-twelve-year gap between me and my last two siblings.
Anyway, Javin, went on from Beltsville to the Shenandoah Valley Academy in Virginia and then Atholton High School, before we relocated to Dallas, Texas and he finished up at Heritage High School in Frisco, Texas.
As a parent, it was a thing of pride to see him graduate from High School , less than a week after he turned 18 years old.
On to the next chapter where he starts college locally this week, in Texas and just got his driver’s license. His Mum is more worried about him on the road than I am. I passed through the driving stage in Nigeria as a teenager and had to go through the ordeal of the grownups using me as a messenger and chauffeur. At a point I had wished I did not drive – all the runs to the market, groceries, if Dad was going out of state, I had to drive him and sit in the car for a long time while he had his meetings. I would read newspapers to kill time as there was no internet back in the 1980’s and early 90’s.
Back to my son! It is now a thing of joy to see him dropping his younger brother to school and picking him up, even though I know he does not really like to wake up early in the morning to do that. Guess what? I had to drop my siblings and pick them up too, as a teenager. So, I can relate to those early mornings.
So, to all parents, and grandparents who have people starting school or moving on to college or even just starting a new job, let us thank God for sparing us to see these moments. It is a thing of joy. Oh, I forgot to add that all my three children can cook, so I am happy I don’t have to deal with that – and they understand to help do the dishes afterwards, especially when they make a mess in the kitchen. As I tell them, housekeeping is not at work today, so we got to clean up.
Now, to all our educators, thank you for all the hard work you do. I know it is not easy and especially for first time educators, relax, you will be okay. I have been where you are. I had to overcome shyness. My second job after college was to teach English at Ogun State University in Nigeria, and I ran away from that, too scared to be a 21-year-old in the classroom. Nemesis would get me three years later, having to teach in Brooklyn, New York.
So to all our educators, in Beltsville and beyond, THANK YOU !