Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Lesson from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel

After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. - Judges 2: 6-7, 10-12

This made me think of this great episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Ashley Banks (the youngest daughter) decided that she wanted to go to public school. Of course Uncle Phil was against it. Why should she go to public school? He was rich. He could afford to put her in the best schools money could offer.

Plus he grew up in public schools and had to struggle through them to become the man that he grew up to be. The private school, in his opinion, would better prepare her for any kind of future she may want to have.

So what did Ashley do? She switched schools without her parents knowing (kinda far fetched but bear with me here).

Of course her parents found out and there was this big fight about it. Then Uncle Phil’s wife, Vivian, brought up a great point. They had worked so hard to provide their children with everything they couldn’t have, that they didn’t stop to think about how wonderful some of the things that they had actually were.

Many of us have come from troubled backgrounds. Perhaps you grew up poor, and never had the chance to receive a proper education. Maybe you were the first generation to immigrate to the place that you live. You had to learn a new language and struggle to adapt to a new reality. However, through the grace of God and hard work you still persevered and blazed your own trail in the world.

It seems logical to do all that you can to prevent your children from going through what you went through.

That may not be the case. We have to remember that we have a responsibility to the next generation. We have to teach them the best we can. We have to expose them to the best opportunities that we can afford. Some of these best opportunities don’t come from the fruits of our blessings, but rather, from the richness of faith, culture, and heritage that combined to make us who we are.

Some of the legacies that we seem to run from are the source of our blessings. Uncle Phil had to be reminded of all of the good that he experienced as a product of the public school systems before he could realize that he might be robbing Ashley of one of the most powerful treasures of his childhood.

So let’s teach the children about our various cultures. Let’s encourage them to speak our native languages. Let’s fill them in on the successes and mistakes that we, our families, and our communities have made.

This way they will be in the best possible position to avoid what happened to Israel. Hopefully they will make better choices and create better realities in the future for everyone.

Today’s Reading: Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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