Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blackboard Experience: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Some of the stories that I share are for inspiration, overall uplifting and celebration of things that people may do in the black community that may get overlooked. I try my best to bring light to these great contributions or achievements from people. However, some of my stories comes from absolute outrage or an experience that really compels me to share what I see, think and thought at the time that this was going on.


On Saturday, Oct. 31, which was Halloween, I went to a Halloween party. This party was nothing special. It was just normal everyday costume party. Nothing ridiculous or out of the ordinary happened. It was my experience stopping at the gas station that struck a nerve in me. I stopped at the gas station to get a pack of gum. As I was walking into the gas station, I noticed there were about 5 to 6 black kids hanging out around and in the convenience store.

 Now, to some people, this may not be a big deal but to me, it was an extremely big deal. This black male who was between 17- 21 years old by my guess asked me if I smoked weed. Initially, I thought that he was looking for weed and then I realized that he was trying to sell me weed. The first time he asked me I did not turn around because I did not think he was talking to me. Then again, when I was leaving out, he asked me again. I answered short and abruptly,

“Nah dog.”

As I was walking out I noticed two girls were part of the five people hanging around. I was not able to determine if the cashier was black or some sort of foreigner. However, I did notice that the glass between him and I was at least 4 inches thick.

 These are some questions I begin to ask myself:


Why is this kid in a convenience store owned by a foreigner hanging out in the store and not buying anything and trying to sell me weed? It is 9:00 pm or a Friday night. Isn’t there a School Halloween Dance, football or basketball game going on? Isn’t there a girl you could take to the movies? Couldn’t you be at a job? Isn’t there something else you could be doing with your time? Also, what were the girls doing there? Are they trying to hang around the guy that is selling weed? Is that cool?


How did this become something to do for this kid? What motivates him to hang at a store away from home? Is he hanging away from home because his parents will be upset at home if they caught him selling in the neighborhood? Is his parents even around? How can’t this kid be doing 100 other things?


When did this become acceptable? When did people who own stores allow people to loiter in and around their property selling weed? Doesn’t that affect their business? Are they scared to tell this kid something because he may cause harm to them?


What should I have down? Should I have tried to talk to him and ask him his situation and offer him help? Would he have looked at me driving a Toyota Camry and said, “What the hell will I listen to him for?” Would he have gotten upset with me if I tried to interfere?Well, I don’t know because I walked out without a word or even a look. I went to my party and although this was on my mind, I still had fun and followed my normal routine.

Here are my questions to you:

Should I even be complaining about this considering that I did or said nothing?
Are we responsible for this disturbing behavior?
Can this pattern of behavior be stopped and if so, how long will it take?

Lastly, the collective thoughts of people who may think about these things are extremely important to me. If you have any comments or concerns or anything on this matter, please comment because it takes a village to raise a child.

"It takes a village to raise a child" originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb "Ora na azu nwa" which means it takes the community/village to raise a child. The Igbo's also name their children "Nwa ora" which means child of the community. It has been in existence in Africa for centuries.

Dario Mobley


  1. why do you need gum on a Friday night at 9 pm from a convenience store??

  2. I was going to a halloween party and that was the closest store to where the party was located. I did not think anything of it.

  3. i think half of the problem w/the black community is the lack of parenting by capable adults. that kid probably lives in an area where there is no Halloween party to go to, no ball game he'd rather play or movie he'd rather see...he see's selling drugs as the easy way to make money, and selling weed is small time, nothing that if he was caught with would warrant a long jail sentence...and the chick that was with him may be his chick, whose into the "thug" type, and eventually will become pregnant for him, and then his excuse will be "i gotta do what i gotta do to support my child", so instead of going legit ala going to school and getting a real job, he'd take the easy way out.

  4. Rome,

    The explanation sounds so sad and so simple. The funny thing about it is that there is a lot of ABSOLUTE truth in what you are saying. Crazy!!!

  5. I think about all the 'stupid' stuff I did at that age... look back at all the things you yourself used to do when younger; then now you realize it was all 'dumb'. Probably the main difference is that there are people who learn and realize that was dumb, and there are people who never learn that it is dumb. This isn't a white or black thing either... white kids do it too... so I'm told... if anything it's more a social class thing. But I believe the root of all evil/sin is the lack of God in ones life, in all our lives. As Americans keep pushing God out of our lives, we lose that 'conscience' that inter-knowing of good or bad. And we all still do it today because we are all sinners, but at least we know it and can improve on it if we chose, if not, well then we're still the 17 year old thug selling pot at the convience store. That is the root of the problem.

    Disecting further, maybe instead of ignoring him, you should have just told him 'Nah man, you can do better than this,' and walk away. At least you're introducing something positive into his head... but this goes back to the whole 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink' debate we had. People are all different, just like your pinky is different than your index. Some will look for the easy way to make money (selling drugs) and others will get a 'real' job. Children are innocent and it is very depressing to think about all the children in the world who are abused, neglected, and taught to do wrong. It does take a village to raise a child, but there is a cycle, and that cycle is the fact that you surround yourself with people like you most the time. So if you're a misfit, you're friends are probably misfits. Kids can be mean and not accepting of one another (that was my experience growing up anyway) and that encourages the cycle. Hoping that one day everyone will just 'get it'.

  6. Yes, I have wondered about this type of behavior and prayed for all youth for decades now. Roy is right.