Opportunities to Grow

You many have noticed a couple of clocks on the blog.  I have been looking for a simple one for time and date.  Then I decided to keep up with my son, so I have temporarily put a clock up to tell me what time it is in Japan.  Oh yeah, my son left for Japan yesterday morning.  Fifteen hour flight with the sun chasing him all the way.  As I write this, its Saturday night in Tokyo.and he and his small group of classmates and their sensai are probably settled in and on their way to dinner.  I know he'll have sushi, Jay loves sushi.  I'm sure he's take pictures of raw, rolled fish for us to comment on.

Jay and his friend Will have been studying Japanese their entire high school careers.  Rather fluent, I catch them insulting each other or laughing at something in their second language all the time.  This trip is something they've talked about for more than a year and they've worked hard to prepare for it. 

Jay will be studying art and animation in the fall and Will will be studying web and video game design.  They want to be animators, creating their own games and cartoons.  In addition, Jay loves to write and is about half way through his first graphic novel.  I'm sure this trip will give him ideas on how to improve what he's begun.

When I tell people this, they look at me and smile.  "Oh, how nice!" as if black boys aren't supposed to do anything with their talents.  Jay is a gifted artist, Will does things with graphic design that are quite impressive.  Why shouldn't they take their raw talent and turn it into something bigger and better? Why don't people have the same words of encouragement for black boys that they have for every other child that announces their dreams with grins on their faces? 

I stood in the north parking lot of the high school yesterday morning watching the parents of the other 4 kids (6 of them in all) pick at their clothing and reminded them to take medicine and enjoy themselves.  I told my two charges to make sure to "listen"... to absorb the culture with more than their eyes and tongues; to hear the people as they speak, to smell the aromas of the cities and towns and villages, to touch things, people, lives.  I told them to "become Japanese" if only for 9 days, because this is their opportunity to see the place they've always wanted to see...FOR THE FIRST TIME, because subsequent visits will never be quite like this one.

As this is a field study, they are all required to keep journals.  Jay will be writing, Will took his video camera and record his experience digitally.  This is his first flight, so I'm sure there will be much to be said on THAT experience alone. They are being sponsored by the school board, so they will be giving a presentation on their visit when they get home.  I will help them with the presentaion and can't wait to see all the pictures and video.  Editing it all into something they will be able to show their grandchildren one day, will be fun.  I can't wait.

I'm happy for them all.  The world is a smaller place now than when I was their age. They will be pulling out their passports and wandering around the planet so many times, I"m sure.  Great opportunities await them, and those they encounter on their journeys.  Afterall, they are ambassors too, showing the Japanese not all black kids from the U.S. wear their pants around their ankles and curse like sailors.  Our kids can be articulate and aware, willing to learn and teach.  We have dreams, goals `and hopes too, despite what media says about us.

Safe travels Jay, Will, Chris, Gabe, Dijah, Raquel and a special THANK YOU to Sensai Dawnielle for facilitating this opportunity for you!


Anonymous said...

Hello. This is GraciousSun from black voices. I often read your blog from time to time and I must say that I enjoy it. I just wanted to say hat your son looks just like you. Have a good day.

P.S. Where are you hangout out these days since you are not on the boards much?

C.S.Stone said...

haha... thanks! I hang out in and will be hanging out in when we get things going there

so you know... the kid in the black tee is mine... the big goon is my "play" son... lol