Coaching Our Teens for Intellectual Excellence & Success!

Posted on January 31, 2014 by


Raising Our Children for Excellence & Success:
LET’S STOP Allowing Our Pearls to Fall Before Swines!!!
By Bro. Mxolisi T. Sowell / Ozo-Sowande

“When the pupil is ready, then the master will appear.”
This much celebrated, often quoted expression comes to us via ASAR Dr. George G.M. James’ revelatory work, Stolen Legacy, as he discussed details of the Mystery System of Ancient Kemet (Egypt), the academic and spiritual centers of organized culture for that great nation. Dr. James shared with us that this system “had as its most important object, the deification of man . . . (to) enable him to become godlike”; to experience “liberation of the mind from finite consciousness . . . when it becomes one and is identified with the Infinite.”

Our greatest, most pro-active understanding of that profound system needs to be, that there were ways and means, persons and procedures to detect the readiness of the pupils for higher, broader, deeper levels of study on the path toward godlikeness and the sacred obligation to be responsible in the exercise of the unlimited powers that such an awesome attainment embodied — for the greatest good of the greatest number of family, community, nation, and universe. Additionally, we need to understand that such a system was rooted in – required — life-long study and growth by instructors (“masters”) as well as the pupils, if newly discovered dimensions of reality and truth were to be effectively known and embraced.

ASAR Dr. Chancellor Williams, in his outstanding work, The Destruction of Black Civilization, shared with us that systems similar to that of Kemet were “practically universal” in traditional African culture, “from one end of the continent to the other,” serving to indicate “a common center of Black civilization.” Dr. Williams went on to describe the “age-grade or age-set” systems through which the residents of the respective villages or societies – from toddlers to elders — were guided and trained regarding the values, wisdom, needs and expectations of their localities — in groups, according to their age and intelligence, and their demonstration of readiness for increased responsibilities and the responsible exercise of power.

We would be wise, here and now, to develop and emulate the diligence that was exercised in those traditional African systems to cultivate and promote excellence and success to the godly degree. Failure to do so, particularly in the raising-training-liberating of our children, amounts to us continuing to allow them to all before the swines – under the swines – and their toxic production of mediocrity, inhumanity, self-hate, self-destruction, and worse.

The Crucial Age of Adolescence
Within our traditional systems, Dr. Williams reported, the age of adolescence (“teenage through age eighteen”) was of monumental importance, with the youths’ entire future depending upon their success or failure at this level: When training and responsibilities were stepped up; when play was either over or very much curtailed; when education and training became more complex and extensive. Ironically, what was/is crucial in our traditional systems is crucial for us today, according to modern studies of human brain development which indicates that the capacity of a person to learn will never be greater than during adolescence; with the brain of an adolescent, in terms of sheer intellectual power, being a match for the brain of an adult!!! Ain’t that good news!

But the flip side of this coin, according to those studies, is that the cerebral systems (pre-frontal cortex) that provide for control of emotions and impulsiveness, and the ability to contemplate the long term consequences (or rewards) of one’s decisions and actions, does not mature until the mid-20’s of the average person’s life. Consequently, in far too many cases, this readiness, this awesome capacity for sheer intellectual power, gets misdirected to emotional, impulsive, short-term, peer-pressure induced decisions [not to mention the accompanying hormone-driven impulses] that can have life-long detrimental impact for the individual, their family, and others, and more.

It should be noted that some psychologists consider this “blame-the-brain” point of view to be overly-focused on the youths of stressed-out, overly-tasked U.S. society. They point to studies showing that adolescents in other countries/cultures neither feel nor behave as U.S. teens; that they do not experience the turmoil that has come to define the teen years in the U.S.; that they have their transition to adulthood made smoother and swifter through significant and purposeful time being spent with adults rather than being isolated from them and being “segregated” with only their peers. One study of 186 “pre-industrial” cultures found that 60 per cent of them do not even have a word for “adolescence”. The scholars in this camp are concerned that over-reliance on “blame-the-brain” serves as an invitation to big pharma to come up with new mixtures that will be marketed as “brain-fixers.”

So what’s to be done? Who is to do it?
The answers to those questions are embodied in the wisdom of our traditional African world-view, as well as in the insights of our scholars who meticulously study and honor our heritage; and they even are implied in the wisdom of our ancestors that survived to be expressed in Judeo-Christian writings. Consider the following:
“A child is not a complete being until he or she has been fully informed and trained in the values, principles and vision of the family-community to which GOD has entrusted them.”(Ancient African Wisdom, paraphrased)

“Every phase of an African American child’s life ought to be planned in advance of their birth; and every member of their family-community network involved in maintaining and enforcing that plan for their greatest well-being and development.” (Contemporary African American scholars)

“Where there is no vision, a people perish.” (Judeo-Christian Wisdom)

The bottom line rests with US! . . . Parents, Elders, Big Sisters and Brothers, Churches, Sororities, Fraternities; every intelligent, responsible person, group or organization of our villages (communities) across this nation and around the world. We must learn from the past, the responsibility for life-long study of the past and the present, in order to be and become the “masters” — [or to work together (Ujima) to create and sustain the masterful systems] — that always “appear” to guide our youth toward the infinitely positive pursuits for which their adolescent and young adult minds are ready and capable — which we as a people so sorely need!

This is urgent and crucial action that we must undertake, particularly in light of the environment of racism, sexism, deception and oppression in which we exist in this so-called “modern world” — a set of circumstances that leads even too many adults with presumably fully developed brains to asinine decisions and actions. We must find the ways to keep our young folks – the pearls of our present and future – away from the muck and mire of the swines and swine institutions that are insensitive to their needs and are only too willing to exploit them or dismiss their humanity.

We Must Coach Them for Excellence & Success
We must grow in knowing and revering the readiness of young minds for new experiences and intellectual prowess, and be ready to assist and nurture them to the fullness of their potentials.
WE must:
• Coach them to Interpret and Analyze things:**
o Ask questions that get them to think about why certain things have happened, are happening, might happen
o Refrain from giving your answers; encourage them to think through the who, what, when, where, why, and how of situations and circumstances, and share their views with you

• Coach them to Foresee Consequences:
o Ask questions that get them to think about the impact that certain desires, decisions, actions, outcomes, events might have on their goals, aspirations, reputation, relationships, etc.

• Coach them to Think Through Their Own Challenges, Problems, Conflicts or Issues:
o Ask questions that will help them identify the real problem, and think of possible solutions or alternatives, and pick the best one

• Coach them to Set Goals and Make Plans:
o Ask questions about their immediate, short-term, and long-term goals and aspirations; what it will take to accomplish them; what are the next steps; what support they think they need
o Encourage them to make notes for themselves

• Coach them to Learn From Experience:
o Ask questions that help them analyze and evaluate their experiences (positives or negatives), as to what really happened; how & why; what was the sequence of events; how to build on or avoid those particulars in the future

Just as talk is crucial for the development of cerebral systems and self-esteem in infants, toddlers and pre-adolescents (in some circles it is said that, “talk makes your baby’s brain grow”), it also plays a powerful role in the development of those cerebral systems that facilitate control of emotions, impulsiveness, and contemplation of the long-term impact of one’s decisions and actions. But at this adolescent level the aim is to get the teens to do the talking; to coach them into thinking/talking conversations that serve to activate their pre-frontal cortex facilities in order to make the most of their blossoming readiness for learning and intellectual prowess.

Look for “learning moments:” when something significant is happening in the teen’s life; when there is excitement, agitation, anger or depression. In those moments, be ready to let a coaching session begin. Work on learning how to ask appropriate questions and listening closely to the responses.

**These “coaching” tips come from the book, “How to Give Your Teen a Superior Mind”
(What You Can Do to Wire Your Child’s Brain for Critical Thinking and Good Judgment)
By Dennis Coates, Ph.D. ~ You can download a FREE copy of the 37-page book at the following link ~

The best foundation for successful coaching of our youths comes from them having been raised in the nurture and guidance of authoritative parenting; in an environment where there existed a visionary plan in advance of their birth, and a family-community network involved in maintaining and enforcing that plan for their greatest well-being and development. Authoritative. Not authoritarian!

The authoritative parenting style has rules and guidelines that children are expected to follow; but it is a highly democratic style in which parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When children fall short of expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Such parents are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. Their children are more likely to be assertive, socially responsible, self-regulated and cooperative. Because authoritative parents act as role models and exhibit the same behaviors they expect from their children, kids are more likely to internalize these behaviors.

By contrast, in the authoritarian styleof parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents, with failure to follow such rules usually resulting in punishment. These parents generally fail to explain the reasoning behind their rules and rely too often on “Because I said so” responses. They have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. Children raised in such settings are typically very good at following rules, but tend to lack self-discipline; they are not encouraged to explore and act independently, resulting in weakness when it comes to setting their own limits and personal standards.

The point here is that successful coaching is not to be pulled out of the blue – not likely to be successfully employed where the proper foundation has not been made ready!

See our Visions & Victories article at the following link, for authoritative parenting suggestions:

The urgent need for the successful coaching of our youths is reflected in one of the conclusions encompassed in Ebony magazine’s recent series on “Saving Our Sons”, as follows:

“If the Black community (parents, elders and others – churches, fraternities, sororities, et al) doesn’t make a concerted effort to start applying these and many other techniques to pull our boys (and girls) out of their emotional crises and help them deal with their feelings, another generation . . . will find themselves tossed into the salivating jaws of the criminal justice system.”

Finally, these words from The Husia seem exceptionally appropriate:
“If you are parents of worth and wisdom, train your children so that they will be pleasing to GOD. And if they do what is right, following your example, and handle your affairs as they should, do for them all that is good . . .” ~ Ptah-Hotep, Passage #V

Let’s do all we can, in every way we can, to coach our youths to the excellence and greatness – the godlikeness — that our history and heritage demonstrate they are capable of manifesting, as inferred by Ptah-Hotep’s words; to the “sheer intellectual power” for which modern science indicates that they are ready.
We must be the “masters” who come forth to stop allowing our pearls to fall before the swines!!!