Community Voices

Patience is the stuff we each need just to make it through another day

I have been thinking a lot about patience lately. Perhaps it’s because a lot of the time, I have Jaylen, one of my four great-grandchildren, with me. Like most 10-year-olds, Jaylen is a handful. I look at him and see the energy that he has and then I know why God gave babies to young people.

Jaylen is the son of my second-oldest granddaughter. An elementary school physical education teacher, she also is a single mom. So, I took it upon myself to be her back-up, to be there for her whenever she needs me to take Jaylen to school and pick him up; take him to his track practice and doctor’s appointments.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you (if you don’t already know) such tasks takes patience.

I ask you: Have you ever been in the presence of a 10-year-old for more than a few minutes? If you have, then you know that they talk nonstop. And that their stories are peppered with sound effects and animation. I am always amazed at Jaylen’s vocabulary. He can hold his own with much older people.

It takes a lot of patience and faith at my age to tackle the problems and be able to discipline a youngster of 10. But then, the Bible tells us that “the testing” of our faith produces patience. Lord increase my faith.

Since spending a lot of time with Jaylen, I have become a kind of block mother to the youngsters on my street. They like to congregate in my backyard. That’s where Jaylen, the future architect, has built a fort.

One day, Trinity, the younger sister of his playmates, saw me sitting on the porch. I noticed that she looked sad and invited her to sit with me. She told me she was hurt because her brothers and Jaylen didn’t want her to play with them in the fort. As we sat rocking, she looked at me through her big brown eyes, sizing me up. Then quietly she asked, “Can you play patty-cake?”

It was a sweet moment. For some reason, as old as I am, she must have known that I really am a child at heart, that I have a reasonable amount of patience for children, and that I could be her new friend. Children have a way of sensing these things, you know. That day, however, I couldn’t play patty-cake with her. What she didn’t know was that I was just taking a break from the very grown-up duty of doing the laundry. I told her I would play patty-cake with her another time.

While I speak of the patience it takes to deal with children, in this life I have learned that patience is the stuff that we each need just to make it through another day, one step at a time.

With patience, If you drive, you know it is what keeps you from giving in to road rage when someone cuts you off in traffic.

Patience is what calms you when someone says something to anger you. It keeps you from saying things that you might later on regret.

Patience is one of the ingredients that has kept my friends Elder Thomas P. and Missionary Maxine Edwards happily married for 67 years. (The other ingredient is love.)

With patience, I was able to give my bedridden mother loving care for nearly seven years. It was a chore that I wasn’t sure I could do, but with prayer and patience, Mom never wanted for a thing. She died in 2002, with her two children and other relatives at her bedside.

With patience, I have learned to wait my turn in the grocery line, even when the shopper before me can’t seem to make up his mind whether or not to take the canned tomatoes.

And with patience, I have learned that it isn’t for me to judge another human being. That’s God’s job.

Summer 2017 Race Dialogue

Get ready for Unity360 - Summer 2017 Race Dialogue, a two-part series to be July 15 and 22 at Miami Shores Community Church, 9823 NE Fourth Ave.

Unity 360 is a series of guided community discussions about the ways in which race, systemic and institutional racism, bias and bigotry shape society, and impact the daily interactions of people.

Participants at the event will be encouraged to speak personally, honestly and openly; learn skills to identify bias. micro-aggression, and racism; and formulate responses that create a foundation for empathy and understanding, according to a news release.

The series goals are to:

▪ Promote awareness of historical and casual racism, ad help understand and deal with unconscious biases.

▪ Provide a safe space to speak honestly and personally about race and racism.

▪ Provide tools for diffusing bigoted language and behaviors at work and school, among family and friends, and in public places.

▪ To improve the quality of community life for everyone.

▪ Establish a basis for deeper empathy and to decrease “Us vs. Them” thinking.

Session one will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include coffee, tea and lunch. The discussion and interactive workshop will be based on the topic “Waking Up White.” Questions will be provided so participants can prepare for the second session.

Session Two will be from 10 a.m. to noon July 22 and will include coffee, tea and snacks. The workshop and discussion will build on the first session and will seek to deepen participants’ understanding of privilege and how it functions in daily interactions, while providing tools to recognize and challenge racial bias whenever it is encountered.

The event is funded by Unite Miami shores and is sponsored by Miami Shores Community Church. Event ticketing and online registration is done by going online and registering at Eventbrite.

Remembering slain children

From 2 to 2:46 p.m. Saturday, Sherdavia Jenkins and other children who lost their lives to gun violence, will be remembered on the 11th anniversary of Sherdavia’s death.

Sherdavia was only 9 when she was killed by a stray bullet as two adult men engaged in a gun battle while she played in front of her home in the Liberty Square Housing Project.

Saturday’s event is an annual remembrance of all children lost to homicides and will be held at the Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park, the corner of Northwest 62nd Street (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) and 12th Avenue in Liberty City.

The park is named in memory of the bright and promising young Sherdavia. Her death became a symbol of the loss of all innocent children who died due to senseless gun violence.

In 2006, the year Sherdavia died, she became the 16th child victim that year. Since then, the community has mourned the well-publicized deaths of many teens and children including Trayvon Martin, 17, and King Carter, 6.

“Clearly far too many other deaths of children, with less news coverage, are taking place,” according to a news release.

The message that organizers of the event want to send to the community: “To stop this trend and prevent more future tragedies, it is important for the whole community to adopt a policy of honoring, defending, respecting and protecting our children, youth and the next generations ... And that all the children mourned who have been lost to homicides ... are precious lives that mattered and who will never be forgotten.”

The program will include community reflections and life-celebrating performances by young and old. It will conclude at 2:46 p.m., the exact time of Sherdavia’s final breath on that Saturday afternoon 11 years ago.

Admission is free, The event is presented by Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida and Liberty City Trust.

‘Boldly Living in Grace’

The Universal Truth Center for Better Living invites the community to its 9:45 a.m. service on Sunday to hear the Rev. Charles Taylor’s sermon lesson on, “Grace.” It is a part of the lesson series with the theme: “Boldly Living in Grace.”

Everyone is welcome. The church is at 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.

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