Tree Bearing Fruit

Trees that produce fruit, which produce seeds, which produce trees, which produce fruit, which provides seeds, which produce more fruit-bearing trees. And so on and so forth. This cycle of life continues. Healthy trees healthy fruit, which can then produce more healthy trees that produce more healthy fruit.

Our fruit are our children. If we are healthy in mind body and spirit, we are in a position to produce children who are healthy in mind, body, and spirit, who will be positioned to produce wholistic healthy children of their own.

History is wrought with student-led movements who have stepped up to the front lines to protest the ills of society, seeking a better and healthier future for all. This was the case in America’s Civil Rights Movement, and it was the case in South Africa’s fight against the racist, demoralizing structure of Apartheid.

Hector Peterson became the first casualty in the youth-led Soweto student uprising in 1976. Today a museum in his name stands in Soweto honoring his iconic role in the struggle and others like him. Peterson represents the spirit of heroic youth with boldness and a vision for a brighter tomorrow. They bring a fresh perspective and energy and refuse to believe that their generation must remain stuck in a rut created and accepted by the previous one.

It was the Soweto student uprising that helped to change the course of South Africa for future generations. Much of what South Africa became was built upon the blood that Peterson and others like him shed for the struggle. 

In the U.S. the movement for Civil Rights was energized and fueled by the bloodshed of youths like the 4 little girls Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley all between the ages of 11 and 14, bombed in an Alabama Baptist Church on a Sunday morning on September 15, 1963. Preceding them it was the tortured body of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. Several youths joined the Civil Rights Movement fueled by the blood of their peers.

Education is one way to prepare children to move into their full potential. Those who oppose the teaching of CRT (Critical Race Theory) in our public schools are well aware of this fact. Although CRT is not actually taught, it has become a strawman representative for teaching the truth in history. It’s the same reason it was illegal to teach slaves to read. Knowledge is power and power creates vision that leads to freedom.

Studies show that our foundational conditioning takes place during our formative years, birth to 8. This is when neurobiological development takes place the fastest in the brain when they are being shaped and molded.  What is instilled into a child during this portion of their lives tends to stick with them and sets the tone for the rest of their lives both good and bad.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

These years become very critical and especially when adults have the opportunity to pour into their young impressionable minds. Their young minds typically absorb like a sponge what we pour in is what we get out.

If we teach them their significance, value, self-worth, and inner beauty they are less likely to seek it in the superficial and engage in destructive behaviors. If we show them that they are worthy of equality, and human, and civil rights, they will seek them out when they are denied them. If we reflect love and compassion, they will adopt it. If we demonstrate strength and courage in speaking truth to power, they will imitate that as well. If we teach them that they are capable of becoming anything they set their minds to, they will believe it and embrace it as their reality. They will learn to become their own heroes and sheroes.

Empowered and equipped with these tools they are prepared to become tomorrow’s leaders. They will become world leaders and trendsetters. They will not allow anything or anyone to stand in their way. They are capable of becoming a better generation than the one which produced them and pass the torch to the generation which follows. They will become fruit-producing trees, and like Hector Peterson, they too will be willing to usher in a better tomorrow for those coming behind them, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice. 

By Tobias Houpe              

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