When you ask bank executive Irvin J. Ashford how he feels about his son Nassim Ashford’s presentation during prom, he answers, “Proud. I try to be a role model and simply, I want him to thrive.”
The absence of culture is demeaning the value of our community. We must realize that our culture is what makes us special. Our history, rituals and traditions passed down through the generations are responsible for the greatness that is inside.
I thought of this while observing young people heading to prom this year. Prom is when young people are first seeking to exemplify who they are as budding young adults, how they see themselves growing into an adult mindset and way of being in the world. What do they choose to portray? Will they portray a legacy of greatness? Ambition? Esteem?
As photos from prom are shared online, we see so many things. Some young adults are clearly under the watchful eyes of caring parents. I also see many young adults who are confused about what it means to be an adult and mature. Some portray sexual or comical images. Some appear focused on the external, not realizing that greatness shines from within.
It’s also interesting to consider how popular culture (and not parents) inspire prom selections. Young women emulate their favorites singers and models. Young males emulate rappers and other musicians. Some of their role models lack integrity and dignity. This, too, shines through in the image presented.
We must be careful about who we emulate and who we allow our children to emulate. They must know their history and understand what is beautiful. Not what is sexy or hot. We must provide the images for them to follow and present to the world as they step into adulthood.