Inspirational and thought-provoking messages informed by my faith, ministry in education and community development
Dr. Flowers' Blog
As we march towards the end of the school year and the anxiety of parents flirting with school for their children’s attendance next year, I am reminded of a conviction I have held strong since 1979. That is, schools are potentially one of the most dangerous environments a parent can place their children in.
Beyond the ball on the playground, the finger smashed in the door, even the gravel or a self-inserted object inside innocent nostrils and ears, there are even greater dangers.
Undoubtedly, the past two decades have been saturated with research, experimentation and politics surrounding school choice. We have experienced an explosion of gimmicks with campuses taunting educational excellence. A common mantra on the campus of St Philip’s School and Community Center is educating a child is not a rehearsal. Next to the introduction of your child to Christ, providing your child with the best possible education is the highest level of parental responsibility outside of fulfilling basic needs.
We encourage parents to dive deeply into the seriousness of school selection for their children. A school’s reputation, curriculum analysis, graduation rates, faculty retention and test performance are not a deep enough dive into determining the place that will shape or potentially reshape your child’s life. We encourage parents to submerge themselves beyond the superficial examination of the schools they are considering enrolling their children. There can be unimaginable danger in schools.
In the history of America, the dangers for our children in schools have never been greater. Assaults, shootings and stabbings are awful; however, they pale in comparison to the greatest occurrences of childhood devastation inflicted in schools and often by schools. Self-esteem, self-identity, self-belonging and personal worth top the crushing dangers that lurk in our private and public schools. The unpopular, unspoken truth about how our schools, second to households, are the leading genesis for current and delayed death by suicide. This issue is in the forefront of victims who are African American children. Many of whose parents sought the best schools and selected those schools with minimal diversity.
Prayerfully in this season (hopefully not temporary) of heightened emphasis on mental illness, there will be concentrated attention directed to the impact schools have on lives far beyond their ABC's and 123’s. Our schools must acknowledge that teaching tolerance and character traits lack the ammunition needed to combat the societal, technological, immoral forces that nest themselves within our schools.
As we move into another enrollment and re-enrollment season, I urge parents to dig deeper into “tasting the CULTURE of the school.” Choose schools S M A R T L Y BY MAKING SURE TO SELECT SCHOOLS THAT ARE:
Strategic in initiatives to advance innovative, inclusive, compassionate, yet aggressive instruction
Morally based in mission and core values
Accepting of the mantra and modeling of “you belong“ for every student
Relevant and robust in instruction towards truths of history’s past, present and future possibilities
Trustworthy and talent-packed faculty and school leadership
Loving...........1 John 4v8
Yoked with your spirit and family values leading you to believe and feel YOU Belong
As St Philip’s School and Community center celebrates its 75th year of existence and the wonderful wondrous works of God Almighty on these anointed soils at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I am led to share with you what The Lord’s Prayer does NOT say. God’s word does not teach us to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven Right Now”
Without a doubt, we live in a time in which the signature song of the British rock band Queen resonates with what we are seeing throughout our nation. The words from their 1989 hit “I want it all, I want it all and I want it now” run polar opposite of the sacrifices, perseverance, and persistence that has been called upon to allow St Philip’s to bless the lives of hundreds of thousands over three-quarters of a century. A reliance on instant gratification would have diminished dedication and determination to pursue excellence in education and service here on the anointed soil of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Dallas, Texas. I applaud our ancestors, the mighty legion of volunteers, supporters, and servants whose spirits remain with us as we press on to a century of service: Cambridge, Gonzalo, Barjon, Munson, Penson, Pride, Coke, Kimbrough, Beck, Sessions, Forsythe, Worsham, Stansbury, Cooper, Brown, Taylor, Snyder, Hughes, Swan, Perot, Hodges, Jenkins, Jackson, Miller -- we feel your presence! You believed in St. Philip’s and its grand and noble vision to transform the lives of the children, families, and neighbors we serve through FAITH, EDUCATION, and SERVICE. This belief has carried us through seven decades - 75 years, to be exact. St. Philip’s genesis is a church, the first Black Episcopalian Church in Dallas. Now, here we are 75 years later, a full ministry serving thousands each year; instilling a love of God, a love of self and community that is transforming our organization, our neighborhood, and I believe, our world. It has not been instant gratification, but it has been daily verification of God’s mighty power to bless others through us.
At St. Philip’s, WE BELIEVE in…
Demonstrating God’s love and sacrifice to all people
Embracing everyone’s potential to be extraordinary
Serving others with dignity
Teaching values, building character, and demanding integrity
Investing in positive community transformation
Nurturing self-confidence, individual sacrifice and embracing cultural awareness
These beliefs translate into opportunities to serve, collaborate, and partner with those of a like mind in doing what I know to be God’s work in South Dallas.
St. Philip’s thrives today because so many have heeded a call to serve, to give, to join us in this important work. We are humbled by the faithfulness of God through the struggles and the successes of HIS ministry. We vowed to continue his work not by instantaneous successes nor by minutes, seconds, or hours, but by God’s speed, which is perfection. Instant gratification is the enemy of determination.
Without a doubt, we have a blaring shortage of men in the field of education. With only 25% of male teachers in America and only 11% of those being in elementary schools and only 2% of those being African American. There is a critical need for men as faculty and volunteers to be present in the lives of young children.
A required part of the course of study for every future man enrolled at SPSCC is to watch a short video called “The Delinquents Documentary”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHz4FYn-_eE
This episode from the television show “60 Minutes” gives a glimpse of why our schools and communities are having substantial struggles. It is a reminder of God’s order for children to be reared by both parents. It is a reminder of the significance of a man in his children’s lives and in the functioning of society.
When men are not DOWN (Doing Our Warranted Necessity) there are consequences. Our children suffer and our women face a different DOWN (Driving Our Women Nuts). This places a parental burden on women that was not God-ordered nor designed and it adversely impacts our future generations.
My Brothers, men, gentlemen, lets Man D.O.W.N. to build up our youth and society.
In a recent visit with a President of a prominent school in Dallas, I was given a pause by his quote. In discussing the sustainability of his institution, he said, “No Money, No Mission”. I dwelled in my pause because my mind raced, to all of the factors that sustain St. Philip’s mission absent physical dollars. Granted, our army of volunteers, gifts, in-kind services ,and even the petitions of our prayer warriors can be traced with a tie to money as mightily impactful. However, undoubtedly St. Philips relies on generous funds, but we are not fueled by funds. Faith has gotten us here and faith will take us forward. We are fortunate to have a body of believers in education, services, and God, who are not affiliated by the disease money infects members of humanity with. The Bible teaches us that money is not the root of ALL EVIL. There is nothing wrong with money. The influence of money is where the troubles arise. 2nd Timothy reads “The love of money is the root of all evil.” My question is, if the love of money is the root of all evil, then what is the root of the love of money? Most would agree with me that if the root of all evil is the love of money, the root of that love has to be sin. In teaching our students about money, one lesson to them is “It’s okay to have money but do not allow money to have you.” The Bible urges us in Matthew 11:28 to be yoked to God rather than going into bondage over materialism and money.
There is indeed a degree of merit to No Money No Mission, but St. Philip’s is humbled and grateful to know people who practice M.O.N.E.Y. (Making Our Nest Egg Yokeless). To God be the glory!