Posts Tagged ‘black youth’

Do the right thing!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

A student just came rushing to my office and handed me an assignment (part of a final project) which he thought was due today. I gave the assignment and set the deadline as today but I did not take the assignment in. The purpose of doing this is so that the students do their work in increments rather than leave it all until the last minute and hand in sloppy work.

As the student handed me the assignment, I informed him that he was not required to hand it in. I could see the frustration in his face as he asked me why I had told them it was due today. I replied, “So that you would have it done by today.” I then asked him an obvious question; “Did you do it?” “Yes”,  he replied. To which I responded; “Then we have met our objective.”
Even as the student walked away, I could tell he was still disgruntled that he had spent time doing his school work under the impression that it was due to be handed in and then found out that it was not going to be handed in. Just as I thought he had left, he reappeared and asked me to give him feed-back and I told him that I was happy to but not at the present moment. I encouraged him to come to my office during “office hours” and I let him know I would be happy to assist him. He was still clearly disgruntled as he walked away from my office.

The reason why I am sharing this experience is that I have noticed that a lot of students don’t really come to college to learn. They seem to come to college as a means to an end and in my observation, while most of them are here, they do almost everything that they can to avoid learning!

The student that I just described did the assignment as part of his learning process but did not assign any value to the learning. Instead, he was frustrated that he had done the assignment “for nothing”. This is what I take issue with. It seems that college has become a means to an end and learning has become an “inconvenience” along the way. I genuinely believe that this line of thinking is not much different from people who serve others only because they expect something in return or so as to “be seen” serving which will improve their public image.

I’m glad this student came by my office because he made me think about a very important lesson that I leaned a long time ago: Do the right things for the right reasons.

It’s quite possible to do the “right thing” (like philanthropy) and still be wrong because we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason (like boosting public image). It is also possible to do the “wrong thing” (like say “no” to someone you care about) but have good intention (like preserving your time and energy for more important tasks).

The best students that I have come across are the ones who come to college to learn, gather information and improve their skills so that they can reach their career goals and make a positive impact in their communities. These students are the ones who are doing the right thing (getting an education) for the right reasons (improving their lives and those of other people).

The next time you have a task in from of you; ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing and if you’re doing it for the right reason. Failing which, if you’re going to do something that may be perceived as the “wrong” thing; do it for the right reason!

The Trayvon Martin case: We have work to do

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Ever since I heard about Trayvon Martin, the teenage boy who was brutally murdered by an over- zealous neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I was so emotionally impacted by the murder. I’ve realized that it means so much to me because a little over three years ago, I gave birth to the most adorable baby boy that I have ever known, my son.

Ever since the birth of my son, who is my second child, I have had to think about something that I never really used to give much consideration. I have had to think about what it means to grow up as a black boy in America. My husband, who was born and raised in America (I was born and raised in Botswana), has shared many stories of how he has experienced being assumed to be “dumb” in school, mainly because he was black and some stories about how he was assumed to be the aggressor in any conflict, again because he was Black. In spite of him having shared his experiences with me, the fact that he is now a grown man who has made tremendous advances in his career and his life goals, made his stories a little less real to me or at least not something that I had a great deal of concern about.

When I heard about Trayvon Martin, I had a moment where I wept uncontrollably and I realize that what has changed about me is that I am now a mother-I am Trayvon’s mother. My Trayvon is still only three years old and he goes by a different name that his father and I gave him but he is a sweet boy who we love very much and he does not deserve to be shot to death.

Read the rest here.


Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses is a wife, mother, professional speaker and an Assistant Professor of Professional Studies. For more information about Nomalanga’s programs, please click here.