El Dorado News

November 14, 2018
El Dorado News Times

Former state education official talks about keys to children's success

By Haley Smith
This article was published October 30, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

The former Arkansas assistant director for education addressed the attendees of the Union County NAACP chapter’s Freedom Fund banquet Saturday.

Charity Fleming Smith, the current principal education for Fetterman & Associates International, spoke on “the three R’s” to helping children succeed at the banquet that was held at Mary’s Parish Hall, 512 Champagnolle St., El Dorado.

The Freedom Fund Banquet is held to help the Union County chapter of the NAACP to raise funds to continue their efforts in promoting education.

Smith was introduced to the group by Angula Davis who described Smith as “very passionate of what she does.”

Smith said, in order for children, to succeed after school and into adulthood, the adults in their life needs to practice the three R’s: rhetoric, reality and renaissance.

When it comes to rhetoric, she said children are molded from what is taught to them. The way to encourage children to blossom into adulthood is encouraging them daily with how the adults around them speak to them.

“Babies carry these dreams in their heads that I can be this, I can be that and sometimes as parents we can kill a dream,” she said. “Let me tell you how to kill a dream. ‘You’re so stupid.’ You ever heard people call kids that? ‘You‘re not going to be anything because your daddy wasn’t.’ When you do this, you destroy the dreams of kids.”

Positive action yields positive results, she said. Smith told parents to encourage children to think for themselves and praise them when they do well.

Moving on to reality, she said people have to work with children, so they can do the best. She told parents they should have their families involved and helping them in pursuits to really make a difference.

“Research has now shown that if a baby is unloved between the first and second year of their life, the brain of that baby will be smaller than the brain of another baby,” she said. “If it is smaller, then it will not learn to read as quickly as the other child and the only difference is just love and caring and respect. That is reality. That is nothing other than you want to become your child’s first teacher.”

She said it is the job of parents to mentor and teach their children just as much as a teacher. That nurture at home will help a child grow into a well-rounded adult, she said.

“Never, ever, ever give up on your kids dreams,” she said. “Sometimes it may look hard, and sometimes it may be the most difficult thing that you have to do parents.”

Going into renaissance, Smith said it is the result of the first two R’s: rhetoric and reality producing a period of enlightenment and progress for all.

She said raising children may be a difficult journey, but if parents believe and work with their children to help them achieve their dreams, they will see the reward for that labor.

Haley Smith can be contacted at 870-862-6611 or hsmith@eldoradonews.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @hsmithEDNT.

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