|Posted by J. Menaq on October 31, 2011 at 4:55 PM|
Thank you for the question. Teaching African history and legacy to an American African male is a very important aspect of homeschooling & education in general. Unfortunately, this is usually left out of the proces in many of our public and private schools around the world (even on the continent of Africa). I recall being perplexed, while working with the Ministry of Education in two West African nations, by the emphasis on the history of their colonizing nations (i.e., Great Britain) while only referring to their own histories within the context of their reaction (positive or negative) to the presence of the colonial governments; meaning information regarding their pre-colonial cultures was usurped just as the cultures had been.
Regardless of this fact, many of the families in the local villages and compounds that I visited maintained a very strong tradition, holding fast to remnants of their ancestral ways. The ability to function in both Western and traditional African cultures serves as an asset to Africans throughout the Diaspora. It is here that we find a major gap in the development of many American African children; there is often emphasis placed on the American but not the African existing within our youth today.
In regards to your 6 year old, I feel it is most important to immerse him (and all children of this developmental stage) into the psycho-spiritual culture of their African Ancestors (Shepsu). Even if the direct lineage is unknown, this can be easily done using the surviving symbolism of these ancient cultures. For example, stemming from the Ashanti Kingdom in West African (Ghana) we have the Adinkra symbols. These very popular and widely accessible symbols were created to transmit cultural principles and spiritual precepts to those within the society.
Each symbol is mystically embedded with particular energies and convey specific messages to the subconscious mind and spirit of those who ponder and reflect upon them. The same goes for the many symbols found in the Dogon culture of Mali, and those of the the Nile Valley (including the Medu Netcher of Egypt & Ethiopic scripts of Ethiopia).
Being 6 years young, your son is at the prime age for being enthusiastic about the ability to draw and replicate these divine symbols. In the process of replication, your son will not only begin to master his artistic abilities, but will also begin to sow the seeds into his subconscious mind and spirit, those values maintained by his ancestral cultures. This exercise will also assist you as the parent in better learning the spiritual and cultural principles associated with the continent of Africa and its many cultures and civilizations. I highly recommend using various vivid and lively colors and a variety of medium to recreate these sacred symbols.
As the lessons progress, you can incorporate more about the culture, the people, the geography of the nation in which the culture is found, the natural resources, political orientation (including the sometimes difficult discussion associated with enslavement and colonialism), etc.
There are tons of materials that may be used to assist you with this journey including a "heiroglyphic" book by Ayi Kwei Armah, the various versions of the Per-t Em Heru (so-called Book of the Dead), The Adinkra Dictionary, books by Laird Scranton, etc. etc. etc. The main thing is to get started. An excellent way to award the child's performance is to actually frame and display his work. You may also teach him business and money principles by encouraging him to sell his work.
All the best,
Dr. J. Menaq
Master Your Mind!