The future depends on building legacies for — and with — the next generation

Andrea Lawful-Sanders

Andrea Lawful-Sanders is the author of "A Lawful Truth, Words of Affirmation: Simple Truths for Every Day Living" and CEO and principal partner at ALAWFUL TRUTH, LLC. (Shawn Theodore)

Black History Untold, created by award-winning journalist Sofiya Ballin, is an identity series that explores the importance of a comprehensive black history education through personal essays. WHYY is republishing with permission four essays from the 2018 series “Black History Untold: Future.”

We have family meetings.

I started when my sons were 9 and 5.

What has come out of that is my children call me when they struggle or when they don’t have the answers to certain questions.

I know them well because they trust me, and they know that, if something happens, they don’t have to fear that I’ll rip them apart. I would say that you’re wrong, but what is the lesson you’ve gotten from this?

I chose to listen to my children.

I was asked why I chose to have millennials on my board.

We tend to undermine and underestimate millennials. We tend to believe we know more than them. We should really spend more time listening to younger people. They’re telling us that there are still inequities in education, policing, and hiring practices.

Every 50 years, there seems to be an uprising. This year marks 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. died. He was 39. We made him a deity; you would think he was 50 when he died.

What have we learned from the history?

It’s the young people who are creating the movements.

I tell people that nurturing almost never comes through money. When my children were babies and I got divorced, I struggled like hell. I didn’t have much beyond paying the rent, and I didn’t have money to take them to museums. There was a point when I didn’t have a car. But what I had was love in abundance. I would walk them to the nearest park. I got a library card so we could read. I said to my sons years later, “Did you feel like you were missing something?”

They said, “Are you kidding me? We got to spend so much time with you!”

It’s never the things you buy. It’s the time you spend with your children that they never forget.

In the future as we look to build prosperity, we should also build generational love. Our families lose building generational wealth without building the love.

Our future depends on us going back to the drawing board, really listening to each other and being future ready instead of future shocked. Are we learning how to code? To build robots? To be the producers of things versus consumers of things? Our future depends on collaboration and building legacies for and with our children.

Andrea Lawful-Sanders is the chair of Southeast PA CARES, an affiliate of the National CARES Mentoring Movement. She is the author of “A Lawful Truth, Words of Affirmation: Simple Truths for Every Day Living” and CEO and principal partner at ALAWFUL TRUTH, LLC.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.