Sunday, June 8, 2014

Parents, We Must Do More Than Buy Jordans

  • "Nike released the Air Jordan 10 “Powder Blue” retro sneaker on Saturday, 20 years after the first Jordan 10s hit shelves. Like all the Jordan retro releases, this one was highly anticipated and first-day sales hit $35 million."   Forbes

  •  "Jordan made an estimated $90 million last year thanks to the rich partnership he enjoys with Nike. His 2013 earnings eclipsed those of all other retired or current athletes save boxer Floyd Mayweather. It marked Jordan’s biggest earnings year yet in a career paved with monster paydays, which peaked in Jordan’s last season with the Bulls (1997-98) at $80 million." Forbes 
  • "Retail shoe sales for the Jordan Brand in the U.S. grew 11% last year to $2.7 billion, with basketball making up 84% of that, according to Powell. Roughly 50% to 55% of that goes to Nike."  Forbes  

Read the three bullet points above again. Really let what you have just read sink in. Now think about the number of children, particularly urban children who in some places literally live and die to own/wear a pair of Jordans. Even worse are the parents who feel as if they are obligated to purchase these sneakers, and not just one pair, but multiple pairs throughout the year, in some instances twice a month. I have heard parents who are on governmental assistance tell me that they spent the majority of their monthly check on the latest pair of Jordans for their children. In too many cases, these are the same children who make extremely bad behavioral decisions in school. I've also heard and seen parents who are not on any assistance and are working jobs with competitive wages make this same declaration and feel this same obligation to purchase Jordans for their children. Now don't misunderstand me, I do not have anything against Jordans, while I don't own any, I do not have anything against them either. The problem arises when Jordans are purchased to substitute for the love and attention that the children really need and desire. The problem arises when the children learn to expect stuff over substance and quality time and experiences with their parents.

In many instances the Jordans are used as the carrot for the children to improve their behavior or grades. I will hear parents tell their children, "If you do 'X,' I will buy that new pair of Jordans for you," or "You're not going to get that new pair of Jordans now that you've done 'X." Many children have learned how to manipulate the guilt of their parents to buy them the coveted Jordans. Again, the problem arises when the Jordans take the place of love and other parental support. It's hard to believe that the same child who will be sporting a brand new pair of Jordans is the same child who will tell his/her teacher that he/she can't afford a pencil or pen. Something is wrong. Let be clear again, I do not have anything against Jordans, it's the misuse of the Jordans that I am writing about in this post. For too many of our children, their self esteem is tied to the ability to wear Jordans. A few years ago I actually had a student who was cutting herself in class because one of her classmates had the latest pair of Jordans at that time and she did not. Now mind you, she had a brand new pair of Jordans on her feet, but it was not the ones newly released. She was  literally cutting her fingers with a razor blade over Jordans!!

I remember as a child pestering my parents for Pro Ked and Converse sneakers which at that time cost about $13 a pair, so I have an appreciation for where the children are coming from, but it has been taken to a seriously unhealthy level. There is so much more to parenting than providing Jordans, yet too many parents think that if just give the child Jordans that everything else a parent ought to do does not have to be done. Therein lies the issue. At the end of the day, parents must be parents even if that means saying "no" to purchasing the latest pair of Jordans. Our children must learn values, self esteem, morals, and accountability whether they have a pair of Jordans on their feet or not. It will not matter how many pairs of Jordans a child has in the closet (except to Mr. Jordans and Nike's bottom line), they will not take the place of love, quality time and the teaching of old fashioned values.  Something  to critically think about. I invite you to join me live as I host The Reading Circle each Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. EDT on I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01.

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