I Hear Them Calling.


They are waiting for us to change and show them the way. You do know that, don’t you?

They don’t want to hear shit we say, as we tell them to respect and honor, to listen and get good grades, and we do the complete opposite, sometimes right in front of them.

Our kids are dying every day. I don’t even watch the news and I’m privy to the collective pain radiating from our mistreated, sick, ignored, abused, bleeding children. Approaching my Bachelors in four classes, I’ve never been as sure as I am now that everything we do and say in front of our children in vitro and up matters.  They won’t remember or understand. They have no idea. It’s a crock of shit.

Science proves infants know, they form biases before they are six months old. They have already started sipping our Kool-Aid. I wish I had known this in time to have been an amazing mother, but alas, I was young and in pain, with no room for anything else except basic survival.

So, what do we do? For me, it means getting 100% authentic. Owning everything about myself — the good, bad, and ugly. I’m good with it. I don’t care if the only sound around me is crickets. They won’t learn from us unless we bring it for real.

I wrote an article titled “Color only matters if you’re a crayon” about once being racist. What hard-ass, at-risk adolescents are going to hear me if I don’t break open and show everything? Why are we so scared to own our mistakes? We’re human, perfectly imperfect, and we err on the daily. I know I do, but now I use my errors to show the real journey towards the light, towards the highest expression I can be.

The journey is long and fraught with danger, but it’s the only road that matters. It’s the road to show our children that we can indeed be brave and choose better. How can we expect them to do that which we don’t have the guts to do ourselves?

Nothing is stopping me from getting to my kids. My at-risk teenagers. I’ve been where they are, and I’ve survived and changed myself, one aching step at a time. If I can do it, it proves they can do it.

They are calling us. Can’t you hear them? Cold in the doorways, looking for love? On street corners, selling drugs, wanting to matter? Embracing the gangster mentality to survive the concrete jungles, trying to hide the pain and rejection. Trying to reclaim some semblance of control over an existence that is anything but controlled.

Every time a child or teenager asks us a question and we brush them off, not wanting to be honest about our own faulty footing on this road, they feel our bullshit, they know we’re lying, and it breeds toxicity in all of us.

I gotta get to them.

I know what I’m willing to do. Fear be damned, I’m doing it.

I hear them calling me. Don’t you?


Shanti Shaharazade is a senior in college on the cusp of earning her Bachelors in Psychology with a concentration in children and adolescents, which perfectly places her directly in line with being an ambassador for at-risk teenagers. She is a mother of three, noni of five grandpeeps, and has overcome many obstacles and transcended many contractions birthing higher expressions of herself necessary to be of the greatest service. She is not just a survivor of sexual traumas, but also lived as a homeless teenager on the streets of NYC, becoming a battered wife, single mother, enraged woman, to surviving two suicide attempts, learning how to live again with constant and profound gratitude in order to contribute to the world in the way only she can now, as an empowered goddess.


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