Kwanzaa is now observed as a national holiday by countless people in homes schools and public and private institutions across the United States. Like African American History Month, Kwanzaa is a part of the cultural fabric of America and is a special time for African Americans to celebrate the joys of family and community, to African their humanity, to take inventory of what they have accomplished, beginning with the family and extending to the national African American community, and to recommit themselves to practicing the guiding principles of family and community- the Seven Principles.
PRINCIPLE 7. HOPE AND CONFIDENCE
IMANI (E-MAH-NE) FAITH: To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders.
The seventh principle is belief in ourselves as individuals and as a people. Further, it is a commitment to the development of the family and the national African American community. African America’s goal of freedom rests significantly on our belief in our own ability and right to control our own destiny. Without Imani (faith), there is no possibility of victory.
The Imani principle teaches us to have confidence in ourselves, parents, teachers and leaders and community. Mary McLeod Bethune, noted educator and ambassador says: “Without faith nothing is possible; with faith nothing is impossible. Faith empowers us to see beyond the immediate. Philosopher Howard Thurman asserts: “Faith is the substance and spirit which makes “tired hearts refreshed and dead hopes stir with the nearness of life; faith is the “promise of tomorrow at the close of everyday, the triumph of life in the defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than fate, right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil.”
Instruction: Explain and discuss role of the Kwanzaa value faith in your family and community.
Hope is the pillar of the world.
Explanation: Hope is a stronghold in a world of fluctuating circumstances.
A Cow and a Frog’s Family
A long time ago, all the animals lived in a land called “I go see it.” The king of that land was a very clever person. He divided the animals according to their kind and showed each king where to live. Some were to live on dry land while others lived in the water. But there was only one river where all the animals drank water.
The frog and members of his family used to live in the river. Cows also drank water from the same river and made the water dirty. The frog and members of his family raised their heads and called the cows names saying, “You cows have no shame. You don’t see that you are using up and ruining the water for us.”
The cows, however, never stopped drinking the water. When they were done, one of the cows told the frog and members of his family, “Frogs, what’s your problem? This river has enough water for all animals but it’s only you who complain. You should know that a cow cannot stop drinking water just because frogs are complaining.”
Moral of the Story: Whenever one engages in a prosperous idea, project, business, program or other venture, there are those negative associates who introduce discouraging aspects. Never stop venturing or expanding your horizons just because “frogs” are complaining. But know this. The frogs may be within you. Yes, those are the “I can’ts”, “buts”, “ifs”, and other excuses, which stop or discourage you from pursuing the ideas your mind has conceived and believed in. These are your frogs. If you listen to the “frogs” in your life, you will do nothing to advance yourself.
Massai of East Africa Riddle:
Who has more courage than a Maasai warrior?
Answer: Two Maasai warriors.
Mother to Son
In Langston Hughes’ poem, “Mother to Son,” the mother is speaking to her son; her message is that her life has not been easy, but she has not let herself stop trying. The speaker uses a “stair-way” metaphor to represent her life. She first tells her son that “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” A crystal stair represents an imaginary path of ease—the crystal makes the climb smooth and comfortable. The stair this mother has ascended has had difficulties—“tacks” and “splinters”—it has had not had carpet which would also make the walk easier on the feet. And as in life, there are twists and turns, the stairway the mother has climbed his had turns. But she makes the point that she never gives up, regardless of the difficulty: “I’se been a-climbin’ on.” And she is rewarded for her effort by reaching landings and turning corners; these places on the stairway represent real achievements she has made by her vigilant struggle.
Instruction: Question and Answer
Discuss the meaning of this classic poem by Langston Hughes as it relates to the principle Faith. What lessons can be drawn from this poem?
Learning Opportunity: Kwanzaa Symbol
Candleholder/Kinara: Honoring the Parents and Ancestors
This symbol represents the historical heritage of African American as well as the people of Africa. During Kwanzaa we honor our parents, teachers, and those who came before us and made it possible to live and enjoy the fruits of civilization. We also reaffirm our faith in our parents, teachers and leaders.
• Candle Lighting: On the sixth day of Kwanzaa the family or classroom students light the next green candle.
• Start with yourself- Faith as the key motivator, in particular during times of crisis and adversity. Keeping the faith, however, means doing “work”. Faith without work is simply as abstract thought. Faith express through work becomes the motivating force which causes us to keep pushing on when there is no evidence of the anticipated outcome. Practice being more hopeful and record your practice in your journal.
• Start with your Family- Your families are an example and indicator of how well your community is functioning. Therefore, work on building a more hopeful family. Be able to express your confidence among your family members and do it often-by word of mouth, a letter, a card, or a hug.
• Start with teachers- Having faith is your teachers expresses itself in parents and students doing their best (the principle Kuumba/Creativity) to learn and achieve. Make a commitment to be more supportive of teachers and your children, demonstrating in practice, the faith principle.
• Faith Kwanzaa Commitment: Each family member or student declares opening declares what he/she will do to demonstrate more self-confidence and to exhibit more belief in their parents or teachers.