On August 20, 2008, a special screening of the movie, It Takes A Village, was shown at ICE Theater in Chicago. Written and directed by Ametra Gibson-Self, the movie is proof that great things really do come in small packages. This “small budget” film exploded with powerful, relevant and timely messages that spoke to people of all races, colors and creeds in the United States.
It Takes A Village is about a father who fights to save his son and his son’s classmates from failing academically in a poor performing school. Even though the film addresses how school systems are failing our children, it also emphasizes the positive impact of the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives. Especially their education. It doesn’t stop there. Additional themes emerged during the writing and production of this masterpiece:
§ Grandparents raising grandchildren
§ Teen suicide
§ Absent parents in the home
§ Peer pressure
§ Children crying out for help through negative actions & behaviors
§ Violence at school and shootings of students
The messages in It Takes A Village touched my entire being. As such, I took the liberty of researching these topics to share the depths of the themes presented. Interestingly, depression plays a role in many of the issues.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
According to reports by the U.S. Census Bureau and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), approximately 5.5 million children are living in households headed by grandparents. Two out five children do not have either parent. Substance abuse, mental health disorders, incarcerations, deceased parents and military service are factors that contribute to the involuntary parenthood of many seniors.
Absent Parent(s) in the Home
While the absence of a mother negatively affects a child; having no father in the home is even more tragic. Reports reveal that over 25 million children are currently living without their biological fathers in the home. More specifically, 63% of these children are African American; 36% are Hispanic; and 27% are White. Adolescent boys of all suffer most.
Studies show that children with absent fathers
· Are more likely to be poor and incarcerated; use drugs; and engage in criminal behavior.
· Will experience educational, emotional, health and behavioral problems. Children without fathers are twice as likely to drop out of high school.
· Are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant in teen years.
· Are more likely to be child victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Involvement of Fathers in Children’s Lives
On the other hand, fathers involved in their children’s education positively impact their children’s achievement as was shown in the movie. These children also have healthier self-esteems, physical, emotional and mental health.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults and adolescents 15 to 24 years old. Painfully, it is the fourth leading cause of death of children ages 10 to 14. Females are more likely to attempt suicide; males are more likely to succeed in their efforts. Aggressive and disruptive behaviors as well as depression are documented causes that lead to suicide. This information was obtained from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
In 2008 over 30 Chicago public school students were violently killed. Most of them were victims of gun violence. The first shooting occurred in September, at the very beginning of the school year. Guns were not used in three of the killings. One student was stabbed; another was beaten with a baseball bat; and another was intentionally run over with a car. All of the deaths of these young people were senseless.
As you read, all of the issues Ametra touched upon in It Takes A Village impact all walks of life. The thought-provoking and powerful messages in her “small budget” film are proof that great things really do come in small packages. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself. Click http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1326799/ to learn more about the cast, crew and soundtrack of It Takes A Village.