With help, a rose can grow in Liberty City

caines | 2/28/2013, 4:30 a.m.

The late, great rapper Tupac Shakur was certainly a man before his time. One example is a poem he wrote entitled, The Rose That Grew from Concrete, which considers whether any good can come from the painful, dangerous streets of the hood. The questions he raised and the conclusions that he drew were appropriate both during his lifetime and today. In fact, we could learn a lot from taking a closer look at his words. While he uses the metaphor of a rose, what hes really talking about are young boys and girls living in urban settings where the obstacles are so great that no one believes they will amount to anything positive. Tupac says, Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving natures laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping its dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared. What the young rapper wondered was not whether young people could survive and thrive in the madness of the urban jungle. Instead, what captured his attention was how they did it. We too should maintain such optimism and hold our youth to higher standards of living. We must also lead by example and show them that Black folks know how to make a way out of no way. Our youth may not be living in a lush, green meadow but they still have the same seed as any flower [youth] of the world. They may need a push from time to time. They may need some tough love too when appropriate. Either way, as the elders of the community, we must begin to pause more frequently and help our flowers grow even if they are in a crack in concrete.