Three years ago…“So what penitentiary is that Rodney Jordan in today”? One year later, “Man I’ve been to jail four times and I just knew I’d see your son there.” Sound harsh? Well, the first question was asked by one of my middle school teachers and the other by a childhood friend. They were both shocked to hear that the kid they were referring to was now an award winning school teacher.
Unlike the Fresh Prince, most of my days were not spent on the playground. They were spent either in the principal’s office or inside watching the other children having fun outdoors. The young Rodney Jordan was a lot different than the one most people know now.
Calling my friends the “n” word, sagging my pants, disrespecting my teachers, disobeying my mother, and refusing to do my school work defined my childhood. I served numerous in and out-of-school suspensions, after school detentions, and received countless phone calls home from my teachers. I succumbed to my environment: A city and a neighborhood racked with drugs, crime, and despair. Eventually, my mother put me out of her house at the age of twelve.
It’s easy for those who once knew me to assume I ended up incarcerated. However, what they didn’t know was that the young boy they gave up on figured things out with the help of supportive family members and extraordinary teachers.
I went from being the child no teacher wanted in their classroom to the teacher all students want to be in mine. Our nation is suffering greatly in a so-called “post-racist society.” I understand why people are outraged but I don’t support the ignorance behind it. Before anyone searches for malice, violence, or excuses, I hope they do what I did and look inside of themselves. I couldn’t fix America or any of its problems but I could fix the broken Rodney Jordan with the grace and mercy of the Lord.
If you enjoyed reading this post, I’d like to encourage you to read my books, Tired of Being Black and From the Heart of a Teacher.
If you’d like to interview Rodney Jordan, please use the contact information below.
All the best,
Teacher, Author, and Motivational Speaker