It takes a community to raise a child. Cliché as it may sound, that statement resonates truth.

It takes a community to raise a child. Cliché as it may sound, that statement resonates truth.

But in the case of Pine Bluff, I’m thinking the reverse may be in order. It’s going to take our children to raise the community.

Quite simply, children are a product of their environment. Teach a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

If you want the future of Pine Bluff to flourish, teach today’s youths how to make that happen.

Let’s separate the generations into three distinct divisions: older retired individuals, working adults and children. Each has their own place and responsibilities to community.

We will start at the top with those who have paid their working dues and now have time to give back. This group is important because time is such a valuable asset. There are no restrictions as to when this group is available to share the wisdom they have gained throughout the years.

Second is the middle-aged working parents and young adults who have limited time and availability but have supplied these children to the community. You had time to make them. Take the time to take care of them.

Then you have the children themselves. This is where things can really happen.

Think back to your own childhood. Who had more impact on the decisions you made, adults or your friends? That’s why they call it peer pressure. Peer pressure is not always a negative as is often thought. If a child who regularly visits our local community centers drags a friend along, that’s one more child off the streets.

Our community centers need to be a place of refuge. A child taking another child to a safe place only makes our streets safer.

So, here’s how the puzzle shapes up. To the older generation I say, get up and get out. Stay young by mentoring our youths. To the adults, tend to your responsibilities. Volunteer as coaches or tutors or in whatever way you help. If you can read, teach a child to read. Everyone has a talent. Use it.

And to our children, be a positive role model among your peers. If you are involved in an after-school program, invite someone to go with you. Lead by example and show them a better way.

In conclusion, children are going to repeat what they learn. They can only learn what they are taught. So if your child isn’t doing the right things, look in the mirror.

Let’s open some doors for today’s youths, tomorrow’s leaders. An open front door in the community today may prevent a kicked-in back door at your house tomorrow.

Contact your local parks and recreation department to learn more on how you can help. Or call me at the paper. I will be happy to guide your next step.

Chan Davis is a sports reporter for The Commercial. He can be contacted at cdavis@pbcommercial.com.