01/24/16: Being Smart and Having Swag

Being Smart and Having Swag

Hey everyone, it’s Naadiya! I usually don’t do the blogs, but we thought to change it up a little this time. So before I really get into the message, I want to define “Swag”.

Swag:  used to describe anything thought to be cool (Urban Dictionary)


At our last tutoring event, I was working with a teenage boy named Jaden. Jaden is really good in math, but struggling a little in reading. We were reading some passages and answering some practice questions, when another boy comes up, and says some not so nice things. He calls him lame, a whimp, and uses some other grown people words. Jaden then tries to defend himself, by saying he would fight him. Then the other boy says “I already slapped you yesterday, and I’ll do it again.” After I got the boy to leave, I talked to Jaden about what happened. Jaden told me that some of the other kids, would pick on the kids that went to the tutoring events. He told me he has gotten into a few fights at school trying to defend himself, since a lot of his classmates pick on him. He said they pick on him, because he has to rewear a lot of his clothes, doesn’t have a fresh cut and his clothes aren’t the really nice brands. Being smart doesn’t help ease the problem.

Essentially, Jaden has no “swag”. Most of the children at the coalition for the homeless have no “swag”. Some of the children at the coalition are struggling with school, but a majority of them are really smart and struggle with their social skills. They interact well with each other, but that’s because they are surrounded by each other constantly. And even then, they still will fight one another, verbally and physically. When they get to school, it only worsens. They are going through stuff that their other classmates aren’t and they usually don’t tell their classmates about their situation.

Smart and swag aren’t synonyms. They also, don’t have much of a correlation, but they should. Being smart should be something that is considered cool. I mean having money is considered cool and some of the highest paying jobs, go to the smartest people. So in hip middle schooler lingo:

Money is swag. Swag is money. Smart ain’t swag. Swag ain’t smart.

We shouldn’t make children conform to whatever qualifies as “swag” at the time. But I also, don’t want the children we work with to have to go through any extra stress than they already dealing with. So from now on, we are going to try and focus on making our tutoring events a little more fun. In our mentorship program, we are going to try to work with the kids on their social skills and how to properly deal with some of the problems they face.

Want to help us out?

Help us convince this new generation that being smart and having swag go together.

Little Mr. Smarty Pants