Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Archive for the category “Adolescent”

Thug Life: A One-Way Road to Prison

Earlier this week, Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots, was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

His sentencing should serve as a lesson for all young, black men that there is a price to pay for living the thug life.

Aaron had a promising career and a 40 million dollar contract, but the temptations of the streets had more attraction. What he needed was a circle of friends, who weren’t afraid to say “Man, take your ass home!”

Our sons are vulnerable to those same temptations in society waiting to devour them. We should educate them to the reality that a criminal path leads to prison — one stupid mistake could change their lives forever!

Peer pressure plays a big part in the decisions that our sons make. But, we should constantly teach our sons to be leaders and not  followers.

Every son lost to prison represents another mother with a broken heart!

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Nothing In = Nothing Out!

In order for Black boys to grow into responsible, young men, they must have the necessary knowledge and guidance, which helps in their development.

Children aren’t raised in a vacuum — they must be taught values (respect, honesty, integrity, acceptance of others, etc.) and principles that help them to make the best decisions, as they grow into young adults. If we leave their development to chance, hoping that they’ll just turn out okay, then we shouldn’t expect much.

Raising sons demands direct involvement from parents, particularly mothers; since she is the first teacher. She builds the foundation upon which her son will stand and grow into a young, Black man. If she teaches him nothing, then it’s only a matter of time before we see what he’s been taught. And, by that time it may just be too late!

Raising Thugless Sons: Removing Black Male Stereotypes

Raising Thugless Sons Seminar
When did “thug” and “thug-life” become status symbols for Black youth to achieve? This was a question asked at a recent seminar: “Raising Thugless Sons,” of which I was a participant.

The seminar was sponsored by Good Deeds International, and hosted by Dawn “Soy” Kamara, of the Coffee Talk with Soy radio show.

Panelists included: Tiffany Burney-Foy, Ed.S (single, teenage mother of four now Assistant Principal in the Atlanta Public Schools); Dainhen Butler (CEO, Fun Time Moon Walks and radio host); Geoffrey Ingram (co-founder of iCreate Leadership Development Initiative, Inc.); Wilford Y. Smith, Jr., MPA (First Vice Chair of the Douglas County Democratic Party and retired Senior Corrections Officer with the New Jersey Department of Corrections); S. Candee Whitfield (Licensed Professional Counselor); and Benjamin Downs (Social Worker, Langston Hughes High School).

During the discussion, it was evident that there was a generation gap with the  definition of the term “thug.” The question to ask is: Why are we trying to redefine a term, which represents individuals, whose actions have no positive impact on the advancement of the Black community?

One thing that the entire audience could agree on is that a change in the self-destructive behavior and mentality, of young, Black men is needed. I’m still promoting the idea that raising thugless sons begins with the teaching and educating of Black boys, at an early age.

The conversation has begun — time will tell whether the conversations will help bring about change!

Why It Matters

I’ve searched continuously within for the reasons why it matters that I write about raising black boys to men.  My main reason for writing on this subject is that I’ve raised three boys, who are now young men, living their own lives. The other reason is that I wanted to share my own experiences and success to help other mothers raising sons. But, I can’t deny that I’m saddened, frustrated, and tired of hearing the alarming statistics of black boys, who become victims of homicide, drugs, and the penal system.

Although my advice and guidance could help all mothers raising boys, it is intended for black mothers, who face special challenges in raising their sons.

I’m in no way presenting myself as an expert on issues in society; only as an expert on raising my own boys.

You Can’t Have My Sons

From the moment each of my sons was born, I vowed that I would do everything within my power to prevent them from becoming a victim of homicide, drugs, and prison. To whomever could hear, I made my message loud and clear “You Can’t Have My Sons!”

Raising boys in a large, urban city has its own set of challenges. There is much for a mother to contend with: peer pressure, drugs, and crime. Despite these challenges, I chose to do whatever was necessary to prevent my boys from getting caught up in the thuglife!

Be Strong

Whether you’re raising boys with a mate, or you’re raising them alone, it takes a strong woman to raise a boy to a man.

While raising my boys, I reflected often on my mother who raised me and my four brothers alone. She was a young widow and had to be both mother and father. One thing I remember about her, is that she didn’t play. When she asked us to do something, she expected for us to do what she asked without any objection.

My mother was a strong woman. She didn’t allow for her unfortunate circumstance to get in the way of her mothering. Although, there wasn’t a father figure present, my mother provided love, but with a stern hand of discipline, when necessary.

 

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