Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Archive for the category “Family”

Why Black Parents Should Teach Kids to Love Self!

Not too long ago, I wrote a post: “When Will Black Lives Matter to Other Black People?,” in response to the killing of Tavin Rivers, 19, who lost his life over a pair of red, Chuck Taylor sneakers. His grieving mother, asked the very same question, as she languished over his lifeless body.

Weekly, I’m increasingly reading articles in which this very valid question is asked. As horrible as it is for the killing of Black men by police officers, it’s even more heartbreaking for Black men to continually kill each other, in senseless crimes.

In a recent Washington Post article, D.C. Council member LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) asked a similar profound question:”How do you make black lives matter to black people who have come to believe that they — and those who look like them — don’t matter?” In other words, how do you teach Black people to love self.

Just asking this type of question shows the complexity of the problems that exist in some Black communities — problems that stem from a deeply-rooted existence of self-hatred. Yep, I said it; now, let’s deal with it!

A love of self should be taught at an early age. This is a family value that is the responsibility of every Black parent, and impacts how children grow, learn, and interact with others in the world.

We’re witnessing a generation raised on reality TV and a pop culture far removed from a social climate that sparked lyrics such as James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m proud, and Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler).”

Expecting a person to value the life of others, when they have no love for self, is like expecting a baby to run, when they haven’t learned to walk — it ain’t gonna happen without proper knowledge.

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When Will Black Lives Matter to Other Black People?

When Jennifer Rivers, mother of slain victim Tavin, 19, lost her son over a pair of red, Chuck Taylor sneakers no one protested. Her son was just another victim of black-on-black crime.

In a recent LA Times article titled: “A mother asks why some black lives don’t matter to other blacks,” this question is asked by the grieving Rivers, who can’t understand why black lives have little value to other blacks. A question that any grieving mother would ask after losing a child to such a senseless crime.

Where is the public outcry, the protests, and condemnation, in support of the innocent lives lost daily in cities all across America? Don’t their lives matter too? Let’s be real: black-on-black crime is a serious issue we also need to address on a mass scale. Sure, we can argue that eliminating police brutality has greater priority, but we can’t ignore the statistics that homicide is the leading cause of death among young, black males, at the hands of another black male.

 

Why are Black Fathers So Misunderstood?

The important lessons in this video for all fathers:

  • Be present
  • Accept your role and responsibility
  • Fathers make mistakes
  • Be part of your child’s life
  • Be an example

Are Black Boys Losing Hope?

Recently, I read a very disturbing CNN article on the increase in suicides among Black boys. What? That can’t be — but, it’s true! Sadly, the suicide rates among black boys has now surpassed their White counterparts.

As a mother of 3 sons, I was deeply moved by this article for several reasons, and wondered how would I cope if one of my sons lost the desire to live and took his own life. I can’t imagine what would drive a young, boy to the brink of hopelessness that he no longer desires to live!

Researchers, who conducted the study, were just as surprised in seeing the dramatic increase among Black boys, since suicide rates have historically been higher in White boys. The study revealed that Black boys chose to take their own lives by hanging or suffocation.

Is this a wake up call? Are Black boys losing hope and see no future for themselves? Better yet, what future are we, as adults, giving to our boys? Yeah, sure there could be a number of reasons why a young, boy would choose to take his own life. Researchers suggest that one reason is that Black children have more exposure to violence and aggression than Whites. But, are we, as adults, adding fuel to the fire by not providing them with a safe haven or positive outlets for self-expression?

Children aren’t immune to society’s issues of racial inequality, poverty, violence, food injustice, and bigotry — they can sense when something is wrong! They may not understand the full context of things happening in their surrounding; all they know is that they feel scared.

No child should feel alone and hopeless, without anyone to talk to. Sadly, mental illness treatment has long been a stigma in the Black community. But, isn’t saving our sons lives more important!

Where’s the Damn Reset Button?

Today, the issues that impact Black youth: crime, drugs, police brutality, lack of jobs, limited access to quality healthcare and education are the norm and take center stage in the news. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing the same depressing news — never anything positive!

If Black boys deserve a future, and they do, then it’s time to hit the damn reset button and bring about a new change!

The issues I mentioned earlier shouldn’t be the norm to define the future life for our sons — they deserve better. Our sons should be hopeful and excited about their future, dreaming of one day becoming a doctor, scientist, professor, teacher, or CEO of a company. Notice that I didn’t say dreaming of one day becoming a rapper, or athlete? Not that there’s anything wrong with these professions. But, they shouldn’t serve as a carrot dangling before our sons, as if they can’t aspire to be anything else.

God doesn’t change the condition of a people until they themselves change!

Raising a Boy to a Man? Start Early!

When I had my first son, I was still a new mom. This was my first boy and I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do, in raising him. But, one thing I knew for sure was that I was raising a boy to a man!

Despite my own insecurities, I knew I had to raise my son to one day become a responsible, man. And, there was no way to raise him properly, without starting the development process early.

Therefore, my every action, in raising my son, was to prepare him for that eventual day, when he would stand, as a man, on his own two feet!

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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