Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Is Education the Key to Saving Our Sons?

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” — Malcolm X

Black males are in crisis! Today, many are asking the question: “How do we save and uplift young, Black men?” Many believe that the answer to that question is education.

Historically, Black males have lagged behind their counterparts, in educational achievement. Far too many lose interest in education, and end up not graduating from high school — this cycle must end! But, what’s the solution?

BLACK LIVES MATTER, the fifth edition of the Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males addresses disparities in education, and provides a national, overview of the state of Black and Latino male students.

 

 

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!

The Greatest Love is Love of Self!

Love is a very powerful emotion! But, the love of self is the greatest love of all; as George Benson so eloquently sang in his song “The Greatest.”

Love of self can inspire an individual to accomplish great things. However, a lack of self-love can have the opposite effect, which may manifest itself as low. self-esteem, destructive behavior, and abuse against self and others.

As mothers, teaching our sons to love themselves is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. By doing so, we’re instilling in them a belief that they can accomplish whatever they desire.

For when you love self, you do what’s best for self and avoid those things that may destroy self! On this Valentine’s Day, inspire your son to love self!

Education Is Priority #1

Across the United States, less than 50% of young, Black males graduate from high school. Many of them in the twelfth grade read at a significantly lower level than their counterparts.

It’s really sad that many young, Black men are allowed to graduate from high school without a proper education. They’ve been pushed along in school, for one reason or another, because no one cared enough about them, to invest in their future.

While in college, my daughter had classmates who couldn’t write good, grammatical sentences, let alone write an essay. This is incomprehensible!

A lack of education impacts the quality of living and limits opportunities for success. What type of employment is available for someone who can barely read or write? Education allows a person to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Without education, the road leads to nowhere!

Do the Right Thing!

Before my sons left the house, I would remind them that they had only four words to remember: “Do the right thing!” If they failed to do the right thing, then they might have to suffer the consequences for their actions. I often feared that my sons would become another statistic, with only a future of jail or homicide.

To instill a sense of responsibility in my sons, I advised them to apply the “do the right thing” principle to every aspect of their lives — especially, in how they treated others.

The application of this principle is quite simple: let your conscience be your guide!”

A Heart-Breaking Reality!

I think about all the mothers, like myself, who’ve raised sons and feared for their sons’ safety — not infrequently, but on a daily basis. We’ve watched our sons leave the house, and have prayed for their safe return. But, for some mothers, their son didn’t come home — a son lost to another senseless crime. Sadly, for many mothers, this is their reality!

Raising a Black Boy in America? Not Easy!

Congratulations, it’s a boy! Those were the words spoken by the midwife, after having my first son. Man, was I happy! But, on the inside my emotions were shaking like jello. But, despite my insecurities I was ready to take on the world, to ensure my son would grow up happy, and protected from a society that glorifies thuglife.

At that moment, I thought “Heck! I can do this; my momma raised a strong, fearless, black woman.” Then, suddenly I realized that I would be fighting against negative forces in society waiting to devour my son like a sacrificial lamb. Damn! Raising a Black boy in America; this wasn’t going to be an easy job.

10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By The Police

Black Men In America

Several months ago, The Dare To Be King Project founder David Miller created a flyer with 10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By Police that has gone viral.  The Dare To Be King Project inspires, supports and strengthens organizations that provide services to boys of color.

Given the recent developments with police officers and black males in America, this is a timely reminder of the reality for many citizens in America.

10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By The PoliceDavid Miller 2David Miller is the author of several books, which include Growing Up In a Notorious World (2002), Lessons I Learned from My Father: A Collection of Quotes from Men of African Descent (2004), Dare To Be Queen: Wholistic Curriculum for Working with Girls (2005) and Rhyme & Reason  a Hip Hop Curriculum for professionals who work with teens (2005), Daddy’s Girl: Remembering Advice From My Father  (2006) Where’s Mommy & Daddy?: A Workbook for Facilitating Groups with Youth…

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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!

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