Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Archive for the tag “commitment”

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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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!”

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.

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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