Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Archive for the tag “responsibility”

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.

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

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!

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!”

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!

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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