I am afraid of losing my sons and daughter to the worries of this world. Our young people are going fast, and if we are not losing them to violence, we are losing them to the stupidity of the world. I have seen countless young people end up in the hospital, or dead due to life’s troubles. They are dying! They are dying from being killed, they are dying from depression, they are dying mentally, they are dead spiritually because at some point in their lives we have failed to get through to them. Some point in their life or ours we have lost them, and now it is time to stand up and get them back. I was at work the other day and I overheard a young lady talk about how she got an XBOX 360 (could have been Xbox one), some accessories, and 8 games for 45 dollars. Also, 6 pair of Jordan’s from Foot locker for 45 dollars (she changed her story so much I couldn’t believe it either way). She said she got all this for a cheap price because she was flirting with the guys who sold it to her. She said all she had to do was twerk a little and she got what she wanted. Mind you, this young lady is supposed to be engaged, and she said her fiancé is ok with it, because it benefits the household. In another instance, there was a lady who was stuck on the side of the road and had a flat tire. I pulled over to help her, and as I walked over to help her and these two young boys stepped out of the car, they were maybe 12 and 16 and neither one of them knew anything about changing a tire. I teach middle school students, and most of these children who I interact with have a focus of being a product of their environment (sex, drugs, fitting in, being part of the status quo, and more), because no one has had the opportunity to reach them on a level where they will listen. Who is the person who can reach them on a level where they listen? There are a select few people who can build a relationship with these people over time that they will respect and listen to, because they generally know and feel like this person cares. However, the person they want to reach them is their parents. More specifically, and in many cases that parent is the absent parent in a single parent home.
Let’s say there are two boys who are in two very different environments, but can live the same productive lives. The first boy is raised in a house with his mom and siblings, and occasionally (rarely) spending time with his dad. The other boy was raised in a household with two parents both there and trying to make it a point to raise him the right way. Both boys are brothers, and can lead the same lives. The first one struggles more because his mother must do it alone, and the other boy who has both parents seems to be doing fine. He can get help from both parents and his support system to get to where he needs to be. These two boys, both young Black men (same father but different mother) could be in the same predicament, but one of them has an edge up because he has both parents around. The other one is trying to find solid ground, because he is wondering why can’t he receive the same things that the other boy is getting. There are different ways to look at this scenario where there are children who live in a one parent home, and those who live in a two-parent home (just stay with me, I’m going to get to the point), but ultimately the outcome is typically the same. Studies have shown that children who have both parents around even if they are not a nuclear family (both parents in the same house) tend to do better than children who mainly interact with one parent and rarely spends time with the other. The time that a child spends with their parents must change.
In the best interest of the child, we as a people, regardless of where we are in life, we must make sure that we are present in our child’s life. What that means is if you are the mother of a child, whatever baggage you have with the father of that child you must let it go. Unless there was something detrimental done to the child; it’s time to let it go. If you are mad because he left you regardless of where you were at; either pregnant or already had the child, it is time to let it go. If you are a man and you feel the child’s mother has just given you too much grief when it comes to the child, and you don’t want to deal with it, it is also time for you to let it go. As a man, even if you are struggling financially to provide your presence is still important. No matter what the issues may be, it is in the best interest of the child it is time to let it go, and stand up and be a mature adult and do what is best for your children. We as parents, mentors, relatives, or just family friends, cannot dictate a child’s mind and decisions we must show them a way and let them figure it out for themselves. We should not make them pass judgment on an individual because of our own personal feelings. We should stop and show them how to love in the way that God loves us.
In the best interest of the child we as a people, regardless of where we are in life, must make sure that we are present in our child’s life (or a child’s life). The way our children are growing up, we must teach them some of the most common things to ensure their continued success. Our young ladies need to know the perspective of dating from both parents. As a woman, they must teach our young ladies self-respect, self-worth, healthy body image, self-determination, boundaries, and respect of others. As a man, you must teach your daughters what a man should be, how a man should truly treat a woman. If you are disrespecting women now, this reflects on the way your daughter will let a man treat her, so you must display this respect for women in front of your daughter. There was a movie where a man took his daughter on a date to show her how a man should treat her, and I feel we must do the same if we hope to exhibit healthy relationships for our young ladies. As a man, we have a duty to teach our young men how to be a man, how to change a tire, cut the grass, how to fix things around the house, etc. Ultimately as a man we must teach our young men how to be a gentleman, how to respect others, but also the respect of women. We must teach our boys self-worth, self-determination, self-respect, and self-care. As a woman, you must teach our young men what a woman should truly be, just as a man should respect a woman a woman is to respect a man, and women should exhibit healthy respectful relationships with men in front of young men. That does not mean that as a woman you must be submissive in all male relationships, but you must respect them just as they must respect you. In all things that we do, we cannot tell our children to do something, and then show them something totally different then what we told them. As a woman or a man, you cannot talk about the other sex behind their back or to their face, and then expect your children not to do the same because it does not exhibit healthy relationships, or exhibit the respect that each one deserves. Now there are many things to be taught by a man and woman, and each one can do them differently but when you look at it, it all corresponds with one another.
Maybe you are not a parent but you have read this article and are thinking to yourself this does not apply to me? It does. There are young people in your life who need you to be present in one way or another just like they need their parent to be present. Maybe you are an aunt or uncle, an older family member, a family friend, a teacher or a mentor, someone who the children look up to, and respects you have a duty to do your part, which is each one teach one. Today, I challenge the parents who are in the child’s life, the parents who are not, the person who knows they can help a child learn and has chosen not to. I challenge you to pick up the phone and make a change. A change for the better, a change to become active in your child’s life, to mend things that are broken, to let go of the hurt and anger that has caused you not to want to deal with the other parent, or the fear of not being able to provide for your child, and step up and provide emotional support at the least, emotional support does not cost a thing. I challenge you as the custodial parent to reach out to the other parent and try to get them in the child’s life, so your child can have the same opportunities as other children. I also challenge parents to understand that calling another person mom or dad, is not the end of the world. It takes a village to raise a child, and a few moms, and a few dads who all have the best interest of the child in mind helps raise a better child, not a child who will forget who you are as a parent. Until the next blog post stay happy, stay healthy, stay blessed.