Today on akingstruth.com, we feature an amazing blogger who will share her story of motherhood and of raising a young black boy into a man. This is “A THOMAS POINT OF VIEW”
I always knew that I was having a son. I had done invitro fertilization(IVF) so I was more surprised that it worked the second time than the gender of my baby. I knew the moment that they told me I was pregnant that I was having a boy. The moment that I thought about being pregnant I wanted and longed for a son.
So, when the ultrasound technician confirmed it at 20 weeks I was overjoyed. My son was coming. A little black boy that I would show the world to. Someone who would heal the pains caused by so many men in my life. I had put a lot on his tiny shoulders before he ever entered the world.
But, I sat there thinking about the wonder of God. How many of the traumas I experienced in my life had all been caused by a man and now God was giving me a boy to raise into a man. Why? Was I able to do it? I wasn’t sure, but I was blessed and determined. Those were two powerful combinations.
I loved this little boy with everything that I have. I poured so much love, patience and understanding into him, so that I knew he would become an awesome human being. How could he not? He had two amazing people that loved him more than life itself
My son was evidence of God’s grace and mercy in my life. I had made so many bad choices and here HE was allowing me to be a mom. He was my answered prayer. I often wondered did other mothers feel the same way. Or was I an anomaly?
I created ‘mommy cards’ (basically play date cards for other parents) and organized all his activities with like-minded parents. They had to love their children and I had to see the evidence of their love in their children’s faces. We were so close to many of the parents at daycare that it shook me to my core when I heard about Trayvon Martin being killed. My son was 3yrs old. He loved skittles and wore hoodies. Would they think he was dangerous?
I cries for Trayvon’s parents. I questioned my husband at the time because I didn’t understand. How could this happen in the United States after all we’d been through? We prayed. We had just elected our first black president. We were supposed to be on the other side of racism. However, we all know that race relations in this country went sideways when President Obama eas elected. We got to see the true colors of racism and it shook me to the core.
But, Trayvon was the catalyst that got me to thinking about the need to protect my son at all costs. I became more vigilant about the friends he’s make, the activities he’d participate in and the need for him to believe in God. He needed to know who he could call on in times of need. The same God that gave him life in my womb would be there for him now that he was outside of me.
It was at the end of my marriage that I saw how my son saved me. My ex-husband and I had separated and were waiting the year to file for a divorce. I was lost in pain and the back and forth drama that continued after we no longer lived under the same roof. I wanted peace. Some days I couldn’t move. I was broke from the fact that I felt like I had failed my son. That I would be to blame for anything bad that happened to him. I never wanted to be a single mother, but it was now my lot in life. Raising a son without a father in the home.
I remember being so wrecked with pain one day that I fell to the floor and cried. I could not move. I was balled up in the fetal position and my five yr old son came up to me and put my head on his tiny little legs and rubbed my hair. He comforted me. He was providing protection to the 38yr old mother that was supposed to be his rock. I can’t forget that moment. It is etched in my mind as not the best time to have a breakdown, but it was real. It showed my son that moms get sad too. He murmured sweet words of kindness as he held me. He told me that he loved me and would always protect me.
It wasn’t his job to protect me, but I needed to hear that to get up off that floor. I did get off that floor and kissed and hugged him close. It was us two. I would have to be stronger. He needed me to be the beat version of myself each and every day.
I went about my life as a single mother making sure to create opportunities of greatness for him. I wanted to give him the experiences and things he needed to be successful in spite of his parents divorce. I enrolled him in many activities, pay for private tutors and encourage him to be his best self each and every day. I joined Mothers of Black Boys United(MOBB UNITED) and became a part of a group of women with goals of showcasing our black sons in a positive light. I was on a mission.
I talk to my friends who are not black about what it’s like raising a black son and how I need them to be advocates for him. I need them to protect him when he was in there care. I explained that he can’t receive toy guns because of Tamir rice. I told them that the color of his skin will be a problem for some, but they needed to do everything in their power to love and protect this child of mine. Love knows no color.
I have built a village of support for him and spite of what this world is doing to our black boys. I kiss him every morning when he goes to school and tell him to make good choices. I’m active in his PTA and I’m present at every parent teacher conference and then some. I volunteer at his school and on his field trips. I still arrange play dates and I teach him the importance of giving back his time by volunteering.
I don’t spank. This was a huge shift in my family. It was over 5 years ago that I discovered what positive parenting is and decided that I no longer believe in spanking. I didn’t want my son growing up feeling like my hands were used in violence against him. I wanted him to see only love when he thought of me. The world was going to try to break him and be violent, his first lesson shouldn’t be at the hands of his parents. Many people didn’t understand.
But it was a personal choice that I never regretted. that doesn’t mean that parenting is always easy, but a Stern voice and detailed conversations and sometimes punishment occurs. He understands why he’s being disciplined. We discussed it and he is always allowed to tell me how he felt about a situation. I don’t shut him down. I value the strength in his voice.
my ex-boyfriend used to tease me about being a new age parent. I told him that any man that comes into my life has to understand this. I didn’t birth a prince for him to get beat on. I believe that if you understand that discipline means to teach, and you take a proactive and educated route in raising your children, that they will understand without the physical discipline many of our people choose.
I believe that raising good black boys is a choice you make every day. Just like you wake up and decide to bathe that morning, you choose to help, lead and guide the minds of your son into manhood. It wont be easy, but if you surround him with men and women that let him know that he matters, his emotions matter and it’s okay to just be you and don’t subscribe to toxic masculinity BS then he’ll be fine. I once heard Yolanda Adams say, “God gives you the perfect child not a perfect child, but the perfect child for your temperament” and I agree. He gave me the perfect child for my temperment.
I also was featured on Tikeetha’s blog. Link below