By Beverly Gadson-Birch
There is no shortage of news. Stories can be found everywhere! As a writer I never know what I will write until I sit down to the computer. There are several gut-wrenching stories in the news this week worthy of exposure; but today, I am led to deal with the rise and fall of Black men. I know the month set aside for Black History is over. Black folk are making history 365 days of the year whether it be in the field of education, theatre, sports, politics, etc. You name it; Black folk can claim it! This isn’t about Black History, it’s about Black men regaining their rightful position in the family, church and community. Generally, I focus on those things that are challenging, unethical, educational, humorous but most importantly factual. The humor is provided as an attention-getter. We are constantly bombarded with negative news. So, a little humor tends to serve as a picker-upper.
The basis for today’s article is factual and not about black men who know who they are and what their role is in the family, church and community. This is not to take away from men who work two and three jobs to provide for their families. It’s not about men who or involved with their children, children’s school, after school activities, church and community. And, it’s not about men who take their children to Sunday School and church. It’s about boys and young men who kill, rape and steal. It’s about men who fail to take a stand in the face of adversity. It’s about men who fail to speak out when young black men senselessly murder, rape and rob innocent folks. It’s about those black men who live their lives irresponsibly. It is one thing to live recklessly and another to recklessly harm your children, family and community. It’s about men who literally spit in the face of their parents and on the graves of their ancestors.
I am still shocked at the senseless murders last week of the father and son working on homeless housing in North Charleston. If no one steps up to the plate and apologize, I do to the families. When you think things can’t get any worse, they do. In wake of this horrendous case, I ask myself “what more can I do?” I ask myself “how can I help save young men from such violent acts?” I am hoping you will ask yourself the same questions. Remediation begins in the home, church and school. I know y’all didn’t ask me but too many mothers are having children for the wrong reasons.
Truth hurts!! I know some of y’all might be saying “mind your own business”, but truth shouldn’t offend anyone but mend the offender. Training begins in the home. It is time black men spend more time at home parenting than friending their children. Children should know who is in charge and what their boundaries are. Set rules for your children and make sure they abide by them. Stop giving your children too much too soon. Who gives a 6-year-old child an Apple phone? Children should be taught how to work for what they want. It should start early by designating age appropriate chores and rewarding children only if the chore is completed and done right. If you have to go behind them and fix what they mess up, no reward. Teach children life skills and how to be independent so they are not dependent upon others or taxpayers to take care of them. Encourage your children to acquire a trade—something they can fall back on.
I believe in education. I believe in the church and I believe in the community but before I came into the realization of all of that, I believed in myself. It was something that started with my parents, teachers and the church. As Black men, you must first believe in yourselves so you can teach your children how to believe in themselves. When others put them down, they will understand that it is not them who have the problem but the aggressor. When your children come to you and tell you they can’t do Algebra or Science, it’s up to you to assure them that they can. Let them know it might require spending more time studying or going to a tutor, but “Yes, you can”. Black men, yes, I am talking to YOU. When your child sees that you care, they will try even harder because they don’t want to disappoint you. Do fun things with your children. It really doesn’t cost a fortune to take your children out. Most parks are free or charge a minimal fee. If you really love your children, you will find the means to take them to a park, dinner or a movie if it’s just once a month.
Men, listen up! Your boys just want to spend time with you. All boys want is for you to throw a football, basketball or pitch a baseball to them. They want you to show up at school and participate in school and after school activities. Your child wants to see your face. Men, your presence speaks volumes. It tells your children all they need to know—that you love and care about them. Men, if you don’t remember anything else I say, your attitude and involvement with your child determine your child’s altitude and success. Be the man that you were supposed to be. Don’t ever give up on your child!
I know it’s impossible to STOP the violence but we certainly can work hard at reducing senseless crimes committed against innocent people by “training up a child in the way he should go”.