I like the adjective definition of Fine…’of very high quality; very good of its kind’. This can also translate as excellent, first class, great, exceptional and much more. Today I want us to look at the ways we can raise fine black or coloured men in 7 steps.
Step 1: Prepare Yourself To Give Your Offspring A Better Chance
A better chance for your son’s survival should not be an afterthought when he is already here. Putting a lot of thought planning for the future is very important. A seed from a fruit tree, has the full potential of becoming a fruitful tree someday yet not all seeds achieve this feat depending on a number of factors.
To up the chances of raising fine black men we ought to first and foremost ask ourselves if we have what it takes to do so. Do we have the knowledge or skills to mitigate the factors that could prevent the unborn chid reaching his full potential as a responsible black man?
Starting with ourselves, then to choosing the right partner who has the values, morals and principles that we seek in our future offspring. I cannot for example see how two people who are clueless, have no vision, make very bad choices as in substance misuse (drugs, alcohol etc.,), don’t exercise or eat healthily and chooses not to work would expect any differently from their child….do you?
I am not a fan of Creflo Dollar, however I like what he says in this video on choosing a partner…watch it here.
Step 2: Let Him Know Who He Is and Be Proud
Yes, he is a black boy and probably sees this too. Thing is before he leaves your nest into the outer world of trips to the shops, nursery or school chances are he believes everybody is like you and him; black, coloured. Of course it is a shock to the system when it dawns on him that there are different races other than his. Though children on their own are not perturbed by these differences, however there soon comes a time when they want to be like the others if you have not taught them to be proud of their identity and of their history.
I recall a few times when my boys in the early stages of primary school asked questions like why their hair wasn’t straight and why they don’t bear Christian (English) names like James, Christopher and the likes. Being an African and a very proud one I must add, I gave my sons African names and encouraged them not to allow their friends or teachers to shortened or englishnised (not a word like that I know) their names just because they can’t put in the effort to get it right.
Two weeks ago, I was in court with my 15 years old son for a hearing on a compensation claim for a motor accident he was involved in. The judge, on examining his birth certificate inquired from where these beautiful names originate. Quabla (meaning a Tuesday born male child in Ghana) stood up and confidently explained to the female judge and helped her to pronounce it right too! Teaching our boys of their identity, to be confident but not arrogant raises their self image and thereby ensure they grow up right into fine black men.
Step 3: Instil Discipline…Teaching Right From Wrong
Again, what are your own values, morals and principles? You cannot teach a boy to be anything different from what they see at home. It is useless and very futile to say indirectly to a boy ‘do as I say and not as I do’. You may draw your values, morals and principles from what you believe in, your faith or simple practical common sense, it is up to you.
There is also a difference between disciplining and punishing a child. When your son breaks your rules, you must discipline them with the view of instilling a moral lesson or principle that will serve them well into adulthood. When I speak of rules, I don’t mean some useless rules just to show who is in charge, for a child already knows they are dependent on you for their very survival whether you are a good or bad parent. Of course until they become teenagers and crave to be independent of you thinking they know it all.
A boy needs to know there are consequences for every action and be taught to take responsibility of their deeds. Fail to do this and you fail in your responsibility as a parent, allowing for social services or law enforcement agencies and the judiciary to step in. I doubt if your son will ever thank you for such intervention in their lives.
Step 4: The Importance of Education
Set your boy up from the start to appreciate expanding his mind and knowledge. Education is a big part in our world, this has been the case in the past, now and will continue to be in the future. For the very least I would say every black parent should ensure their son gains a degree level education. Knowledge they say is power, but like I always tell my sons the application of knowledge is even more powerful.
So yes, whilst we support our boys to be the very best they can ever be in attaining qualifications, we must impress upon them to apply what they learn in their daily lives too. Very often one sees too many educated fools, devoid of any wisdom. They might excel academically but lack social skills or the ability to cope with life outside the work environment.
Step 5: Instil Work Ethic
You do not have to wait for a son to reach 15 or 16 before you wonder why they have not an ounce of motivation, to get off their backside to make something of their lives. Start by giving him reasonable chores around the house and a form of reward from an early age. At the appropriate age he should be encouraged to take on a part time job; a paper round, working at fast food shops or whatever.
This shouldn’t be in place of his education but together with his academic pursuits. The experience alone will enrich him and make him even more angry to better his life, as no one would want to be on minimum wage for the rest of their working lives. I have a feeling that like me you don’t need a 30 year old plus son still dependent on you financially.
Step 6: Involve The Father
Sadly not all relationships ends the way we want it. If you happen to be raising your black son as a single parent it would be good for the sake of your son, that you involve his biological father where this is possible. Of course there are extreme cases such as him being violent, physically abusive, a child molester etc., that would render such a person unsafe to be around children or indeed be a bad influence. In such circumstances surrounding your black son with positive male role models is very important.
Moms and I mean strong black women do a good job at raising boys, however a boy craves to learn certain things including being a man from his father. I am aware a number of women reading this will disagree but it is the truth nevertheless. Lately I noticed my shaving foam is secretly getting the attention from my boys, as a father this indicates to me, that it is about time I teach my boys the art of shaving before they go cutting up their faces from experimenting.
One will argue that female care workers shave male clients and patients all the time, but have you ask yourself if your son will rather be taught to shave or do other things with a male adult.
Step 7: Teach Respect for Women
It is essential that black boys are taught to value, regard and respect women if they are to treat the women in their latter life right. What examples is he exposed to in the family unit comprising of a husband, wife and children or indeed in a single household…. Is it a case where the father talks down to the mother and shows great disrespect or vice versa? Abusive relationships, emotionally, mental or physical? If you are a single mother or father, are you constantly bringing home multiple partners?
A boy will conclude that women are to be used and discarded, abused or disrespected depending on what they see.
This 7 steps is by no means exhaustive and I hope I have captured the important aspects to what I feel will help raise our boys into fine black men. Feel free to add yours in your comments.