Let’s Fix It

As I’m sure all mothers do, I worry about my daughters. Like everyone, my concerns range from their physical health to their happiness and emotional well-being.

By far, my biggest concerns are for their future.

I worry what we are teaching my daughters. Am I doing my part to teach them how to choose a partner that won’t abandon them when they get pregnant, or at the first sign of trouble? Or will my actions, my mistakes, result in their making the same errors in judgment that I did?  

Beyond that, what are the boys that will someday be men- and possibly their husbands- currently being taught? Are they being raised in abusive homes? Are their fathers present in their lives? Are these young men being taught to treat my daughters as Queens, with all the respect they deserve?

Unfortunately, it is a very real concern that my babies may wind up in some very painful, destructive life-relationships. The have several “risk factors”- they are the product of divorce, they have witnessed their father’s varying degrees of abusive behavior, they have seen me struggle and freak out as a single mother- and have witnessed more of my own mistakes than they ever should have. In addition, as beautiful black-women-in-training, they have the weight of a broken, wounded society on their shoulders. Not only will they have the responsibility of thriving in an unforgiving and unfair world, but they will ultimately be charged with selecting a man to share their journey with.

The men they will have to choose from are young boys right now, who by and large were born into unmarried homes- currently, that number is over 70% in black families. Boys who are being raised by over-stressed single mothers, and likely- MOST likely- have no fathers around to help with the load (according to the numbers, more than half). Boys who, like my daughters, struggle each and every day, next to their mothers, seeing a scary side of the world that they never should have had to experience.

My daughters are part of a generation in which black men are more likely to be shot than they are to graduate high school. This generation is one in which 10% of black males, aged 25-29 are incarcerated.

I love my heritage, I love my daughters’ heritage, and I love that as black women they will be among the most beautiful, gifted, strongest people on earth. I would never dream of changing their race if given the chance- only their circumstances- circumstances that both myself and this society allowed to become theirs. While I will love and accept my daughters no less, should they choose non-black men as their partners, I would be so proud if they were to choose a wonderful, loving black man. Studies show they’re likely to marry within their race… and that is one statistic that I am not disappointed to read. I love all people, and have the blood of no less than three races coursing through my own body. If my children choose to marry outside or their race, I pray that such a decision would be a matter of the heart, and not because all of these sobering statistics proved true, and they had little, if any, choice.

For them, for my daughters and your sons, we all need to do our part, and start fixing this.

*special thanks to Roland S. Martin, CNN.com for providing the numbers

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Fix It

  1. This is something that i think about all the time. I dont have any kids right know but i have lived thru the single parent home and have seen my nephews and niece raised in single family homes. A relationship can not be forced to work just for the sake of having both parents in the house hold. I believe the answer to counter these statistics is making sure this kids are taught that this isnt the norm and they can do better than our generation has. We can accopmlish this by teaching them what healthy relationships are and showing them what real love is. Us as men need to step up and carry our weight and take some from the females. For Gods sake , they have carried the burden of being the only parent too long!!!!! Men can also make a difference by volunteering for mentoring programs. By doing this we can show these what a positive male is supposed to be like, they my not have that father figure in their lives but they will have that positive male figure.!!!!!

  2. Well said James. Thanks for commenting. For me, one of the challenges is helping my kids realize that my situation is not ideal- that I expect better from them- without making them ashamed of me, of the job I’m faced with, or where they came from.

  3. I too agree with James. I try to do my part community wise through mentoring even outside of my parenting responsibilities. And even for my youngest daughter, (10) I figure if I show her the level of love and excellence she is worthy of that as she gets older and decides to seek companionship that she will reference the way i treat her as a starting point.

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