Friday Fire 2: What Can We Do To Better Prepare Our Children For the Future?

(Photo: Cyrus Muller)

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Fathers are the first men daughters love…Make an impact they will remember.

Not looking for the standard answer. Express optimism. This isn’t about being an expert. We’re hoping to start a discussion all of us can use in our collective lives.

Mothers what can you teach your sons to better prepare them to have a better knowledge of love and respect for women?

Fathers how can you keep your daughters close as they enter puberty so they know right from wrong regarding how they interact with men later on in life?

Those who don’t have kids, what questions do you have of us who are parents that will help you understand what parenting is all about?

Be honest here. You all have been great lately. We truly appreciate what you bring to the site. Thanks so much. Enjoy the weekend.

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7 Responses to “Friday Fire 2: What Can We Do To Better Prepare Our Children For the Future?”

  1. “It’s not the presents, it’s your presence that’s the essence.” – Ed O.G.

    As a new father (8 mo. old twins) and a long-time youth leadership trainer, I believe it’s important that boys and girls get the same messages. I know that’s hard for people – but if we send out mixed messages, we will contribute to their difficulty as they mature. I don’t want my daughter to fall into traditional “female roles” nor do I want my son to be rigidly stuck in traditional “male roles.” I want them to appreciate balance between the two.

    I have a few basic concerns. 1) Safety: to the greatest extent possible, I want them to be able to protect themselves. The first tool is good judgment. The second tool is martial arts. I want them to think before they act or respond. 2) Peers: I hope my children have the capacity to SEE the connection between how their peers act and future consequences. I also want them to have the courage of their convictions to walk alone. I was never a follower as a child – and always found that to be a perilous path. 3) Schools. I expect schools to provide the basics. I’ll do the rest…that means accelerated programs, extra-curriculars, cultural education. The school’s mission is to keep them safe while they’re in control – and to provide the best learning environment for their continued growth.

    Finally, all fathers and mothers need to talk to their children about violence and sex. Rape is a pervasive national crisis and it continues because too many of us believe it is acceptable. It’s a crime of cultural permission – and none of us until we get the message out that violence is not an acceptable part of our relationships with one another. Strong persons should not impose their will on weaker persons when they’re supposed to be in a relationship – and the weaker person should accept the physical impositions of that stronger person. Boys and girls need to hear that message all the time.

    peace and blessings to all.

  2. GrandNubian Says:

    What parents need to do to raise productive children is to be more active in their lives from birth until they reach adulthood. To ensure the shaping of productive, community-oriented responsible adults, parents should teach them ALL the ways of adulthood: including the rules and taboos of the society; moral instruction and social responsibility; and further clarification of their mission or calling in life.

    children also need to know their place. It appears that we are not teaching our children how to conduct themselves when in the presence of adults. For example, children should not be a part of adult conversations. Long ago, children knew their place and there was a saying that all children understood, which was “Don’t interrupt when grown folks are talking. Go outside and play or go to your room.”

    It seems that too many parents discuss family issues with their children at a mature level and have placed the responsibility for processing those issues on the young children. As a result, the children start acting more mature and try to carry out that level of responsiblity, but one can plainly see that they’re missing vital lessons/tools.

    There is nothing automatic about youth being productive members of society, nor is there anything particularly difficult about transitioning from a child to an adult. This transition to adulthood is exceedingly difficult in western societies because there are no systems of adulthood rites to systematically guide and direct the young person through this important stage in his or her life cycle.

    It takes a Black man to teach and develop a young Black boy into becoming a Black man. Also, it takes a Black woman to teach a young sister how to be a Black woman. However, an underdeveloped Black male can’t succeed in doing this and neither can a woman. But a good and strong qualitative woman can teach a young Black boy how to grow up and respect women. Most boys aspire to have a wife that showcase the qualities of their mother. For the most part, you can tell how a man treats women in general by the way he treats his mother. As a man, it’s hard to respect and love your mother and turn around and disrespect another woman.

    And eventhough the mother cannot teach him how to be a man, she should have him groomed by other positive Black males in her family (brother, uncle, father, cousin, etc.) or consider finding a mentor for him (Boys Club, Big Brother, etc). As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”.

  3. thebrotherreport Says:

    Grand Nubian – You hit the nail on the head man, That was everything I wanted to see and even experienced. I go through stuff sometimes with my son’s mother because whatever father figure she had or lack thereof causes her to feel as though she can disrespect men and I’m a momma’s boy so mom gets the utmost respect from me and I give her the same as my son’s mother. But last night I almost lost it w/her and I know if I wasn’t raised another way and love my son like I do, I’d be in somebody’s jail.

    Also what they see is important, my dad was a battled alcohol for the last 10 years of his life but he never hit my mom or disrespected her, and I still respected him as my father and of all the things he taught me that was one of the most valuable. He would always say if I hit a woman it better be because my life was in the balance if not I would have to answer to him.

  4. To take Grand Nubians ideas further. If we look around us we see Rec centres set up to develop athletic excellence. The community need to set up parenting centres, because the generation after our parents lack some of the basic understanding and responsibility regarding child rearing. Not to say it doesn’t happen before us, but it has increased ten fold since then.

    We need a place where single mothers, working mothers and mothers to go and bond as women-not a drop off centre- where they can re-energise, re-develop, re-learn or be encouraged in their mothering/nurturing skills. They will also learn relationship skills, recognizing what a MAN looks like and acts like. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Develop strong, nurturing and skilled women in the ways of family and community building.

    The community need to take young males and little boys and giev them manhood training, how to be warriors, scholars and defenders of the family. Teach them how to love and nurture ALL their children, and how to relate positively with the women across age group on a positive level.

    All our communities, rec centres, places of worship and education centres should have ongoing rites of passsage programs, where self development, nation building is conditioned into them. It can start in our homes, but it is best done through comunity support and involvement.

    Parenting is hard, it is not something you want to do by the seat of your pants.

  5. I agree with T3′s three points. But the best laid plans…

    I always thought that I’d let schools handle the basics, and take care of the rest. But my fatal flaw is my utter lack of patience. Age and fatherhood haven’t tempered me, and patience is my undoing. I end up fighting with the wife every time I try to instruct my kids, it just gets ugly.

    Though apart from that, I feel the big thing is to let your kids know who is in charge. I can’t stand other peoples kids, because they are (generally) irritating little shits. Discipline without being overbearing. We were all kids once, I still remember how I worked around my parents, and tricks I used. Keep them on their toes, they need to always do the right thing, not just the right thing when you’re around. You know as a teenager, they’re going to do whatever the hell they want, I just try and squeeze in what I can while they still listen.

    I try to explain why I punish them, I got more of that ‘because I said so’ stuff when I was a kid. Which works, but I want them to know the reasoning.

    Also, I don’t let my kids get away with stuff I couldn’t. When I was a kid, if I made my mom repeat herself…

    So far I’ve been lucky, I rarely have to punish them about big stuff, and I haven’t had to physically discipline in years. Not sure if it was good or bad, but when I was younger, I might have been a little too rough, but the impression was made and hasn’t had to be repeated in recent years.

    I am so thankful I have boys and not girls, at least I know what to expect with boys. All you with girls, good luck.

  6. One of things that I did with my daughter that was generally not available to woman of my (Boomers) generation was involvement in sports. I also supported her in exposure to music (cello), arts (photography), and leadership (public speaking and community service). But I wanted to say a few things about sport given the theme of this site.

    Our family has a history of athletic participation. I was hoping that my daughter would sharpen the same moral tools and gain a similar perspective from her involvement that I received from mine. Because of a relative lack of opportunity for their mothers, female athletes in the 80s/90s tended to supported and guided by their fathers. I was one of several who served as youth coaches and head cheerleaders as we passed on the lessons of our own development and saw many of them rise to the level of competitive dominance and social assurance that we did in our day. The benefits of that activity were various, some obvious, other more subtle and surprising. To name just a few:

    Avoiding adolescent pitfalls. Her peer group was basically other athletes, who among girls tended to be high achievers in all areas, especially academics. At the elite level these young women didn’t have a lot of time for idle sex, drug use and trifiling folk in general. Their athletic status shielded them from the ‘dogooder, acting white’ type labels that occur in some situations.

    Better relations with women. She learned to rely upon and support other girls (particularly in a team sport), learned to celebrate and respect strength in other women, and learned the value of cooperation with other women toward common goals. This in contrast to the concept that women are just competitors for the attention of men.

    Better relations with men. At 6’2″, well conditioned (including weight training) and a very good basketball player, one had to be a pretty self confident and respectful male to even consider approaching her. Abusive relationships have never been an issue. She eventually married a high level male athlete.

    Free education. Went to college on a basketball scholarship.

    She learned the full range of virtures that are conferred by sports participation; how to survive losing and winning, persistence, perserverance. At 26 she is now a mother and in very good shape on all fronts. We are very close as well as she with her mother. A very stong woman.

  7. And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”

    And he said:

    Your children are not your children.

    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

    They come through you but not from you,

    And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

    For they have their own thoughts.

    You may house their bodies but not their souls,

    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

    For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    CHAPTER 4 – CHILDREN

    Courtesy of the Prophet, by Khalil Gibran.

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