As a parent, a big part of your role is as an educator. Yes, you’ll teach your child how to tie their laces, brush their teeth and help with their homework, if you’re not already doing that. But you also need to teach them real values. Things that are going to help them in the world. How they treat others and how they get treated all depend on what you impart to them now. Don’t fail them.
Nowadays, it’s harder for young people to be independent. A big of that is due to how out of whack our economics are, meaning that fewer people get to own a home, for one. But that also breeds a certain dependence on a mother that can be very unhealthy. Teaching them self-sufficiency isn’t about being withholding, however. It’s about supporting their efforts to better themselves and showing them the value that comes with it. Let them make decisions that affect their life and help them cope with it. Share your knowledge after the lesson and help them learn what impacts those00black-mother-and-daugther decisions have. One of the most important lessons you have to pass, however, is that everyone is to be questioned. Even you.
Learning to question isn’t just about being critical, either. It’s about being open. It’s about discovering what our kids can learn from the world and how they can use it to turn their efforts into something positive. Finding role models is a huge part of that. Having role models in their lives (like you) is important. But so is finding them the inspiration they can emulate. People who can teach them to use their voice and be proud of what they have to offer. It’s especially important you expose your kids to successful black men and women like Michael Xavier. In life, they’re likely to learn first-hand the barriers that can come between them and successes. Inspiration is what is going to help them break those barriers wide open.
A lot of the lessons a kid is going to need to learn is how to truly value themselves. To value themselves, they have to learn the value of ‘self’. They have to learn that everyone has a ‘self’ that doesn’t deserve to be stamped upon and degraded. We’re talking about respect and empathy. People who don’t learn respect grow up callous. But we’re not talking about respect for authority or fear or punishment. We’re talking about the love of self that brings with it the love of other people. Compassion is the core building block of respect. Show it to your kids and expect it in return. That way they have a much better chance of developing it for all people.
Our sons and daughters are going to be the product of what we teach them now. Teach them how to take care of themselves without putting others down. Teach them to look for inspiration wherever they can find it and the value of role models. Most importantly, teach them to love themselves and their neighbors.