Sometimes it is hard for me to believe it, but I have been a black mom in America for over 12 years. My oldest son, Jayden, turned 12 in June. I also have two more sons, Chase is 9-years-old and Kaleb is 3 years old. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my three boys are truly a gift from God. I am so thankful that she picked me to be their mother. I depend tremendously on my faith and belief in God to give me the strength I need to face many of the struggles I experience in life. This includes the harsh reality that my boys will face many obstacles to live their purpose in America that I have had to navigate for 40 years. Many of the decisions that I have made were to make sure they would have the opportunity to be what God has called them to be.
One of the first things I considered was the type of education they would receive. It is no secret that education will help open doors for you. I wanted them to have many of the opportunities that I was given by my hard-working single mother. Yes, my mother valued education, not only does she have a bachelor’s degree, but I watched her work tirelessly to earn two master degrees and a doctorate. My husband and I also value education and worked hard to buy a home in a neighborhood that offers an excellent education. However, I found that at an early age, I had to advocate for my oldest son to be recognized for how bright he was. Today, he is two years advanced. He is taking 9th grade classes in the 7th grade. I have been active in all of their classes; I have been the co-room mom, planned spring and winter parties, attended all teacher conferences. I make it a point to make sure their teachers know who I am.
I also want my boys to be well rounded. All of them are involved in sports, as well as other interests, which include my oldest son playing the tenor saxophone. Thankfully, my blogging abilities makes some of this possible. However, it is truly a sacrifice to get them to their sports activities every week and make sure they are practicing and doing the necessary things to get better.
One of the most important decisions I have made is that I want them to have a relationship with God. Every Sunday I take them to church and walk them to their age-appropriate areas. I think it is extremely important for them to understand who they come from (God), who gives them strength, who will guide them, who will vindicate them, who will promote them, who will show them their purpose on this earth. There will be times that I know they will face racism, sexism, downright ignorance and hatred. But, I believe if they have the foundation of knowing where they come from and who is in control, I believe they will be able to navigate any obstacle they face. “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:13. This is my go-to scripture whenever times get tough. I pray it will become one of their go-to scriptures as well.
I can honestly say that there are days that I worry about the future for Jayden, Chase, and Kaleb. I know that they are bright, kind, loving, compassionate, God-fearing boys. However, I worry that the challenges they will face just to be seen as equal in America will make them want to give up. I have no doubt that being a black man in America will not be easy, but I truly believe that if they are prepared and have the tools they need from a spiritual place that they will be able to handle and be victorious in any situation.
I say this to anyone I know contemplating having a child. Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Nobody really told me how hard it would be, or maybe they did and I did not listen. However, being a mother is hard work and many times a thankless job. I would never change it for anything in the world, but it is a sacrifice that is very hard to explain. Perhaps that is why I did not understand what being a mother truly entails until I was one. I believe that God has trusted me with raising my boys to be the men God wants them to be. And, I am determined to do everything in my power to help them find their purpose and live a happy life.
As a God-fearing person, I also believe that God is showing me the way when it comes to parenting. There is no manual really to being a parent. There are days that I make mistakes and I have learned to be patient and apologize when needed. I pray all the time for God to keep my boys safe and to watch over them when they are not with me. I pray that society will see their heart and spirit first and not the color of their skin. I could choose to be scared and worried that my boys will become victims of their community and never achieve their potential. But, every day I grow closer and closer to God and I choose to believe that she will protect them and they will achieve greatness in their own individual ways. Being a black mom in America is not an easy job, but I choose to fight and I am determined to live the life God called me to live.