It’s amazing that at any given moment, somebody could be thinking the exact same thought as your are, about the exact same subject. I say this because over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about how children today act, and are raised. Well lo and behold, who should be tweeting about this same issue but Bun B. For the uninitiated, Bun B is half of the almost universally respected Rap group UGK. His partner was the late Pimp C.
The points Bun B made resonated with me because I find myself thinking and feeling much the same way. This country in general, and the black community in particular, needs to examine how children are being raised. Let me take a moment to give single mothers appreciation. Without them, things could be even worse, and they do a good job of holding lives together. That being said, single mothers shouldn’t be the bulwark of our communities. It’s simply not how they are designed. This may sound sexist, but the reality is they aren’t. You know who is designed for that job though? Men.
If we want to know what’s wrong with our kids, look at how many men are engaged in the lives of their children, even if they aren’t in the home. I speak on this from experience. In the sense that, my father wasn’t in the home with me growing up, my mother was a single mother, with all it’s trappings. But what helped make a difference with me was that he was engaged. If it was sports I wanted to try (keyword is try), he was there, or attempted to be. He knew what was going on in school, and in my social life. He just was. This aspect of my childhood kept me out of a lot of trouble I otherwise would’ve got into.
Was my Dad being around the only reason? Of course not. It was a factor though. There’s a saying that says “father your sons and daughters”. That’s all well and good, but what if the fathers never had fathers? See, the issues that are going on now can be generational, and often are. We men must make a more concerted effort to be the change we want to see.
If our children are part of a problem in the communities, it’s up to us to work on fixing it. We need to work with the single mothers, and in some instances, single fathers, to turn our environments around. Not only will we be turning the tide of negativity that affects the families we are around, but our own as well. We men need to stand up with action, and not the focus groups and lip service that so often accompany calls to action. Even though my oldest daughter doesn’t live with me, trust that I am engaged in her life. The reason is simple: I don’t want her to end up as a statistic, nor do I want her to ever feel like her Daddy didn’t care. No child should ever feel like this, yet men sometimes let it happen. Engagement could fix much of this though.
When more men decide to step up and #bethebetter, be involved with their children, and take back the environments are children are in; then maybe these “kids today” will see who real men are. And maybe, just maybe, these real men will be the bulwarks that are really needed.
Men, are we going to step up?