Be the Man You Want to See

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the morning show host was talking about how 40% of women are leading single parent homes and how he got into a discussion with a gentleman that said that women can’t teach boys how to be men and that they coddle them. The gentleman said in particular, black women coddle their sons and don’t raise them. Can we have a frank discussion on this issue?

Do I have your attention? Good.

So, let me state the facts. I’m a black mother raising my son on a shared custody agreement. He is being raised 50% of the time in a single parent home. Now, I’m not going to argue logistics because yes my son’s father is in his life, but I’m still single. That means on my time, it is imperative that I cultivate an environment where I am both nurturer and disciplinarian. Where I am leader, mother, teacher, spiritual advisor, nurse, etc. Oh, and if that’s not enough I need to make sure that I’m giving him the best opportunities to be successful.

Seven days at a time. Seven days to make sure that I’m doing all that and then some. I cook breakfast each morning, fix a hearty lunch, review homework and enroll him in engaging and beneficial activities. I take him for Mommy/son dates, pay for field trips, camps and make sure that he’s getting sufficient exercise. Exhausted yet?

But, I don’t complain. I love my Munch and I want him to grow up and be a faithful, dependable, kind man who remembers his faith in God and has great moral character. It’s a lot but I am thankful for this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. Now, here’s my issue…

Where are all the men?

Many men who make these comments about women not being able to raise a son are not stepping up to help them out. They complain about an issue when in fact they are part of the problem. How is it a woman’s fault when they are doing the best they can under the circumstances? Do you think women want to be single parents? Some do, but many don’t. Where is the man’s responsibility in this picture? How do you know the man in question knows what it means to be a man? Did he have a man who was a good man teaching him to navigate manhood?

I’m exhausted from hearing that women (especially black women) are the main issue with many of society’s problems. We aren’t. We are the backbones and many times bread winner in a two parent home. We get tired. We need help. What are you doing to help? Are you a mentor? Are you volunteering your time to young men without fathers? Are you spending time with your women friend’s male offspring? Showing up at little Timmy’s baseball game or Max’s lacrosse game? What about Jonathan’s spelling bee? Were you there?

My truth

I’ve been separated from my ex for five years. In that five year time, not one of my male friends has EVER stepped up and spent one on one time with Munch. EVER. NEVER EVER. Why not? Why is it that I have some of the most educated, kind hearted and morally correct male friends and they don’t seem to think about standing in and being a role model for Munch? I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply because they don’t think about how I can’t teach a boy how to be a man. Maybe it’s out of sight out of mind. They don’t think about Munch. They see me busting my butt to attend every school meeting, PTA meeting, volunteering in the classroom or on field trips or at the school, paying for tutoring, coordinating play dates, paying for private flute lessons, swim lessons and boxing and think I have it all under control.

I do.

But, my son could always benefit from positive male influence. Be the sane person when his parents are stressing him out. Be the one that shows up and encourages him for his event. Be the man that he calls when he wants to take about things. Be the man that gives him true and direct advice to life’s problems or concerns.

But they don’t. We are invisible. We are invisible to many until Munch grows up and leads a less than desirable life. Then it will be my fault.

I’m not giving up on my son. I know that I’m not alone. I will pour everything that I have and more into helping him navigating boyhood to manhood. I will enroll him in mentoring programs and give him opportunities to have positive male influence.

I am not alone. I am one of many women. I am raising a son. I nurture. I coddle. I discipline. Our children need mentors. Stop complaining and get to work. You know what it takes to be a man. So, be a man and give unselfishly of yourself. You might just see how your presence makes a difference.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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17 Replies to “Be the Man You Want to See”

  1. Well written!

    I both agree with the assessment that coddling young boys does them no favors when becoming men as well as the plight of the single mother raising her children on her own.

    I too would like to know what it would take to have more positive male role models step up to help fix the problem instead of using it as another way to discredit the strength and resourcefulness of the single mother.

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    1. Sorry for the delay in responding but your comment went into spam. The thing is that when you have a two parent home one person can be the coddler and the other can be the disciplinarian. When people are forced to raise children on their own then you may have that. But, what does coddling do when a young boy becomes a man? If you gave him extra hugs and kisses and encouraged him to express his feelings doesn’t that mean that he’ll grow up to be a man that isn’t afraid to show emotion who love and respects his parent? It’s a fine line single mothers walk and men need to address ways they are making a difference instead of a being a part of the issue. It’s a two prong approach to getting the best for the children.

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  2. A harsh reality for the African American family is just what this post represents. Division. Black women who have to defend themselves, and a percentage black men who create the divide. Yes, I said black men. Because we are the problem overall. Yes black women have their issues… however, as men, we are the leaders of our community, and have truly fallen from grace and left the women to do the work.

    As a talked about in my blog about this very topic https://wp.me/p8jCtJ-kU

    I believe the way some black men articulate their feelings on this subject is, misunderstood, but also misspoken. A black woman can clearly raise a boy. However, I do not believe a woman can raise a into a man. What (any) woman not just black can do is give the boy the essentials to become a good person. Work ethic, good decision making skills, confidence, communication, high moral character, etc. Qualities like that can be taught by any parent.

    What’s lost in this discussion is manhood. Something a woman has no idea about. This is something a woman will never understand, or experience. So how can she teach her boy about it? There is a reason God created the union between men and women. He intended for the child to get both sides of the coin. Not just one.

    In that, as men overall, we have failed our children, and need to get back leading the way. I applaud the women that have taken on the role of alpha mom… while the father did nothing. It’s not easy raising a child alone, and you shouldn’t have to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is seriously thought-provoking, and a little heartbreaking. I worked on a campus with a high African-American population, and coincidentally, there were a lot of single parents. Not all moms – I saw several men raising their children as single parents and doing a great job, of ALL races. Mostly Black, on that particular campus. But it is very hard to be a single parent, and so much working against one in society. One of the tragedies in divorces/separations is that boys are usually the ones to lose the role model of How To Be A Man, because most often the women get the kids. And I have seen some heroic mothers! I have seen many, many Black mothers who raised excellent sons. But my God it is hard. Coaches, male teachers (not enough in the lower grades, unfortunately) can all be your friends, and positive role models for precious Munch. For my money, I think he will be ok with you for a mom – you’re always putting him first in your life, which is the main thing. But maybe ask one or two of the good men in your life, the ones Munch maybe already has a good, friendly relationship with, if they could spend some one-on-one time with him. Maybe they are afraid if they suggest it, you’ll be offended? Like they may come across as thinking you’re not “doing it right”.
    Why does society always blame Mothers when children turn out badly, or make mistakes? Remember that poor woman who’s child slipped into the gorilla cage? People were horrible about her, even with first-hand witnesses standing with her. People like someone to blame.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, I do think that most mothers coddle their sons. I know this because I work with the results of these, all the time. I run into them at coffee shops and bars and on hiking trails. They are entitled men, and will often describe their future wife in such a way that you know they are just looking for a stand-in for mum.

    That said, I think how well a woman can teach a boy to be a man on her own depends on the woman. I think I would be far better with a son than a daughter. I wouldn’t know where to begin with a girl. I know nothing about hair and make up or any of the girlie things girls do. My female friends have always considered me a hopeless case. I don’t care about shoes, dresses etc etc.

    A boy however, I could take hiking, climbing, camping. watch football (soccer) with him and his Dad. I would be the one pushing him to keep trying after he just fell off his bike and granged his knee, and the one slapping secret high fives with him when he socks a bully at school in the mouth at school. Why? Because I was that child in school. Wherever the boys were, there I followed. My cousins were all boys, and the youngest was 5 years older than myself. If they stole the car, I was in the front seat. If they took the rum from auntie’s bar, I helped smuggle it out.

    What use am I to a little girl with a childhood like this? lol

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    1. I’ve seen men coddle their children too. I don’t think it’s respective of one generation. I’ve met so many men who think they know what it is to be a man and they have no idea. It is as though no one taught them manners, respect, hustle or ambition. These are grown men who thinks it is cool to have multiple babies, sleep with random women and send penis pics. Biblically, women raised their son’s because the men were off fighting in wars. I’ve seen some women that coddle their boys, but I’ve seen many men who coddle their girls. It’s a personal choice, but not a blanketed judgement for all single women. I’ve never been a girly girly but I’m just figuring out what my son likes and trying to make it happen.

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      1. I don’t think men coddle their kids anywhere close to women, because men are not as nurturing or affectionate as women are, generally speaking. The friends I have who were raised by their dads are pretty independent, even the girls.

        The boys, however, seem to be confused about relationships and how they work and what to do with a woman, especially if they didn’t have a sister. I dated a guy like that. He was raised by his dad and his grandad and had an older brother. His mom died giving birth to him. He was a great guy, but had no clue what to do with women 🤣

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  5. I wonder if they might not step up because Munch has a father. A lot of times other people (women included when it’s reverse) do not want to infringe upon the other parent’s role if s/he is in the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some may try to use that as an excuse, but my girlfriend is a single parent and I asked her whether any of her male friends asked to do anything with her son and she said no. Having another parent doesn’t mean that you don’t necessarily need some sort of male interaction. They could show up at Munch’s soccer games, take him to a movie or even just show up to his band concerts. Him having a father won’t change what they could do to be a role model and part of his village.

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  6. I agree. Black women are the back bone of black society. I’m sorry to hear that of your male friends and its crazy bc I know they mean well. I honestly think they don’t even think about lending a hand bc this is the way its always been. I don’t think most ppl think about doing things in a different manner than in a way they’ve always seen them done. I believe when black men show up to help our youth things will change. Until then we’ll continue to see the same problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Another thing….I once asked if a good, educated, professional black male friend of mine about being a mentor. He said he never thought of it before. I said why? He said Bc he didn’t feel he had anything to give back bc he was not an entrepreneur. I tried to explain to him that all these kids need is a positive black male. You don’t have to be bringing in millions. I think this speaks to a lack of confidence a lot of our men have despite the titles they posses. They don’t feel they have anything to add to the development of our youth.

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  8. I ADORE this post. It feels so good to read something that could be written by myself.. I’m not surrounded by many single mothers at all. It doesn’t bother me but its beautiful to see that I am not the only one who feels this way. I have few male friends and relatives yet, same as you, no one has stepped up. But we have made the decision to be strong and get on with it. Using our knowledge of what a man really is and putting it into practise is a beautiful thing. I wish you all the best in raising your son and pray all of us mothers keep faith in what we are doing. Queens,may we be them. Kings, may we raise them!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow what a beautiful post! I could have written this myself. You’re right about the lack of interest from men in ‘their interest’ of raising young men (particularly the black men) yep I said it! Unfortunately, the truth is that in most cases, many of these men were not brought up in two parent families themselves. How can they teach what they haven’t been taught. It’s a shame because it seems like a viscous domino effect. Great point!! I’ve also thought of this myself! What about your men cousins, uncles etc? By the sound of it Munch is incredibly blessed to have a mother like you! You are doing well and it will show through! Keep your crown up girl and continue to pray and simply do your best, God will fill in all the gaps 🙏🏾 BEST BELIEVE! 💛💛🤗😘

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