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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Your Shoes are Fake

I sat there stunned thinking about all the times that I’ve heard the saying that “women can’t raise boys because they can’t teach boys how to be men”. Today I wondered was there any truth to it. I mean Munch and I are really close and I know he’s still innocent, but would I be able to navigate him through the trials of life when he comes to me with a situation? I honestly felt inadequate at that moment.

I thanked God for the opportunity to love and raise this little boy and for all the men in my life that I call friends to help me navigate unknown territory because it was them that I called on for advice. So, here’s what happened…Munch’s feet are growing like crazy. He’s gone from a kids size 7 shoe into a men’s 9 shoe in one years time. Honestly, he only has a little room in the 9 and he’ll be off into a 9 1/2 shoe probably by the end of summer. I wasn’t ready.

He’s 10. He hasn’t gone through puberty yet. Do you know how much men’s shoes cost? I have always believed that my son should have nice clothes and shoes. It was something that I felt was required because he should always be presentable. That said he will always have name brand tennis shoes. I prefer Nike, but will buy a nice running shoe as he’s hard on his tennis shoes as evident in his daily playground time.

We went to the store last weekend and I had him try on tennis shoes to find the ones he liked. Munch hates tying his shoe laces and so we found a great pair of Jordan’s with no laces. Perfect for the remainder of school and through the summer. He hated shoe shopping and we wrapped it up and headed home.

He was excited to wear his new shoes to school on Monday and off he went. But, on Tuesday when I picked him up he asked me “Mommy, are my shoes fake?” I was stunned. Munch knows nothing of name brand shoes. I had gotten his shoes on sale at Foot Locker and stores don’t sell fake shoes. I responded “No baby, why would you ask me that?” He began to tell me how a girl at school had told him that his shoes are fake and that they aren’t real. He said that she told another little boy and they were saying the same thing. He said she told me to take off my shoes so she can see them.

I was livid. I calmed myself and explained this one rule…never take off your shoes. That’s how someone can steal your shoes. I told him to ignore her. To tell her that your mom doesn’t buy you fake stuff and to mind her business. But, I wondered was it enough? Was I equipping my son with the sharp witted skills required to respond to ignorance?

I called three male friends who are parents and asked for their advice. I needed help. What am I supposed to do to encourage my Munch?

-To Be Continued-

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 @mskeeinmd.

Dating And The Plight Of The Black Woman – Part I

dating-plight-black woman-love

When dating, the plight of the black woman is like no other. This isn’t intended to diminish the challenges and obstacles of any other race of woman. This is also not written to attack the opposite sex.  It’s written to bring awareness, understanding and empathy for a culture of women that has to overcome not only the unfavorable stigma attached to their pigment and the texture of their hair, but also, the negative character portrayal and barrage of stereotypical images of black women in the dating world.

Stereotypes of the Black Woman

To name a few:

  • The black woman doesn’t care about her body.
  • She doesn’t like her own hair.
  • They do not listen to their man.
  • The black woman is not marriage material
  • Black women have bad attitudes
  • Black women have negative attitudes
  • They don’t get along with other women
  • Black women hate white women
  • The women are gold diggers
  • She is always angry
  • Black women are ghetto and ratchet
  • She talks too much
  • Black women are bitter and heart-broken
  • They are lazy baby-makers
  • Black women can’t keep a man

Of course, none of these insidious and damaging characterizations of black women are true.  However, it is important for you to realize how these stereotypes (or any stereotype) impact the dating landscape and the overall psyche of a black woman.

Origins

Black Woman-Dating-Thinking-Plight

Based on a study conducted in the winter of 1999 by Laura Green of Virginia Commonwealth University. Sambo, Jim Crow, The Savage, The Mammy, Aunt Jemima, Sapphire and Jezebel are major causalities that result in stereotypes centered around black people and black women.  In addition, the stereotypes of black women go as far back as slavery days and have stalked black people like a specter and/or evolved into modern-day thought.

Negative Polls About Black Women

Black women are beauty personified. However, black women have been degraded since slavery. Even so, by their own men.  In video poll conducted by Buzz Feed researchers, called, “Do You Have A Racial Preference…” 2.4 million heterosexual interactions from the app, “Are You Interested.,” were used to determine preference. Users were classified by their gender and race.

The study revealed:

  • Black women are the least desirable among all women.
  • Black men responded mostly to women of other races, even though black women were 3 times more likely to respond.
  • Black women are the least replied-to group.
  • Black women are also the most likely to respond when compared against other races of women.
  • Black women respond 25% more than other women.
  • A similar survey by OkCupid revealed that black women were the least replied-to group.
  • 1 out of 2.9 men respond to black women

 

More on that OkCupid survey

Back in 2009, the basics of race and attraction looked like this:

men
—non-black men applied a penalty to black women
—while black men showed little racial preference either way

women
—all women preferred men of their own race
—but they otherwise penalized both Asian and black men

Here’s how the exact person-to-person statistics look: Focus on the Black men rating and then look at the Black women rating.
I gather a few things from these numbers.

  • Black men are willing to seek love outside their own race willingly.
  • Black women are not as willing to do so.
  • Black men rate black women least desirable at -3%
  • Black women rate black men, “most” desirable at 16%
Dating-statistics-Black women
Photo Credit: OK Cupid

 

Some things never change…

  • Black men are still willing to seek love outside their own race willingly.
  • Black women are less likely to do so than they were in 2009
  • Black men rate black women least desirable at 1%. Which is a slight jump from 2009
  • Black women rate black men, “most” desirable at 23%. Which is a 7% jump from 2009.
  • Black women are the only race to rate black men, “positively.”
Black Women-dating-statistics-black men
Photo Credit: OkCupid

Continue reading “Dating And The Plight Of The Black Woman – Part I”

Zappy

April 30

Today is the last day of the A to Z Challenge. Woohoo. I survived. It was hit or miss some days, but I made it.

Z

More importantly, today is Munch’s 10th birthday. I can’t believe that I have a child in the double digits.

dog-cake-happy-birthday-postcard-greeting-card-send-online-2637_57

It’s been an amazing journey these last few years. This little boy who was determined to survive in my womb regardless of all the things going on around him has proved that his spirit is unbreakable. I remind him of that.

He’s a fighter.

When I thought I had lost him and when I got to sick to continue being pregnant he fought. He was my God send. Ten years later I still feel the same way.

He woke up zappy this morning. I fixed him his birthday breakfast and added a candle to his fruit. He loved that. He asked for breakfast in bed next year. LOL. I’m taking orders now. As we drove to school he asked that I call the school and ask them to make an announcement that today is his birthday. Really?

Only my child. He has to be the center of attention. I am still glowing from birthday kisses and birthday hugs that made my day just as special.

We celebrated all weekend and with each passing moment, I was even more in awe that I am raising an incredible young man. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s the best thing I ever did. I guess I can’t say he’s still my baby, but he will always be that to me.

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “Z” is for Zappy. My posts were written as a journal style for the challenge on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Xerarch

I remember sitting in church one day and hearing my pastor preach about the Myrtle tree and how strong a tree it was because it could grow in dark and xerarch places. It didn’t need much light. It didn’t need much water. It could grow anywhere. It could bear fruit for sustenance.

The thing is that story just popped into my head as I was searching for a word that would go with the letter ‘X’. I remembered that story and how it inspired me as I sat on the pew thinking about my life and my son’s life. The message was simple – Anyone can grow and shine on the mountain top, but when you’re in the valley will you still be able to grow?

The answer should be yes. Even when you are in a valley situation you need to be like the Myrtle tree and just grow. No matter what is going on around you focus on God and just grow where you are planted. Your tree will sustain the weather and you will bear much fruit.

Life is about sustaining in difficult storms and growing through what you go through.

X

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “X” is for Xerarch. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Wise

April 26, 2018

Dearest Munch:

Sometimes I can’t find the words to impart the wisdom that I want you to have about life. There are not enough words or moments. Our country is in a state of change. But, I believe that it will get better.

I want you to focus on the wise words by these great men in history. These quotes were picked to inspire you to live each day being a better version of yourself. Life won’t be easy. However, you are powerful beyond measure. Trust that. Trust you.

When times get weary or lonesome, reflect on the wise words of your ancestors…

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” –James Baldwin (No Name in the Street)

“There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.”- W.E.B. Dubois

“Racism is not an excuse to not do the best you can.” —Arthur Ashe

“There are two kinds of worries—those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” —Duke Ellington

 

Love,

Mommy

W

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “W” is for Wise. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Version

March 30, 2018

The version seems to be the same…I was afraid for my life. Another black boy dies. Gun downed. Another acquittal. No charges. The characters may change, but the version remains the same. Different cast. Same roles. More black boys die. It doesn’t matter. Our lives don’t matter.

The sins of the father are visited upon their offspring. What the hell did my ancestors do to make our children a target for violence? Their version always ends in a chalk outline and a community in outrage.

No more tears.

No more.

There should not be separate versions.

Only one.

The truth.

V

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “V” is for Version. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Unjust

April 24, 2018

Dearest Munch,

As you approach your 10th birthday in less than a week, I want to tell you that I love you more than words can ever express. You are an incredible young man with a beautiful spirit. I vow with all that I am and all that I have to always love and support you. But, son, I have to be honest about something…

The world is not as it seems. Life is unjust. Justice is not always given. Life may beat the heck out of you and sometimes it may seem as though you can’t catch a break. The enemies will rise around you at every turn whether it be personal or professional. Expect heartaches and setbacks. They are only temporary son. Don’t dwell in failure or swim in sorrow.

But, be encouraged my beautiful little boy. This life is the only one you’ll get. So, no matter what cherish it. Live each day to the fullest. Bring forth the best of who you are and whose you are to the world. Color outside the lines and always remember like it says in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

U

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “U” is for Unjust. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Trayvon

February 27, 2012

I couldn’t believe what CNN was reporting. A 17-year old black boy was walking home from the store when he was shot by a neighborhood watch man. What neighborhood watch person carries a gun? Oh, this is Florida. Seriously? Why oh’ why did this boy have to die. His face looks so innocent.

His life. Gunned down. This evil man is claiming self-defense. How? Did he have a gun? He was a kid. You’re a grown man.

A hoodie. The news is trying to make it seem like this fool, this murderer was scared because this little black boy was wearing a hoodie. Are you kidding me? A hoodie.

God, please help me. Why are little black boys viewed as thugs and violent when the biggest terrorists in America are raised in our country? What can I do to keep Munch safe.

Pray.

I shall trust you to protect him. He’s all I have. He’s no thug. He’s no criminal. He’s my Munch.

T

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “T” is for Trayvon. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Saved

May 2015

I sat in church with Munch. It was first Sunday. We baptize on the first Sunday of every month in my church. Much had just turned 7 a few days before. We watched the members of the congregation who had chosen to dedicate their lives to Christ enter the baptismal pool. Munch looks at me and asks “Mommy, why am I not baptized?” I sat there stunned. I assumed that he would make the decision to follow Christ on his own one day.

I replied “Munch, getting baptized is not about getting in a pool and swimming, but agreeing to follow Christ much like you have to follow your parents. God is our heavenly father and you have to agree to follow Him.” He replied “But, I love God and Jesus and I want to follow Him. I will obey.” I sat there overwhelmed with emotion. I didn’t know how to explain this feeling that my child had expressed. Shocked. That sounds about right?

He had just turned 7 a few days before. Who decides at 7 that they want to follow Christ? Apparently Munch. I whispered to my mom and her friend that Munch wanted to follow Christ and get baptized. Mom whispered that we should wait until Youth Sunday. The last Sunday of the month. Her friend said “No, let him go now. He’s made the choice.” I did.

Munch made his choice. I had to listen. He got up and I held his hand as he walked forward and chose to accept Christ as his Savior. It was a feeling like no other that I had ever experienced. The church had been a bedrock to many blacks throughout history. It was still a bedrock to my family and I. Munch had listened and learned that God hears all and will provide. He chose to serve Him.

He got saved. He was baptized the following month. His choice to be a follower of Christ.
Dear God – Let it be you who He follows for the rest of his life. Protect him O’Lord. Let him not be ashamed to tell others that he knows where his help comes from. Be a fence around him all the days of his life.

S

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “S” is for Saved. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.