We try to teach our kids the best we can. But, as a Brown Mamas oftentimes its easy to feel like you’re in a crazy mouse maze without a map. You’re teaching lessons and feel like you’ve hit a brick wall when you don’t get the desired outcome. But, let’s face it through our own childhood drama of single parenthood, strained finances and just out right broken homes many of us are on the football field without a playbook. So, its pretty normal that there are some things that just fall by the waste-side in the hustle and bustle of everyday motherhood.
The funny thing is that what I find many of our children are lacking are the simple things. I think most Brown Mamas get the memo that their children need to strive toward progress, get a good education and be well-mannered. I believe where we often make a wrong turn at is in teaching our children the soft skills that allow them to maintain that success once they’ve acquired it. We barely ever get and maintain the manicured lawns and family success of our counterparts because we look to far beyond the glass to the wall, and forget the mirror that’s staring right back at us.
The culture of your home is what you do. What is your son doing on any given Tuesday? What does your Sunday morning look like? I know at least once every other month my son and I are going to design a fish tank. So you could say that’s one of the places the Mendozas shine, or is a part of our family pride. My son has memorized various books about fish. He can literally tell you anything. Therefore its pretty inevitable that when my son marries and has a home of his own there will be a fish tank in that house somewhere. It also ensures that he will always have an area of expertise that he feels confident about. More importantly, its something he can proudly say came from his family. Young adults should have a sense of pride about where they come from when they go out into the world. Make it a point to show your children through hobbies, routine and home culture how important it is to be a part of your lineage. That way when they’re at a company party and the boss ask, “So what do you do ____” he can respond with family pride.
Two heads are better than one, right? Whether you have a son or daughter, it should be embedded in them at an early age that marriage is an integral part of their success. They should also be taught that they are responsible for the men/women in their lives. Boys especially, should be taught how important it is to protect all the women around them. As moms, we dream of our children getting a good job, being married and having the white picket fence. So, if you are dreaming about this intact family for your daughter/son are you teaching her how to keep it once she gets it. Does your daughter know that a man doesn’t want to come home to a dirty house? Does your son know that his wife should sleep on the side of the bed farthest from the door? There’s nothing that looks more successful, than a Black man and his wife painting a wall, or attending a PTA meeting together or even riding the bus together as they progress together. Do your kid a favor, make her/him into a formidable mate that understands that without family there is no reason for success.
Does your child know the financial status of your household? Well if she is over 12 she should. Grocery shopping, home ownership, education planning, there is no aspect of being an adult that does not contain financial planning on some level. I’m more than guilty of this myself. It’s something I used to overlook, but since my son is turning 13 in 5 months, its on my mind more and more. If you fail to teach your kid the value of money (i.e. how to balance a checkbook, how to plan out meals for a week or more, etc.) you’re failing to prepare them for everyday life.
You don’t even have to give your child an allowance to teach them financial skills. Give them some real like experience by having them shadow you as you plan the finances for your home. Take them to the grocery store and make them look at prices, let them view your budget, show them how to use the ATM. The best part about teaching financial planning is the tools are all around you. You can make it as simple as having them clean out the refrigerator and see the wasted food thus money, show your kids your monthly bank statement or just make sure they know how much it cost to do everyday activities like ride the bus, or pump a gallon of gas.
See mamas, its not hard and there isn’t much that we aren’t doing. I believe in the power of the Brown Mama. By taking these simple steps toward showing our children how to maintain the success they will inevitably obtain, we can make sure our grandchildren will not only have the right social status, but that they will also have the skill set to keep it.