Here are a few of the good manners my mom taught me.

Sit up straight? Get your hands out of your mouth? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all.

While the headlines will have us brown mamas thinking that Black kids are a mess, and none of our babies are doing anything right, I beg to differ.  Yes, we have our fair share of problems that are only compounded by the poor neighborhoods and financial messes we are often forced to live in, but there is a silver lining.  And WE are it!  Brown Mamas continue everyday to strive for a good upbringing and instill good habits in our children.

I hear us as I ride the bus everyday.  We are asking “How was your day,” we are still telling our kids to say “please and thank you,” and we continue to make rules and regulations a part of our children’s daily experiences.  So, don’t believe the headlines.  Mamas you are doing a great job, and here are 4 ways you can prove it.

1. Black Children DO NOT act a fool in public

“Don’t ask for nothing,” “Don’t touch things you can’t buy,” and most of all “You betta not go in this store and act a fool.”  Yes, my mom said those things to me as a kid and I’m still proud of it.  I don’t steal, I approach people politely and I understand the value of a dollar.  All things my mother instilled in me with those three statements above.  Mamas, don’t take what you’re doing for granted. After the age of 4, our kids don’t do ‘fall-out Johnny’ in the grocery store, and we should be darn proud of it.

2. Getting along with other children

For the most part, if the adults are sane and provide a decent amount of supervision, Black children get together in a house for Sunday dinner and there’s no maliciousness or serious fighting.  I’ve noticed it many times at birthday parties, or just when kids move into the neighborhood.  Black children know how to be flexible and play nice.  When I lived in New York, we stayed in a predominately white neighborhood.  One thing I noticed was that when we went to the park the other children were very aggressive with one another, but the Black children would always navigate to each other (whether they knew one another or not) and play nicely.  I think there is still a huge expectation among us Brown Mamas that we have to be kind to one another, regardless of race. Our children pick up on that and they at least try to play nice most of the time.

3. Everyday Manners

I’ve been on the bus with our teen boys and girls and heard every cuss word in the world come out of their mouths, and then out of nowhere they will turn to me and say “Excuse me miss, can you please tell me what time it is?”  Because please, thank you, excuse me and God Bless You were embedded in us by our grandmammas and mamas, while our teens are going through a period of temporary insanity, many of them still understand that manners are important.  Most of us brown mamas began teaching our children manners at a young age.  And, our mamas do not mind tapping another mom to tell her “you’re child needs to say thank you.”  So, we still get it, and our kids do too.

4. They Love & Respect their Mamas

Black children still honor their mothers with the best behavior and words.  Brown Mamas continue to be a beacon for Black children and they see that.  Mamas, remember our kids are very intelligent.  Recognize that for the most part when our children are around adults who they know have their best interest at heart, they use their best words and mannerisms.  You are no exception to that rule.  While our kids may not have the best reputation outside, we know that when our boys and girls are at home they are loving and respectful children.  So, let’s stop letting the world tell us what to think about our brown babies because WE know who they are when they’re in OUR arms.  Let’s start there and brown mamas can transform the way the world defines our children.

See I told you, you’re doing an AWESOME job!  Keep up the good work.

Cynthia Mendoza

Hello. Welcome to a blog for Black moms looking to thrive while raising kids in this hectic world and the headquarters for Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a Pittsburgh support group for Black moms. Here I write about raising my three boys, living in and loving Pittsburgh, dating my husband, gardening and all kinds of other stuff. Thanks for visiting. Stay long & come often!

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