I had a conversation with my ten-year-old son one day and it became apparent to me that telling him he is beautiful and he matters is just as important as me telling his sister. I suggested this to his father, which he agreed, of course, because that kind of message to a boy from his father holds greater impact.
It’s imperative that assuring our black boys that they are important to us and their lives should be valued by others, as well as themselves, be done daily. It’s a significant method and should be a constant reminder as they grow into adulthood while dealing with being labeled as a threat to American society.
The streets are tough on our boys, the government doesn’t care about our boys, and the justice system is not for them.
Telling them that they matter constantly will instill a certain level of confidence in them; a certain confidence that transitions into self-worth, self-respect, and the development of a productive young man with the ability to make good decisions. Will that change the way a racist trigger-happy cop sees them? Probably not. However, I’m convinced that how a young black boy views himself is how the world will view him and that might actually save his life one day.
Dad, let your encouraging words to your son become the foundation to his personal evolution while living in a world that tells him that his life isn’t valuable. He needs to know that while growing up in a society that tells him how much of a threat he is, it’s vital for him to do what he can to prove otherwise.
When you know better about yourself, you do better to keep evolving.
Tell your sons that they matter.
Dads, I’d also urge you to show vulnerability when you’re with your son because it’s okay to be. It’s difficult for men to drop their hard exterior because they were conditioned to “tough it up”. Showing emotion and being vulnerable is considered a feminine act. Truth be told, if males aren’t emotional then there wouldn’t be genocide, violence against women, and sexual harassment in the workforce, but I digress. This behavior is an ongoing cycle in black families, which undoubtedly, will eventually transition into some turbulent behavior.
Tell your sons they matter
Not only for them but for yourself as their parent. It’s you that they come to for needed advice, a shoulder to lean on, and security. As their father, you are their protector…not just in a physical sense, but also in an emotional sense and mental sense. Whether you want to believe it or not, they are a carbon copy of you. They soak up everything about you like a sponge and they’ll repeat what they’ve observed and learned from you. They observe you when you think they aren’t paying attention. A child is a recycled version of their parents. Think about it.
Tell your sons they matter
You’ll never know how your encouraging words will affect them.