Confidence is Key : Ways i ENCOURAGE and motivate my black son.

In a world, where young black men are often downplayed as thugs, irresponsible baby daddies, drug dealers etc. It is important to teach our children about the images that are not often on the news. The positive images. Black people are thriving and there are many positive representations of “black boy joy” and “the black man can” to inspire our sons to be their greatest self. However, many times those positive images are hidden behind all the negative depictions. We must obviously educate our young kings about what is necessary to survive, but even more so on how to thrive.

Let me tell you about 5 ways that I am encouraging my son to be his greatest self. As well as, to celebrate himself with confidence!

BOOKS …

I love the fact that there are many positive books for young black boys. Some of my favorite books come from Hey Carter Books by Dr. Thomishia Booker. These books teach my son to be comfortable and proud to be in his beautiful brown skin. They show positive representations of strong, gifted young boys. I adore the message presented to young children. My son is five and we have been reading these books since the beginning of the pandemic. We end our day with a book to help encourage him through tough school weeks and to keep reminding him of his greatness.

KNOWLEGE OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE NARRATIVE…

I think it is so important to show my son examples of people who did the unthinkable. Showing him people who beat the odds. Life is not going to be easy and there will be obstacles. Showing your child a pretty perfect picture can often set them up for disappointments and defeat when they enter the real world. Instead, I show my son that obstacles can build character and that he can conquer the toughest of situations.

I also spent some time explaining to my son that even though I am his number one support system that it can be done without me. I try to teach my kids to rely on themselves, because we never know when we will only have ourselves. We must believe in ourselves when others do not. I also let them know that there are people who were successful without support so they will be a force to be reckon because they actually have support.

Lately, my son has been showing an interest in Science, but said other kids in the class thought he was weird for wanting to be a Scientist. I explained to my son that there are so many benefits of picking an unpopular purpose driven career choice. It is so easy to push our sons to athletic careers or the normal doctor, lawyer etc. These careers are also great, but I let my son know that it is possible to create a lane for himself and be damn good at it.

Extracurricular Activities…

Not only is it a great idea to keep your son in extracurricular activities for his health and wellness. It is a way to keep your child’s mind occupied with positive activities. Sports help with teamwork, leadership, focus, discipline and many other great values that will keep your child stay the course. Both my children are also following in their moms footsteps and wants to play musical instruments. I think it is very important to keep my children focused on their strengths and the positive talents that they can contribute to the world.

Positive males in his life…

My son is blessed to have a good active father in his life. He sees his dad multiple times a week and every other weekend. They have bonded since birth and he is pretty strict on how he raises Jr. I trust that he has Jeremey’s best interest at heart, and will keep him on the right path. Him having men in his life that show him how to value hard work, respect and morals will keep him focused. Many of the men in his life, dad, grandfathers, uncles, etc.. are hard-workers so he knows that nothing will just be given to him, but earned. I will also make sure that he is provided with mentors when it comes to different areas of his life. Mentors that are outside of the family that can help him with guiding him through his personal and professional life choices.

Positive self talk, Affirmations and compliments…

I am the mom to hype up her kids. I am also the mom to yell when I get upset, but I am learning that there is so much power in what you say. Giving your children positive reinforcement and positive affirmations will build them up. In a world where they will meet people who will deliberately cut them down, the last thing they need is you saying bad things about them. I definitely think this is something you have to work on daily, because as parents sometimes we tend to always correct and point out flaws, but we must focus on our children’s strengths. Especially, our young black boys who will always have to try a little Harder.

Tahnee Cole

Teaching young ones to read…

Both of my parents worked at the Cleveland Public Library. That is how they met and after marriage a legend was born, (ME) LOL. My dad went on to work there and retire. So, I grew up extremely involved in the library and I grew a passion to read and write. It was also very important for my kids to learn how to read. Unfortunately, since the pandemic, we have not been able to go to the library. We are use to going to the library at least 2 to 3 times a week. I have a kindergartener who is still learning to read. He has an awesome vocabulary, writes legibly, but is in the process of learning to read.

Career moms, please don’t feel guilty. It is hard to work and put the extra time in with the kids. Especially, the consistency needed to help your child with a fundamental part of their growth. Reading is one of the most important things we all have to learn. I often wonder, if you can’t read, how will your survive? If you are a busy mom like me, I provided a few tips that I am using to help my littlest read. It worked wonders for my daughter, who currently reads on a college level. So, here we are again. Remember to develop some routines. Plus, stay consistent, patient and positive.

5 TIPS

  1. Read Daily– Kids learn by routine. Our reading time is usually at night when it is time to settle for bed. Nighttime stories are great for bonding. Sometimes we cuddle with snacks and knock out four books. When you make reading time enjoyable, kids want to do it often.
  2. Sight words- I use flashcards daily with Jr. Seeing the same words over and over helps to stay in his memory. Repetition is the quickest way to retain information. As we read books, Jr. is able to pick out the sight words. The more words he learns, the more sentences he can complete while reading.
  3. Reading programs– Jr.’s dad enrolled him in a phonics reading program. I definitely saw some results. Look up some online programs. It may take a little time to find free or low cost programs, but it is definitely worth the time and effort. If you don’t mind spending an extra buck try enrolling your child in a reading program. Most reading programs are successful at using techniques that can help encourage your child to read more.
  4. Older Siblings– Younger kids learn quick from their older siblings. They want to keep up. I remember watching my daughter show my son how to write his name. She used dots and it worked like magic. Before I knew it, he was writing his name without any assistance. The older siblings know tips and tricks. Most siblings love being involved. So don’t be afraid to ask for their help.
  5. Talk to your kids– It sounds weird, but children who are talked to are proven to have a more extensive vocabulary. I have never talked “baby talk” to my kids. As a result, they are little chatter boxes. My son uses very large words, that you would rarely hear from a five year old. Talking to them also helps with them picking up words and phrases. As well as, understanding sentence structure, which is all apart of reading.

I hope that you enjoyed my list, and can use this for your young readers. Remember, once the kids learn to read that it doesn’t just stop there. Encourage your children to always read and build their vocabulary. As they get older, we just have to motivate and encourage them in more creative ways.

Tahnee Cole