The bigger issue is that there are ways in which we tear our children down and we don't even realize it. Often times we say we are just joking or playing but we must realize that words or the tongue is sharper than any 2 edge swords and words cut deep. While we think we are only playing and move on, the words we have spoken become engraved in that child's subconscious and it can cause doubt, fear, feelings of inadequacy, shame and the list goes on and on well into their adult lives.
I think about growing up as a dark skin child. My mother and sister were lighter than I. One day I told my mom, "mommy you are brown and Chris, my sister, is white". My mother had to explain to me that we were all black people just different shades. Growing up I was told I was beautiful, I was always complimented and uplifted by my family about my dark skin. There was never a day that I hated being dark or wanted to be any lighter.
Unfortunately, that is not true for all people in the African American community. Some people despise their dark skin. As many know during slavery, the dark slaves were in the field, the light slaves were in the house. Some freedmen were so light that they would pass for white people. So the nature of African Americans had been programmed in us from slavery to hate our skin, our color, to really hate ourselves. To this day their are still articles about light skin vs. dark skin.
So why, why would we as parents with all of the negativity in the media, with most history classes overlooking our complete existence choose to tear our children down instead of build them up?
What am I talking about?
There are parents who say things like this to their children you're:
- never amount to anything
- just like your trifling daddy
The media already does a great job of depicting African Americans in a negative light. We need to not perpetuate it as well in our homes. What we need to do in our homes is teach them their history and show them the positiveness of black America and let them know that every race, nationality, and even religion has positive and negative stereotypes/ideals. That black America is no different than anyone else on the human level and that we all matter, are successful, educated, smart etc.
You may think, I am not the type of parent that tears my child down. There are subtle ways we tear our children down. Yesterday my son started swim lessons. The lessons seem a bit aggressive to me but none the less the point is to teach him how to swim. So, the instructor had them jump in the pool. The first time my son was reluctant and he did it half way, the next time he jumped right in. Then, the instructor took them to the deepest end of the pool and asked them to jump in onto a floatation device and then he would hold them as they swam the length of the pool. Oh my, my son was afraid, he began shaking and even started crying. I was up in the stands and I just yelled out its ok, you can do it. The instructor spoke with him and talked to him, he didn't jump in but he did get into the deep end and complete the task. When the lessons were over, I told him, you did a great job this week and next week I am sure you will be ready to jump in the deep end.
Now the conversation could have went differently, I could have yelled, fussed, and even demeaned him about crying like a little baby at swim lessons and told him that he needs to toughen up. However, that would not build him up, that would have only tore him down. Now his ego may have wanted him to prove me wrong nevertheless the words I spoke would have someway crept into his subconscious and replayed themselves at a time where he was experiencing doubt.
So I think about instances where people call themselves using reverse psychology. If you were smart you could do it, you aren't bright enough to figure that out huh, see I knew it, I knew you were a quitter. While in the moment it may cause the person to do the opposite of what we are saying, it can and will become detrimental to them in their adult life.
Imagine if we as parents spoke to our children the way that God spoke to us. That when they had fears or doubts we were in their corner telling them they could do it. If we simply recited scripture to them when they said things like I can't? Yesterday my son told me I can't tie my shoe. I told him can't was worst than any cuss word in our home. I told him that He can do all things through Christ that strengthens him! Then I told him that he is more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. That is a way to build children up.
Am I a perfect parent? Heck no! Will I ever be a perfect parent? Heck no! Am I truly making a conscious effort to build my son up from this day forward? Absolutely!
How does building our children up help them succeed in school? It helps because we give them a can do attitude, a faith attitude, we fill them with a belief that anything is possible. We build them up by supporting their wildest dreams, ideals, and thoughts understanding that God will bless us exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ever ask for or imagine. Just because we have experienced dreams deferred, are full of fear and doubt and not walking by faith we cannot place that burden on our children.
We build them up by always encouraging them to do their best and supporting their best efforts even if there best efforts lands them a C on their report card. The best doesn't always means straight A's, the best means that they can truly say that they tried, put forth their best effort, that they tried and tried and tried again and they never gave up.
There are others ways we can build our children up feel free to comment. The best way to build them up is to only speak the promises of God to them and into their lives. Edify your childern, instruct them morally and spiritually, build them up, uplift them.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,..." I Thessalonians 5:11a
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are profitable. "All things are lawful for me," but not all things build up." I Corinthians 10:23 (WEB)
Be a blessing and be blessed,