Dr Joyce Willard Teal

cropped shot of african american man praying with holy bible

Are You Raising One of the Next Generation of Hoodlums: RATE YOUR RAISING TACTICS by Dr. Joyce Willard Teal
So often we hear of another black man going to prison and/or another black boy becoming entangled in the Juvenile Justice System. Each of these men and boys was once a precious, sweet, innocent and often adored baby, and for them to attain such infamous distinction means that numerous things have gone seriously awry in most of their lives, beginning with how they are being raised.

The question I pose to individuals who are in the process of rearing black boys is this: “Are you raising one of the next generation of hoodlums?” And I never ask this question lightly. And please, make no mistake about it: the next generation will have its share of hoodlums, but know that your son does not have to be numbered among them. Hoodlums are made, not born. What takes place in your sons’ lives during the course of their growing up years, during the process of your raising, will determine whether or not they emerge as hoodlums or productive citizens.

The experiences, exposures, the contacts and interactions to which your son is exposed between the ages of birth and twelve will determine, to a significant degree, what he will become. This is why it is so important to make sure that he is involved in healthy pursuits and is being raised in a wholesome environment. As your son’s parent, you must be deliberate about what you is being input into your son. These are things that must be important to a boy’s parents, and they must be important enough that they are given top priority.

There is no second chance to make a first impression, and most people will readily agree and acknowledge that this is so, but considerably fewer people seem to recognize and acknowledge that they won’t get a second chance to raise their sons in such a way that they internalize a strong spiritual base which will dictate, for the rest of their lives, the important decisions that they will make throughout their lives.

There comes a point in our sons’ lives when they must (and will) make their own decisions, no matter how strongly we, their parents, would like to make them. But we can’t! What we can do, however, is assure that they are privileged to a strong spiritual base so that the decisions they make pass through what I will term the Jesus filter.

If you want your precious son to make good decisions, you must take him to Sunday School and church regularly, and while sending him is obviously better than not allowing him to get there at all, sending him does not transmit the message that it is important to you. Taking him will transmit this message, and make no mistake about it: your son knows that you involve yourself with him in his activities that are important to you. Chances are, if he plays football or basketball, you make it your business to be at his games. Your son sees this and will draw his own conclusions.

PARENTS: give your son the gift of a strong spiritual base! You won’t regret doing so!

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Joyce W. Teal

Dr. Teal began writing professionally in 1995 and has had several award-winning poems published. Her first book, It’s O.K. To Be Different, was written for boys and girls between the ages of nine and fifteen, but has universal appeal, has since been published in a New Millennium Edition. It is currently being read by children as well as adults.