I have very few memories of my grandfather – my mothers dad. He and my grandmother were separated when I was growing up. However, those that I do have are near to my heart and were so impressionable.  My grandfather was the first person to tell me that I was a pretty black girl. I remember it like it was yesterday. He lived on Chicago Street, in a small one bedroom house. My grandmother and I visited, and he sat me on his lap and told me that I was a pretty black girl. I didn’t think much about then, I had been told that I was pretty before. So I just said “thank you granddad,” and he kissed me on my cheek.

Today, that memory won’t leave the forefront of my mind. He didn’t just call me a pretty girl. He called me a pretty black girl. And the interesting thing is, I never thought about those words until today. A day when the reality of racism and gun violence has me sick to my stomach, and extremely concerned about my sons future.

A Letter From The Mom Of A Black Son

As a mother, there are already so many things that I think about and pray about concerning my child. The weight of being an engaged, present, supportive, and loving mother is real and heavy…real heavy. And yet, there’s even a greater worry hovering over my heart and mind. You see, I’m the mother of an African American “black” boy. I can hardly put my thoughts to paper without crying.

Thinking about the countless lives lost due to racism and gun violence of black boys and men is overwhelmingly daunting. It’s sickening, horrifying, and extremely disturbing.  I can’t imagine the pain felt by the parents of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Freddy Grey, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile or the countless others.

The very thought makes me want to hold my son close, and never let go. But I refuse to live in fear, or allow my son to live in fear. Instead, my husband and I are forced to talk to our son about racism and gun violence. And we are honored to talk to him about being a God fearing, respectable, intelligent, creative, and loving black boy.

“Before kids learn to hide who they are, they are just gushing to show us.”  ― Elaina Marie

As a mom, helping my son Chance understand who he is, is part of my attempt to protect him. I realize that it may not be enough, so I wanted share my heart. My grandfather planted a seed in my mind, his words landed on a place in my heart that is a lasting reminder than I am a pretty black girl.  Today, I am more than a pretty black girl…I’m a smart black girl, a strong back girl, an educated black girl, and engaged black girl.

As a mom, it’s critical that we are engaged, encouraging. entertaining, and empowering our children to be smart, respectable, compassionate people. By doing this, we are giving them a great start at living a life of longevity and fulfillment. 

Let’s teach our children to be comfortable in the skin their in without fear or intimidation. How do you teach your kiddos self love and respect?  What would your letter say to your son? Let’s do it together!