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I am a Black mom raising a Black boy and a Black girl. Needless to say, it is difficult to parent and especially to parent while being Black. It is important during this time of social unrest and injustice in America, especially in Black America, that we continue to reinforce positive thoughts, positive self image, and attributes to this generation. I like to say, plant the seed now to build a solid foundation for the possibilities of what’s ahead.
Racially Inclusive Books
I asked myself, how do I do I plant the seed? When and where do I start? At the tender ages of one and two, my husband and I added books to our children’s book collection that depicted Black boys and girls on cover because reading is fundamental at this age. It is also important to see and identify with the images on the page. I will list four of our favorite books to include in your kids’ at-home library.
- I Believe I Can, by Grace Byers :: This book give positive affirmations to kiddos to believe in themselves. It has beautiful images of both Black boys and girls. They can do anything if they only believe.
- I Am . . . (Positive Affirmations for Brown Boys), by Ayesha Rodriguez :: In this volume, the writer focuses on reaffirming the little boys and given strength to young man that is to come. We have our son to restate each affirmation as we read them. For example, I love to hear him say, “I am kind.” There is also a girl version of the book.
- Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry :: This book highlights the relationship between father and daughter. There is nothing like that relationship! It is fun to see how father and daughter have a special bonding time while making funny hairstyles.
- When God Made You, by Matthew Paul Turner :: This is one of our favorite reads! This selection identifies the fact that every child is uniquely made. You are beautiful the way you were created.
Love Books, Love Each Other, Love Yourself
As I gain strength during this difficult time in society, it will reflect in my parenting. What I believe, what I do, and what I say with affect them, either positively or negatively. As a parent, our duties are challenging at time, but we will get through this.
Racism is a monster we often don’t like to face or even address, but it is alive and well in this country. It saddens my heart to see what has occurred recently in America today. Hate has grown like an uncontrollable wild fire. Love is the only damper for that fire. It starts with self love and the ability to love our neighbor, no matter the color of skin. As for being Black parents, my husband and I are are instilling those values now.
Even when they fight with each other, we correct it by saying, “Don’t be mean to your sister or brother. You should love your sister or brother.” Love is the key to unlock all the doors, doors that create barriers to us living in harmony with one another.
Believe it or not, reading the book selections I listed above takes me back to my childhood. It speaks to the little girl in me. It reinforces the positive self talk that I need as a Black parent.