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What Every African American Must Learn About Raising Boys

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“How do we reach African American boys?” This question has been asked innumerable times by concerned parents, teachers, sociologists, ministers and other experts. The answer is, we start by acknowledging that a major social change is in order! Let me make this clear, what I’m about to share with you are truths the masses MUST embrace concerning raising boys.

The emphasis is placed on MUST! Once we absorb these critical truths into our hearts and affirm them, we can then develop the necessary resolve required to raise up spiritually sound, mentally and socially balanced, educated, politically astute, marriage minded, family oriented - African American men!

by Gillis Triplett

What We Must Learn About Raising Boys
For far too long African Americans have made some catastrophic assumptions about raising boys. These assumptions have led us, just like our ancestors, the children of Israel, into a daunting wilderness. Like them, we have been stumbling around in a dark circle desperately searching for a way out.

In the wilderness, a number of disturbing trends prevail for Black males. Namely: pathological anger unmanagement, the rejection of education, Black on Black crime, the shunning of marriage, misogyny, a propensity for underachievement and the mind boggling gravitation toward the ominous thug subculture.

In spite of the challenges, I’ve got some good news; the exit door is clearly illuminated! Our way out of the wilderness rests on our commitment to raising exceptional African American boys! Before we can exit this sphere of hopelessness, the masses must first unequivocally embrace these three critical truths.

●Transitioning into manhood is not a natural process

● It takes a man to raise a boy to be a man

● If boys aren’t properly initiated into manhood, they are destined to embrace a subverted view of being a man

1. Transitioning Into Manhood is Not a Natural Process
Boys do not learn how to become men through osmosis. Osmosis is a gradual, often unconscious process of assimilation. The false assumption that boys will eventually figure out manhood on their own is what has led us into this ominous wilderness. In order to properly transition from boyhood to manhood, boys must be indoctrinated. Pay close attention to this well known, but little understood admonition from God:

Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)
Point your kids in the right direction--
when they're old they won't be lost.

When the Lord gave this command, He intended for us to follow His instructions! The word, “train,” in the original Hebrew is considerably more intense than our English version of the same word. It means to initiate and to discipline. We are called to initiate our sons into manhood. Meaning, we are to admit them into manhood with a ceremony, preceded by an indepth rites of passage, which prepares them for every facet of being a man.

Examining the path to adulthood traveled by most African American boys, reveals how we have miserably failed them in this respect.

Consequently, there must be a change in the social order amongst our families, communities and churches. One in which the masses commit to going back to God’s original blueprint for raising boys. When that happens, we’ll see a renaissance amongst African American males. One that will ultimately restore our families and communities to wholeness.

2. It Takes a Man to Raise a Boy To Be a Man
Some women are fuming as they are reading this second critical truth! I know because they constantly write me and give me a piece of their minds! Adamantly affirming how they beg to differ… pridefully announcing how they don’t need a man and asserting how Black women are the backbone of our families.

Many of these women flaunt how they single-handedly raised a son who graduated from college or never went to jail and to them, that’s proof positive that it doesn’t take a man to raise a boy to be a man.

This issue has been argued and debated to the point of overwhelming weariness. Someone is always performing research or holding a conference or workshop on this subject. While they forge ahead, trying to prove that women can raise boys without men, our marriage rate has plummeted, our divorce rate has soared and daily, masses of Black boys take oaths to only view women as worthless sex objects!

This deplorable state of affairs is a direct result of our boys not being properly initiated into manhood by men! It is no secret that fatherless homes account for:

  • 63% of youth suicides
  • 90% of homeless/runaway children
  • 85% of children with behavior problems
  • 71% of high school dropouts
  • 85% of youths in prison
  • 50% of teen mothers
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger

These riveting statistics flash before our eyes with each drop out, act of violence, arrest and incarceration and rap song that degrades women. Yet, certain people intentionally elect to reject these facts. One of their arguments is; they know boys who were raised by their fathers who turned out just like the ones who had sporadic or invisible dads.

In the end, this argumentative mentality serves as a major roadblock to our mission of raising healthy vibrant boys. As long as the masses refute the truth that it takes a man to raise a boy to be a man, we will remain deadlocked in this catastrophic collapse of true manhood.

Jesus aptly said it, when He declared, “…every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” As long as we disagree on this issue, we will fail at raising our boys right. On the other hand, once we affirm this truth, we will be empowered to turn back the tide of young Black males who opt for the subverted version of manhood.

3. If Aren’t Boys Properly Initiated into Manhood, They Are Destined To Embrace a Subverted View of Being a Man
I always marvel while observing the stunned expressions on the faces of men and women when they hear about the acts of Black men who didn’t go through an appropriate rites of passage into manhood. Why should we be astonished at their malevolent deeds? Remember, they weren’t properly initiated into manhood!

If they went through any indoctrination process, it was most likely based on the malicious teachings of the Crips or Bloods or some other demonically inspired gang. Or, the major influences in their lives are Black males who brag about being thugs, such as: Tupac, Mystikal, Steady B, Pimp C and Notorious BIG, all slain or incarcerated rappers.

Again, I ask, how can we be startled or alarmed when our sons are merely behaving how they have been trained to behave? Examine their teachers and role models. They are either: in the penal system, fighting charges, evading warrants, on probation, trying to avoid child support payments, brandishing weapons, trafficking drugs, besmirching women boasting about rapes, robberies or murders or feuding with each other.

How dare we expect our boys to grow into righteous men after we allow them to be indoctrinated by sociopathic males! Get this point drilled in your mind; when boys are not properly indoctrinated into manhood, they are destined to embrace the subverted version of being a man. Subsequently, they’ll exhibit some or all of these harrowing traits.

1. Shun marriage

2. Shun and mock education

3. Harbor deeply seated anger

4. Secretly question their manhood

5. Use and abuse the female gender

6. Become perpetual underachievers

7. Constantly seek instant gratification

8. Effortlessly abandon children they sire

9. Display glaring misogynistic tendencies

10. Mock God and embrace unrighteousness

11. Have no respect for their elders or authority

12. Embrace and glamorize the thug/criminal life

13. Eagerly wrought crimes against their communities

14. Energetically subvert other males from true manhood

African American boys are crying out! They are clamoring for men who will lead them out of the Black male wilderness. A maligned wilderness that is rooted in false bravado and rift with ignorance, anger, hatred, brutality and violence. The only way they will escape this madness, is if we insure that they are properly initiated into manhood. Our efforts must be concerted, consistent and unwavering. I’m up for the assignment. Will you join me?

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