|Image: Jet Magazine|
Dear future son,
Oh how I love you! From the moment I saw you, I was overwhelmed with such glorious love and happiness. I could tell you would look exactly like your father and the thought of having a mini version of the man I love is pure joy. As you grow into that bumble of joy and excitement that I can barely contain, I want to share some ground rules with you.
You need to know that you are born into a world that gives you some advantages. When James Brown said ‘It is a man’s world’, he wasn’t just trying to sell records. He was speaking about a very real situation in the world today. While society has given you certain privileges, I will have you know that I require a different set of standards for you. And as your father will tell you, you better not mess with me. Relax baby; I promise to be nice.
For many millennia, men have been told they are the superior gender because they are men. They have been taught that women are less than men on all fronts. You will be told that women are supposed to cower before you or defer to you or obey you. You will hear this from school, the community, religious centers, workplaces and even the internet. Where you will neverhear that is at home. This is because all that load of bull poop is just that; a load of shit! Men are not better than women or superior to women. Men and women are created equal with different physical features like two sides of a coin. That is why the difference ends. You will learn this from science. You will learn that the brains of men and women are not that much different and as such, there is no basis for saying that women are less than men.
You will learn to respect everyone – be they male or female – and you will learn to treat them as the human beings they are. We will not permit you to be discriminatory to anyone. You will learn to respect people regardless of their faith, belief, ideologies, gender, class, abilities, sexual preferences or orientation and race. Every person is a full human with their own agencies and you will treat them right. I am not saying you should agree with everything they do; not even close. I am saying that you should respect their humanity always in spite of these differences. Every human being has rights and dignity and when you know this, you will never knowingly hurt anyone.
We will support you wholly to become anyone you want to be as long as you are not hurting any human being. You have to learn to live for more than just yourself though. Your life needs to be shaped after solving a problem for humanity. There are so many problems in the world today and you stand a better chance of leaving a legacy when solving problems is your mantra than if you live for yourself. And the best principle is creating a need and solving it. You can be better than Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr. and even a combination of all of them and more. Whatever you become is all up to you. I want you to be the best version of you and your dad and I will ensure you have the best support system you can possibly have. Be assured however that I will not condone a life formulated after Hitler’s, Stalin’s, Trump’s, Idi Amin’s or Femi Fani Kayode’s.
From age 7, I will expect you to start doing chores. We will start with simple things like washing your underwear, cleaning your room, doing the dishes, sweeping certain portions and cleaning surfaces. As you get older, your chores will increase. Also from age 7, I will expect you to be in the kitchen anytime dad and I are cooking. By 13, you would be expected to cook part of the family meals and by 15, you will be placed on the family cooking schedule. This will teach you to be responsible for yourself and others at all times. You don’t need a woman to take care of you. You are a fully functional human being and should be able to function as such.
I want you to learn work ethics and discipline. If you work for someone, don’t ever short-change them. Go to work on time, stay in the office for as long as your contract says, and give your best every minute of the time you are in the office. Don’t use your position to abuse the trust your employer or clients place in you. And if you choose to work for yourself, be diligent in your duty to your dream. Wake up every day eager to do more for your goals and stay awake many nights to ensure your vision and dreams translate to tangible reality. You owe yourself that.
You do not need to stick to the status quo of society. Be innovative, creative, exploratory, curious, eager and desirous of new things. The environment can be a huge motivation if you look inside out!
As you get older, I will teach you about your sexuality and what sex means and doesn’t. You will hear so much about sex and society will tell you that you can get away with so much. Society doesn’t expect you to be chaste; in fact, she will actively encourage you to be anything but. The same standards are not held for women as I am sure you will learn. But this is what I will teach you; if you call an unmarried woman who is sexually active a ‘whore’, then be sure that I will address you the same way if you are sexually active. This means that you must learn to hold everyone to the same standards you hold yourself.
And still talking sex, I will never forgive you if you rape anyone. Sexual consent is very important! A drunk woman doesn’t give you consent by being drunk. A woman who visits you doesn’t give you consent by being in your house. The way a woman dresses is not an invitation to be raped. She has her rights just as you do. When a woman says no, she means no. It doesn’t matter if you have been petting heavily and you are poised just at the entrance of her vagina. If she says no and you proceed, it is rape! So baby boy, you have to learn to have self-control. Sex is powerful and can be overwhelming but you can always put a stop to raging hormones.
You are also not permitted to hit a woman! Heck! You are not permitted to hit anyone! When you have crazy rages that seem to cloud your judgement, walk away! In fact, run the fudge away! A man who hits a woman is weak and no son of mine will hit a woman and not get the black slapped off his face! If a woman annoys you to the point of explosive anger, you better walk away. It is hard baby…but life itself is hard!
I know that being a man has some perks but they also come with some negatives. Society doesn’t want you different from her accepted values. You are expected to love sports or video games, hate fashion, not cry or be termed gay. You are also expected to cheat on whomever you are with because ‘you are a man’. Well baby boy, if you hate sports and love fashion, it is all good and fine! And there is absolutely nothing wrong in crying. If you want to cry, go ahead; cry baby! As for cheating, my rule is simple; do unto your partner what you will be happy done to you. Simple!
One of the biggest responsibilities society puts on you is supposedly the need to be everything for your family; father, provider, support system, stoic protector and role model. All of this can be too much for any one person. That is why you need to know that you don’t have to be all of that alone.
This brings me to your choice of a life partner (if you decide to go down that route). A partner who isn’t contributing to the family’s financial security is a liability. Anyone can be a full time house spouse and in truth, it is a full time job. You, however, should pick a partner who is willing to go over and beyond the stretch of comfort as you should too. A woman who expects to be taken care of is not a woman I recommend for you. Choose a person whose vision tallies with yours, who is already working at their goals and who understands the dynamics of a marriage partnership. I will also suggest you choose a person who is more than just skin care, makeup, clothes, hair
(real or fake), shoes, bags or jewellery. A person who uses their mind only to look fly is no person you want for the long haul. Yes I know that men are supposed ‘to want people based on physical attraction’ but like your daddy, I hope you realize – and quickly too – that beauty is skin deep and transient.
In the end, your dad and I are just guardians on your way to discovering yourself. We will not try to live your life for you. We want you to choose the path you want to follow and having done that, follow through passionately. We can assure you that as soon as you are eighteen, we will ease up on the control and let you do what you were born for. If you want to move out then, we will let you. We only ask that you remember the family of which you are from; and I am not talking us.
So do not hesitate to be awesome, superb, brilliant and powerful. The earth needs all of that spunk. Don’t deprive her of it.
We love you baby! And I am proud of you!
Bursting with love,
21st Century Strong Black Mum