So...what does parenting require? From experience, I believe it requires faith in Jesus Christ and consistent time with our children. Parenting is not an event--a trip to Disneyworld; a day at the pool; an ice cream cone on a hot day; or a few hours of 'quality time'. Parenting is dedicated time and attention to the children, that by our choices, have been born into the world. They didn't ask to come. But now that they're here, bearing our name, it becomes our unique responsibility to make their growth and well-being our No. 1 priority.
With this in mind, why do you go to that job? To impress your boss? To hang-out with your co-workers? To show off your stuff? No! You go to that job to milk that cow that the Lord has provided you, and you bring the milk home to your family. You can't afford to let friends, family or electronic devices sway you from your appointed duty of making sure you have the time to sit quietly and talk to your children; listen to your children; get to know your children; and let them get to know you. In the words of a popular song, 'you need to put your phone down', and let your children know what you stand for; what you believe in; and what you want them to believe in--in this rocky world. Your children need to know what your family stands for, and what it doesn't stand for. Knowing this will give them a firmer foundation--make them less edgy and twitchy--because they have something and someone they can trust and rely on to tell them the truth and to enforce the truth--you! And with a firm foundation, your children will be able to approach the world (which, keep in mind, is not their friend) more confidently and courageously because they know where you stand; they know where they stand; and they know where the rest of the world stands.
As Black people, we have a unique history in these United States, and our children need to know that. Not in an effort to make them angry or fearful. But in an effort to make them aware that although things change and times change, the heart of man remains the same. And you need to know that in order to deal successfully with all people. Yes, people fought, bled and died for our freedoms, but they did it with dignity and a steadfast faith that their position--that all men are created equal--was a God-given right, not to be exploited and spat upon, but to be realized and enjoyed. Therefore, the place for sagging pants and head rags does not exist among a people who know their God and know their privileged position in His world. It is time for us to gird up our loins and lift up our hands and heads that hang down and take up what is rightfully ours--the dignity that God gives to all mankind. No one can take that from you, but we can certainly give it away by our actions, by our neglect, by our unbelief in who God is and who He wants us to be in His world.
Parents have the unique responsibility not to let that happen. "Not in my house!" should be the rallying cry of every parent. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" And I don't mean just going to church every Sunday. I mean serve the Lord by opening our Bibles and walking in His way--day by day. By turning our hearts and minds to love Him and to receive the love He has for us. His love has set us free to live out the intended purpose for our lives. And in order to be productive in our roles and responsibilities as parents, we've got to believe that!
We don't have time to be bored or lethargic. We don't have time to waste on games and other people's foolishness. We've got an important work to do! We have a charge, which no one can take from us, and no one can do for us. We have a charge to parent our own children--to love them, lead them, teach them, and guide them, day by day--so they can hold up their heads and live safe, expectant and productive lives. That's our primary job as parents. It's a very exciting role in a very challenging time. Let's get to it!