By Bianca Carter
ALMOST eight years ago, I gave birth to my first child, a boy. From that moment on, I learned how beautiful and amazing it is to be a mother of a boy.
I was fortunate that I was not alone in raising my son. Being a female, you can imagine my apprehension of the thought of possibly not knowing what to do with a boy. He had his father, mentors, lots of male family and cousins, so for sure I knew that it was going to be OK, that where I fell short, my husband would guide the way.
As time passed, I realised that raising a boy was different, but the fundamentals should, and would, be the same. Boys need love just as much as girls.
As I look around, read the news, hear some unfortunate stories, I can’t help but wonder if we are losing the battle with the boys of our country.
Where are they? What are they thinking, and do they have direction, positivity, security and love in their life?
Or are they told to “be a man” right out of diapers? I’m not much for gender definitions; what’s allowed and what isn’t doesn’t appeal to me that much. But it’s important to define what “be a man” means.
Some may agree that being a man means that you are strong, dominant, honest, reliable, logical, a care-giver, provider, protector and leader. Thankfully, there are men in the world that embody those attributes. But are the young people in our country portraying these qualities?
Are mothers raising these boys alone with little to no support? If in fact women are raising boys, does that mean that it’s not possible to raise boys effectively being a single mother? Not likely.
I think that your circumstances should not define you but rather inspire you. They are many great men that have been raised by single parents – take Barack Obama for instance.
The question of why there seems to be a problem is not black and white.
There is not one reason that the young boys of our country seem to be more interested in the hustle-fast and easy money, sitting on the block waiting for things to happen; showing their power by fear and intimidation; handling disagreements with their weapons rather than their words.
We have to ask ourselves, who are they watching? Are they getting positive communication and having meaningful relationships to help them define what being a man means to them?
And if these young boys are not getting the help and support, are they then angry because of it?
Sadly, there are people that think that to raise a boy means to rough them up; to not show emotion and love, to only show aggression and intimidation; to communicate with a fist instead of words, just to make sure they don’t become “soft”.
To show emotion and love, is to be weak. It’s a vicious cycle that unfortunately throws our boys into a place of fear and darkness. It has been said that the absence of love is the worst punishment for a human being and has been described as living in a hellish state. It is human, not girlie, to need and want love. We were created to love and be loved, to feel valid and valuable.
Our boys need to know that they are valid, that they are loved, important and needed. They need to know that it takes a stronger man to be vulnerable and show emotion.
So if you are a mother of a boy, please show your love for them while still being able to give them the tools,to be successful men in our society. Do not everything for them, but rather show them how it’s done through positive communication and connections.
We need our boys to know that they can step above the negativity and empower themselves because they are strong. I encourage you to step up and be a part of the solution, to encourage and inspire our young boys.
Love and hugs!
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor and founder of Bun in the Oven. For more information, call 242-601-6977 or visit her at the Harbour Bay Plaza. Follow on Facebook at babybunintheoven, or visit www.babybunintheoven.com