Two little girls and their brother reside in Florida, in the big beige house. They own two of the most adorable dogs. Dusty, I'm a bit worried about, but Shadow sports the most fabulous tail i'veever seen on a dog. It's the picture of the nuclear family we've seen in 8th grade social studies.The only thing missing is the white picket fence. Once upon a time, I babysat these children and now Tai, Demetria and Briana are 23, 19 and 14 years old, respectively. To most, they are just typical kids. To me, they are beyond typical; they are exceptional, above average, and destined todo great things.
In this household, there are normally three requests and one consistent denial: get good grades;clean your room; clean the kitchen, and no late night hangs. It must be great when your childrenare 23, 19 and 14, and all you have to deal with is mediating an occasional sibling squabble, andpreparing for the wedding of your son, to his high school sweetheart. It certainly beats thealternative of bailing them out of jail, or picking them up from detox. When we're constantlybeing bombarded with negative reviews on the state of the black family, it's hard to believe thatthis family exists. Since the Cosby Show and the Jeffersons, when was the last time you saw aBlack family being portrayed in a positive way, in the media? Because we constantly see thenegative, we think it's the norm. Had it not been for the fact that i'm related to these people, Iwould be skeptical also.
In today's world when teens easily fall prey to drugs, peer pressure, and sex, their happilymarried, hard-working parents have kept these children in check. How? They use good old WestIndian scoldings; they make sure church is not an option; and, they enforce a no toleranceattitude to disobedience and disrespect.
Though not a parent, i've observed three fatal flaws pertaining to parenting. Some parents areeither too lenient, too strict, or inconsistent. When parents are too lenient, children lackboundaries. When parents are too strict, children fail to develop socially. When parents areinconsistent, children grow in confusion. In this day and age, children seem to be raised in avacuum, and parents lack the support they require to balance family and work. Parents mightover-compensate out of guilt. Family life is even more stressful, as we see an increase in singleparent households, absentee fathers, and mothers trying to make ends meet under not so kindeconomic conditions.
There is no easy solution. However, based on what i've observed, when parents are consistent inenforcing and re-enforcing the behaviour they expect from their children, when they monitor theirschedule and their friends, when they communicate, and when they set great examples, childrentend to stay on the right track. Most importantly, the ultimate parental formula consists of aGodly environment of like minded individuals. It all starts with choices and we should choose tostart families under the best circumstances, where our children can benefit from our great
Photo Credit To Bev Smith
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Ebonie Jones is a freelance contributor with MNI Alive