Thursday, June 10, 2010

To my Future Son, on his 16th Birthday...

Dear Son,

I know that you have not always agreed with the way in which I have raised you. I know that we often argue about curfews, clothes, money, girls, etc. I know that I am not the cool mother in the neighborhood. I have heard the comments about Mrs. ---- being, well, let's just say I've heard the names they call me, but that's okay, because at the end of the day, you are my child, and I love you, and you are my responsibility.

On school, education has always been something that has been very important to me. I demand that you do your best, because son, wealth and fame can be taken away from you. Your education is something that no one can ever take away from you. The best way to find a path in the world is by learning as much as you can about the world. You have the world at your fingertips, and a good education will help you grasp it.

On cell phones, I have not given you a cell phone for this reason. I know where you are suppose to be, and I expect you to be there. If you are not where I expect you to be, not having a cell phone would be the least of your problems. I know your schedule, and you know mine. Your school has a phone, as does mine. I pick you up from school, where else would you be? As I move from being your chauffeur, I will give you a cell phone. It had better be on (except during school hours), and you better answer when I call. Oh, and if you lose it, it is stolen, or the principal takes it from you, you will work to buy the next :)

On computers and television, I don't let you have these things in your bedroom. Why? The bedroom is for sleeping and studying, period. I want to see what you are doing on the computer, and I want to know what you are watching. I want to know what video games you are playing. I will not apologize for that. I understand that you feel the need for privacy, and that is why there is a door on the bathroom.

On clothes, I have worked hard to make sure you have always had nice clothes to wear, but it's not just about how much you pay for it; it's how you wear it. What difference does it make if you pay $5000 for an outfit, and you still look like a $5 fool? I make you wear your clothes properly, because I want you to become a professional. Whether you are a professional athlete, doctor, lawyer, or teacher, rightly or wrongly, people judge you based upon your looks.

On music, I realize that you are fan of hip-hop music, and I see you roll your eyes when I make you listen to other types of music. You have to realize that there are many types of people with many types of interests in the world. You are going to have to interact with these people. You should appreciate all kinds of music. You don't have to like it all. I personally don't care for hip-hop, but I appreciate good hip-hop music with meaning and a message.

On alcohol, I know that teenagers drink. I'm a teacher. I hear the stories. I don't allow you to drink for the same reason I don't. I have seen what alcohol can to people. Your late grandfather was an alcoholic, as was one of your great uncles and your great grandfather. I lost a best friend to a drunk driver. I lost a student to a drunk driver. When you are 21, if you decide you want to drink, I hope you will be responsible enough not to get drunk, but if you do, be responsible enough to give someone your keys, call a cab, or call me.

On girls. Son, girls are not "bitches" and "hoes." Even if they have the reputation for it, I do not want to hear those words come from your mouth. There have been many strong women in my life, black and white, and I will not have a son who degrades women. When you fall in love, don't fall in love with a girl simply because she's pretty, the color of her skin, or the contents of her pocketbook. I want you to look at the whole person. Because no matter how pretty the package may be, it may be disguising a rotten core.

On the n-word. I realize that your friends, even some of my friends, use that word. I don't. I don't because of my grandmother who was served out of the back door of restaurants because of the color of her skin. I don't because she could help raise white kids, but her children couldn't go to school with them. I don't because, I've been called that word out of hatred and ignorance. I don't because of people, like Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Ben Chester White, and Vernon Dahmer, and many others who gave their lives so you and your friends could have a better one. I don't, and you won't in my presence.

There are so many other things I have to tell you, but I mostly want to say that I love you. I am overprotective, because I love you. I am mean and strict, because I love you. I am not your "friend," because you are my child and I love you. I am all of these things because there is only one of you. I can never replace you, nor would I want to. I want you to grow to be a responsible man. I want you to think before you speak. I want you to be a gentleman, who will open and hold a door for a woman even if she is rude to you. I want you to be a man...


1 comment:

  1. I hope your future son truly appreciates what a wonderful mom he will have. My son has already started to hear many of the things in this letter and will hear many more.