Our Children, Our Royalty

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[Column: Parenting Royalty]
I was listening to the sermon “Make Your Mark� delivered by Pastor Sarah Omakwu as part of the Virtuous Women International Convention with Taffi L. Dollar of Creflo Dollar Ministries/World Changers Church International of The Women's Convention.

She posed the question: “When you look at your children what do you see? What you see will determine how you treat them.� This was a profound inquiry to say the least. My reply to myself was in the form of one word: Royalty.

That’s right. I see my children as royalty. Whatever I do for them it’s with the intention of reminding them just how great they are and to set them up for the success they’re destined to become.

This includes adding to their home library so that they are constantly honing their literary skills. I teach them about their rich history, for which recently, I printed pictures from the Internet of powerful Black men and women such as Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Shirley Chisholm, and Cicely Tyson. I want them to have concrete visuals of fortitude, tenacity, passion, intellect, and honor. I recite them affirmations such as: “I am a beautiful, talented, and worthy African-American girl/boy.�

I first introduced my daughter, Clara, to water colors when she was one-and-a-half years old. Five and a half years later, she is a phenomenal artist. She's been on an art scholarship for the past two semesters at The Brooklyn Museum, created the cover art for our first children's book, “But We're a Family, Too� (Powerhouse Media Group, February 2007), has a greeting card line, and is the owner of My Budding Picasso Art Gallery.

I practically live in the 99 cent store purchasing colored pencils, crayons, construction paper, and any other art supplies that she requires. Her future is bright. I told her that she could be a curator in a museum, create sets for stage and film, or even create illustrations for print media. She believes that she is the Best Artist (FYI: This is a part of her signature at the ending of her letters!) and can do whatever she sets out to accomplish. 

I created Black Boy Magazine (www.blackboymagazine.com) for my son, Isaac. The quarterly magazine is dedicated to building, inspiring, and motivating the Black male youth to their greatness. While Isaac is only three, I know it is imperative to establish something tangible for him that he can own, make a living from, and empower his fellow brothers.

His photo appears on the cover of the premiere issue, which debuted this past December, and appears on most of the promotional materials for the publication. After all, he is the President and Co-Publisher. When he sees his picture, he gets so excited. “That's Isaac,� he exclaims. “Let me see.� It's a beautiful experience to behold. I tell him that he is smart and talented.

In addition to the magazine, I have developed a T-shirt line for Isaac that displays positive messages such as: “A CEO is in the Building� and “Strength is in My Bloodline.� 

That's the key: To tell our children that they can be successful and then to provide the tools and guidance for ensuring such. In building up their self-esteem at an early age and developing companies for Clara and Isaac, I know that they will have a better chance at loving themselves as Africans (living in America) and having a strong stake in ownership, which as I'm sure you will agree is a “State of Emergency� here in the United States. 

My colleague and sorority sister, Kimberly R. Crouch -- who is a Detroit, MI-based attorney -- recently published Mother to Son: Words of Wisdom, Inspiration, and Hope for Today's Young African-American Men (iUniverse, $9.95).
Lesson one of the 11 she covers zeros in on my stance on knowing where we come from and is rightfully entitled, “Know Your History! You Come from a Line of Kings.�

Crouch writes: “A child with a strong sense of heritage is instantly validated by himself or herself and doesn't need to look for that validation in unwise places. Although nowadays you do hear a lot about Tiger Woods, Serena Williams and LeBron James, I want you to know there is so much more to the African-American race than excellence in sports. Truth is, you come from Africa, the birthplace of great kings and queens.�

It is so imperative to our children's future existence that we have vision for them, can pinpoint what they're great at and support it with appropriate programs, and constantly reiterate that the sky is the limit as to what they can do. By investing in our children today, we are strategically paving the way for a better tomorrow.  Won't you join the cause of youth empowerment and forthcoming economic independence?

Huff is the Founder and CEO of Powerhouse Media Group, publisher of Solo Mommy Magazine (www.solomommy.com) and Black Boy Magazine (www.blackboymagazine.com). She resides in Brooklyn, NY, with her entrepreneurial 1st grade daughter, Clara, and preschool son, Isaac. Send comments, questions, and story ideas to Feona at [email protected]. Call her at: (718) 425-9092.

To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to [email protected]
“Speaking Truth To Empower.�

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