Several weeks ago, I addressed a crowd and answered some of their questions about the How To Raise Your Black Child To Be A Millionaire: Child-rearing Secrets of the Black Elite book. One of the sisters in the audience mentioned how a lot of times parents are concerned about exposing their children to experiences that perhaps their peers wouldn’t have the advantages of experiencing, because they don’t want their peers to think that the child feels he or she is better than them.
I thank that sister for her comment and question of how to deal with that for a few reasons. This was a rather revelatory comment, because I was always brought up (and taught my children) to not care or entertain the thoughts of others about you. I never, before, would have imagined that such a concern would be on the minds of our parents. So, it helped me to identify an important concept that was resoundingly apparent from all that the interviewees shared but that Black people need a bit of help with; and that is building the self esteem of the child and having tools to groom him/her to be comfortable with his/her individuality.
Now, the sister ended up asking how parents should deal with that concern. My answer to her began as a question. “Why shouldn’t our children think they’re better? Not better than their peers, but better than their condition or environments.” If we are always found repeating the mantra of wanting to give our children better than we had, are we content with the idea of better being reflective only in the new Jordan’s versus Buddies; or Polo versus the WalMart brand? I mean, think about it. The very reason we yearn to give our children more and greater than we’ve had is, because we instinctively know that better is out there somewhere in the Ether and we are deserving of and have a natural right to it! So why not teach that and position our children to connect with that truth versus perpetuating a cycle of less-than or meager existence that never scratches the surface of their potential all because of a fear of someone saying, “You think you’re better” or “You think you’re somebody?”
The very existence of this as a concern is the reason it’s important to note that wealthy people deeply understand that “birds of a feather, flock together.” They understand that it’s not only their personal networks that determine their net-worths, but that rule carries over in application for their children too. So, they put them in clubs like Jack and Jill and extracurriculars that place them in environments where the interests of the children are the same, lessening the chances of the existence of envy and other elements that may bring down the drive of their children.
The reason this is so important is, because this is the stuff that determines a child’s level of confidence and how he/she will approach any and all endeavors in life. More importantly, their confidence is what will determine whether or not they even allow themselves to have ambitions outside of the norms of their environments at all. How many of you, PARENTS, have been too afraid to even allow yourself to dream about doing something you’d really like to do, because you lack the confidence in your own ability to accomplish that dream? Do you know that a person’s confidence level will enable them to embark upon a goal about which they have no knowledge at all, pursue it (learning along the way), master it, and make it a mega success?
Just yesterday, Wendy Muhammad, one of the millionaire interviewees in the book (you can follow her at @TheAuthenticYou) retweeted the quote, “Stop trying to fit in, you were born to stand out. Shine your brilliance. Find your #Tribe #encouragement #support.” Now, this was a tweet that went out to adults, because the following of the original tweeter was completely composed of adults. If there was a need to tweet this to adults, then we can deduce, as was demonstrated in the sister’s statement and question, that we, as parents are projecting our fears and insecurities onto our children, causing them to take on these mindsets that are not only not serving any benefits to them, but are also limiting their potentials and keeping them impoverished.
It seems that we must work to improve our own personal thoughts of ourselves (parents) so that we can find ourselves deserving of all of the elements and activities that afford us greatness, take advantage of the evolutionary processes that come from doing so, and allow our children to see us demonstrate this and do the same. When we find value in who we are and all of our uniqueness, we require the best of everything and attract the best from everyone. Then there is never any concern about how others perceive us, because those who are aligned and worthy will draw nearer to us; while those who think little of themselves and don’t get it will eventually fall away. But, it’s important to note that for our children, we should provide them with the environmental support they need to stay the course of healthy self-image development by placing them in environments with those who are productive and of like minds. After all, you wouldn’t put your basketball skilled son who is poised to become an NBA player in an environment of underachievers who have no goals or healthy ambitions, would you?
We are working on our Resource Page to provide parents with information about services and programs that are helpful in the journey of #RaisingBlackMillionaires. Stay tuned for that and be sure to leave a comment about what any resources you’d like to see on that page, as well as your thoughts about today’s article. If you haven’t already, be sure to get your FREE e-book The 5 Can’t-Miss Steps Parents Must Follow in Raising Black Millionaires. Until next time, (in my Arsenio Hall voice) Peace!