How do we raise confident black children? I’ve been mulling over that question lately, not because I have children…yet. I think about it in the context of possibly raising children in the future in a world that sends harmful messages about blackness. Last week I asked the question of a gentleman who runs a program for youths living in the inner city. He stressed the need to instill self-knowledge and identity in early childhood. His curriculum requires children to make an “I am” board to give them a visual of who they are and the value that they offer to the world.
I have read about and watched far too many accounts of black women struggling with confidence, and while I readily admit that self-confidence is a universal struggle for men and women, certain societal standards and expectations mean that black women face unique challenges on the road to self-confidence and self-acceptance. I have had my own struggles withself-confidence and acceptance. Yet at first I shied away from speaking about them. Discussions about self-confidence seem to skew on the side of blaming and shaming the person for not having the confidence that they desire.
I am not interested in those discussions. As a solution-oriented person, I seek answers. To get to the answers, of course we do have to look at the issues, uncover the roots and do the work. My inquiry into raising confident black children does not end there; I also want to know about instilling confidence within ourselves and our communities at large so that we can realize our full potential. Confidence plays a huge role in not only how we view ourselves, but in what we achieve and goals we create for ourselves.
So readers, I ask you how do you instill confidence in your children and/or those around you and how do you develop your own-self confidence?