MOTHERHOOD: Lessons For My Son

Not Guilty!

courtesy of

This was the verdict read this past weekend in the Trayvon Martin Case.

As a mother I must look at this case and its verdict for lessons. I am a mother of a black male. In the not too distant future, he will be spending summers with his grandmother, uncle and cousins in America. What should I teach Chase to prepare him for these visits?

Because ... there are lessons to be learned from every situation, in this case tragedy.

And so  today I choose not to get caught up in the discussions of race relations in America, or how another black male is dead. I don't want to ponder why Zimmerman choose to fire a gun rather than throw a punch or where he will go into hiding. Instead, today I focus on the things I have control over. I focus on what I can influence. 

I can influence my son, Chase.

This morning I watched The View, Sherri Shepherd one of the co-hosts said as a mother she is teaching her son lessons. The lessons were as follows;

1. If it is cold outside, wear a hat or hoodie to keep yourself warm.
2. If a strange man is following you, more than likely it is to instill harm and it 
    is not for your welfare.
3. If someone is attacking you, do all you can to protect yourself.

She ended by saying these lessons, good and sound lessons could get you killed! What should she tell her son now? 

This is what got me thinking. What do I tell Chase when he is walking back to his uncle's house from the community pool at The Recreation Center? Because one day Chase could in fact be doing just that, walking from the pool with a towel slung over his head and a neighbour in my brother's community sees him and begins pursuit. 

What do I want Chase to do?

I thought and thought and thought. Here is all I could muster.

What To Do When In Danger

1. Run Away
2. Scream
3. Seek Help


If you see danger run. Run away from the situation, whether at a party, you are alone, if someone is following you, there is a fire, if you see everyone else running ....RUN AWAY! 

Don't engage or respond to a confrontation with a stranger by no means. 
We live in a world where we never know who has a concealed weapon. We never know if a response to someone having a bad day could result in an injury.  


Scream as if your life depends on it! While running away, scream "HELP ME! HELP! THIS MAN IS CHASING ME! HELP ME! HELP!"

When there is danger scream. Why? I can only pray that there is someone who will be alerted. I have to pray if my son where running down a street running and screaming he will get someone's attention who will be in a position to offer help; even if that help is only call 911!


In school, as a teacher I always tell students, if someone wrongs you it is your responsibility to tell the teacher. Find a teacher. As an adult, if someone wrongs me my responsibility as a law abiding citizen is to tell the police.

If Chase is walking home to his uncle's house and danger is on his heels, my lesson is to call 911. I am sure he will have a cell phone. All teenagers do. Call 911! This is the first way I want Chase to seek help.

The second way I want Chase to seek help is to run to a house in search of an adult who can help. Ring a doorbell. Once again, as a mother I have to pray Chase rings the doorbell of someone who will see my son in distress and protect them, provide shelter to the best of their ability.

As I write this I realize, these aren't just lessons for my son but for my daughter as well. These are lessons for children growing up in this adult world.

I cannot change the reality of racial profiling, hell, I profile all the time. If I see someone suspicious I immediately check my surroundings; so profiling will always exist. That is out of my circle of influence. The judicial system, laws, jury selections are also out of my circle of influence. 

I only have my words to my children. 

At the age of 40 I know this to be true. I STILL REMEMBER THE LESSONS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME AS A CHILD! Did I listen to her all the time... no, but I know them. I hear her voice. 

Today I pray Chase and Channing will hear my voice!
I pray your children will hear your voice too.

Until I blog again,


1 comment:

Sandena Neely said...

...commendable Tiff...and those things that you mentioned...they are all that you can humanly do because chances are you won't physically be able to help. And unfortunately there is no telling that the advice you give will be of any use to Chase, Channing, Jevon, Reagan or any of our kids because no one really knows how it all went down in that gated community on February 26, 2012 between GZ and TM - so we can only pray that our kids would have the wherewithal to remember what we have taught them and pray even harder that mother's wit will fall on them and they will know what to do and how best to react if they find themselves in a tight spot.