I posted this image on my story a couple of days ago and the responses in my DM were hilarious. So many of my followers are parents and could relate to this, so I figured I would further explain what the issues are here, at least for my boys.
What defines me as a hood parent is the fact that I grew up in the projects. Coney Island, Brooklyn to be exact. We moved there when I was 10 from Utica Avenue in Crown Heights. The things that you see growing up in public housing are quick to humble and motivate you. My kids will never experience pissy hallways and elevators, crackheads sleeping on benches in the park or in front of the building, and drug paraphernalia all over the place. The apartments in our building had terraces, but we couldn’t use them because they became garbage cans from the tenants above to dump their trash, dirty diapers, and whatever else they chose to dash out of their windows.
On the flip side, Coney Island taught me something that my boys do not have, street smarts! I think one of the biggest lacks they have acquired from their privilege. I was sent to the bodega as early as I can remember and I was purchasing lotto and cigarettes for my Dad way back then LOL. (Judge ya mama!) I know how to travel anywhere via public transportation and can navigate my way through any situation because of what the MTA life has shown me. Caleb and Joshua have no clue how to get anywhere in NYC on their own because they are not aware of how to. They have been chauffeured around all their lives. I have taken them on the train with me numerous times, but they won’t be able to get somewhere on their own.
Living in Pennsylvania, they get picked up and dropped off by the school bus right in front of the house, or around the corner. They have no reason to have street smarts because let’s be honest there aren’t any streets here LOL. The boys have grown up with the same group of kids since Pre-K. Now fights have taken place because boys will be boys, but there isn’t a fear of walking around here because you might get your sneakers or Walkman stolen from you. (Remember Walkmans and Discmans?) There are so many new fears they have had to deal with, child trafficking, school shootings, and more but they pretty much walk freely. Something we have been working on since they have gotten older is being aware of your surroundings and knowing how to prepare and react. It’s a work in progress.
On the flip side, we have to appreciate the blessings. I experienced all these things so my boys didn’t have to. We have built a life for them that doesn’t require shame or constantly having to keep their guard up. There is a level of freedom that they are experiencing in childhood that is different from mine. Isn’t there some sort of saying that your kids should be better than you….God Willing!!
What are some things that you wished your suburban kids were aware of? Either way, you’re doing a great job!!