Dear Toya Graham,
Thank you. Thank you for taking responsibility as a mother, and loving your son enough to drag him away from the chaos that was erupting on the streets of Baltimore. Thank you for being honest in your parenting and making a scene, that in my opinion, was worth the time on air it has received. Thank you for not standing down, not trying to defend your actions. Thank you for saying, “My child is not a perfect child, but he is still my child,” because you truly hit the nail on the head with that one. There isn’t a person in this world that’s perfect, and the best thing we can do as parents is make sure our children learn that early on.
I want you to know that I believe this world would be a better place if there were more mothers and fathers like you out there. Mothers and fathers who didn’t pass the blame on to the next kid. Parents whose eyes were wide open to exactly what their children are doing, where they are, and who they are with. Parents who aren’t embarrassed to march their selves right on down into the midst of disaster to ensure that their child wasn’t a part of it. Parents who don’t look the other way, for lack of “time” to really deal with a sticky situation their might be in.
Schools would be better if parents would side with the teachers instead of with sons or daughters when they’ve done wrong. If parents would stop covering up for their children maybe children could learn to take responsibility for their actions, and *gasp* actually learn something. If parents would learn to take control instead of be controlled, maybe just maybe, our society would have less power hungry, gun toting, egotastic, “invincible” human beings. And, that goes for all people with this mentality.
You know, quite possibly if parents would quit saying “My kid would never!” and start asking “What did my kid do?” Maybe we could actually get something accomplished in producing a better world for the next generation. I shudder to think that given your situation that day, most parents would have been so utterly embarrassed and too terrified to do anything about it. And sadly, their child would have stayed there on the streets in an extremely hazardous and dangerous situation. But, thank God for your son, you aren’t most parents.
I hope your son knows just how lucky he is. Lucky to have a Mom who will fight for him to have a chance in this life. Lucky to have a Mom who is willing to risk herself to remind him of what is right and wrong. Lucky to have a Mom who doesn’t care about what “impression” people might have of her, but instead takes charge and shows her kid who is in charge. Lucky to have a Mom who loves him through his mistakes and will love him right on up to and through his successes.
I don’t feel like I have a right to speak on behalf of why people are up in arms. Frankly, I’m a very white woman, who grew up in a very white, rural community. I can’t possibly understand what it’s like and will never truly understand. But, I’m afraid that if something doesn’t change really soon, my biracial daughter will have to deal with that reality.
However, I do know what it feels like to be a mom and I can say this, those men and women that were out there on the streets vandalizing, stealing, and causing such destruction, they’re someones child. And, if that was my child, I would be pulling a Toya Graham!
At the rate our society is going, I don’t foresee a change anytime soon. We can’t win the war on hate by fighting it with more hate. We can’t win the war, if we are naive. We can’t win the war if we aren’t made to take responsibility for our own actions. Therefore, if we, as parents, ever want to win the war and see a change and a better future for our children, we need to teach them how to take responsibility for their actions. Children need to learn that their choices, good or bad, come with consequences. They need to learn how to handle those consequences, and they need to understand that mommy and daddy won’t always be around to clean up their messes. They need to know that others aren’t to blame for their actions. And, they need to be taught to be confident enough to say no and stand up for good morals.
The only way we are ever going to teach them, is by taking off our blinders, quit blaming others for our children’s choices, quit worrying what other’s will think of us if they knew what our child did or was. We can’t expect to live in a respectful, responsible society if we are producing disrepectful, irresponsible children to take over. So, again thank you Toya for standing up for what you knew was right, and showing us parents what needs to be done.