Saving Our Daughters
Saving Our Daughters
Recent reports note that teen pregnancy is on the decline. Still young, single motherhood is still a reality that invokes discussion. Author/editor Curtis Benjamin’s “Saving Our Daughters, From a Man’s Point of View Volume III” takes on teen pregnancy, gathering messages from entertainment industry role models to encourage young moms to succeed.
The series’ Volume III follows the format of the two former editions, featuring letters from entertainment industry heads who deliver strong viewpoints on single parenthood, the importance of fathers and self-esteem-building for young girls. ESSENCE.com spoke with Roger Bobb, Supervising Producer of Tyler Perry Studios, rapper/singer/songwriter/producer Sean Garret and Rainbow Films co-founder and producer Will Packer about their support for young moms and what it takes to make sure our daughters love themselves enough to strive for the top for themselves and their babies. Plus, a special note to teen moms from Fantasia.
Sean Garrett on Being a Role Model
“I’m not afraid to take the position of a role model. I want to stand up for the women in our community.
I come from a family of a lot of women. My mother has eight sisters. I just have a humongous amount of respect for women. I have an emotional attachment to women and what they have to go through in this world that’s basically run by men.”
Roger Bobb on Building Self-Esteem
It’s up to the parents or the role models to instill in our young people a sense of self-esteem. I really think it’s that simple. I have a daughter and she’s six and every morning I tell her the same thing. I tell her that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world and that she’s the smartest woman in the world.
I’m a big fan of sports programs [for young people]. They teach accountability, not just to yourself at a very young age and they teach you to deal with adversity and disappointment. It’s a microcosm of how your life is going to be.
Will Packer on Responsibility and Success
I have two young daughters and I’m always talking about the invaluable role that I play in my their lives. …But, not having a father figure or a positive adult as a role model is not an excuse for everything. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not an excuse. As African-Americans we have enough role models out there that there is somebody that you can look up to.
For [teen mothers], they’ve made decisions that now they have to live with, but their lives are not over. What matters now is what you do from here. Do you make it a cycle that never ends and not give that child an opportunity or do you break the cycle and embrace the challenge? When you’re successful, there’s nothing you’ll be more proud of than raising your child.
For young men, the message is the same. Just because you can physically walk out of your child’s life doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook. That is a mistake that you will pay for for the rest of your life. To young men I say you now need to be a man, whether you think you’re ready for it or not. Embrace it and step up to the challenge.
Fantasia’s Message To Single Teen Moms
“Never let quitting be an option. I wish that I would have listened to my mother and grandmother, telling me to stay in school and get my diploma as opposed to dropping out in the ninth grade as a single teen mother.
I’m a living example. If I could turn challenging times around, so can you. That’s why I have committed to going back to school to get my diploma, not only to build my esteem and self-confidence, but to set an example for my daughter. Sisters, stay encouraged.”
Curtis Benjamin on Teen Pregnancy
“I have two young daughters at home. One is 18 and one is 12. I just wanted to cover the issues that they were facing in school with their peers. I wanted to focus on something that’s really affecting our teens in school and get feedback from male celebrities who are fathers on the particular subject.
This opens up dialogue with teen moms. They can be comfortable talking about the subject and why they’ve made their decisions.