Dear Iyanla,
As a single parent of a 9-year-old prince, I’m in a crisis. I know I am raising my son with God’s help, not alone. But can you help me understand what I need to do to help him grow into a self-assured, loving, morally grounded and strong Black man? It devastates me to see so many of our sons without meaningful connections, compassion, achievement or direction. How can we reach a generation of fatherless Black boys who rebel because they feel the odds are against them?

Relax! Breathe. Take heart. You are blessed with everything you need to raise your prince into a king. As the mother of a son, I know how challenging it is to find the models of manhood your son needs. I am also aware of the challenges that confront sisters who are raising sons on faith, with no male in the home. In fact, most men are raised by women even when Daddy is there. The mother teaches the child mobility, language and self-care. She nurtures the child’s body with food, mind with information and heart with love. Fathers make a powerful contribution, but for the first five years of a child’s life, Mom’s got it going on!
As a mother and a grandmother, I share your concerns about what seems a developmental lag among young Black men. But I know who our young men really are. I know where they come from, their history, their ancestry. The odds aren’t against them; many create their own odds. But as with our young women, too many of them don’t have the appropriate tools or information to navigate the time we live in. How can you help? Make sure your son gets tools. And, when appropriate, borrow those tools from positive men in your family or community.