A sneak preview from upcoming book “Young Urban Males.”
The common issues that face today’s single parent is their ability to have quality time to actually raise their child. No, I’m not talking about feeding, dressing, and housing. I’m talking about actually training your child to be a leader in society. Even as a father myself, my religious beliefs outline that my core responsibilities to my children are to provide food, clothing, shelter and safe environment that keeps them free from religious persecution. But, it is common sense that in order to develop a “good Obama Chip off the O’block,” I’ll have to do much more than that. Of all of the 2,000 plus parents that I have encountered over the past four years, they have all sighted time management as being the biggest obstacle in fully developing their young urban male.
Two parent households are strained with time management because often both parents are working out of necessity to meet their household is in debt. For those families living in metropolitan cities, the cost of living is even higher forcing parents to make real hardcore decisions about the quality of life for their families. Connecticut has the highest cost of living in America and all families in the inner cities across the State struggle financially. When I was growing up in New Haven, my dad worked at the Post Office from 3pm to 11pm. He often left for work at 2:15 pm. My mother worked from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. as well. She would leave around 2:30 P.M. Now I had a four-year-old sister and a six-year-old brother that I had to care for all the way to bed-time. My duties included often cooking dinner, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning up behind them, getting them washed up for bed and making sure they went to sleep. In addition to that, I had to do my homework, which was normally last on the list. The other concession was that I could not go outside and play with my friends or play any after school sports. My after school sport was being a nanny which I would later learn was more valuable than hanging outside, especially when my parents were not home.
Studies have shown that the majority of police related incidents with youth occur during the school year between 2:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. when many of their parents are at work and on Saturdays between 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. when school is out for the weekend, and during seasonal school breaks (Christmas, Winter, and Spring break sessions). CTRIBAT Institute for Social Development Inc. (an urban gun violence prevention program in New Haven, Connecticut) aims to help solve this problem by developing a program that would supervise them during these specified times and remove them from an environment that increases their chances of inappropriate and criminal behavior. Data released by this organization showed that many young urban males living in New Haven had two main issues in common. First, they all were living below the poverty line and most often come from single parents homes. Both of these factors increased their chances of dying an early death often through acts of gun violence or some other form of violent crime.
The difference for me, growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, urban gun violence in the Black Community was nearly unheard of. Though I did know and have friends both Black and White that had guns, the incidents where a gun came into play was almost never! I said, almost. Nevertheless, the biggest change came with the influx of crack rock cocaine. I most go back and say that I remember friends that I had who were skipping school and smoking marijuana and cigarettes in the 4th and 5th grade. One of those young men named “Fish” had a two-parent family and his father was a New Haven Police Officer who lived in the neighborhood. “Fish” was later got involved in illegal drug selling shot and killed in the late 1980’s. The other young male named Michael Wakins lived in a single parent household with his mother and older sister. He was arrested in the 1980’S for illegal drug selling and was incarcerated in maximum-security prison for eight years. While incarcerated, he converted to Islam and was released early. He moved back to his hometown and got a job. Reconnected with his mother and sister and struggled to repair his life. In 2007, he had a lucrative vending business selling sneakers, coats and boots. On a cold winter evening, he was in an area of New Haven known as “Tre Blood” territory. Just less than three blocks from the Masjid were he worshiped, he was robbed at gunpoint by a group of unknown Black males. He was shot in the head!Click to view and purchase current best selling book Author Shafiq Abdussabur has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NPR, New Haven Independent, WYBC