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I Don't Want to Raise My Kids Like That!

Parenting can be the most challenging but rewarding experience you'll ever face. The cooing of an infant, hearing their first words, watching them explore the world as they crawl throughout the home. All of these exciting times need to be navigated with care and patience, yet there is no manual for this crash course. On the bright side, we have examples of how to parent through our own upbringing of which we can utilize to cultivate our children. But just how much of our upbringing provides the most efficient outcomes?

Being the eldest of three, I had to mature pretty quickly. Like many older siblings I know, I assisted my siblings with homework, bought them clothing (as needed) and felt an innate desire to protect them. However, this sometimes meant not being able to fully experience my own social development due to always stepping up to ensure that my siblings received nurturing. This type of scenario has been deemed "oldest child syndrome" in which the eldest has felt compelled to taken on a parental role in the home which may stem from parents working long hours.

Another aspect of my upbringing that shaped me was lack of financial literacy. Investopedia describes financial literacy as "basics of personal finance, budgeting, and investing. Once they're grasped, an individual can make ends meet, invest for the future, take care of a family, manage debt, and make good decisions.". Unfortunately, there seems to be a racial gap in this area with Blacks and Hispanics being at the lower end of financial knowledge. The 2018 PISA report showed that "White and Asian 15-year-olds have much higher financial literacy rates than Black and Hispanic populations of the same age.". Throughout my teenage years, I was not exposed to the ideas of savings plans, retirement funds, nor investing which resulted in my ownership of seven credit cards by the age of 24 and a multitude of personal debt. This poor preparation set me back in the sense that I began to arrange for future stability later.

Moreover, in the communities of Blacks and Hispanics, we tend to have access to limited resources. One resource that students of color lack are experienced educators. The "comparability loophole" states that schools in varied districts should give students the same quality of education. However, experienced teachers are most found in white schools, thus bringing richer knowledge and experiences to the school. This results in white schools being able to spend more funds on their students. UNCF reports that "Students of color are often concentrated in schools with fewer resources. Schools with 90 percent or more students of color spend $733 less per student per year than schools with 90 percent or more white students.". Yet, my mother always found ways to keep my siblings and I preoccupied with extracurricular and educational activities in order to increase our chances of becoming successful.

From these experiences, I now understand that it's up to us (the parent) to make informed decisions on how we will develop productive individuals. We need to educate ourselves around topics that improve our children's future and "leave an inheritance for our children's children" (Proverbs 13:22) if we want to break the generational curses off of our family lines.

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