Thursday, April 18, 2024

Can A Woman Raise A Man?



In this time of women standing against predatory sexual indecency and inequality in the workplace, I have been stirred to ponder my own understanding and interpretation of what women mean to me. I have also been motivated by local plays that question whether a woman can raise a man — and how men’s attitude toward women are inappropriately defined and sexualized in our society.

It has all made me recognize the rearing that I was received from a line of great, heroic, courageous, God-fearing, amazing African-American women.

My grandmother, Mrs. Gladys Fry — we called her “Big Momma” — prayed morning, noon, and night for God’s mercy to strengthen and secure our family.

Her prayers covered her children and her children’s children with the blood of Jesus Christ, as we were guided through her teachings and unconditional love. She instilled in us the importance of family, the love of God, and self-awareness. Her enduring love was grounded in family values, traditions, and honor. She kept the family together, regardless of the obstacles and challenges that made her family’s life difficult during the civil rights era. She was the epitome of an African Queen — standing tall and proud although she was short in stature.

When Big Momma spoke, everyone stood in silence as she graced everyone with her wisdom and spirit. When the Lord called Big Momma home back in 1991, her last words were calling to Jesus to protect and bring her children to Christ — so that she would be able to embrace her children in her bosom once again in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

Then, there is my mom, Ms. Gloria Jean Eddins — one of my greatest heroes. She is an African goddess that I have been blessed to have in my life. She is the abundance of strength, robust with love and self-assurance that have made men kneel at her feet. She stood the test of time, despite the racism and bigotry of the time when women were not appreciated as the head of the household and were considered subservient to men. My mother raised six children, with my grandmother’s help, after divorcing my father back in the 1960s — bucking traditional values and family structure.

Through her teaching of love and respect for life — while instilling a work ethic and education in her children — we aspired to achieve our goals, while honoring our heritage and traditions, and embracing our ethnicity and ancestry.

If there is anything that I know at the age of 55, it is that a woman can raise a man and give him the tools that he needs to carry on in his life. Of course, there are great men — fathers, stepfathers, uncles, boyfriends, friends, and mentors — that have walked alongside these women and provided support and direction, but I must honor the single moms who have carried the torch alone.

It is important to appreciate the life that we have been given — even if it is not the chosen one we desire, but one with opportunities to move forward from past inequities to a future of greater heights.

Thank you, Momma.

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