Teaching our Children - A strategy for success

Essence spent a year exploring how Black parents can take responsibility for our children's success. 

Melissa & Doug Felt Chalk Eraser
How one Mother transformed her children into achievers 
By Rose T. "Dr Mom" Watson, Ph.D., 
is the founder of Mothers of Achievers,
 an organization that promotes 
successful parenting strategies.

The most important step for parents in steering their children's education is having a vision. I'm not talking about some whimsical dream, but a specific goal that guides your decisions and actions. My husband and I had a clear vision for our four children: They would become high achievers.

It was our firm goal for our children to be high achievers that allowed us to make the most of their abilities, and we started the day each was born. We taught discipline and character, favored a kind word over a sharp rebuke, and held high expectations. We chose good schools that met the needs of each individual child. We turned the dining table into study hall each night, with the TV off. We made it a point to know each of their teachers and made sure that during the morning drive to school each child had a book to read.

It was tough for my husband and me to balance our jobs and our commitment to the children's education. At one point I held three teaching positions while he worked out of state. On occasions 
 the kids found me praying over stacks of bills and asking for guidance. When they saw food stamps in the house they asked "Mom, does this mean we're on welfare?" Regardless of our circumstances we remembered that dreams determine destiny. The day I watched my son receive his degree from Harvard I knew that, as parents, we had helped him maximize his potential, and it was our vision that made it so.