Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Review - "Raising Him Alone" by David Miller and Matthew P. Stevens

Millions of black women find themselves in the very challenging position of raising a son on their own.  Raising Him Alone is a valuable resource designed to help single mothers to successfully face the challenge.  It is written by two men that are passionate about empowering youths today and dedicated to helping young people succeed.  David Miller is Co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the Urban Leadership Institute, an enterprise that focuses on creating positive youth development strategies.  Miller has a background in education and has authored several books.  Matthew Stevens is the Founder of Empower Today’s Youth, which provides youth with tools to make healthy life decisions.  Stevens is also a presenter, youth counselor and freshman college advisor.  Miller and Stevens have brought their experience together to create Raising Him Alone.

Absent fathers has become an epidemic in the black community.  It can be very difficult for black single mothers to raise a boy to be a man.  Statistics reflect how young black males have been affected by the absence of a father in the home.  For example, a recent report on graduation rates indicates that in some US cities, the drop out rates among black males exceed 65 percent.  That is a staggering statistic.  Young men in the black community need help.  The help that these boys need must start at home.  The purpose of Raising Him Alone is to provide the support and guidance that single mothers need to help their sons flourish.

This guide provides so much practical wisdom.  Issues such as literacy, sex education and law enforcement are discussed.  The importance of knowing your son is stressed.  A mother needs to know what her son’s interests are, who his friends are and what’s in his room.  I appreciate the candid approach of this book.  Often, self-help books will dance around sensitive issues.  However, the writers of Raising Him Alone are very honest about their own experiences with raising children and they get to the heart of issues that matter the most.  Black women face very unique challenges when raising sons.  This book is based on interviews with women that have faced these challenges successfully.  They share their success and failures so others can learn from them.  

While the book is directed to mothers, the role of the father is acknowledged.  It is critical that boys have a relationship with their father.  Mothers are helped to determine how to deal with the connection between their son and his father.  The assistance of mentors and other role models is encouraged.  There is even a section that addresses grandparents that are raising grandsons.

I applaud the effort of Miller and Stevens to help mothers raise their sons alone.  The strategies found in this book will benefit any mother that wants to raise a boy to be a strong asset in the community.  In addition to this book, there is a website dedicated to this cause.  For more information, visit www.raisinghimalone.com.