Friday, July 27, 2012

On Fostering Resilience in Our Children

[Photo via]
A couple weeks ago, I met my guy friend D for dinner. We've known each other for almost 15 years and we're pretty close friends. We sat at the outdoor eatery in Hell's Kitchen, catching up and practically inhaling our burgers and booze.

Our "light and funny" conversation soon shifted to something a little more serious. To me. (And, apparently to D as well).

We began talking about Aiden and I bought up something that's constantly on my mind. Am I doing enough to foster resilience in this child? Am I doing enough to help mold and shape him into a well-adjusted, socially competent, self-sufficient young man?

I think about these things.

A lot.

Aiden's other parent has chosen to not be apart of his life, and I know that as his mother, I can not completely fill the void that may result because of this. I can teach Aiden that the world is filled with different types of family structures; I can make sure he knows that he is loved and cherished; I can make sure that he gets a damn good education; I can make certain that he's well-read and well-traveled and that his weekends are filled with swimming and soccer and kid-friendly outings. And I can work hard and get the high-paying dream job to pay for all of these things.


I can't replace his father.

And as I try to foster resilience in this child, it worries me.


I think I found a solution.

As I was having dinner with D, I rallied him up as Aiden's newest mentor. Heck, Aiden already loves and looks up to him so I might as well milk it for all it's worth! He'll be spending a couple Saturdays per month with the kid doing "boy stuff," whatever that means.

I say all this to make one point: single parents can create protective factors in our children that far outweigh their risk factors. We can foster resilience in them and they can grow up to be well-adjusted and socially responsible.

It can be done.

We just have to put in the work.

Bottom line: never underestimate the life that you can create for yourself. And your children.


  1. I heart you Alicia. My son's dad is also MIA but I have worked really hard to make sure that his life is as beautiful as I can make it. It is so important that we find mentors/role models, etc to create a village for our boys. I know Aiden will grow up to be an awesome young man!

  2. Very well said! My mom did a great job of making sure we were surrounded by positive male figures when my dad left. I'm grateful everyday that she realized how important that was and went out of her way to make sure it happened. I'm thankful to my great cousins for stepping up to plate and showing us that there are still good men out there!

    Aiden is truly a blessed kid!

  3. Well said. I am sure you have made a great decision. By the way you are making me miss NY. I use to go to HK with my co workers all the time for lunch.

  4. You are doing exactly what you are suppose to do, even better. My husband's father wasn't around much when he was a kid. He always says he would have turned out much different if he didn't have mentors or other father figures(his grandpa) around to show him what being a man was all about.

  5. It can be done! And it sounds like you're doing everything perfectly, as you're making sure Aiden has positive male figures in his life, including your family and close friends.

  6. It is obvious that you are doing what needs to be done...and then some. Keep doing what you do.

  7. that's amazing you have a a great friend!

    you're doing a great job!
    Xo Megan

  8. You're a remarkable mama! You are such an inspiration, and Aiden is going to be an amazing man because of you :) xoxo

  9. I think it's unfortunate that his father chose not to be in his life, but he is lucky and blessed enough to have such an amazing mother like you!! And for your friend to want to be there to mentor him from a mans perspective is a blessing as well. I am sure he will grow up to be everything you expect him to be and then some. You're a great example to Aiden ♥

  10. Your posts always seem to hit home with me--and I guess that's why you're one of my favorite bloggers. You're inspiring and I feel as if I'm not alone.

    It's good that Aiden has a mentor. That's truly a blessing and D is such a wonderful person. God puts the right people in your life.

    And I agree with you--It can be done. And when it comes to my children, it will be done. They are a reflection of me. You're a wonderful mother, Alicia and I'm sure Aiden will reflect that as well.

  11. Love your post. You're so right in everything you've said. And it's great your friend will be a mentor to Aiden. You are provided your son everything you can and it shows!

  12. What a great way to make sure that Aiden gets to do "boy stuff". I was a single mom too and had the same dilemma. In the end I made sure I let my son hang out with his uncles and then I met my husband who became his guide into manhood. You are doing the right thing. Honestly, we can do so much as women but we cannot teach a man how to be a man.

  13. The song "We Need You" by Jill Scott has been playing in my head immediately while reading this post. The "other" parent is missing out on an awesome little boy. I think it's fantastic that your friend is willing to be a part of Aiden's life in that way.


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