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Do you have kids who fit in … too much?

Are you sure they know who they are?

Is their heritage visible when they go to school?

Are they secure in their cultural identity at parties and events?

 

A concern parents share is the passing of their cultural identity to their children.

For those with Africa in the DNA, connecting and staying connected to cultural roots is important.

A person’s individual self is often tied to the group identity.

How a person views themselves can be tied to their mental health.

It is not the identity itself that matters. What is critical is that the person feels safe expressing that identity.

Each day a question is answered: In this office with colleagues who look nothing like me, am I safe to display my African-ness?

Then another questions creeps in immediately behind the first: On the playground and in the classroom where my children attend school, are they free to portray the culture they embody at home?

Safety is the first and most primal instinct. All humans seek safety and security. Studies show that the need for security motivates human behavior. If that foundation is shaky, the relational, professional and academic levels of growth will be poorly supported.

The impact to mental health for adults and children stems from feelings of insecurity. If unsafe to be myself alternate option is to inhabit another identity. People are indirectly pushed into hiding when they are shamed for displaying elements of their African culture. The subtle, and often not so subtle message is conform or else.

That is an unsafe place to be for adults. It is a scary place for children.

Children need their parents to feel safe being themselves. They need to know their parents are secure in their own identity. Knowing a parent boldly embraces their heritage increases a child’s own self confidence. Children emulate what they see. The little sponges hear and see everything.

There are many ways to present one’s identity. Language, hairstyle, music, art, and fashion are a few.

AyoMi desires to give each person a safe place to be themselves. Represent the whole you.

 

 

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