By Charisse N. Montgomery
Remember the phrase “home training”? It signified all the things we were supposed to know before and beyond school. Home training included social skills and guidelines for appropriate behavior, including basic manners and how not to embarrass our parents in public. Home training was essential to being raised properly. As a teacher, I experienced problems with students who didn’t have home training: they didn't understand that arguing with me was inappropriate, primarily because they talked to their parents disrespectfully at home and thought it was normal. I even had a parent tell me it was my job to teach her child proper behavior (I had to clarify that my job was to teach her child English; it was her job to teach proper behavior). My concern is that home training seems to have gone by the wayside.
A recent case in the news supports my belief that home training is all but gone these days. A pregnant woman and her mother visited their local Wal-mart to return an item to customer service. When they didn’t get their problem solved in customer service, they went to exit the store, but before they left, the elderly greeter asked to see their receipt. That, apparently, is when all hell broke loose. There was cursing, yelling, threatening – and then the women choked the elderly greeter. The pregnant woman even threatened to blow up the store. This mother-daughter duo acted a pure fool in public, demonstrating their lack of home training. Did anyone ever teach these women that yelling and cussing is probably not the most effective way to get what they want from someone? Did anyone ever teach them that choking old people might get them a ticket straight to the hot place? Did they ever learn that their behavior might reflect not just on them, but on the entire community of black women?
Worse than a screaming child embarrassing her mother in the grocery store, these women are an embarrassment to black women. They display the worst of human behavior, acting like undomesticated animals. Instead of being examples of success for future generations, these two women, representing two generations of a family, have failed at some element of humanity. Learning how to navigate the world successfully is the purpose of home training…and I want it back.