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There is a companion book that you co-authored with Idris’ parents that offers resources for other parents concerned about their children’s education. So American Promise raises all these questions, Promises Kept provides the answers. By the time the boys were in second and third grade, they started experiencing academic difficulties. Their parents were puzzled and shocked. The family couldn’t understand why their sons were struggling so much. They didn’t realize that even when children are able to handle the academics, there are social and emotional issues that impact their ability to learn. Joe [reached out to his former advisor) Dr. Alvin Poussaint and took some of the video they’d recorded with him. As a result of unconscious bias, the development stages of a Black child are different because because they start getting hit at a younger age with issues beyond their developmental stage. Dr. Poussaint pointed them to experts able to help them and gave them the information to support their son. And that turned into a book.

So what is the takeaway for parents interested in helping their sons succeed and even excel?

The book contains a cafeteria menu of strategies for parents, educators and members of our son’s village in 10 different areas. The strategies are answers to a lot of questions in the film. Most of the parents of Black boys do not use the optimal parenting style that correlates with the highest level of academic achievement, best behavior and best self-esteem. Many of us are using outdated parenting styles or parenting styles from other communities that don’t work for our sons. The good news is that now that we know that, we can all tweak our parenting style. The ideal parenting style is called “a warm demander.” Hug him, tell him you love him, listen to him, respond to his concerns, support and encourage him, have very high expectations of him and hold him accountable.

To view America’s Promise on demand from February 4 – March 5 via streaming video, click here. 

To buy the book, click here.

To read an excerpt from the book, host a screening, find a list of resources and to find downloadable plans for educators around this series, click here. 

If You Care About Our Sons, ‘American Promise’ Is Must See TV  was originally published on

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