African American Girls- Treasured with Unique Qualities!

g. kirklandholmes By g. kirklandholmes, 13th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Education

There are some experiences in life that we call treasured. Treasured means that there are some specialties in life that impacted your life and can be so helpful in the lives of others.
There is a certain amount of empathy that we must learn to share and experience in order to develop a long term, treasured internal peace. When our lives are torn between peace and violence, we must find the defining lines that bring a focus for the betterment of all involved!


Growing up in the south showed me some things in life that need to be treasured for a lifetime. There are some experiences that little African American girls have that really does warrant them knowing the value of treasures.

First of all my family grew up on the islands in South Carolina. To be honest about it, when I was a child, it just seemed like a treasured way of life to me. Our people were unique and special.

There was a rich heritage that words often could not begin to tell about. So growing up around people who all held a treasured role in the lives of children made us African American girls extra special. So I learned the meaning of treasured at a very young age.

Treasured Thoughts

So when my cousins and I would go to the islands mostly on the weekends, there were some treasures that were so unique until I really didn't know what to call them. So Aunt Alberta married my Uncle John Henry (mama's brother). Then my mama married Aunt Alberta's brother Hubert. So as a child, this really didn't matter to me because I had other things that seemed more important to me.
Well I heard some of the relatives talking about that is when you have strong genes coming out of the family. Your parents are double-married and double-blooded. It all sounded a little foolish to me, but as I got older it was certainly a treasured thought. It is not everyday in our lives that we find double marriages of sisters and brothers! Treasured thoughts with a whole lot of love!

Treasured Values

It amazes me today how and why we don't teach our children some of those treasured values that we were taught as very young children. As a part of the African tradition which was a very deepened and valued part of tradition in my home state. There were some things that were treasured and we had to automatically learn about them. There was no such thing as children being too young to learn about important and treasured values of life. I still remember African and African American mothers talking to the babies. They were talking to them about these treasured values just like they taught them to us. Okay, but their teachings were just a little different from ours. I could hear mama, Aunt Sarah, Aunt Essie Mae, Aunt Zelma and Aunt Queen Esther talking to the babies telling them that they will be well taken care of. They also told the babies that they expected them to communicate with them also. I thought it was hilarious. They would tell the babies, "Now if you get hungry, cry like this-wimp, wimp. If you are wet or had a bm, cry like this, wimp, wimp, wiiiiiiimp. If you just need some extra cuddling or loving, just say, ooooooooh, oooooooh!

I thought this was so foolish. But they told me the babies needed to be taught how to act just like other children. (Huuuuuuuummmmmmmmm)

Value One- Peace- the more we learn how to communicate our needs and feelings, the more peace we will have in the family, in the home and in the village among our people.

Value Two-Harmony- the more we learn how to work and live together in harmony, the more love will be shared among each other. It is emphasized with the children at a very early age not to keep up a lot of confusion in the family.

Value Three- Grace- If you are a young girl, grace is what you learn about in two different ways. A young lady carries herself with gracefulness, meaning that there are qualities that epitomize the consciousness of a graceful spirit and graceful actions. The second part of grace was that God's grace is sufficient for all of our needs. Therefore there should be nothing within reason that we should hesitate to ask the Lord for a little more grace.

Value Four-Joy- is the treasured value of having an inner happiness within one's heart and soul. We were taught, no matter what the situation or circumstance, don't let anybody steal your joy! Your joy is your joy, enjoy it!

Value Five-Patience- is when you are taught the value of being able to gently, kindly, slowly, helpfully meet the challenge at hand. I was surprised when I was only six years old and they told me my job was to help feed our 94 year-old great, great, great uncle. He had lost the use of his upper limbs. I can still remember them saying this job will teach you all about patience. They were right because it took me almost an hour each time to just help him eat his meal. He was always looking around, pointing and asking what everybody was doing. I wanted to tell him so bad, "Old man, mind your own business." That's why we were taught the value of patience so that we wouldn't say mean words like that! Today I have the patience of Job just like in the bible!

Value Six-Dignity- Now when you are a young lady, this treasured value is critical. Now it's not that boys don't need it too. But a young lady must carry herself with dignity and respect. If she doesn't and earns a name of disrespect, most of the time she will never receive respect from a male or female at that. So this treasured value is not reversible so, take it in stride from the beginning and never ever deviate from this value- dignity.

Treasure Chests

What a day brings in the life of a girl visiting the African Village. Wow, I was so proud to have grown up in an area where there were still real African Villages. When we study the history of many of the southern states, we learn that because of early slavery, many Africans were brought to the southern states. Years later, many struggled to maintain some of their culture and heritage. They began to establish African Villages all over the south. Some were more established than others. Some were developed to be tourist attractions, while others were deemed as living quarters.

One of the things I liked about my first visit to one near my hometown was that there were real treasure chests all over. What in the world did they have in those treasure chests? It was so fascinating because they had boy treasure chests and girl ones too.
I was so impressed when I learned how they had creatively developed these treasure chests as teaching tools for girls and boys. There were special ceremonies for girls coming to womanhood and boys moving to manhood.

Each treasure chest represented steps that must be taken by boys to manhood and girls to womanhood. While I know the boy chests were interesting I focused my attention on the one for girls.

Treasure Step One- Be obedient to your elders. Never sassy or talk back to the elders of the land, for your days of life will be limited. Whatever or whenever our elders called upon us for anything, we must hasten to them.

Treasure Step Two- Honor thy father and mother that your days may be long in the land of the living. Your parents are responsible for your birth. We should continuously show our gratitude to them for the honor of our being born. Listen attentively and follow their instructions.

Treasure Step Three- Work till the day is done. If a man does not work, he will not eat. Each of us have an obligation to each other in the village. It is called "collaboration," meaning that we all work together for the betterment of our people. We shall not sit idly by and observe our people suffering when we can help.

There were more treasure chests with further instructions as the time neared for the special ceremonies!

Treasured Experiences of Life

My Uncle Willie who moved to Boston, Massachusetts, which was far away from our home down south. He was mama's brother. Although he was a twin to Aunt Willie Mae, he looked more like our mama. He also had a sweet spirit just like mama. As a young girl I learned some treasured experiences from Uncle Willie. He was such a gentle and loving man and I wondered how he could be such a person. So one day he told me to sit down by his right knee. He began, "Gloria there are going to be some days in your life that you are going to feel like giving up. Life can be very difficult when you don't understand why some of the things that seem unnecessary happen in our lives. He said his mama and our grandmother, had thirteen children. Five of the children moved away to other states to escape some of the suffering and pain." As he talked I didn't quite understand what he meant by that, so I asked him, "You mean Aunt Lannie ran all the way to New York? How did she get there? Why didn't she ever come back home?
Does she even know that we children(Louise's children-my mom's name) were born?"
Uncle Willie said to me, "Gloria there are some things that are better for you not to know. We don't want you children worrying about things that none of us have any control over. But we want you to get a good education, go as far in school as you can, be a doctor or lawyer or a teacher. Make our family proud."
Well that was enough for me to understand that there are some treasured experiences in life that may never be shared with the children. Even till this day, those treasured experiences remain among the family members who knew what they knew.

Treasured Doors

When we look at all of the different treasure chests, we can certainly look at the lids, the tops and doors. Behind each one is a message that represents a significant part of the treasured puzzle.
First time I learned that mama and daddy had relatives still back in Africa, I was a little stunned. Not sure why when we came from the native land and those who didn't venture
on that horrific journey stayed in their native land. Now while I have never visited Africa, I met so many of the sisters and brothers from various parts.

For them there were doors and windows of opportunity opened for them. Their relatives wanted them to come to the United States, take advantage of the educational and work opportunities. They believed in those treasured doors. They believed that if you could get as much knowledge as you could, you would come back home and share with the people at home. You would come back and make brighter lives for them, after you were able to walk through those treasured doors.

Treasured Memories

Now as I write this, there have been so many treasured memories in my life. There were days and times that we will never forget. I love the way that we were taught to love everybody as we grew older. Still some people thought African American families that taught their children to love their enemies were crazy.
We learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for peace and nonviolence. He emphasized that some of the best memories of the time were when African American people decided to do things the peaceful way. Fighting with weapons, sticks and other harmful devices caused more divisiveness than unity.
So I can still remember Dr. Martin Luther King walking all of those streets down south. No one really knew how he had the stamina, grace, straight- walking forward, walking, hand-in-hand, marching on to freedom,marching on for justice, marching on for equality!
Those were some of the days of treasured memories!

Treasures of Faith

F- is for forgiving others when we feel like they didn't deserve the honor

A- for always being an awesome person to yourself and others

I- is for ingenuity, initiative and important steps taken for all of man/womankind

T- is for truthfulness that will take you a long way in life!

H- is for happiness, happiness, and more happiness!

Where Do Your Treasures Lie?

And now are you willing to take a look and a step forward to find out where your treasures lie. Your treasures lie where you put them. Your treasures lie where you would like them to be.

Your treasures lie behind those doors of opportunity. Your treasures lie even in the pathway of the ones that seemed closed! But now remember we have to keep moving on!!!!!


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Meet the author

author avatar g. kirklandholmes
I am an early childhood educator and taught pre-school-kindergarten multi-age grouping classes and early childhood courses at the University of Northern Iowa. I also publish with

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