Tough Love at its Finest
In this day and age of instant gratification with social media enticing both young and old, it’s becoming harder and harder to teach children values. As a single parent, Patricia Watkins found a way.
Patricia knew when her twin boys, Tremayne and Dewayne Smith were born she wanted to raise them the same way her mother, Libby, had raised her. Although Patricia and her siblings always had chores, before the chores they were expected to work on homework for an hour followed by Bible reading. Patricia said reading the Bible out loud not only helped with vocabulary and language, but also helped her build confidence for public speaking.
As a child growing up on a farm, some of Patricia’s chores included milking the cows, feeding the chickens and working the garden. She believes a structure of chores, homework and Bible reading taught her manners, respect, responsibility and a love for God. Little did Patricia know one day she would pass these same values on to her sons, helping them develop strong morals and character.
Even though things weren’t always easy as a single parent, Patricia said the twins somehow always had their needs met. If they wanted a quarter for candy, they earned the quarter by doing a chore. At the time Tremayne felt delayed gratification was old-fashioned, but later understood that lesson helped him reach his goals.
Now young men in their twenties, Tremayne and Dewayne have goals and ambitions most only dream about. They give credit to their mom for setting boundaries during their formative years, providing opportunities for growth and development. They’re also appreciative of the support she had from their maternal and paternal grandmothers and the local church. Each helped in different ways when needed most.
Tremayne graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in music and political science. He is now attending George Washington University on a music scholarship with his sights set on serving others as a politician someday. He’s getting plenty of experience as a Special Assistant to Congressman G.K. Butterfield, NC 1st District. Congressman Butterfield is Democratic Chief Deputy Whip in the US House and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Dewayne graduated from Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC, with a Health and PE degree. He now travels the world inspiring young people as a member of Team Rock Ministries. This ministry travels mostly the United States and Puerto Rico spreading the gospel through acrobatics, gymnastics and martial arts. If you visit their website you’ll see Dewayne in action.
It’s no surprise Patricia’s philosophy for raising well-adjusted, motivated young men comes from the Bible. After all she spent many hours reading and memorizing as a child. The verse she uses as a guide is Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way of the Lord and when they are old they won’t depart from it.” Patricia explains, “That doesn’t mean they will be perfect. It just means they will have the seed of knowledge, and hopefully, if they do stray, they will return one day.” Patricia’s mother, Libby, said, “Even if the seeds don’t take, it’s still our responsibility to plant the seeds anyway.”
As a single mom with obstacles to overcome, by providing boundaries and sharing a strong faith in God, Patricia taught her sons that true happiness and fulfillment doesn’t come from material things, but from within. Every child should be so lucky.
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