“The black church has a history of holistically discipling people,” says Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, and that discipleship is key to the future of black women.
Together, black fathers, black mothers, “other mothers,” and “other fathers” are the pillars of the African American Christian community best suited to instill resilience against flawed self images.
When I was a young Christian, I had several older women take me under their wings.
As a single hoping for marriage, I spent countless dinners, Bible studies and phone conversations with older Christian women who counseled me on patience, encouraged me in my waiting, and shared testimonies of God’s faithfulness to them and their families.
Karen Dace, vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Indiana University–Purdue University in Indianapolis, grew up in Chicago in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church.
As a single woman, she realized early on the importance of female role models when she overheard a girlfriend’s daughter telling her mother that she wanted to be like “Miss Karen” when she grew up, because “Miss Karen” owned a home, had a nice car, a fur coat, “and didn’t no man give it to her.” “Older women are supposed to teach the younger women,” Dace says.
The four young women I interviewed are all pastor’s kids who grew up in church and were indelibly impacted by the women around them—including older teens who navigated the same shoals.