With everything going on lately, I’m reminded of a book I read a few years ago by Chris Rock’s mom. I don’t think I appreciated it is as much when I first read it, as my kids weren’t in school yet and we lived a pretty isolated, preschool-mom life.
Now that my kids are in school and I find myself entrenched in my local community, I think I would enjoy another reading. The following is a review I wrote in 2008. The original is here.
Harper Collins Publishing recently sent me the book, Mama Rock’s Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising a Household of Successful Children, by Rose Rock – mother to comedian Chris Rock. It’s a great, quick, entertaining read filled with simple wisdom, such as the benefits of eating dinner together as a family (“Feed Them and They Will Tell You Everything”).
Rose raised one step-son, six birth children, two “children of her heart,” and one best friend to son, Chris. In addition, Rose counts more than seventeen foster children that came through their house starting in 1969. Her house was the one on the block all the kids hung out at, but it wasn’t because she was easily duped. Her kids were the kids who had curfews. Her kids were the kids who got in trouble for not being where they said they would be. Her kids were the kids who weren’t allowed to sass or swear or otherwise disrespect their parents.
Regarding curfews, she tells a story of Chris complaining about the family rules. “Why can’t I stay out? Other kids are still out there,” he said. “The day will come,” Rose said to him, “when you are going to leave Decatur Street and go out on your own. You’ll come back sometime and those same kids who sit on the stoop will still be here, sitting on the stoop, I promise you that.”
Years later when Chris drove through the old neighborhood, “he actually saw two of those neighborhood guys still sitting on the same stoops, even at that late hour.” Chris went to his apartment, called his Mama, and told her she was right.
She seems like a no-nonsense mom, but one who is filled with enough kindness and love to share with anyone who comes into her home. Her tough love won the respect and admiration of many children, including her own. It was a great book, and I definitely recommend you pick it up.